“When you wish upon a star …” Do you remember these lovely lyrics, sung by the character Jiminy Cricket in the Disney film “Pinocchio”? They assure us that if our “heart is in a dream, no request is too extreme,” all of our dreams will come true.
When we were children, it seemed like anything was possible. Wishes could be granted with the wave of a wand or a sprinkle of fairy dust. As adults, we may hold a more mature, realistic view, understanding (from life experience) that wishing does not always make it so.
And, yet, there is something to be said about intentions, wishes of sorts, and holding a clear vision for one’s life. The ability to intend in this way—with passion and purpose—may lead us to the place where dreams are born, Jiminy Cricket style. The alternative—feeling hopeless or embittered—leads us nowhere.
This holiday season, as you find yourself making choices about gift giving, consider what gifts you might like to intend and consciously create for yourself this year. What treasures of the Spirit would you like to bring to life? Here are three of mine. I invite you to pull up a chair, pour a cup of tea, and write down three of your own. Wishing may not make it so, but wholehearted intention will.
One of the very best gifts I can give myself is to be fully aware of my thoughts and feelings. When I am awake and alert, I can choose how to respond to what is happening around me with grace—instead of reacting to others with sloppy words, impatience, or temper. React or respond, this is the key to inner freedom. We do have the power to choose our words and actions. This is an incredibly powerful gift! If we intend to stop, look, and listen before we do anything, it ensures peace of mind and harmonious relations with others—two more shining stars of the season!
Health and Longevity
I want to be healthy and strong. I’d like to live for a very long time. I love this life! It is a precious thing to be born a human being. But wishing for my body to be healthy is not good enough. Each year many of us intend to eat healthier, organic, and lower on the food chain. We intend to get more exercise to build muscle and stamina. And simply thinking about this by sitting on the couch eating fast food we purchased at a drive-through restaurant does not support that intention. Choice by choice, we give our body a healthful gift or a booby prize. We must make choices every single day to give it what it needs to be strong, fight off disease, and maintain energy.
Did I save the best wish for last? Perhaps. The older I get the more I realize that not much in life matters if I don’t have love. Love of my partner, of family and friends. Love of work and creative expression. Love of the Earth and her bounty. Love of growth and the opportunity to be all that I can be. But in order to receive this love, I must have an open heart. I must be able to fully give love, too. So my third and final wish would be for me to live with a wide-open heart as best I can; to not shut down or close off to others; to not judge or discriminate or neglect. I wish to be kind; to extend myself to others as best I can; to live with unconditional friendliness toward all beings—both animal and human. This is a life worth living, one rooted in love.
“Fate is kind,” sang Jiminy, “She brings to those who love the sweet fulfillment of their secret longing.” These are my secret longings this holiday season— inner freedom, health, and love—and because I do love, I hope they will be granted.
What are yours? Perhaps we can meet under the tree and share our gifts. What bounty we would have!
(Originally published in Women's LifeStyle, Dec. 2010)
One of the kindest things we can do for ourselves is to trust our life journey.
It's also kind--and wise—to trust the pace of our inner growth. Whether it's rapid or slow, it's all perfect and things are unfolding as they should.
The early days of spring never fail to remind me of this truth.
You will come into fruition in your own season.
Patience and kindness begin with you—for you. Living this way makes the journey so much easier ...
Explore how the soul season of spring is calling you home to your best self with our Spring Sadhana. Bloom where you are planted! Begins Sunday, April 3.
When I want to better understand how men think there are two men I go to for counsel—my husband, Brad, and my dear, online friend, Jay Schryer.
Both are "enlightened men", having done a good amount of inner work to earn the title of "wise guy" (in the very best sense of the word, LOL)
A while back I was wondering if "self-compassion" was a term to which most guys could relate. I decided to query Jay on this one. He agreed to let me share his e-mail response to me.
I like it, I really like it! It makes perfect sense to me. What do you all think?
Thank you, Jay, for sharing your insights with us!
Jay Schryer is a science-fiction and fantasy author who blends spiritual, mythological, and psychological concepts with magic and supernatural phenomena. The result is stories that are both unique and universal at the same time. He explores what it means to be human: what drives us, what motivates us, what scares us, and what inspires us.
At least, that's what he hopes people will say about him after he becomes a famous author. For now, he's just happy when he finishes a story, and it doesn't totally suck. To read his fiction, go to http://exterminis.com.
It's not a sign of weakness to need reminding. We all get off the path.
Life presents us with unexpected challenges day in and day out.
Just when we thought things were going well, bump ...
Just when we thought we had everything figured out, bump ...
Just when we looked forward to a period of smooth sailing, bump ...
