The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself
– Anna Quindlen
Practice must be born out of the curious mind and the beatings of our heart; out of the desire to grow and to learn and to consider that being in the present might be a good place to be. Yes, so very challenging!
Look around at what is out there and also ask yourself what you believe is spiritual for you. Consider what it means. Is it something sacred, is it birds singing outside, is it quiet, is it holding hands in a circle of like minded believers? Is it a certain cute pair of shoes? Is it a sunset or a baby, or your puppy? The smell of the blooming trees in June? A museum walk through? Fishing? Prayer? Tai Chi? Chanting?
Allow your mind to let go a little and explore what you feel deeper inside yourself, what resonates with you as a kind of loving voice inside encouraging you to suffer less, to be more compassionate towards yourself.
“A moment of self compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life.”
– Christopher Germer
I find very accessible, profound and relevant to be all the writings of Pema Chodron; maybe especially “ The Places that Scare You” and “ When Things Fall Apart”.
My experience with spiritual practice has been both inspiring, full of discovery and also challenging, maddening and at times elusive. There have been many many mornings where I can only look at the spot on the floor where the pillow is and say to myself “ I wonder why I’m not sitting there and meditating today..”
On those days when actually sitting is too much ( and there are many!), I practice remembering….. remembering that my purpose is to be mindful and to quiet my thoughts… so that I might gain clarity and peace.. so that I might become less reactive.. and most importantly.. less self involved and more connected with others and the world around me. As I go along in my day and begin to forget, I might suddenly …remember.. and tell myself ( Oh yeah, I was remembering to breathe and quiet my mind a bit..)Some days, I might find myself forgetting and getting cranky on the subway or angry at crowds in Soho ( on my way home from yoga!!)… and then I will remember and breathe and take brief pauses from all the noise and smile at someone, help someone up the subway stairs or give myself a break from the critical voice in my head which is always ready to chime in; and I relax and remember it is not a big deal…
My yoga practice brings me to the mat: to myself; several times a week to check in with my mind and my body and how they work together in the daily symphony that can play in harmony or harsh discord, in joy or in darkness and no matter what, if I can show up, my practice is to work with what I have. It is to know that I have everything I need, whether that be scattered thoughts, achey joints, fatigue or joy.
Practice tunes the mind of the heart, opens that heart and lengthens our reach towards others.
Susan Lambert, LCSW
A wonderful and meditative video for any moment of quiet and beauty: