Love Lives in You
Love naturally resides within you. It is ever present. You do not have to actively search for it, combing the world for the perfect partner to have it. It may sound trite but it takes diving into your own depths to pull up the love that is there to get the love that you’ve always wanted.
Begin by showering it upon yourself; accepting yourself in all your pain and glory as a sacred being having a very human (and sometimes painful) experience of life. Then, as you begin to fill your own well with love, more love will bubble up, like water from a natural spring. From there, it will organically flow out from you and into the world for others to feel. They will want to be close to it, desire to drink of it themselves.
The cycle of love flows most sincerely from self to others and back to self again.
©2023, Janice L. Lundy
Mindfulness is Presence
I've been a student of mindfulness for nearly 30 years. I am no expert, yet I remain faithful to the process. It helps me to think of mindfulness like this:
To be mindful is to be present to yourself--as you are in this very moment, doing all that you are doing, feeling all that you are feeling. To be present to yourself is a loving act, an act of "presence."
As people on the path to awakening, we deeply value when someone else can be fully present to us, don't we? We revel in their attention, their willingness to be fully here, available on all levels to hear what we have to say, or to bear witness to what we are feeling. We love their presence.
The truth of the matter is, you cannot be fully present to others (and offer them presence) if you cannot be fully present to yourself. Practicing mindfulness allows you to do this—a win-win situation where all parties involved benefit from your being present, including you!
©2023, Jan Lundy
Where Sacredness Can Be Found
Our spiritual lives are not a series of great moments or grand awakenings, as much as we would like them to be. Sacredness is most often found in the daily, the ordinary routine of day-to-day life. It is found in the pause, the kiss, the sky, the garden, the oven, the well-laid table.
Gunilla Norris, author of Being Home, wrote, "In my own life I have found no better way than to value and savor the sacredness of daily living, to rely on repetition, that humdrum rhythm, which heals and steadies."
What simple activities can you take pleasure in today that will bring steadiness? An awareness and appreciation for the sacred?
©2023, Jan Lundy
A 90-Second Blessing for Calm
Today, I'd like to offer you a blessing! A blessing for inner calm, so deep peace of body, mind, heart and spirit may be yours.
Take a few moments to suitably relax yourself then receive the audio blessing. May your day unfold with ease afterwards.
This Precious Present Moment
If you have ever suffered a dramatic loss or death, or dealt with a life-threatening illness, the importance of living in the present makes itself known. You learn very quickly that the past is over and done with; that there is no reason to dwell on the past except to learn and go on. You understand more fully that there are no guarantees of tomorrow; that you, or the people you love, may not even be here one hour from now. So you learn to stay present, to savor and appreciate the moment at hand.
Barbara DeAngelis, Ph.D. says in her book, Real Moments: “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That is why we call it the "present."
The present moment is truly a gift, one we can leave unopened or one that we can joyously unwrap to savor its beauty and meaning. The choice is ours.
Circles of Gratitude
Today, I thought I would share one of my favorite practices for cultivating a grateful heart:
Before your feet touch the floor in the morning, lie in bed for a few minutes more to mentally become aware of the abundance that is present in your life. Beginning with what is here in your physical space, intend to align yourself with the good vibrations of all that you have. When we are feeling grateful, naturally, our body and mind are at ease, our heart is open and we feel good about life.
Begin where you are. Bring your awareness to how your body feels upon the mattress and give thanks for that. Allow your mind to focus on the next closest thing. Give thanks for sheets and blankets. For warmth. For a good night’s sleep. Many people do not have beds or blankets to offer comfort. Sometimes it helps to put things in perspective as we do this practice to remember those who have much less than we do.
Give thanks for the person lying next to you (if there is one), or your child in the next room, for your nearest and dearest ones. Imagine their faces and smiles.
Now make your circle of gratitude a little wider. Expand it outwards. Give thanks for your house or apartment and how it protects you from the elements. For the food in your refrigerator. For the coffee brewing in the pot and its savory smell. For the hot water you'll shower in to begin your day.
Continue to expand your scope and circle of gratitude. Offer thanks for your friends and family. Name them by name. Visualize them in your mind’s eye. Extend appreciation to your neighbors. To your school or church community. To your workplace and co-workers. To your city, state, and country, and all the faithful beings who work to keep the things in your life running smoothly. Envision them being warmed by the rays of your kind regard.
