Tending Your Soul: A 40 Day Program

IMG_2484Several weeks ago I decided that it was time to renew my focus on those practices that nourish me, that stir my creativity, that bring me peace, that help me be who I want to be, and to create what I want to create.  For me, those things are yoga, meditation and journaling.  I know how powerful these practices are for me, and I often turn to them, but when life gets busy they often slip by. Days pass, and suddenly I’m not as happy, not as grounded, not as creative or productive as I know I can be.

So what’s a busy girl to do? It’s simple: decide to do the things that matter to you.  Make those practices a daily priority.

I created a 40 day checklist, where I can check off my progress each day. And I set simple goals. Sure, I always hope to spend an hour on yoga, 30 minutes in meditation, 30 minutes journaling, but not many days shape up that way. The important thing is to stick to the routine and honor the commitment, so to meet my goal, 2 minutes will do. A few gentle yoga stretches are enough. Two minutes sitting in meditation (I love to set a timer for this), and just a few sentences in my journal will help me reconnect to my center and keep the practice alive. And when I have time for more, even better.

Stephen Covey wrote that integrity is about making and keeping commitments, beginning with commitments to yourself. Deciding to do just that—committing to the things that feed your soul, and then honoring that commitment—is a powerful practice.

Need an extra boost? Try partnering with a friend, to keep one another accountable. When I started this practice, a friend and fellow life coach was ready to do the same. We each wrote down what we were committing to, and then emailed each other our personal lists (hers includes exercise and keeping a gratitude list). Each day, we send a quick, simple email saying as little as “done!” or or as much as we’d like about our progress. If someone is finding it hard to continue, we can check in and support one another. But simply knowing that someone else knows and cares about the commitment is a powerful incentive to stay on track.

What practices are most important to you? Are you ready to decide to do the things that matter most?

Journey Into Stillness: Beginnings & Endings

It has been 40 days since the beginning of our journey into stillness.  Whether you sat beneath a bodhi tree, welcomed the dawn with a favorite mantra, or simply contemplated the idea of meditation, you are welcome here, at the place where one ending and a new beginning meet.

We are surrounded by endings and beginnings, some obvious, some not.  In a world that is constantly shifting, constantly changing, constantly evolving, it is important to mark the transitions, to notice when the gate swings open and we walk into a new life, a new day, or simply a new moment in time.

Breathe into the changes.  Find your sea legs; let yourself bend with the curves.  It is all a dance, and you were born to be a dancer.

Wherever you find yourself in your own journey to stillness, I hope it brings you joy and peace.  As for me, I will continue practicing the ways of stillness.  I will continue watching how one ending flows into a new beginning.  I will continue to fall deeper in love with the moments that hold me, and to share with you what I find along the way.


A Journey Into Stillness

I went into the desert because I wanted to live, as Thoreau said, “deliberately.”  I wanted to hear with the ears of a poet, see with the eyes of an artist, feel with the heart of a lover.  I did not want to dream about such things; I especially did not want to worry or grieve over them.  Those roads had never led me anywhere before.

So tell me, I said to my heart, what is it that you desire?  What is it that you are trying to tell me, and that I am not hearing over the roar of my daily life?

I don’t usually speak in words, came the soft but surprisingly clear answer.

That’s all right, I answered.  I’ll learn to translate.

We learn to listen by opening to stillness.  By greeting the entirety of the moment before us, all of ourselves, all that surrounds us.  When you open to the fullness of the moment you are in, you touch eternity.  You feel, you know, that you are surrounded by Love.

Will you journey with me?

On May 15th, I am going to begin a 40 day journey into stillness.  40 days is considered a sacred number in many traditions–for example, it was after meditating under a bodhi tree for 40 days that the Buddha obtained enlightenment.  Although I meditate regularly–usually for at least 5 or 10 minutes a day–for these 40 days I am committing to a more devoted practice.

Later this week, I will write about the various forms of meditation I have practiced, resources that have guided me, and the ways I have discovered to form a practice that can connect you to yourself, to the Divine, to the presence of Love.  I hope that it will inspire you to join me on this journey.  Whether you take it in silence, or choose to share your path with others below, on Facebook or on Twitter, we will journey together.

Breathe in stillness.

Breathe out love.