Spiritual Life helps keep New Year’s resolutions

With the bustle of the holiday season winding down, the Spiritual Life Center is hosting a variety of events and programs in the upcoming months to help keep students in physical and spiritual shape throughout the year.

To soothe souls after weeks of holiday shopping, the center is sponsoring a “Fresh Start Yoga” session today at noon in the Sacred Space on the second floor of Ell Hall. It will feature Kripalu-style yoga.

“The free yoga class is [for students] to start the year off right, because many students make New Year’s resolutions to take better care of themselves,” said Shelli Jankowski-Smith, director of the Spiritual Life Center.

Although resolutions around this time of year can be beneficial, Jankowski-Smith said students should not turn them into sources of anxiety.

“New Year’s resolutions should be reasons to make life a little better,” she said. “And if it develops into a habit, to listen to your spiritual side, then that’s a good thing.”

Tuesday the center is hosting a free concert featuring singer Ravenna Michalsen, an American Buddhist who intertwines her faith with contemporary music, deviating from the traditional chants and hymns commonly associated with Buddhism. Jankowski-Smith said this is “an emerging trend” among American practitioners.

Although the show is based in Buddhism, Jankowski-Smith said Michalsen’s original compositions would appeal to students of “any background and any faith.”

From Feb. 9 to Feb. 11, the Spiritual Life Center is co-sponsoring its third annual “Spirituality and Leadership Interfaith Retreat,” with the Student Leadership Office. The conference is open to all students and will be held at the Warren Conference Center in Ashland. The planned theme for this year’s weekend is “Unplugged: Leadership and Simplicity in a Complex World,” a theme which Jankwoski-Smith said resonates in today’s touch-and-go society.

“We live in a culture that’s all about business and doing and constant activity,” she said. “We’re not balanced with introspection and listening. [The conference’s purpose is to teach students] why and how can a leader take the time to listen, and just be.”

During the week of March 19, the Spiritual Life Center will sponsor its first ever “Peace Week,” which Jankwoski-Smith said will “help people to access the subject of peace from different points of view.” The programming will reflect concepts as broad as “peace and war” or as personal as finding “internal peace,” she said.

There are also plans to dedicate and install a “Peace Pole” during the week, which will be a four- to eight-foot wooden structure featuring plaques with the phrase, “may peace prevail on earth,” in several languages. Jankowski-Smith said “Peace Poles” have been erected around the world to promote peace and understanding among people.

“The topic of peace versus non-peace is prevalent all over the world,” she said. “Religion and spirituality are so connected to peace in negative ways. It’s important to connect peace with spirituality.”

Leave a Reply