You might be asking yourself: What is inner Zen, and what does it look like? Inner Zen is achieved by connecting with yourself daily. For some, spirituality goes hand in hand with attaining continuous inner Zen, but it’s different for everyone.
We spoke to four women from different walks of life who define themselves as spiritual and seek to connect with themselves daily. If you feel like you are not connecting with yourself enough, or you want to focus more on your needs, read on for ways to help you find your inner Zen.
Create a Not-to-Do List
Everyone has a to-do list, but have you ever thought about your not-to-do list? Embodiment coach and mindfulness and yoga facilitator Grace Cecilio spoke to us about the benefits of creating a not-to-do list, which includes things you do out of habit, not because you truly want or need to do them. “[A not-to-do list] allows you to reflect on the things you do on autopilot,“ she says. “[It helps] to make space and time for what you really need or want to do.”
Mindfulness allows us to stop and quiet the mind, whether via prayer or focusing on a feeling or an object. Performer and artist Christina Giuseppe chants prayers in the morning, afternoon, and evening. “It’s to remind myself that I have some control of my life but not total and full autonomy; the rest is left to a higher being and existence,” she says. “Always putting gratitude in my attitude throughout my day really gets me in my Zen space and allows me to be my best self I can be.”
Mental health expert Saya Des Marais, MSW, says she practices mindfulness “not only when I’m practicing sitting meditation but in my day-to-day life. When I look deeply enough into things, I see the truth in them, and that brings me a sense of calm. For me, it is reminding myself of the interconnectedness of all things – feeling grounded in the truth that I’m interconnected with all things, too.”
Moving your body is a big part of having inner Zen. “Doing yoga, biking, working out, dancing… Something that gets the energy flowing and fills me with breath,” says Jen Brawner, a stylist and massage therapist at Ethereal Day Spa in Colorado. It’s not always easy, but with practice and consistency, it becomes second nature. You will feel spirit and energy flow through you.
Learn About Plant Medicine
History shows us that religious and spiritual leaders have used plants and blends to find inner balance for thousands of years. They have also used them to heal the mind and body and help provide spiritual awakening. “I hope to bring the low-tox lifestyle to my clients in their beauty regime and teach them how to use plants for everything – from for cleaning to boosting energy, emotional healing, and trauma work.”
Finding Your Inner Zen
You don’t have to fit into a neat box or have a specific career path to have inner Zen. Sometimes, spirituality leads you to where you need to be in life. Use the practices above as a jumping-off point to discover what works for you. When you slow down, breathe, and connect with yourself, you find inner Zen.