This is life in all its messiness. As the Buddha taught, pain and gain, joy and sorrow, each comes and goes. And each visits us again when we least it expect it.
This is the bump in the road where self-compassion becomes invaluable. With good self-awareness we acknowledge the bump. We admit we don't like it. We confess we might even feel angry about its appearance: "Really? This again?" "This is just so inconvenient!" "I didn't see this one coming."
It's alright. It's good and wise to recognize our struggle with what life offers. We are human. And because we are, we will experience the "full catastrophe, as Jon Kabat-Zinn teaches. But because we are conscious beings as well, with great wisdom in the storehouse of our hearts, we know we can squarely face what is here, and deal with it one more time.
All the better if we do so with self-compassion. What we are experiencing is difficult.
• Say it: "This is difficult." And mean it. Receive your own acknowledgement of suffering.
• Be aware of and name your feelings: Frustration. Disappointment. Sadness.
• Take a breath. Take 3. And allow yourself to be held by those kind breaths.
Let these three steps bring you momentary relief so you have space, even for a few moments, to lay down your burden and remember that you've done this before and you can do it again.
When life presents bumps—better yet, potholes?—we can hold ourselves tenderly and be generous to ourselves. We can be our own gentle friend who offers a comforting hug to say, "I know, this is hard."
Just sit, receive, remember.
Julia Cameron writes:
"I am patient. I am able to live with ambiguity. I am able to allow situations to evolve and alter. I am able to await outcomes. I tolerate quiet periods of non-knowing while solutions emerge and present themselves. I do not force solutions. I expect the successful working out-of life difficulties and differences. My heart is wise. It knows when to acts and when non-action is the action to take. I trust my patient heart. I trust the power of containment."*
Thank you, Julia, for this reminder. I needed it today. Perhaps, dear reader, you did too.
May we all be compassionate toward ourselves in moments of difficulty. May we be kind.
* From "My Soul Has Patience and Containment" from Heart Steps: Prayers and Declarations for a Creative Life by Julia Cameron (Tarcher/Putnman, 1997)
First Thoughts. I vow ...
It's always wonderful to begin again. To have a fresh palette to paint pictures from your life on or to put words upon if you're a writer.
A new blog launch feels like that to me. I get to begin again and do it any old way I wish. I vow to the gods and all the beings above and beyond that I will abide by these self-imposed guidelines in each post:
1. I will write about what is happening within me and around me right now. This, for me, is an exercise in mindful writing. With intention and breath, I can use this time to focus on "just this" and put words to my experience. This is good and healthy for me to do. It is for any of us.
2. I will use my own photos as writing prompts or to expand the scope of my words. This is yet another way for me to "be here now," and be fully present to my life. Such is the way of an awakened woman.
3. I will not dig up old, pre-published material if I don't feel up to posting. I will write and post when it feels right. This vow alone is a big one for me, a self-honoring one, because so often in my life as a writer, I have written to meet a deadline, under pressure, or just to get the project completed and off my desk. Finis! I will write only when fueled by joy. Or the need to speak ...
4. I will try not to be too wordy. Writers (myself included, here) can be mouthy and, admittedly, we like to hear ourselves talk. I'll try to keep posts shorter and snappier.
5. I will not strive to be perfect in my writing. If you find errors here, oh well. They don't worry me. Don't let them bother you. An exercise for both of us in giving up perfection. (Though if you find a glaring faux pas, please e-mail me and tell me so. I am not a fan of public humiliation.)
6. I will not whine or moan about my life. I don't do that anyway, so why would I do it here? I will use this opportunity to give myself an emotional adjustment if I need one. I will point my face towards what I know is good, right and true in the present moment and go with the flow of where it takes me. This is how I write anyway. I don't often plan what I'm going to write. I write and allow the process to carry me away like a fast-moving river. Why resist or try to steer the stream? An impossible waste of sacred effort.
7. I will not teach. I offer classes elsewhere with that purpose in mind. I will not preach, either, though I might get overly passionate about a certain topic. Each person must find their own way through life. Who am I to say that someone must do something? Except to be kind. Please, everyone, we must be kind to one another. My favorite mantra attests to this: Be gentle. Be kind. It's a long journey.
So these are my early thoughts. I wanted you to know why I was here and what I was going to do in this space. I will reflect, ponder, and allow the world with its 10,000 joys and 10,000 sorrows to teach me. Life is for learning.
I vow to be a good and faithful student. Amen.
Thanks, all, for joining me. I am blessed by your presence here.
Photo: Apple Blossoms at Frederick Meijer Gardens
© 2012. Janice Lynne Lundy
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