This is often my morning prayer, "I just want to live in Love."
Each day, I have the best of intentions to do so. And then life—with all its drama and chaos—takes a different turn. I move from flow to flurry in minutes. Love is not left behind, its glow has simply paled in comparison to what tugs and pulls at me from the distractions of daily l life.
I need reminders. Mantras. Readings. Practices. Breathing love in, love out, to keep this biggest, most grandest kind of Love front and center. I am not there yet. I am not an enlightened one or yogi or saint. I am a simple human being who wants to love large but sometimes struggles along the way. My hope is to live through my spiritual heart more and more each day, honoring my wise teachers who oh, so patiently keep pointing me in that direction.
Here's one such reminder, just for today:
It is easy to love those who love us--
My newest book release, Being Love, is now available in 3 formats (paperback, e-book and audiobook) to help you live into Love—Divine Love with all beings, including yourself—to fulfill your sacred purpose and to bring richness and joy into your days.
Read and listen to excerpts here.
Today, an excerpt from my new book,
Love Lesson 23
Forever After Kind of Love
"They’re You’ll Be”, Faith Hill
For me, one of the most poignant love songs of all times is this one, "There You'll Be," sung by Faith Hill. It speaks of everything we ever hope Real Love will be. It also speaks about loss of the person with whom we experienced a very special kind of Love.
The song, of course, focuses on romantic love—and the loss of one's partner or lover. I'd like to invite you to listen to the song a few times to expand its perspective. Listen to it once, focusing on the words as applied to the loss of an intimate partner. The second time, focusing on how the words could apply to anyone with whom you have experienced (or are currently experiencing) deep and abiding love or friendship.
I found this experiment quite interesting. The first time I listened to the song with these intentions I felt a real sense of loss. (I was actually thinking about my husband and what it might be like if he was no longer alive.) My heart constricted with that loss. The second time I listened, I thought about my dear father who passed away ten years ago. I felt loss but also deep gratitude and even hopefulness because as the lyrics profess, "I was blessed to get to have you in my life." My heart felt more open and expansive.
These words helped:
"And I always
Will remember all
The strength you
Gave to me
Your love made me
Make it through
Oh, I owe so much to you
You were right there for me."
When we take these words to heart we can see how there could be many people to whom they might apply—siblings, friends, go-workers. There are several people who've loved us and strengthened us, who were present for us. Held in this way, "There You'll Be," can be a beautiful expression of gratitude and remembering, not just loss.
Remembering ... this is one of the other aspects of Love that rises to be affirmed in this song. When we have been in relationship with someone and we have loved one another well, when that person is gone, they are still with us because what we experienced with them has become a part of us. Their presence lives on in us and, in that, we can find some comfort, despite our loss.
May we ever remember that in any given moment we are making memories—remembrances—with dear ones that will sustain us as relationships change, life shifts and ends. Each encounter with another is a "holy encounter." With each glance, touch, and loving word we sow a seed of future remembrance that we were, indeed, precious to one another, and for that we can be eternally grateful.
It is a blessing to be with one another, no matter how long that might be.
©2017, Janice L. Lundy.
Drop into your spiritual heart and be love now ...
30 days of love through the power of music.
Learn more and read excerpts here.
Being Love is now available for pre-order in e-book and print formats.
There is a special price with bonus gifts for your early purchase.
It was J.R. Tolkien wrote "All who wander are not lost." It's a line from the poem "All That Is Gold Does Not Glitter" written for The Lord of the Rings.
It's a fitting statement because, according to the 2015 Pew Report survey on religion, 23% of all Americans claim to be "unaffiliated." 35% of Americans under 30 are unaffiliated. It seems many of us are doing a lot of wandering these days!
Additionally, the Pew survey projects that this number is on the rise, so much so that their previous projections for 2015 came in low. According to author Elizabeth Drescher, author of Choosing Our Religion: The Spiritual Lives of America's Nones, "Clearly, Nones are the overachievers of the US religious landscape."
I can relate.
In a recent blog post for Spiritual Directors International, I pondered my "wide and deep journey" and my passion for the search. I also made a plea for us to be cautious about how we label those who are not attached to religious institutions or communities, especially those who are seeking "outside the box" for a spirituality that rings true for them.
Wanderers? Yes. Lost? Not usually. Having a thrilled time searching for what matters most and how to live an authentic spiritual life may be more like it.
Here is my post. I hope you find it supportive of your own wanderings.
