Self-Nurture Is a Work in Progress
Have you ever thought that if you could just get a handle on this self-care thing, all would be well? If you could discover a consistent way to nurture yourself, everything would be bread and roses. If you got really solid with your daily spiritual practice, your stress would simply vanish, right?
Well, not exactly.
This spring I’m celebrating my 20th year of daily spiritual practice.
That’s right. Every day for 20 years, I’ve taken time out to devote to my connection with spirit.
Through full-time work outside the home while raising two toddlers. Through the chaos of my Mom’s car accident, which nearly took her life and did take her years to recover from. Through the transition to being the full time at-home homeschooling parent. Through a dear friend’s final year of life with cancer, and helping her live and die with grace. Through the years of building a business, writing and publishing books, and figuring out how my creativity could actually help me make a living. Through ups and downs, loss and chaos, joy and blessings, sorrow and fear and love.
So you’d probably figure that by now I’m a happy-go-lucky hippie chick, walking my path with laughter and grace.
And it’s true – most of the time.
But a devotion to nurturing your spirit doesn’t mean that you’re no longer a human being, struggling with life’s challenges.
The proverbial “stuff” still hits the fan.
I still have those days where I don’t want to get out of bed. I cry. I feel defeated by some failure or problem in my life. I get PMS and my hormones go on an emotional rampage. I feel envy and anger and all those human emotions that crop up when things aren’t going my way.
I definitely have times when I don’t feel like meditating.
But I do it anyway.
Because what my daily practice gives me is the gift of perspective.
It helps me to cultivate a sense of inner relaxation that has become my default.
When you nurture yourself lovingly, on a regular basis, you craft an inner balance that sustains you even when everything around you is falling apart. Your deep connection to your inner source helps you to walk with grace and forgiveness.
Then, when you have those days (or weeks) when you feel like you just can’t take any more, you become aware.
You’re aware that these feelings aren’t the whole picture. You have a bigger perspective, one in which that observer part of you chimes in and reassures you. You understand that right now you feel like crap – but that won’t always be the case.
With dedicated regular practice, you can lean on your strong connection to spirit when you need it most.
It’s a work in progress.
I heard a clip from an interview with the Dalai Lama where a guy was asking him what to do when meditation is just too hard. The man said that he’s been meditating for a while but sometimes it still feels like a huge struggle. The Dalai Lama laughed and said “me too!”
Here’s a renowned spiritual leader who has probably been meditating since he could sit up – and yet he, too, has days where his practice is a challenge.
I don’t know about you, but I take great comfort from his response.
Sure, daily practice doesn’t always come easy, but just laugh, and keep going. Don’t put so much pressure on the practice – or yourself.
Slowly, deliberately, nurture yourself daily with time to get quiet and go deep within. Make it a habit. Keep practicing.
Before you know it, your inner default mode will have shifted to one of greater peace, calm, and acceptance. When that nasty stuff hits the fan, you’ll be able to deal with it. Maybe not with joy, but certainly with more grace and less freaking out.
Take it from me, your happy hippie friend. Daily spiritual practice is a work in progress – but it’s well worth the effort.