Do you have a spiritual toolbox? Or are you thinking spiritual what?!? Are you the type of person that likes to take on a challenge? If so, then I invite you to take my seven day spiritual toolbox and journaling challenge! This is an adventurous challenge to build your very own spiritual toolbox. In addition, this will help you develop a daily journaling routine. You can do this on your own or this could be a fun family project. We’ve all heard the many benefits attributed to spirituality and journaling. Better overall health, coping skills, positive mindset, less anxiety and depression are just some of the benefits. In my seven day process you will be challenged with thought provoking journal prompts every single day.
What comes to mind when you think of a toolbox? A mechanic or repairman for sure. A plumber does not operate without his acclaimed toolbox. Everything that he may need for repairs from A-Z can be found in his toolbox. He won’t leave home without it. It is absolutely essential.
The idea of a spiritual toolbox was from a homework assignment I created for my Youth Sunday School class Summer 2020. Due to COVID restrictions our class shifted to an online setting. My students had to build their spiritual toolbox from scratch using refurbished Amazon boxes, shoe boxes, plastic containers or whatever they wanted! We know kids are never short of creativity. This spiritual toolbox will be with you for the rest of your lives, I told them. It was a fun assignment that lasted a few weeks as everyone proudly showed off their spiritual toolbox to the class. The passion and excitement they exhibited during their presentation made me extremely proud of my students. I know deep in my heart that this spiritual toolbox will definitely follow them for the rest of their lives.
My spiritual toolbox is one of my most prized possessions. It’s the one thing that produces strength, hope and joy in me. It’s where I recharge. In a 24 hour period we consume a lot of things. I’m not only talking about food consumption. What we consume through our eyes and ears affect our overall wellness and mental health. If we consume sugary, processed junk foods and loads of caffeine we know that within a few hours we will feel a sugar crash causing us to feel extremely depleted and exhausted. This will also have long term negative health consequences. In the same length when we consume negative and toxic content then this too will cause us to feel extremely depleted and exhausted. So what do we do or where do we go when we feel like this? For me my spiritual toolbox and journal has been where I went to feed my soul, mind and body. It’s where I recharge and reboot myself mentally and spiritually. But let me ask you where do you go to recharge when you feel emotionally depleted?
For as long as I can remember I always had one area in my home where I prayed, meditated and journaled. That area has always been sacred. I lit scented candles and burned church incense in this area. My walls were filled with religious paintings, scripture and motivational quotes. There were times where I camped out and actually slept right on the floor (best sleep ever!). There was power there. Even during my many struggles in life sitting there brought me so much peace. I felt God’s presence. I have always had my spiritual toolbox. I just didn't have a name for it until the spiritual toolbox class assignment. I want everyone reading this to find strength, joy and peace from their own spiritual toolbox. Just as a repair man reaches into his toolbox for a specific tool for a specific repair, I want you to have that same intention when reaching into your spiritual toolbox when experiencing the many ups and downs in life.
By the end of this challenge it is my intention that you develop a habitual routine of using your spiritual toolbox and journal.
Your spiritual toolbox and journal should be located in an area of your home where there are no distractions. It should be in an area where you could sit and focus.
Whatever space or corner you place you choose, please treat that area as sacred ground.
There are many ways to define spirituality. I like this definition: spirituality is about seeking a meaningful connection with something bigger than yourself, which can result in positive emotions, such as peace, awe, contentment, gratitude, and acceptance. Finding out what spirituality means to you is very important, that’s why on Day One of this challenge you are tasked with defining spirituality. Don’t just take my word on what spirituality is. Since each day has journal prompts if you don’t already have a journal please purchase one for this challenge. There is something extremely powerful about writing in a physical journal. For once give your phone a rest. I listened to a podcast that mentioned research data that concluded that we touch our phones over two thousand times a day. I thought that figure must have been astronomically exaggerated. But the more I thought about how much I touched my phone the more I began to believe that that figure could actually be true. Developing a consistent journaling routine will allow you to slow down in this busy world. You will be in tune with your emotions. And, you will develop a deep level of conscious awareness you have never felt before. It’s an amazing feeling!
Before we begin please make sure your phone is in another room. Print or write out the journal prompts on your journal or piece of paper so you don't have to look at your phone. Please don’t waste your time with this challenge if you will not use a physical journal. You will not reap the benefits of this challenge if you have your phone around you.
Welcome to Day 1!
This assignment is the foundation for your spiritual toolbox. Establish a set routine (day and time) where you can dedicate 5-10 minutes at least once a day for the next 7 days.
