In Part I of this post, you were invited to choose a Virtue of the Spirit that you'd like to cultivate within you forg 2014. Did you pick one? Is it one that your heart chose for you?
If by some chance you had a difficult time selecting one, you might consider one of these to see if your soul has something to say about it. Courage, Serenity, Openheartedness, Generosity, Oneness, Creativity, Humility, Forgiveness, Connection, Service, Equanimity, Receive, Gratitude, Strength, Wisdom, Trust, Energy. Do any of these ring true? Do you "need" a specific one more than another?
Once you have chosen your Virtue, develop an action plan. What will you actually commit to to make this Virtue take flight within you? Here are some suggestions of things you can do on a daily basis--for practice does not make perfect, practice makes progress. And by pointing ourself toward the Virtue throughout our day, every day, in a variety of ways, we will reinforce its importance. We will not waver from the path of our spiritual growth. The mind (and ego) will do its best to take us off course. And as the old adage says, "If you don't know where you're going, you'll end up somewhere else."
Here are some potent ways to keep yourself pointed in the direction of your chosen Virtue:
1. "Study" the Virtue. Read about it. Read about people ("spiritual heroes") who embodied it, past or present.
2. Surround yourself with reminders of the Virtue. Inspire yourself daily. Post things around your home and office—photos, clippings, momentos, pictures, magnets, quotes—anything that reminds you to practice and stay faithful to the Virtue.
3. Do a daily meditation or affirmation process for growing the Virtue. Write your own or find one someone else has used.
4. Create a book around your virtue. In my case, it will be a "Spacious Love Book," rather like an illustrated journal. Purchase a blank book and throughout the year, fill it with your personal thoughts about the Virtue and your experiences growing it. Cut out and paste in quotes, pictures from magazines, photos, etc. If you are artistic, doodle or draw in it. This book will become a keepsake for your year.
5. Give yourself experiences that grow the Virtue. Watch movies about it. Attend activities or workshops on it.
6. Dedicate your day to the Virtue. Begin your morning by stating your intention to embody the Virtue. Envision yourself doing this. Hold yourself prayerfully throughout the day to make this your reality.
7. At night, reflect on how well you journeyed with the Virtue that day. How were you open and receptive to it?
8. Share your spiritual journey with a friend. Get support from a kindred spirit so you have someone to celebrate your victories with and to give you that much needed nudge when you get stuck. Spiritual Direction/Mentoring is a powerful method for this. (And I would be most happy to serve you in this way).
The wise ones who have walked before us—by their very example—invite us not to live solely on the surface of our lives, but to dive deep into our experience as a divinely sourced human. We are only here for a short visit. Best to make the most of our time and use it wisely. What a powerful invitation to be a Wisdom Bearer, one who portrays and lives out the Virtues of the Spirit to make the world a better place for all beings.
Blessings upon you in 2014. May your chosen Virtue of the Spirit serve as a beacon of light and hope to you!
is a touchpoint. a resting place, a "remembering" of who we really are and how we can best live—kindly and compassionately with ourselves and others.
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 co-director of the Spiritual Guidance Training Institute.