My grandfather was the most consistent man I know.  He did his daily exercise until he was bedridden.  He said his daily prayers until his failing lungs couldn’t speak.  Even as his body gave up, he still refused to give power to illness.  His mantra was “healthy body, healthy mind, healthy spirit” and he lived it until the age of 92.  It is a profound blessing to have been raised by a man so loving, so consistent and so selfless. Take a tangent and watch this rare moment caught on film.  Just hours after his death, I had to go onstage.  This video captures the moment I feel his presence near me as I sing “For Good”.  You’ll feel him there.

Lee Roy led by example – showing us boys that our best life is centered around our spiritual health.  However, I can’t say many of us know what spiritual health really means beyond religiosity. 

What is spiritual health? 

We tend to understand religion and spirituality as culture, tradition, and ethnic expression.  We have our own symbology and our own rituals.  We have our own holy books and we swear that our way is the only divinely inspired way.  Rather pious when there are roughly 4,200 religions and around 16 holy books worldwide, but hey, it’s how we identify.  Nothing wrong with that.  I don’t care what you believe.  My question to you is this:

Is your spirituality tangibly improving the quality of your life?

Spirituality should be making measurable improvements in your life.  Period.  Our spiritual health has a direct impact on our physical, mental and financial well-being.  Therefore, it is important to know how we can keep our spirit active and healthy.  Here are some ideas I found to be useful.

Have a daily spiritual practice. 

For me, it’s meditation and spiritual mind treatment.  For my grandfather, it was reading the Christian Bible and praying for his family.  For some of my extended family, it’s salat.  For you, it could be as simple as a walking meditation through nature.  If you believe that your spiritual health is as important as your physical and mental health, then figure out how to exercise your spirit.  Decide how you want to commune with It and make it a daily devotion.  There is no better convincing of the benefits than simply doing it.  Like I said in my last blog How To Know What You Want, few of us may do it, but all of us who do it, swear by it.  So, what would a daily spiritual practice look like for you?

Be of service to others. 

It reinforces the core message of all faiths – love.  My sponsor has always been a man who will drop everything to be of service to a friend, a sponsee, or a stranger.  He has taken his mess and made it his ministry.  A girlfriend of mine who survived two divorces and single-parented two kids now volunteers her time at a single mom shelter where she can use her experience to help young women like herself.

Like them, your pain has made you an authority on something!  Go out and share that experience and knowledge with others like you!  Or wherever you feel you can contribute.  It doesn’t matter.    Go make a lifestyle out of being of service.  You’ll be surprised what it does for your spiritual health.  Joy alert!  This is potent shit!  Get ready to feel a sense of purpose.

Forgiveness

Let it go…let it all go…it’s time to forgive now…I’m quoting the lyrics to my original song Let It Go.  Forgiveness is the most overlooked contribution to our overall health.  Anger and resentment are a clog in the pipes.  It obstructs the flow of physical health, emotional well-being, and some believe it even blocks us from financial prosperity.  Nothing eats us alive more than anger, resentment, regret, and blame.

Do you know that it is entirely possible for you to live without these things?

Imagine who you would be without all that. 

The shift happens differently for all of us, but you owe it to yourself to learn forgiveness.  Get busy reframing the past.  Is there a gift here you’re overlooking?  Does your past make you an authority on something that you can use to be of service to others?  Has this experience made you more qualified in some aspect of your spiritual or emotional life?  I always think of my past pain as the mutant gene that made me an X-Man.  I have special powers now.  Special insights that others do not have!  However you choose to reframe it, get to it!  Honey, that story is too heavy to carry around for another year.  Liberate yourself by learning how it makes sense for you to forgive.  It is time to forgive.

To recap, here are three things you can do to increase your spiritual health.  First, discover what a daily spiritual practice looks like for you.  Two, get curious about how you could be of service to others, maybe those currently going through what you went through.  And lastly, unclog those pipes – forgive the past and put it to bed once and for all.  If these three things are all we ever do, I think the increased quality of our life would be significant and measurable.

I always loved the Bible verse Matthew 7:17-20.  “Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”  A lot of people can be dogmatic and righteous about their religious beliefs.   The truth is, if your spirituality is not bearing good fruit, then what good is it? 

I want your spirituality to bring measurable improvements in the quality of your life, not just something you say you believe in.  But measurable improvements are a result of tangible action.  We can talk all we want.  We can post fuzzy memes till the cows come home.  But action is the only path to any type of health and wellness.  To exercise our body we have to go to the gym. To exercise our mind, we have to engage in critical thinking and problem solving.  To exercise our spirit, well, that takes a routine too.  One that you get to figure out for yourself. 

