Chaplain Larry Lindstrom hosted a Spiritual Wellness Meeting over Zoom during Sinclair’s Welcome Week on Jan. 11.
Lindstrom opened the meeting by asking participants what they would like to see happen in the new year. He got several answers including a reduced number of coronavirus cases, the ability to gather with family and friends and the capability to return to sports and other normal activities.
“I hope the opportunity will come for us to travel again,” said Lindstrom, who would like to be able to go even just to local parks.
Lindstrom then moved on to talk about spiritual wellness and how to achieve it.
Spiritual wellness is the “matter of connecting to something greater than yourself,” said Lindstrom. He explained that it is a process where people can find the foundations that allow them to form their best lives.
Lindstrom said that people can begin their journey by examining their core.
“Look at the foundations,” said Lindstrom. “The core of who we are.”
He explained that people can think of areas such as our passions or fears to become familiar with who we are as individual people. When it comes to having fears, Lindstrom explained that a way to combat them is facing them.
Lindstrom also explained that noticing our reactions or emotions in different situations can give us the opportunity to improve ourselves and become the person we would like to be.
Lindstrom advised people to find a way to express their emotions outside of themselves as well. He said that this could include activities such as journaling or recording a video of ourselves talking.
He said that these tools can help people to take each day at a time. He used the example of the current coronavirus pandemic and how it can sometimes feel that it will never end. Looking towards our future selves and having bravery through these rough times can bring hope that life will return to normal.
Lindstrom also touched on the idea of pursuing positive thinking. When negative thoughts enter our minds, he said that they are something that can be recognized, but we do not have to believe them and can assure ourselves that the thoughts do not define who we are. Lindstrom also said that we should give ourselves permission to change our own minds. As we grow through our experiences, we may start to think differently about various things than we did before.
Lindstrom said that meditation, such as in prayer or contemplation on thoughts, and laughter can also be methods used in the spiritual wellness process. Laughter can come even from small things, such as those that seem ridiculous or silly. He also suggested that people travel, whether this be taking a trip somewhere, virtually visiting a place, or going somewhere outside of themselves by learning something new. He mentioned the performance of physical activities such as yoga and tai-chi, which involve small movements to work towards body control, as well.
Participants of the meeting also discussed how virtues such as forgiveness, kindness, thoughtfulness and gratefulness can positively affect a person’s life.
“Instead of being frustrated…or angry about something [at work] …I’m really grateful that I have a job,” said student engagement director Matt Massie.
Lindstrom said that the act of forgiveness can help us to see things outside of ourselves, even if we are the victim in the situation.
“[Forgiveness helps us to] recognize that we have a common bond of [being] imperfect people,” said Lindstrom. “We all make mistakes. [I can] recognize that I need people to show me kindness at times.”
Lindstrom explained the importance of finding a balance between work and home life. With responsibilities from places such as work, school, and home, we can become overwhelmed at times and can spend large amounts of our time in just one area. He suggested that people use time management to help find a good balance.
“It’s not easy,” recognized Lindstrom. “We all struggle with it.”
Amanda Hayden, a religion professor at Sinclair, shared the idea of Sinclair hosting an event about having boundaries for the different areas in our lives. Lindstrom hopes and believes that this could be something available for Sinclair students in the future.