For me, the ability to hold presence for oneself and for others is firmly rooted in good self-care. If my self-care is in place, it's much more likely that I will feel calm and centered, and better able to hold presence for someone else. When I've not taken good care of myself I am impatient, crabby, and easily exhausted. Does this sound familiar?
During this time of pandemic, and in this strange time of what I call "re-entry," it's difficult to know what is the right thing to do; what is the best thing to do. This can cause ongoing feelings of distress. 'Do I stay in or venture out?' 'Do I meet up with my friends like I used to, or do I continue to stay away from social gatherings?'
No matter what your answers to these questions might be, beneath them all remains the need to continue to ground yourself in good self-care practices. It's vital that we stay faithful to what nourishes us, keeps our minds calm, and our hearts open.
I read this article today and felt it contained such good, basic information about self-care that I wanted to pass it along to you.
Even if you don't have strong indicators of depression or anxiety, the 10 practices cited here can help you feel stronger, steadier, more present.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that, for the most part, I have been staying faithful to these practices. Of course, there's always the off day, but I do notice that I've maintained my equilibrium most of the time the last 14 months. I even took journaling back up a while ago. It felt good to put pen to paper and write about what I was feeling and experiencing. I talk to my spiritual director every month. I get solid sleep, try to eat healthy, go for brisk walks, and color (my hobby). I prioritize getting out in nature. (I have to engage in personal hygiene because I am on Zoom a lot!) I do not drink. I try to be mindful in all that I do. Mindfulness, very truthfully, has been my saving grace since 1994. Without it, I am prone to anxiety and worry.
I share these thoughts with you not because I am trying to get it all right, but because I have found that these 10 things really do work to keep us well and fully present—especially when life is difficult.
When you look at the list of 10, what do you notice? What are you doing well? What could be improved upon?
Let's remember that we can make wise choices moment by moment, and that at any time we can begin again. Let us be patient and gentle with ourselves as we do. After all, practice makes progress! And all of these things combined help us be more present to ourselves and capable of offering presence to others -- which is a very wise and loving thing to do in today's fragile world.
Now that the coldest weather has lifted, I am determined to take a mindful walk each day. Though I admit, sometimes my walks are not mindful; mindless is more like it. My mind wanders. I plan. I drift off and get stuck in old conversations or thoughts about the future. Presence to self eludes me.
And then I remember. It is time to be here now. To be fully present to myself and this precious moment. My phone is off. I vow to do nothing but walk, just walk.
One step, then another. One breath, then another. Easing into the rhythm of walking and breathing. Feeling my foot meet the pavement. Noting bird song in the distance. Beauty to my left and to my right. Be here now.
And just when my mind begins to meander once more, there it is, looming up in front of me. A sweet smiley face someone has taken the time to draw on the walkway. "Hello, I see you," it says. "Do you see me?" And I do. I am grateful for this humorous reminder to come back once again, to surrender to walking.
"Just walking" is one of the best ways I know to offer presence to myself, especially on a Corvid-19 day when so many thoughts and emotions can press in.
The same can be true for you, for any of us. May our walking bring us back home to ourselves.
From My Heart to Yours
Today, I have a gift for you, a short, guided practice (MP3). I call it "Inner Smile Practice." It's perfect for walking, or when you're at the grocery store, or whenever you feel the need to be more present to yourself and others.
To receive this practice, SUBSCRIBE to this blog. The link to download will be sent to you in the subscription confirmation email. SUBSCRIBE by entering your info in the green box on the right side of this page. That's it! Thank you for joining me in the practice of Presence.
If you are viewing this post on your phone, scroll down until you locate the green subscription box.
a calm, open-hearted space of welcome & service.
I'm glad you're here. Welcome to this space of exploration, deepening understanding & the practice of presence across traditions.
Receive an email notification when new reflections and podcasts are posted.
Join me on Instagram
Janice Lynne Lundy, DMin, MPC
is an educator, interspiritual director/guide, and retreat leader who has been pointing people back toward the Sacred for more than twenty-five 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.