Someone said to me the other day, "I just don't know how much news to watch anymore." She was speaking about the negative and paralyzing effect the media was having on her. Everything she seemed to read and hear was focused on the current sorrow and suffering found in the world. Indeed, there is a great deal of that. This has been so from the beginning of time. As difficult as it is to admit, this is the nature of our deep humanity.
My friend expressed that she felt as if she were drowning in the difficulties, bombarded and energetically sabotaged by all of it—from newspaper, radio and television. Truly, our abundant media has brought the pain of the world into our living rooms, cars and hearts in an unprecedented way. We simply cannot avoid this. Even if we choose not to watch television news or talk radio, we can still be in a place to receive it messages, because, at least in the U.S., TVs are on, broadcasting news anywhere you go: doctor's office waiting rooms, restaurants, coffee shops and bars, train stations, airports, and more.
Who does not feel the effect of this? Even as I stood in line at my credit union the other day, I had to avert my eyes from two large television screens, one behind each teller's head, that was featuring world news. I was deeply saddened that my privacy and choice "not to watch" in that moment was compromised. Like anyone else, I wish to be educated on world events. I do not, however, want to be bombarded by news wherever I go.
Which brings me to the subject of compassion. When I struggle with the "too muchness" of the world, I am called to self-compassion because I am having a difficult time. My heart also goes out to others, to those who are suffering similarly, or caught in much worse circumstances, and I bring us into a circle of compassionate care within my mind's eye and heart. Any of us can do the same.
In any moment of suffering—yours, mine and ours—we can drop into our heart of compassion and hold every person there in tender embrace. It's a genuinely simple practice.. In fact, this practice brings great relief, even hopefulness, that we are at least doing something about an event or situation toward which we might feel powerless. It simply takes remembering to do so.
Here is something else that can help. It's a compassion practice taken from my book My Deepest Me. It's titled "True Compassion." I hope it lifts your heart. Read it here.
May Love live in you today.
I am a sixties and seventies sort of gal, and one of the songs that always touched my heart was sung by Dionne Warwick, “I Say a Little Prayer for You.” It's a sweet song about holding someone in your heart as you go through the day. I believe in prayer in all its forms. And there certainly are many them!
A few years ago, I spoke about prayer with my friend and mentor, Sylvia Boorstein. I asked her if there was one best way to pray. She reminded me that every time we turn ourselves toward the Sacred we are engaged in prayer. This is also what she said to me: "Whatever particular meditation practice we do, we are ardently hoping, indeed praying, for a peaceful and compassionate heart, for our own well-being and for the well -being of others. The very act of stopping to reorient ourselves—which is central to all meditation and prayer practices—and to focus our intention for the good, is a prayer."
I know this to be true. Yet, sometimes I feel the need for petitionary prayer, a real asking for guidance or assistance, or for help shifting my energy when I am out-of-sorts. Do you do this? What's so puzzling to me is that if we believe wholeheartedly in prayer and know that it works, how is it we forget to do it? I call this forgetting phenomenon “spiritual amnesia.”
Often, when I converse with someone in a spiritual guidance situation, and we're discussing a pressing issue in his or her life, I'll ask if they've taken it to prayer. Nine times out of ten, they'll pause and say, "I guess I forgot all about that." I understand, because I do, too.
Sometimes prayer is the only thing that we can do. It is our singular course of action when we are in a difficult situation, or when we've received bad news. Sometimes the best thing I can do at times like these is to surrender to life as it is and say, "Help me."
Who am I asking for help? I'm not always sure. More often than not it's God as I understand It. Or a wise, enlightened being—someone who is "God" personified. (Mary, Jesus, the Buddha—even the spirit of a deceased loved one.) I pray to align myself with divine wisdom, with the Universal Heart. These personifications are, for me, representations of living in perfect alignment, with Love, with all that is right and true. Though at other times when I pray, I am aware of trying to connect with my sacred self (my wiser self) to re-ignite my inner spark of knowing, especially when it's grown dim.
Today, I'm singing and praying right along with Dionne Warwick, offering a little prayer for you, for me, for all of us.
©2016, Janice L. Lundy
Excerpted from my newest book:
"Thank You" Is My Prayer: Reflections, Prayers and Blessings For a Grateful Heart
A one-of-a-kind collection of original blessings, poems, affirmations and reflective essays to help you hold onto your grateful heart—even when times are difficult.
Learn more and read excerpts here.
Vigilance, faithfulness, to one’s practice is important on the spiritual path. As Joan Gattuso reminds us, “Without spiritual discipline we are never going to wake up or advance on our journey through this life.” It’s true, if we are not alert, our spiritual practice can become shoddy and prone to excuses. Spiritual laziness is a real danger. It is good to be watchful for these tendencies.
