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
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.