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.
We live in tenuous times, no doubt about it. But then life on earth has always been challenging, even frightening. This being human is not for the faint-hearted.
One of "the kindest things" I can do for myself when I am anxious or afraid, especially when it comes to matters of the world—this week, for example, more terrorist bombings—is to drop into my breath and bring my awareness to my calm center. Being calm in the face of fear is definitely the kindest thing for me, for all of us.
Our calm demeanor is not insignificant. It matters. Lao Tzu, the great Chinese sage knew this. That's why he wrote:
If there is to be peace in the world,
It is my responsibility to make the peace we wish to see in the world a reality. It is your responsibility, too.
If my thoughts are fearful, wary, or angry, all I am doing by harboring them is perpetuating volatility. Turbulent thoughts and feelings can cause ripples of tempestousness. Ripples become waves, waves become tsunamis, and tsunamis, whether they be watery or emotional, can cause horrific damage. Thoughts and feelings convey energy and because we "inter-are", everything and everyone around me can be impacted by how I am being inside myself.
As Lao Tzu taught, this peace (or lack of it) will pervade my home, neighbors, city, nation, and world. Peace begins with me. And you.
Come back to center. Breathe. Follow your breath down, down, down into a more kind and welcoming space within you when you are worried or afraid. Rest there.
May we all rest there.
My motivation in writing Portable Peace: A Weekly Guidebook was to provide you with my favorite (and most effective practices) for staying calm no matter what is happening in your life or in the world. There are 52 of them, one for each week of the year. Inner peace is easy when you implement one new method each week. Day by day, the calmer and better you'll feel. Guaranteed! Learn more.
Self-compassion is not just about being nice to yourself. It's so much more than that.
Often we confuse self-compassion with pampering or indulging ourselves—like getting a massage or eating that extra cookie because we "deserve it," or taking a bubble bath.
While those activities are nice and they feel good (they relax the body-mind, decreasing cortisol while amping up oxytocin), they are only the bandaid for the hurt that lies beneath.
When I began my inner journey, I didn't know what self-compassion was. I thought it was "self-nurturing" or "self-care." I did a lot of that in my early years because my body-mind required it for stability. I'd done some real damage to myself because of harboring too much stress. I required gentle activities to heal. I received my first massage, got a facial, went on retreat, took naps and gave myself treats. What I didn't give myself was a break.
Meaning, beneath all of the stress and overwhelm (to which I applied band-aids) were stories I kept telling myself about who I was and how I was supposed to be. Lots of stories! Pampering and self-indulgence worked to relax me but they didn't release the stories that kept me stuck in what I thought I needed to do to be a worthy human being; to be loved; to be successful.
Self-compassion came onto my radar screen years later when I realized that many of my life choices had been based on what people told me when I was a child, role modeling, and old patterns I'd developed to stay "safe." Not until I was ready to take a good, long loving look at these was I able to begin to free myself of things like perfectionism, over-achieving, self-doubt, self-criticism, co-dependency and diminishing my own needs in difficult times, just to name a few. Many of us hold these stories deep within us. In fact, I believe most of us do!
Indulging myself, which provided temporary comfort and healing, did not get to the heart of the matter.
Good self-care could be thought of as "Self-Compassion 101." It addresses the basics and meets our immediate needs. And it's an excellent place to start! On a deeper level, though, there is a story to be uncovered: the story of why we don't care well for ourselves, or don't give ourselves permission to do so in the first place.
Self-compassion requires profound self-awareness and willingness to grow. It also demands absolute honesty and transparency. The path of self-compassion is a bold path. It requires courage and perseverance. It invites us to explore what keeps us in suffering (and sometimes self-neglect), deep into the truth of who we are in our essence. Self-compassion allows us to live more authentically with ourselves in good, loving, kind ways.
So while I do enjoy the occasional indulgence (especially taking long baths and eating chocolate chip cookies), what I really love is feeling at peace within myself, confident that I know how to, thoroughly and honestly, tend well to my whole self (body, mind, heart and soul).
Self-compassion helps me know that I am doing the best I can in any given moment to meet life head-on with courage and grace.
Dive into self-compassion—lovingly and gently!
Put yourself on the path of self-compassion with this directed retreat--a gentle "day in," learning to care for your whole self in nurturing ways. And to unravel a story or two!
"The Kindest Thing" self-paced, at-home retreat is a soulful exploration and experience of "Self-Compassion 101."
Through videos, audios, and self-nourishing activities, Jan will personally guide you through your retreat so you feel the transformational power of your own loving-kindness.
Learn more and download your retreat today!
is a touchpoint. a resting place, a "remembering" of who we really are and how we are meant to live.
Continue the conversation with me and others on my Facebook page.
Janice Lynne Lundy, DMin
is an educator, interspiritual director/guide and retreat leader who has been pointing people back toward the Sacred for more than twenty years. She is the author of several spiritual growth books, including Your Truest Self, My Deepest Me and Portable Peace., and is the co-founder and director of the Spiritual Guidance Training Institute.