The SpirFit Blog

Dear friends,

As we find ourselves in the midst of these strange, unprecedented times, I’d like to discuss the importance of Whole Body Wellness. Perhaps, it’s more important now than ever to take care of ourselves. We needn’t complicate this. Actually the simpler the plan is, the more effective and fruit-bearing it may be. But it’s important we do it! Put the oxygen mask on your self now, so you can be of good use to yourself and others.

Before I proceed, as a quick reminder, Whole Body Wellness entails the Mind, Body and Soul. These areas are individual and yet codependent. That is why we take a different approach to caring for each three sectors, knowing that each success is directly related to the whole.

Let’s begin now by examining the Mind. We are a product of our thoughts.

And thus, during these times, we need a good defense. Perhaps you, like me, have encountered an abundance of negativity, fear, division and criticism which leaves one feeling “down in the dumps”. The plan to rectify this can be quite simple really. We can protect our eyes and ears by limiting how much news we consume, limiting communication with the “Debbie Downer’s and Negative Nancy’s” in our lives, blocking negative influencers on social media, and so on. There are so many beautiful things happening right now to pick our spirits up. Like companies, organizations and community resources pulling together to help the homeless; citizens sewing masks for medical workers; neighbors like Traci and Matt Nestheide giving people a reason to laugh with their homeschooling antics; and teacher friends, like Kelly Olliges and Kim Weyer, who are encouraging their students to keep moving and virtually learning by sharing fun ideas and videos. Good is being radiated all over the world right now. We simply need to dial in and receive it (and call-block that negativity)!

Moving on to our Body. The message is to move! Our bodies house all the hormones and chemicals that affect our minds as well as our internal bodily systems (the human body has 11 organ systems in all). Each system depends directly, or indirectly, on the other. And thus, poor performance in one area of the body can cause dysfunction in the others. “Based on the type, timing and severity of the applied stimulus, stress can exert various actions on the body ranging from altercations in homeostasis or life-threatening effects.” (You can read more about that here.) But MOVING, whether it’s calming breathing exercises (that slow the heart rate, lowers blood pressure and improves oxygen intake) or some form of physical exercise, will help our internal systems run at their optimal levels. So, for the sake of your sanity and health, get movin’.

The last piece of the Whole Body Wellness Pie features our soul. Why is our Spiritual Health so

important? Let’s contemplate this: “Our souls will remain restless until they rest in the Lord”. Friends, we look to our Government for answers. We look to Science for answers. We look to our History Books for answers. But which can we fully trust? Our foundation of trust must first be rooted in the Lord. That is why we pray during these dire times: that God will reveal strong leaders, new vaccinations, and solutions to the multitude of problems that lie before us. There is only one thing in life that is constant and true. So let’s turn up our Spiritual dials to make contact with this higher power that transcends space and time, and to entrust our lives to Him so that he may hold us in the palm of His hands.

Whole Body Wellness: it might not remove the obstacles in our path but it will make the tough times more tolerable. So take care of yourself and keep the plan simple: Protect (the eyes and ears), Move (the body) and Pray. I’ll be praying for you, and whatever role you find yourself in now, may you do it well. Wishing you the best.

Peace, health and happiness.

Has anyone ever told you it’s ok to feel lost? We’ve all been there. I can remember in my mid-20’s feeling very lost. I wasn’t miserable exactly, but I wasn’t passionate and in love with life either. Some personal issues were weighing on me and I had reached the end of the road with one job.

When we’re lost it’s normal to feel confused or lonely. Sometimes uncomfortable feelings can worry or even scare us. A doctor of psychology once told me, “Feelings are just that - feelings. They don’t necessarily represent the truth. They come and go.”

With that in mind, what if we looked at our “lost-ness” in a different way. Not as a dead end or a life sentence, but a stepping stone. What if we saw “being lost” as there might be something better out there waiting for us?

When uncomfortable feelings surface, it’s good to ask meaningful questions to reconnect with ourselves, revisit our own strengths and talents, and remember our purpose.

Calming exercises for the body and mind can also help us get in a healthy head space. Deep diaphragm breathing, gentle stretching, taking a walk outside, or simply sitting in the quietness of a chapel can do wonders for our spirits. Oddly enough, sometimes the answers that elude us are waiting right there in the quiet, especially when our hearts are open to receiving God.

