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Barbara Biziou

Building Spiritual Muscles
by Barbara Biziou

As I sit here writing it is the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah)…the Days of Awe. I am deeply
aware that I have been given a gift…the gift of honestly facing myself. I am alone with my deepest

In the evening service for Yom Kippur (the day of atonement) it says, “alone, our privacy at last
secured, alone with our own lives, our own yearning, our own desires and dreams. Yet how
frightening! Alone, without the mirror of others to convince us of our worth, without the excuse of
others to blame for what disturbs us. In charge of our own mistakes, desires, weaknesses, and
longings – our own, whatever their origin, but ours to bear, confront, and overcome – alone.”

What gives us the power and strength to confront the consequences of our weakness? I believe that it is trusting our innate sense of worthiness and honoring and acting on our truest feelings and intuition.

The Joys of Everyday Ritual by Barbara Biziou

"To admit our errors, to confess our faults, we need not abase ourselves, nor wallow in unworthiness. The source behind our faults is often our failure to admit our worth, to rely on our inner sense of what is right, lest others laugh at us, mistreat us or profess a higher standard than we can ever reach…it all comes down to valuing ourselves as children of God."

It sounds simple, but it takes dedication, commitment, and saying no and setting boundaries when you need time alone.

Building spiritual muscles

There is a prayer that I say constantly.

“Mother Father God
help me to connect so strongly to you
that I do not worry about making a mistake.”

When I am in my power, I am in deep spiritual connection. My self-esteem is strong and I trust my
intuition. If things do not work out, I look at them as lessons and move on. That doesn’t mean that I do not feel the feelings of disappointment or sadness, but I don’t wallow in them.

Building spiritual muscles takes building a consistent practice. Even if you meditate only minutes a day, you will strengthen and build your spiritual body. Eventually you will increase your practice to 20 minutes or even an hour a day because it will become second nature to you.

Personal power to me is being proactive. When I am reactive, I tend to be out of alignment, confused and usually have “foot in mouth disease” that can get me in trouble.

When we are stressed out, the blood literally drains from our brain and extremities and goes to our heart, so we can have the extra energy we need to run or fight. It is called the “fight/flight syndrome and served our ancestors who needed to hunt for food and run away from danger. In today’s stressed-out world this does not work as well. I don’t think it is a good idea to run screaming out of a meeting or sock the person who angers me (even if I would like to). So, how do we remain centered and in our power?

Easier said than done. A wise man once said “the person who angers you controls you.” So how do we learn to chose rather than lose?

This is where your practice comes in. I find that if I do not do my meditation or centering in the
morning, my entire day seems chaotic and I have fewer resiliencies.

But when I do, I know that I have the choice to like someone even if they hate me, I can stay calm
even in the midst of chaos and I can laugh when life does not go my way. This awareness allows me to stay consistent and not beat myself up if I fall off track.

I also recommend that everyone have a venting partner. Yes, a person who will simply listen to our woes and troubles without trying to fix it. The key is to limit the amount of time one vents. I suggest 3-5 minutes. You will instantly feel lighter and will regain your center.

Spiritual gymnastics

Think of it as building spiritual muscles. You don’t go to the gym and do 25 pushups the first time (at least I couldn’t’). But by doing 5, 10, 15 and working up to 20 my arms got stronger and my abs got tighter. I created a pattern of success as I successfully completed my goals. Now I can easily and more consistently exercise. As you develop your spiritual muscles you will find that it is easier and easier to tune into guidance and power.

Don’t think that just because you are afraid that you have lost your power. The other side of fear is courage and we need to acknowledge the fear and give ourselves time to process. We all are so afraid of our feelings that we empower them. By not acknowledging them, we give them power and scare ourselves. I know that some things are harder to deal with than others and the smart person knows when to get help and when she/he can do it alone.

The Joy of Family Rituals by Barbara Biziou

Many years ago someone told me that it took more strength and courage to be vulnerable than to act like you have it all together. As Starhawk so aptly put it in her chant, “Where there’s fear, there is power.” The key is learning how to transform our limitations into strengths. That is the true alchemy. This allows you to stretch beyond your comfort zone. It is amazing how much we can do even if we are afraid.

After much trepidation and fear of being “off the grid,” I gave myself a vacation in Italy this summer and left my Blackberry at home. What a struggle it was for me to allow myself time…time to play…time to rest…time to just be, without constantly checking my email or messages.

Yet, being in the turquoise blue waters of Sardinia surrounded by Italians (I didn’t see an American for 10 days), I got in touch with ME. The more I let myself be, the stronger I became. I had access to inner resources, because I no longer distracted myself with the outer chatter.

Personal power means saying “no” when you need time alone. Personal power means pushing yourself beyond what you thought was possible because your Spirit guides you. Personal power means admitting that you are clueless when you do not get clarity, Personal power is not needing outside approval for everything you do.

Copyright © 2007 Barbara Biziou.  All Rights Reserved.

Barbara Biziou
Barbara Biziou
, author of The Joy of Ritual and The Joy of Family Rituals, is an internationally acclaimed teacher of practical spirituality. Barbara has been featured in articles such as Body & Soul, Harper’s Bazaar, New York Magazine, and Parents Magazine. She was featured on Morgan  Spurlock’s hit show 30 Days and is the everyday ritual expert on New Morning airing on the Hallmark Channel. www.joyofritual.com.


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