We are moving through what, for most of us, is the busiest time of the year. Three major holidays that require much focus and preparation have passed. The new year looms large.
Our thoughts in December and January often turn to "What's next for me?" "What will 2017 be like?" Perhaps you enjoy making a bold new plan for yourself for the coming year; launching life-stretching goals. That's wonderful.
I prefer a gentle turning, simply remembering that each day I can make a new start. We all can. Each day—in every moment—we can begin again. This heartset can serve us well, keeping us attuned to what is good, right, and true for us right now. In this way, our future unfolds naturally by honoring the Now.
Let us enter 2017 gracefully, gently, kindly with compassion for ourselves and all beings. May it be so for you today.
Happy New Year!
Every day offers a new beginning.
Resentments put aside.
With the dawn, comes the opportunity to begin again.
Just as the sun rises each day,
creating a unique and breathtaking panorama,
so can you paint a fresh and brilliant day for yourself.
©2016, Janice L. Lundy
“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)
I enjoy the holidays and the fond memories they bring to mind. I am one of those women who likes to be organized for the holidays, well prepared before they arrive. In years past, I’d have a goal for myself to have the gift shopping done by Thanksgiving. This way I could enjoy the month of December; play with my kids, bake, gather with friends, and savor the sights, sounds and smells of the season— without succumbing to the hustle and bustle of it all.
And yet, there is a whisper inside of me that cautions me not to place so much attention on finding the perfect holiday gift for everyone. Most recently, I find myself thinking, instead, about intangible, “boxless” presents we could exchange with one another. Considering, what things mean the most to us? What would we like to receive from someone else? I know what I’d like to receive from the loved ones in my life. I’d like to be given the gift of their time. In my view, there is no better gift than being able to spend time with the people I love.
Moving through life at the pace we are, it's our free time that becomes a precious commodity. Might it be possible this year to ditch the "To-Do" List and create a “To Be” list for ourselves—a roster of all the ways we can be with the important people in our lives—giving the holiday gift of our presence instead?
What might be on your “To Be” list? Perhaps a leisurely walk with someone who needs a listening ear; reading a book with a grandchild; reliving old memories perusing photo albums with an aging parent or grandparent; a phone call to a childhood friend (or someone with whom you’ve lost touch). These are the things that mean the most: the gifts of listening, caring, and presence. They are things that cannot be wrapped in pretty paper and placed under the Christmas tree. They are entities of enduring value. They are also memories in the making, gifts that will last and last.
Time moves quickly. Life is short. When all is said and done and we look back upon our lives, what we’ll remember most are the people with whom we spent our days and nights. We will recall the warm hugs of friends, children, and grandchildren; hearty conversations at the dinner table; the late nights we shared comforting one another through the ups and downs of life.
It’s interesting isn’t it, the similarity in these two words: “presents” and “presence”? Which would you prefer to receive? If gift giving is at the top of your priority list, my hope for you this holiday season is that you will dig deeper than your pocketbook and creatively design some quality time--the gift of presence—for the important people in your life. And that you will receive some in return, as well.
©2016, Janice L. Lundy
Savor the Days with Me
The "Season of Light" is upon us. Are you feeling busy and overwhelmed? Stop, breath, take 5 minutes with me each day to enjoy a period of ritual and prayerfulness "bearing the Light."
12 days with 12 short, candle-lighting rituals with meaningful prayers for keeping "what matters most" front and center. Begin today and rededicate yourself to cultivating presence in this holiest of seasons.
is a touchpoint. a resting place, a "remembering" of who we really are and how we are meant to live.
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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.