Hello lovely friend,
I'm reveling in the beauty of a long-awaited summer. I'm also vowing to live EXTRA gently with myself this summer. For the last few summers (maybe more than a few), I've set the intention to savor the days in a variety of ways. Pure enjoyment!
But then "life" happens. Often it's been the call of caretaking that took precedent. Someone needed assistance for recovery from surgery, a mishap or health issue. That's alright. "It is what it is," my mantra for these times. And, of course, I want to be available to those I love.
Your Deepest Need
Which brings me to the topic of this newsletter, "Your Deepest Need." As I think about what I'd ideally like my summer to look like, I'm getting in touch with my own deepest needs. I'd like to invite you to do the same. I'm hoping this little essay (adapted from my forthcoming book, Living Gently with Myself) can help. (Read on...)
"My journey of living gently didn’t begin until it was forced upon me. This is the way it is with many of us. We are tough nuts to crack! Like Energizer Bunnies, we’ve been going and going for so long we have forgotten that life can be more than a full-throttle, stress-filled effort. On some level, we know there is more to life than making sure the bills get paid, meeting deadlines, and doing all we can to keep up with life. We know we can (and should!) be calmer, happier, tuned into the more sublime states of being, but we’re not sure how to find the balance between work and pleasure, duty and relaxation, stress and ease.
Despite all our trying to get life just right, it is life itself that offers us the unique invitation to stop, self-assess, and take a long, loving look at how we are living. Life provides us with an opportunity to reorient; to turn us back toward what matters—living well and happily with ourselves and others. For me, this invitation has often come in the form of a health challenge. I imagine this might be true for you too. Whenever this has happened in my life, a clarifying question rises up, inviting me to stop once more, to look and listen deeply, to search my heart for an answer to this:
What do I really need right now—on a soul level—to be happy and at ease in my life?
I believe that deep within us there is a boundless source of wisdom that we can tap into and it always provides the answers we need. I’ve witnessed this same response in others over and over again when I’ve posed the question of participants at a retreat, for example. I know that when I ask it I’ve touched a nerve. The room becomes acutely quiet, eyes will close, heads will bow. In some, tears will flow. In the whirl of everyday life, we have deep soul needs that are not being met. Indeed, the voice of our soul has been quieted, and, for some, even silenced by the cacophony of the world.
The needs that need to be met vary from person to person. Rest, silence, or time alone. A body without pain. A mind without fear and anxiety. An end to responsibility or care-giving. Work that is life-affirming rather than draining. Relationships that are nurturing and authentic. A spiritual community where they feel loved and accepted for who they really are.
Interestingly, when I’ve asked this question (of women of all ages), many of them go on to speak about being tired. It seems they are just plain fatigued; worn out from the “too muchness” of life. And this fatigue prevents them from getting in touch with what they really need on a deeper level. It also keeps them disconnected from any sense of personal joy.
This is a good place for you to begin our journey of living gently, to ponder the question:
What do you really need right now—on a soul level—to be happy and at ease in your life?
Rest assured, whatever answer emerges is just right for you for now. Trust what comes. Even if it seems like the answer is a “surface answer” like, “I’m tired, I need a long nap,” that’s alright. That’s where you begin.
We begin where we are. There’s no better place to be."
(Adapted from Living Gently with Myself: A 30-Day Guidebook)
When you ask the question...
"What do you really need right now—on a soul level--
to be happy and at ease in your life?"
what do you hear? Share your answer in the comment section below. I'd love to hear! And love to know how I can support you in the process.
The Year of Living Gently
Take a breath, and drop into a kinder, gentler place within yourself.