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Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Gratitude: Janice Lynne Lundy
Our final guest host for the month is my dear friend Janice Lynne Lundy. I met Jan online through her inspiring blog Awake is Good. In no time at all we felt a strong affinity toward one another, and an anam cara friendship developed. We both took a metta meditation class with Sylvia Boorstein (yet another connection we discovered we shared) through Spirituality and Practice, choosing to encourage each other through the journey and share our meditation experiences via email. This, I feel, is what took our relationship to a deeper level.
Over the summer I had the pleasure of facilitating Lev b'Lev SoulCollage® for Jan. As Jan was speaking on the phone, a fox walked right past my house; an auspicious visitor, as fox is a keen observer, a reminder to witness, listen, pay attention. A couple of months later, when I asked Jan what she thought about this feeling, this calling I felt and have felt for quite some time to be a Spiritual Director, she was absolutely clear that I already was! She gave me her blessing freely and has been a tremendous support in guiding me to simply trust what I already knew (know) to be true. And of course, being a Spiritual Director herself and author of the book Your Truest Self: Embracing the Woman You Are Meant to Be, this was an answer I should have expected...but still, I was delighted and surprised by her complete confidence in me.
Last winter, when Jan and I were still in the beginning stages of our budding friendship, she asked me to write a guest post about a Jewish meditation practice that was dear to me for her blog during her outstanding 28 Day Meditation Challenge. The piece I wrote was about waking up with a grateful heart and the prayer Modah Ani on my lips every morning. You can read that post and listen to me chanting by clicking here. And as all things spiral around in life, Jan's offering for our final post, in this month of remarkable guests, sharing from their hearts, is about Waking up with Gratitude. Please welcome my beautiful friend, teacher and mentor Janice Lynne Lundy as she shares her thoughts and suggestions for:
Waking Up with Gratitude
How we view our lives, as full or lacking, I believe, hinges upon our ability to focus on what we have, or what we don’t. Gratitude for what is can be cultivated through personal practice. We can shift our perspective from life as half-empty to half-full, and, in time, as full-to-overflowing! It simply requires growing in gratitude, a little bit at a time. This Thanksgiving, if you desire to harvest an attitude of gratitude, might I suggest the following practice.
A Body-Centered Practice of Gratitude
Before you rise in the morning, lay in bed for a few minutes more and mentally list your gratitudes. Begin with exactly where you are. Feel your body upon the mattress and give thanks for that. Allow your mind to focus on the next closest thing. Give thanks for blankets. For warmth. For a good night’s sleep. For the comfort you feel. Give thanks for the person lying next to you (if there is one.) For your children (if you have them) in the next room.
Now make your circle of gratitude a little wider. Expand it outwards. Give thanks for your house or apartment that protects you from the elements. For the food in your refrigerator that you will eat this morning. For the hot water you'll shower in as you begin your day.
Continue to expand your scope of gratitude. Offer thanks for your friends and family. Name them by name. For your neighborhood or church community. Your job or co-workers. Your city, state, country. Gratitude for the earth itself that overflows with natural beauty and provides resources that make our lives more comfortable. For health, for love, for the Spirit which encompasses us all. For breath, for the gift of being alive. And on you go, naming all the things in your world for which you are grateful.
Then, notice how you feel. If you’ve done this practice slowly, with sincerity, I can guarantee you will feel a whole lot lighter, even after only a a few minutes. Don’t be surprised if the hue of your entire day shifts to be brighter, more hopeful, and peace-filled.
©2010, Janice Lynne Lundy
You can visit Jan or engage her services through the following links:
Her website: awakenedliving.com
Her blog: awakeisgood.com
And her outstanding online course that I highly recommend and have almost completed-this is our last week :( www.buddhachickcourse.blogspot.com
*contact Jan to find out about the next session!