Offer gratitude for the earth itself that overflows with extraordinary natural beauty; that provides resources to make our lives ease-filled and comfortable. For health, for love, for the spirit of connectedness that unites us all. For breath. For the gift of simply being alive.
And on you go, naming all the things in your world for which you are grateful.
Then, notice how you feel. If you’ve done this practice slowly, gently, and with sincerity, I can guarantee you will feel a whole lot lighter. Don’t be surprised if the hue of your entire day shifts to be brighter, more hope-filled.
©2023, Janice L. Lundy
Excerpted from Portable Peace: A Weekly Guidebook
As I walked on the beach not far from my home the other day, this message greeted me. What a delight! I was happy to know that some previous beach walker took the time to scrawl their thoughts in the sand for others to enjoy.
Though my journey of recent years has shown me that we don't need to find or search for peace. Instead, we can simply uncover it. Peace, I believe, is the essence of our being. It is part of us, it always was and always will be. It lives within us. It IS us—our true nature—when we have the awareness that this is so. To access peace as a felt experience, we simply must lift the egoic veil which obscures its shimmer.
Walking the beach is one such way I lift the veil to access my peace. Bringing my senses to attention, feasting on the air, the sky, the blue of the water, the movement of waves—each one of these is veil lifting.
What is yours?
What Does It Mean to "Live Gently"?
As often as the “too muchness” of life might sometimes overtake us, we cannot hide from the world as it is, nor shrink from our duties, nor escape to a mountaintop cabin to live in an imagined world of bliss. There is much to do here: families to raise and professions to embrace, including good work that can benefit humanity. The invitation then seems to be, "How do I live in the world, make a contribution, and still take good care of myself so I am calm, happy and healthy in the midst of it all?" This, indeed, is the $1 million question.
I believe the answer to this question lies in learning to live more gently and kindly with ourselves. This sounds like an oxymoron, perhaps even an impossibility considering the way we have been enculturated to live, but I assure you, it’s not. The success, if you will, of being able to live more kindly with yourself, even in the midst of chaos, is to learn how to listen more deeply to your inner voice of self-compassion, one that may not have been given space nor time to be heard. In the busyness of daily life, it is difficult to hear a voice that wisely whispers ever so subtly, “There is a gentler way.” I know because it’s taken one mishap, one health crisis after another, for me to hear it. To hear the sacred call to live more gently with yourself is one thing. To actually heed it and do what the voice of kindness says is another. To create a lifestyle rooted in self-compassionate awareness, full of loving choices that enable you to maintain health and well-being.
Excerpted from the Introduction, Living Gently with Myself: A 30-Day Guided Journey by Janice L. Lundy
The Only Real Choice
In choosing thoughts, feelings and actions, we have two sources from which to operate—love or fear.
In any situation, we can ask ourselves, "Am I feeling this way, speaking and acting from a place of love or fear?"
By simply stepping back, releasing ourselves briefly from the emotional charge of the moment, we can better assess our motivation.
A deep breath can bring insight and restore the connection to our heart center, which always operates from love through Spirit.
The only real choice is Love.
Love is the key.
Breathing Deep the Day
I have a lovely friend who signs off her emails by saying, "Breathe deep the day." Each time I read this I really do take a deeper breath. It's delicious.
I notice "breathing deep the day" centers me and it also turns me toward gratitude—appreciation for this one-of-a-kind day. I am so very aware at this stage of my life how special each day is, as well as how fleeing time is. Each moment is precious and can easily slip away into obscurity without my loving attention.
If you take a few moments right now and breathe deep the day in your own way, what do you notice? How do you feel and what shimmers for you?
I hope and pray that awareness of the precious present sings in your heart today just as it does mine.
Gentle and timely reminders for the spiritual journey, because sometimes we forget or need a kind nudge back to Center.
Dr. Janice Lynne Lundy (PsyD, DMin, MPC)
is The Gerald May Professor of Spiritual Direction & Counseling at the Graduate Theological Foundation. She is an interspiritual director/mentor, educator and counselor who has been pointing people back toward the Sacred for nearly thirty years.