At Crestwood Chula Vista, we celebrate our spirituality. We strive to create an open and free environment for all clients and staff to embrace their spiritual beliefs and practices and who identify with various faiths such as Islam, Catholicism, Christianity, and Judaism. We also have those who consider themselves agnostic or atheist. We do not judge anyone for what they choose to believe and how they choose to express those beliefs.
When people think of spirituality they may automatically think about a certain religion, but spirituality is so much more than that! Spirituality is one of our Pillars of Recovery at Crestwood and we define it as a connection to a greater power, others and self and a way to find meaning, hope, comfort and inner peace in life. Spirituality is a lifestyle, and for many, it is the very core of who they are as individuals. We live in a multicultural society and we are surrounded by an array of religions and spiritual practices. Our world is rich in culture and that is a beautiful asset to healthy living.
“I think a spiritual journey is not so much a journey of discovery. It’s a journey of recovery. It’s a journey of uncovering your own inner nature. It’s already there.”
Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins
Each week I have the wonderful privilege of facilitating our spirituality groups with our clients. We have created learning and hands-on experiences with each culture, belief and spirituality practice we’ve studied. We devote an entire month to a specific faith/spirituality practice and we post flyers throughout the campus announcing that month’s spirituality group and topic. For example, last July, we focused on Judaism and we went through a PowerPoint presentation that laid out its foundation. The next week we learned about the Israeli flag and painted that flag as we listened to Israeli music. For our next group meeting we watched a documentary on Judaism, which our clients absolutely loved! The final group was centered on what Challah bread means to the Israeli people and learned about Shabbat and ate Challah bread together.
During August, we studied Islam. One of our clients is from Afghanistan and since Afghanistan is an Islamic country, we chose to focus on his home country. Our first week started out with a PowerPoint presentation that helped clients and our staff learn the fundamentals of Islam. The following week we learned about the significance of the Afghan flag as we all painted it. We also painted mosques as we learned about the roles they play in Islam. The next week, I read to the clients from the Quran as they completed Islamic word searches. They really enjoyed hearing the words of the Quran, which for many of them, was the first time. For our last group session that month, we gathered in the recreation room and watched an excellent documentary on the Islamic faith and spiritual practices.
When choosing the topics for each month we invite the clients to select what they would like to focus on. For the month of September, they requested that we learn more about Christianity; for October, the clients asked to discover the treasures of Buddhism; and in November, they asked to learn about the traditions of Catholicism.
At the end of each group, I like to ask clients what their golden nuggets are of what they have learned and what they will take with them. Each week I am amazed at the insightful answers that they share with the group and it is wonderful to see they truly are enjoying this experience. I am so blessed to have the support and encouragement from our leadership team to fully engage our staff and clients in our spirituality groups.
As Billy Corgan, the musician with Smashing Pumpkins, said, “I think a spiritual journey is not so much a journey of discovery. It’s a journey of recovery. It’s a journey of uncovering your own inner nature. It’s already there.”
Wanda Anderson, Service Coordinator Crestwood Chula Vista