Take a walk this fall. Pause in joyful awe as you watch Nature celebrating another ending. Then ask yourself if you could celebrate your next ending with the same wild abandon and confident hope that a(nother) beginning awaits your bold, beautiful self. Because it absolutely does.
It's September and the world around us is swinging back into action from its summer lull. As this happens, we too are shifting gears – most of us from low(er) to high(er). You would be far from alone if your reaction to the suggestion that you add a mindfulness practice to your days right now is a resounding, “No way. That is crazy. I don't have time for that.” But I will tell you, quite insistently, that there is no better time for you to practice than when you don’t feel like you have the time to practice.
Why is being emotional seen as a weakness? When we experience our emotions freely – without judgment or attachment – they will flow fluidly through us without impacting our health. It’s the feelings that we don’t feel, the ones we repress or “stuff,” that can cause the most havoc. These unfelt feelings can actually make us sick. All of which is to invite you to allow yourself the freedom to be emotional. Your feelings are a part of how you respond to life. While you may not choose to act on every feeling you feel, give yourself the space to feel them. Letting your feelings flow through you leaves you free to receive and to respond to each moment as it comes. Go ahead. Feel all the feels. It's good for you!
If you are navigating a change in life, this one's for you! A trip to visit a beloved old home made clear to me the wealth of options for happiness that we each have in life. There is more than one path to fulfillment for each of us. I do not believe it is possible to miss out on the life that we’re meant to live. The spirit of life is just too creative and loving for that to happen.
As you move through your day, be on the lookout for moments of coming home – for example, when you come downstairs in the morning, when you come in from an errand, or when you sit down to dinner after a long day of work (even if you, like so many of us, have been working from home). Pause in these moments to savor or even create a deep sense of being welcomed. Really experience your comfort. Take a deep breath and feel a warm, welcoming hug from yourself. These quiet moments of coming home – to a place, but more importantly, to yourself – can fill you with love, happiness, peace, and the confidence to head back out into the big, wide world to live the life you’ve been given to live. Welcome home.
I saw something pretty special this week: a small, but exquisite murmuration of a flock of birds. This sight affirmed for me that the “work” you and I do – the way we love the people around us, the way we stick to our principles, the way we try to live our values, the way we can choose to make our faith a way of life rather than a way of thinking – all matters tremendously to the world around us. I can imagine, one day, getting such a perspective that we could see the great "murmuration" of which you and I are parts - the graceful artistry of the dance of Life. Each person doing their own small part to add to the magical harmony of the whole.
When life takes a twist or a turn, try to resist the impulse to grit your teeth, squinch your eyes, and white-knuckle life back onto its “proper” (a.k.a. planned by you) path. Instead, practice the willingness to change our plans at a moment’s notice. "We will not be upset if our plans are upset" if we are determined to stay open to what is.
From death springs an abundance of life. Death in a rainforest gives life more expansive and meaningful than one glorious life lived - a grand gesture of love. Life is patiently growing and changing and becoming – in the rainforest, in our backyards, and in us, too. Death is right here, too. Big, huge losses, yes. But more often the series of smaller “deaths” that are necessary to our growth in life. Jobs coming to an end. Relationships breaking down. Passions waning for hobbies and interests. Without death, there is no space for new life. The rainforest teaches that without death, we lack the “humus” we need to support our growth – the wisdom of experience, the flexibility to change course, the forgiveness for mistakes made, the humility to say “whoops!” and try again.
Regular rest is a fundamental part of success, health, and happiness. It helps us exist as human beings rather than "humans doing." Practicing silence, mindfulness, and breathing are three ways to rest that create deep healing, inspire bursts of creativity, and offer clarity.