Holding, Offering & Being Presence
... within Yourself & for Others
Another post based on "these times" in which we are living. With ongoing tension around political views and concern about the state of the world, our ability to hold presence and listen well to others may be seriously stretched, even non-existent. Today, I present a few thoughts about this with a tiny practice that can help.
Sometimes it's difficult to listen. As we engage with someone, intending to receive and honor their sharing, our listening may falter. We may grow weary or impatient; our attention may wander, or we outright lose interest. Depending on the situation, there are a number of ways to respond to this dilemma. Today, let's explore two of the solutions together.
1. Take an energizing breath to heighten your senses: a deep inhale (to the count of 8) and a shorter exhale (to the count of 6.) This can enliven you. It can help you re-focus.
2. Practice prayerful listening. Ask for assistance for what you need to be more present in the moment; to listen more purely, unconditionally. Sometimes, when I am sitting with someone, listening to them in a deeper way, I need help. Instead of continuing to struggle with being attentive, I turn my heart toward the Sacred and open it to receive assistance with this matter.
Sometimes it's a very simple bequest, "Open me." Or, "Help me to listen." Or, "Help me not want to talk so much!" Prayer is our reaching down and in, or out and beyond ourselves for courage and guidance when we need it the most. Let us make good use of this in our listening as well. Ask for what you need and trust it will be given.
Adapted from Pure Presence: A Workbook and Journal
©2017, Janice L. Lundy
We continue to live in uncertain times. There is not a single community in the world that is untouched by the choices being made by human beings today. In the U. S. where I live, we are faced with decisions about direct governance. As I listen to the rhetoric of politicians and views offered by various organizations, one potent question keeps coming up for me, "How shall we live?"
I've asked this question of myself ever since a radical awakening in 1994, "How shall I live?" What are my deepest values? What are the truths I hold dear? What choices do I need to make to ensure that I am living these values?
Perhaps it all comes down to self-governance. Knowing that, even though we live in a society that dictates much about how we live, ultimately, the final decision about how is up to each of us. Governing ourselves, in my view anyway, has to do with the thoughts that occupy my mind and the feelings that rule my heart. I can't control everything I think or feel, but I can govern wisely and make healthy and sustainable choices that foster my well-being—physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. No one can tell me what to think or feel. I get to choose these for myself.
Holding presence for oneself has everything to do with self-governance. Being present for oneself you bear witness to what is stirring inside you; you acknowledge and tend to it well. You take care of yourself from the inside out, being non-judgmentally and compassionately present to everything that's there. Welcoming. Open-hearted and curious. Warm and kind.
Wise self-governance helps us be someone who can participate in the world with a heart that bears witness to it all—the pain and suffering, the blessings and joys. Presence for self leads to an increased ability to be purely present for others just as they are—just as the world is—because we have done so for ourselves first.
A Little Gift
Enjoy this 90-Second Blessing I created for
self-governance through self-care.
On any given day I may receive several emails from family, friends and colleagues which speak to their level of stress or worry given the times we are living in. My response is often something like, "Please take good care of yourself. These ARE challenging times." An act of self-care, of self-compassion, is an act of presence.
Today, I'm culling a video from my archives that offers a bit of sage advice about how to kindly take care of ourselves in a moment of difficulty, a moment of suffering. Suffering is experienced anytime we are disconnected from our calm, clear, wise self. I hope this message with a practice helps restore your equanimity as you tenderly care for yourself in the midst of any challenge you might be facing.
Watch the video on Vimeo here:
Life being what it is these days, these thoughts live in my heart. I hope you are continuing to make good and wise choices for yourself because, ultimately, they inform your capacity to be present to yourself, as well as to patiently and kindly hold presence for others.
Vast amounts of negative media, television, video games and unsavory language weaken the mind's resilience. They tire and desensitize us.
Make a lovingly kind choice for yourself today by reducing the noise level in your life. Turn off the television and radio. Allow yourself more quiet time. Grant yourself “peaceful pauses” throughout the day: periods of stopping to access your peaceful center. There is comfort and security to be found there. Periods of stillness and solitude rebuild inner strength and can revitalize you.
