For many, the meaning of spirit-self may be self-evident. “Oh, you mean the soul,” they’ll say. But since “words don’t mean; people do,” I feel it necessary to spell out what the term means to me.

We are creatures of body, mind and spirit. Both body and mind are mortal but I believe spirit is eternal. People spend mountains of money and valuable time on their bodies: fitness, healthcare, beauty, clothing, etc. And their investments in educating and expanding their minds, for those who can afford and choose to do so, can be even greater. In comparison, it seems they tend to do much less for their spirit-selves.

Body people tend to live from the outside in – wanting to look good, conscious about how others see them. Image is much and always in play. In mind people, ego works much the same way. But there is a deeper awareness and curiosity about self, a need to please and be pleased, to bloat one’s identity for a multitude of simply human reasons.

Spirit people, however, go at living from the inside out. They realize that their world can be seductive, confusing and these days frightening, that they need to strive to keep right with their values, work to find an inner peace and meaning that material possessions and college degrees can never guarantee. They strive also to transcend the entrapments of ego, to dwell in the deeper parts of self, to believe that where there’s love, there’s healing. Of course, the ideal is to find a balance. Many are wise and gifted enough to do the best they can in that endeavor. But, human being human, the spirit-self often comes up needing more attention than it gets.

The spirit-self involves both soul and body which to me means identity. For my self, the synergy of spirit-self includes belief as well as doubt, perceptions, attitudes, weaknesses and strengths; the curious, teachable, creative and risking parts of the seeker within; the vulnerable, uncertain parts as well; the clear, intelligent lover of all things good and growing, humble in its humanness and hopeful in all of its becoming.

Everyone, I believe, is connected in spirit; in that place, in our spirit-selves. We are all of one piece, diverse in identity, talents and energies, but sharing the same journey, reaching for the same sun. 

Never in our lives has it been more important to realize and live by these words. We need to know we are together even when apart. Our separate, social-distancing selves need to be joined in facing down and getting through the darkness of these days, doing what needs doing as our spirits light the way, not only for ourselves but for one another.

Our spirit-selves, feeling diminished by every death, need to be heroic in this crisis, reaching for life and urging others to do the same. Light needs darkness to be truly appreciated; we all need one another, together, to get through these dark days to a brighter light.