Go ahead, my fellow X-Men.  Tell me what you envision your daily spiritual practice to be.  Tell me what you think are the greatest contributors to your spiritual health.  I love hearing from you!

-L

6 Comments

Chris

I, like you, was raised in a devout Christian environment. With the passage of time, and complete acknowledgment of who and what I truly am, a gay man, I continue to struggle to feel acceptance from God and those of the Christian faith.
I have found incredible encouragement through your music and openness of your beliefs. Lyrically, I feel your music could have been written from the heart and experiences of my own life.
Thank you for sharing your amazing talents, especially for those of us who, so greatly, feel it’s honesty and impact.

Robert Murchison

I was deeply touched by your loving tribute to your grandfather, Levi! Truly beautiful!

I have always been a seeker , but organized religion did nothing but imprison my soul! Like you, I had spent many years in prayer and Bible study hoping to be changed into something acceptible to God! It never happened!

I am a deeply spiritual person who truly wants to do whatever I can to make life easier for others! I love the positive teachings of Jesus, and have learned so much from people like Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer, Leo Buscaglia, Ernest Holmes, Eckhart Tolle, Joel Goldsmith , Don Miguel Ruiz, and you, Levi Kreis! “Stained Glass Window” and “Prayer for the Surrender” are two of the most liberating, soulful songs I have ever come across! Don Miguel Ruiz’s latest book, LITTLE BOOK OF WISDOM , provides daily nourishment for my soul!

“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. ”

Wayne Dyer illustrated this so beautifully by asking, “What do you get when you squeeze an orange?” The audience would reply, “Orange juice, because that’s what’s inside.”

Then Dr. Dyer would ask, “What would I get if I were to squeeze you? Would I get love, joy, peace, and gratitude? Or would I get anger, jealousy, bitterness, and resentment? What do you keep inside you?”

I have learned so many wonderful things from Wayne Dyer! He was a very brilliant man!

kimberlyr

Who are you that you know my soul so well? Your songs and blessed voice reach out to me in Godly love. Thank you, Levi. I need this…and I need to find my way to forgive myself and love myself and move forward. Keep doing you…you are a blessing in my life!

BrianB

It took me a long time to separate religion and spirituality and it’s a fascinating topic of conversation. I have no strong religious beliefs, but I’m fascinated by what others believe and how they integrate that into their life. I try to be open to spirituality in whatever form it takes.

I learned a long time ago to just let stuff go. We all carry baggage. The difference is, do you carry it around in a small lunch sack, or are you dragging a freight train behind you? I go for the lunch sack option. Forgive others and let them carry their own baggage. Forgive yourself and move forward with a lighter load.

I try to be the best human being I can every single day. Some days I’m successful, and some days I fail miserably. When I fail, I learn from it, forgive myself, and move on.

FrankinCT

a small comment about forgiveness. Many times we think of forgiveness as forgiving someone else. But it is just as more important to forgive yourself also. Forgive yourself because you did the best you were able to do. Forgive others because they did the best that they were able to do. There is the saying that if you can’t love yourself,how can you love another. If you can’t forgive yourself,you can’t forgive others.

Joe Walker

Your grandfather Lee Roy sounds like a wonderful, spiritual man, and I’m sure his presence stays with you to this day, in the simple positive influence which helped guide you in your own spiritual journey. That’s an awesome gift, and it’s nice to see him honored through the feelings in your performance of “For Good”.

Too many times people focus on adherence to their religious “rules and regulations” as steps to personal reward, rather than applying the greater spiritual truths and actions, such as those found in love and compassion, to their daily lives. As you said, forgiveness- letting go- is such a powerful force and a crucial key to opening the door to peace within one’s heart. For me, letting go of resentments and wrongdoings from others freed me to live a positive life and contributed most to my own spiritual health. For all of us, good fruit is a sure sign of the state of our spiritual lives!

When I wake each morning, I feel grateful for the day I’ve been given, and I spend some time being thankful for all the important things I have in my life; even the things that I take for granted. When I go to sleep, I like to envision light showering down and through me, washing my spirit clean; washing away any muck (be it stress, irritation, or simple self-doubt) and filling me with a sense of renewed hope and positivity. We all have our patterns and rituals, and these are a couple that help me find a place of peace within myself.

Thanks, Levi, for your words of wisdom, and for sharing so much of yourself!

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