From my personal experience, it’s important to remember that it’s ok to feel lost. Feeling lost can be a signal that your soul is in search of something. Rather than run away or ignore your feelings, take time to explore them. This might be an opportunity for growth! And if you can’t find what you’re searching for on your own, seek advice from a professional. Because if getting over the hump is your main goal then it doesn’t matter how you get there, as long as you get there.

Peace, health & happiness.


Updated: Feb 6

Making a lasting impression is awfully hard to do, especially in this day and age of mass information and perpetual change. But it can happen if the experience,

the message, the person affects our brain in a truly transformational way. I can only count a handful of

people who have made lasting impressions on me.

Near the top of that list is a 91 year-old priest named Father Al Ruschman. Known for his even-keel disposition, patience and peacefulness, Fr. Al is widely beloved in his community. He’s relatable to people of all ages and circumstances, surpassing any limits set by Father Time.

I sat down with him recently to talk about

spirituality and how to find it in today’s world.

Today's Spotlight: Rev. Albert Ruschman

Retired Priest

Diocese of Covington

Me: Fr. Al where does your faith, your spirituality, come from?

Fr. Al: It started when I was young. I was raised on a farm. My siblings and I helped work the land and tend to the animals. My parents ran a Catholic household. I remember going to mass starting at age 5. Our lives were centered in the Liturgy.

Me: It sounds like a good life.

Fr. Al: It was and yet it wasn’t without hardship. I remember talking with my older brother Clifford in the fields when he was about 13. I was 6 years old at the time. The next day he went to St. Elizabeth hospital for an operation. He had an appendicitus but by the time he arrived his body was already poisoned. We had the funeral visitation at home. That was a hard time for our family, especially my parents.

Me: Did that event affect your faith?

Fr. Al: Clifford’s death was a lesson. It taught my family that out of this hardship was an opportunity to help others in similar situations. It taught us empathy, and how to have a good impact on others who suffer similar losses. As Christians, we’re called to react as best we can to trials and tribulations. And to constantly be open to God’s help.

Me: God has a way of helping and healing through human connections.

Fr. Al: I’ve had a Spiritual Director since I was in the Seminary. That person has changed through out the years but I’ve always had one for spiritual guidance. It’s important to have someone you can talk to or meet with regularly. It doesn’t have to be formal, and the person doesn’t have to bear the title of a Spiritual Director. Everybody just needs somebody.

Me: What are some important characteristics to look for in a Spiritual Companion?

Fr. Al: Does the person listen? Is faith a priority in their life? Do they constantly work on keeping a relationship with the Lord? How well do you know this person? Often times, it’s someone you have come to know over the years.

Having someone to discuss life with helps keep us focused, uplifted, and in touch with the Lord. Though the truth can sometimes be hard to receive. Our hearts must be open to it. Open to advice that’s not always easy to hear.

Me: That’s hard. And it can be equally difficult to give an honest opinion. But that doesn’t seem hard for you. Your disposition is both truthful and kind. How did you come to be like this?

Fr. Al: Knowing that God is with us, and that tomorrow will be better gives me a sense of calm. I’m talking to God all the time. Every day I take a walk. Knowing he’s in the trees, in the people I meet, it gives me peace. I feel connected to this earth. Taking these daily walks gives me quiet time and I always come back enriched.

Me: Many people say they’re too busy for “quiet time” or they’re uncomfortable in the quiet. What would you say to them?

Fr. Al: We have to find a way for quiet time. But that might mean something different to each family or person depending on their stage of life. For a busy parent, for example, quiet time might mean taking a child to see a flower and lingering over it to appreciate its beauty. To determine what quiet time means to an individual, you can ask the Lord for guidance.

Me: Although you’re retired, you’re still very active. You had 8:15am mass this morning. You take daily walks. You visit the school. And up until a couple years ago, you maintained a vegetable garden. If I can ask you one last question, how do you stay so young?

Fr. Al: Of course eating right and staying active is important. But equally important, is my prayer life. To not pray is to give up on our spirituality. If we continue to pray we’ll get back to the Lord. It’s important to keep in touch with God. My prayer life keeps me going.

Well, you heard it from Fr. Al. Youth isn’t just physical and mental but spiritual too.

Thank you Fr. Al for your time and insight. You're a blessing to this world!

Peace, health & happiness!


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