Shine the Divine:

Creativity IS a Spiritual Practice

When we see through our hearts, we recognize that every single one of us is infused with creativity. Divine Sparks are embedded in everyone and everything. It's up to us to be courageous, to look and listen deeply, to find the sparks, gather and release them back into the universe, transformed into something new. Join me as we wake up to the sacred-ordinary blessings waiting to greet us each and every day.

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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

image provided by Jan from http://www.istockphoto.com

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!

17 comments:

  1. Jan and Laura,

    Great post! This is another practice that I can share with my kids, besides Metta. How exciting! :-)

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  2. Laura,

    Thanks to you and your guest bloggers for a month full of gratitude ~ beautiful :-)

    Blessings xo

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  3. Jan and Laura - a beautiful post.
    I do something like this every morning before my feet hit the floor. I would not dare start my day without prayer of thanksgiving, forgiveness, protection for loved ones and wisdom for my day.

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  4. For a while, I practiced a similar routine of gratitude, then fell out of habit. It's nice to be reminded of a wonderful way to start the day.

    Thanks.

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  5. A beautiful morning practice! Thank you... _/\_

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  6. Beautiful, Janice. Thank you.

    Thank you, Laura, for a stellar month of uplifting posts. Thank you to all who contributed because it's been a true pleasure to read and share.

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  7. This is a beautiful morning practice. I practice metta throughout the day but I don't have a specific before-I-get-up practice, partly because my "getting up" is often just reaching over for the laptop at the side of my bed. But now, before I do that, I'm going to try this practice. I felt warm and light just reading your description of it, Jan! Thank you so much.

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  8. Perfect post to end this most amazing month of gratitudes on. Thank you Laura for introducing us to so many amazing people, for sharing the abundance of your friendships. What a gift you've filled the month of November with.

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  9. Jan, it's wonderful to see you here and read about such a calm, clear, wise way to start the day. It warms my heart to read about the connections you and Laura share.

    Laura, hugs to you my friend for the gift of gratitude you have given us this month.

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  10. Laura, dear anamcara friend,
    Thank you for having me visit today. Pure joy to be with such wise women! I am glad that this gratitude technique might give a lift to your day. I know it sure helped me when I was struggling with morning sadness. Especially just being grateful for the most basic immediate things. Then there was no struggle or feeling like I was faking it.

    Hugs of gratitude to all of you who visited and contributed to Laura's stellar month. I learned so much and am full of appreciation for the gifts we share...

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  11. Another wonderful exercise to help us cultivate gratefulness.

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  12. How lovely to have such a full column of comments on this the last day of Gratitude Month on my blog...perhaps the beginning of more gratitude every day from all of us as we refine our awareness and pay attention to the blessings in between the difficulties of our lives. Thanks again so much Jan for being here...to all the amazing guests this month and to all of you who have stopped by to read this blog faithfully throughout this month and for many months before this one.

    xo
    Laura

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  13. Hi Laura and your anamcara buddy Janice...beauty-full post...I adore Metta...it's my go-to balancer and I love the way that today's post fits so well...gratitude to all.
    :-)
    d

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  14. For some reason I didn't see your post this am so was disappointed to not have my first morning coffee while reading your blog. Glad I checked again. :) I already do this grateful meditation before getting out of bed and didn't know there was name for this process.

    I also continue it through out the day and it absolutely makes all the difference in the world. There are some day's I am in so much pain that without doing this practice I would have a hard time getting out of bed. Since I have little one's and one to get off to school, staying in bed is not an option even on the bad mornings. Practicing gratefulness really does help me to feel lighter and less focused on the pain or feeling exhausted.

    Thank you for affirming my daily gratitude practice.

    Thank you Laura and Jan for blessing me with this post. XX

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  15. What a wonderful way to start the day - something I too can share with my daughter (neither of us are overly morning people.)
    One month of gratitude ends - and another one begins.

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  16. Why am I smiling and not at all surprised by Jan's gratitude practice? I've done it before, abandoned it, and when dark times descend again, go back to it for light.

    Dear Jan, Dear Laura, you both are such blazing stars in the night sky. It is with your spirits of giving that I give to myself and others.

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  17. I love the mindfulness of this practice, the awareness of all that is good from the moment we open our eyes. I wake every morning with "I love you" in my heart, looking out at my guardian tree in front of my window and the trees beyond. I'm going to add the mindfulness of noting the warmth and comfort of bed (I love to go to bed at night; blessed rest and renewal!), the peacefulness of morning, the shelter of walls. Thank you for helping me grow deeper into mindfulness and gratitude.

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