On the other hand, we can also place too much pressure on ourself to get our practice exactly right. Unconsciously we may strive to become the perfect pray-er, meditator, devotee, or disciple. Our practice can actually become a source of pressure and angst because we have burdened it and ourself with unhealthy “shoulds” and expectations. We live in a culture that focuses on human perfection, and sometimes, mistakenly, we link the quality and frequency of our practice to some sort of divine reward system.
Wisdom resides in walking a middle path. We keep our eyes on the goal of practice (self-realization, God-realization), yet at the same time, we treat ourself kindly and gently. Spiritual progress is not about achievement but about accessing more gentle places within us. Quiet places where we can hear our own compassionate voice saying, “Rest”; where we hear a divine voice whisper, “Welcome home.” “Progress not perfection,” is a wise mantra to keep.
You can learn more about and read excerpts from this transformative spiritual formation book here. Available in our online store.
If you were raised in the Christian tradition, you are familiar with Lent. And depending on your family of origin, perhaps you honored Lent in a particular way.
The German mystic, Meister Eckhart, wrote,
“If the only prayer you ever offer is
‘Thank you,’ that will suffice.”
So often our prayers are supplications.
We ask Spirit for things, people, opportunities.
Our needs naturally bring us to the act of prayer.
Yet, prayers of gratitude, of thankfulness, are important acts
that deepen the connection between ourselves and Spirit.
To offer a heartfelt, “Thank you, God!”
delivers us to the realm of unseen abundance.
We view life as blessed and fruitful instead of scarce;
we begin to live from a place of fullness in our lives.
We are and have enough.
From "Thank You" Is My Prayer: Reflections, Prayers and Blessings for a Grateful Heart
This was the topic of a recent morning message (sermon) I delivered at the Unity Center for Spiritual Growth in Ada, MI. They were kind enough to record the service, including my talk, and I am happy to share it with you here.
The title, "Who Do You Think You Are?" speaks to the nature of our true identity and if we are in touch with that or not. As "divine-humans" we have an obligation, I believe, to uncover all the virtues of the spirit that reside within us—often hidden—and bring them to the light of day. We do this for self-knowledge, which leads to God realization, which contributes to the beauty and well-being of the world.
I invite you to listen in.
You will hear the Guided Meditation, "My True Identity Is Spirit" at the 26.14 mark.
And the sermon at the 31.36 mark
Enjoy and be blessed!
It’s been said thousands of times before, hundreds of books written on it— a cluttered desk, office, or house creates inner turmoil. It’s true. I know it is for me. I cannot write (even a column like this) if there is disarray around me. It is as if my mind picks up the exterior mess and dumps it back inside creating an inner landfill.
Before you begin your workday, clear and organize your desk as best you can. Even if what’s there is in piles, that’s better than loose-leaf papers strewn all over. Organize the desktop on your computer. A monitor screen cluttered with documents can set the mind awhirl. By taking a few moments each day to stay organized, you set the stage for clearer thinking. The calmer you are the clearer your mind will be. That’s a fact.
As "working people" with multiple roles and responsibilities, it is up to us to be as calm as possible—and to access it as often as we can throughout the day. Our homes and businesses need us to be “grounded” and clear thinking. Their success depends on our ability to be present, not scattered; effective, not exhausted.
Know what simple activities plant you back in your calm center—then do them! Step away if you need to. Take a music break. Go outside and breathe in Mother Nature. Walk on your lunch hour. Your inner peace quotient is up to you. It will rise and fall with every choice you make.
I once asked Jungian analyst and author, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, in an interview what wisdom was. Her answer? “Wisdom is what works.” I was taken aback by the simplicity of her response, but I knew what she said was true. Wisdom—especially women’s wisdom—is sourced in the practical. It is what we know works, especially what we can and should do to keep things running smoothly—and to take care of ourselves in the process.
Today, begin to take the first steps toward bringing a greater sense of calm into your workday. When you do, I guarantee you will feel your clarity return. And out of that clear-mindedness, your wisdom will rise and make itself known to you. Life will begin to look and feel different, even behind a desk or in the boardroom.
Calm, clear, wise—that’s the magic formula for a successful business and a stellar life.
Need assistance staying calm wherever you are? This can help.
52 unique and original practices to help you access that
pool of peace within you.
Learn more here.
Part 1 of a 2 part series on being at peace
is a touchpoint. a resting place, a "remembering" of who we really are: beings of unshakeable peace, boundless compassion, and deep joy.