How can you be with yourself in a more kindly way?
Would it be to quiet yourself and rest? To let go of a pressing deadline? To re-engage a spiritual practice you've been too busy to enjoy? Choose one. Do one.
Do a good deed today by being good to you.
Many years ago I did a kind thing for myself. I stopped trying to create balance in my life. Instead I made a kinder choice: create inner harmony.
Balance, by its very nature, is impossible to achieve. Nothing is ever balanced (I'm thinking of the see-saw [teeter-totter) of my childhood here ...). It's either up or down. Too much or too little. Trying to achieve balance for me was a self-defeating choice because no one can ever get anything "just right." I experienced trying to get my life in balance as pressure, resulting in failure (of course!)—a misguided attempt at perfection.
But harmony, oh, that had a lovely, gentle ring to it. It reminded me of musical notes coming together in a pleasing way. More like rhythm. A delightful blending of elements that just flowed. Now this I could get behind. I decided to pitch balance and opt for harmony instead.
Instead of striving for and struggling with balance, how can we shift our efforts to focus instead on creating inner harmony? Here's an idea, a simple starting point.
You can begin to create greater harmony in your life by paying close attention to what your body is trying to tell you in any given situation, honoring that revelation, then making choices that foster your well-being.
You can do this by literally listening to your body through the vehicle of your senses. Pay mindful attention to what you are seeing and hearing. Note your body's response. Ask yourself, 'Is this experience creating feelings of peace and well-being in me, or is it causing me stress, worry, pressure or fear?'
When we listen mindfully, we can make healthy, new choices for ourselves—choices rooted in loving-kindness.
And new choices are easy to make and implement when they are sourced in self-kindness.
©2024, Janice L. Lundy
Are you kind to your mind? We often think about being kind to our body. We give it rest, nurturing, and what it needs to be well. What would it mean if you were kind to your mind in the same way? Consider developing an attitude of loving-kindness toward it, just as you would toward a little child, thinking of your mind as tender and dear.
It's a fair guess to say that very few of us have done this. If anything, we may be self-critical of what goes on in our mind— judgmental, harsh, or impatient—because we are frustrated by its many thoughts. We may feel inadequate because we not proficient at keeping a calm mind or meditating. Our thoughts being of a certain nature, may feel that we are not “spiritual enough.”
Instead of fault-finding, take a gentler approach toward your mind. Offer blessings of loving-kindness to your mind, such as these:
May I relax and rest in pure awareness today.
May I be at peace with everything that arises.
May my mind be at ease, my heart at rest.
May all be well.
©2023, Janice L. Lundy
All Rights Reserved
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
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.