Our center is our Source, and our Source is peace.
©2020, JLL, This Sacred Moment
Time moves quickly. Life is short. When all is said and done and we look back upon our lives, what we'll remember most are the people with whom we spent our days and nights. We will recall the warm words and hugs of friends, children, and grandchildren; hearty conversation at the dinner table; the late nights we spent comforting one another through the ups and downs of life.
Today, consider what of yourself do you bring into relationship? How are you be-ing with others? The gift of your presence is the greatest present you can ever give to anyone.
©2020, Janice L. Lundy
This Sacred Moment
It's that time of year in the "Great North Country," long warm days and luscious nights. Energy-infusing sunrises and soul-soothing sunsets. It's my season to play, savor and be fully present to All-That-Is. So in terms of blogging, I'm saying goodbye for now and "See You In September", Friends.
When you rise in the morning give thanks.
Lovely friends, with so much turmoil engulfing our planet, our hearts can feel equally troubled and agitated. We long for answers, for relief, for an end to the suffering of so many, including ourselves. These are difficult times, no doubt.
We are encouraged to not remain silent to injustice and to lift our voices; to act on our convictions. There is another inner voice which also claims to be heard now too. It is the voice of silence and discernment; a call to inner quietude to rebalance ourselves. This is vitally important so that we can think clearly and act with wisdom.
It is impossible to think and act wisely if we cannot access any degree of calm within us. Calm = Clear = Wise.
A few years ago, I wrote this article for Spiritual Director's International: "Finding Inner Refuge in Trouble Times." Clearly, what I wrote about is still applicable and especially so today.
I hope you will find it helpful and take a few extra moments to work with the practice. May relief and refuge be yours.
Read it here: www.sdiworld.org/blog/finding-inner-refuge-troubled-times
May Love hold us.
Recently, I'd been meeting up with spiritual friends on Zoom on Saturday mornings. We'd share sacred space and engage in contemplative practice together. We did this for a number of Saturdays in the early and middle days of Covid-19 as a way to connect with one another and also to "what matters most": our peace, love and gratitude, even in a difficult time. As summer arrived in the northern hemisphere, we decided our group meditation time was done as many of the women were eager to get out in their gardens, or walk, and simply enjoy this beautiful weather. I am so grateful for the time we shared together.
Missing them and our gatherings, I created a Guided Meditation which offers a short practice that can help you find room--a little space of quiet—in your busy mind or concerned heart. And it all begins with the breath ... I hope it helps.
Listen to the meditation here:
Friends, I am excited to share a video interview I recorded just yesterday with my friend, Lisa Erickson. Lisa is the author of the ground-breaking new book, Chakra Empowerment for Women: Self-Guided Techniques for Healing Trauma, Owning Your Power & Finding Overall Wellness (Llewellyn, 2019). In this intimate conversation, we talk about the ways we can care for our energy body (which is intricately interwoven with our whole health—body, mind and spirit). I love the 3 practices she shared with us that are so vital for staying grounded, open, loving and healthy in these times. Enjoy!
About: Lisa Erickson is an energy worker, writer, teacher and mom to three. Lisa’s primary modality is chakra-based energy work, although she is also a certified mindfulness meditation instructor, and a certified Feeding Your Demons facilitator. Her specialty is Women’s Energetics – women’s subtle anatomy, and practices and tools that women can employ to heal, empower, and awaken themselves. She specializes in life transits, kundalini, and sexual trauma healing.
Visit her websites: https://enlightenedenergetics.com/about-lisa-erickson/ and https://chakraempowermentforwomen.com
In today's blog I share some thoughts about we can ensure our hearts do not become armored in stressful times. If you're feeling impatient and irritated, or frustrated, it may be a sign that your heart is closing off due to low level trauma. (Many of us these days are experiencing low level trauma due to the pandemic.) This is the perfect time and opportunity to hold presence for yourself! The video includes one of my favorites practices for this.
From My Heart to Yours
Today, I have a gift for you, a guided meditation (MP3) that I call "Resting Into Love." During trauma-filled times, it's a potent practice for letting go into ease and rest, into Love!
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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 co-director of the Spiritual Guidance Training Institute.