Week of April 6
One of the "skills" I've learned and hold dear comes from my training as a spiritual director. It is the skill of "discernment".
In our current culture, we do not value discernment, nor do we truly teach it as a lifeskill. Discernment, easily defined is: "the ability to judge well." This "judgment" is more like a determination which calls upon (in my view, anyway) our heart-mind. The heart-mind also values body wisdom, for our precious body has intelligence and stores important information for us, as well as providing sound cues to which we can and should pay attention.
As I shared in my last post, I am continuing to discern what is good and right for me to focus my attention and energies upon when it comes to my inner growth and my life's work. Recent developments have helped me to see everything from a wider angle and I love what I'm seeing.
It's all about self-compassion. And it's ALWAYS been about self-compassion, from the moment I took my first breath on the planet.
When I experienced my spiritual awakening in 1994 with the loss of my health, I began to understand that I was wired differently from others—highly sensitive. From childhood, I seemed to experience people and nature, conversations and sounds, different from my family of origin and my classmates. Not tending to my own "special needs" in this way lead to many years of what can only be called self-neglect; not honoring the uncommon way I experienced the world, as well as how I might care for myself in a gentle way so that I could enjoy life to the max—instead of feeling bowled over by the "too muchness" of it.
In 1994 (as a result of this health crash), I turned my attention inward and focused on good self-care through self-nurturing. My self-created, self-healing program worked and, in time, I came to write about it and teach it to others who struggled in similar fashion.
Now, twenty-one years later, I have my deepest understanding of self-care (or self-nurturing) yet. In fact, I would scarcely call how I relate to my whole self as self-nurturance anymore, but self-compassion.
I have been practicing and teaching about self-compassion for many years (beginning with my first book, Coming Home to Ourselves), and I am amazed that year after year of faithfulness to it as a mindset and as a practice has brought fathomless healing. I now begin a new leg of this journey by authoring my first book focused exclusively on self-compassion titled, Living Gently with Myself. It is the second volume in the "30-Day Guided Journey" series. (Available in October, 2015)
In support of this journey—and to keep myself on track—I'm choosing to write throughout the summer at this blog and elsewhere about self-compassion. I look forward to this journey with you and hope that you will glean much food for thought and nourishment for your spirit here; that what is shared will help you engage in "extraordinary loving mindful self-care" rooted in self-compassion on a deeper level than you have in the past.
So with today's post I leave you with this first important thought. It's actually an affirmation I created for Day 14 of "My Deepest Me". We can use it to remember the important "why" and "how" of self-compassion.
"Self-compassion opens my heart to myself in a kind and loving way. It routs out feelings of selfishness, deservedness, and guilt. When I am tender with myself, I can be more gentle with others. "
May it be so for you. May it be so for all beings everywhere.
Onward and inward we go!
© 2015, Janice Lynne Lundy. All rights reserved.
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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.