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
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.
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.
Most of us have been searching for inner peace, hoping that we’ll find it in the next book or workshop or by following the latest greatest teacher. Or we keep waiting for inner peace to arrive: “When the kids are out of the house.” “When I retire.” “When I feel better.” “When my divorce is final.” “When I get that promotion. We keep telling ourselves that when our life shows up in a different way, then serenity will finally be ours.
On some level, we know this kind of reasoning is nonsense. Yet we’ve become habituated to thinking this way, putting off our personal peace until sometime in the future.
Until, that is, we realize that peace is an inside job; that we can choose our peace, moment to moment to moment. Through creating new mindsets and adopting new practices, by consciously choosing new thoughts and feelings, we align ourselves with deep calm.
Excerpted from Portable Peace: A Weekly Guidebook
by Jan Lundy
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.