Journal prompts: List 2 things you are grateful for. How do you feel today? How would you like to feel today? What can you do to get to the feeling you want for today? What does spirituality mean to you? What gives your life meaning (and why)? Do you believe in yourself? Or do you doubt yourself a lot? How do you feel about yourself? Chapter 2 of my book I introduce an Ethiopian proverb in Tigrinya HabaE kuslu HabaE fewsu. The English translation is that the one who hides their wound(s) is also hiding their cure/medicine. So as you embark on this 7 day challenge be honest and vulnerable with yourself. You hold the power to your healing if you can be vulnerable enough to uncover your wounds.
Science-backed benefits of journaling are reduced depression/anxiety, boosted immune function, cultivate gratitude, helps with recovery from trauma and improves memory function. (https://www.holstee.com/blogs/mindful-matter/5-science-based-benefits-of-journaling) Close your journal and just sit in silence for a few minutes. Observe the thoughts that flow throughout your mind.
Welcome to Day 2! Glad to see you are committed to this challenge!
Journal prompts: List 2 things you are grateful for. How do you feel today? What gives you pure joy? When was the last time you felt pure joy? Is your joy dependent on external or internal factors (why or why not)? What does surrendering mean to you?
Gabrielle Bernstein has 5 steps on surrendering. I love all them, the first two are taking your hands off the wheel through prayer and appreciating what’s thriving. In Chapter 16 I mention that surrendering is not giving up. It’s realistically managing our emotions and expectations. It’s knowing our limitations and doing our best. Surrendering is liberating and leads you to live a gratitude filled life. Close your journal and just sit in silence for a few minutes. Observe the thoughts that flow throughout your mind. Do you recognize your voice in your thoughts? If you don’t recognize your voice, whose voice do you recognize?
Welcome to Day 3! You are almost halfway done with this challenge!
Decide where you will put your spiritual toolbox and why. Is this an area that is quiet and private?
Journal prompts: List 2 things you are grateful for. How do you feel today? When was the last time you felt most in touch with your spiritual life? How did that feel? What are your biggest fears? What drives you/motivates you? How much are these fears costing you in terms of happiness and growth? Name three people that inspire you. The late Nipsey Hussel said “If you look at the people in your circle and you don't get inspired, then you don't have a circle. You have a cage” Close your journal and just sit in silence for a few minutes.
Welcome to Day 4! Just three days left!
List out the things that you will put in your spiritual toolbox. If you try to begin building your spiritual toolbox and add things to it simultaneously then you will miss the valuable lesson in building your spiritual toolbox one step at a time. Journal prompts: List 2 things you are grateful for. How do you feel today? What are your top 3 values in life? What gives you hope? If you had only 72 hours to live how would you spend it? And do you feel about your life looking back? Bronnie Ware worked as a nurse with patients in palliative care. She basically cared for patients that were dying. In her blog post that has been read by millions and translated into 32 languages she lists out the regrets of the dying.
I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
I wish that I had let myself be happier.
https://bronnieware.com/blog/regrets-of-the-dying/ Close your journal and just sit in silence for a few minutes. Observe the thoughts that flow throughout your mind.
Welcome to Day 5! Time to build this thing!
Build your spiritual toolbox. Please have fun with this! You can buy a box, a container, a basket. This is your spiritual toolbox. Take your time, take the whole day to design in a way that represents you and your spirituality. Place your spiritual toolbox at your desired location.
Journal prompts: List 2 things you are grateful for. How do you feel today? If you could go 5, 10 or 15 years back what would you tell your younger self? If you could use one word to sum up your intention for 2022 what would it be? What are you passionate about? Have you figured out your life purpose? Some of my favorite quotes from the late Steve Jobs:
People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully.
My favorite things in life don't cost any money. It's really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.
I think the things you regret most in life are the things you didn’t do.
Close your journal and just sit in silence for a few minutes.
Welcome to Day 6! The moment has arrived!
Add your items to your spiritual toolbox. Add anything you want! Here are some examples of what you can include: scented candles, religious icons/pictures, Bible (any other form of religious books), devotional, pictures of loved ones, index cards of motivational quotes (or Bible quotes). Journal prompts: List 2 things you are grateful for. How do you feel today? Make a list of two good habits you need to adopt. Make a list of two bad habits you need to let go. If you could create a charity what would it be and who would it serve? Are you currently volunteering at any capacity? If not, then why? How does volunteering make you feel?
Some of the benefits that volunteering generates is better physical and mental health, helps establish a sense of purpose and community, improves confidence, expands networks, makes new friends, increased levels of happiness, joy and fun. Close your journal and just sit in silence for a few minutes.
Welcome to Day 7! You made it!
Activate your spiritual toolbox take a picture and tag me @immigrant.mentalhealth and use #spiritualtoolbox challenge #immigrantmentalhealth. If you have benefited from this seven-day challenge please forward this challenge to a loved one please let me know your thoughts! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on IG or FB @immigrant.mentalhealth. I would love to hear from you! My hope for you is that this 7 day challenge has helped you develop a habitual routine of using your spiritual toolbox and journal.
Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10
All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone. Blaise Pascal
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