Today, know that Spirit, Love, is a renewing force - like the force that brings forth flowers and buds. Today, consciously feel Love bringing renewal to your intellect, to your heart, to your body, to your relationships, to your curiosity, to your hope, to your sense of purpose, to your sense of the possible. You do not have to generate this force through your effort and will, but be open to it and rest in it.
For today, move out of your head and into your heart. As useful as our brain is, our whirling thoughts can sometimes deceive us and distract us from our heart's truths. Our minds can spin stories to avoid discomfort or change and to sustain the ego's sense of identity--and can hide from us our true needs.
Today, ask yourself, what does my heart need? What does my heart know? Feel your attention moving from your brain, mere human reasoning, to a deeper, stiller place inside of you. Listen for the answer. Sometimes the answer is simple. Rest. Play. Connection. Be willing to be surprised. Follow your guidance.
From Parker Palmer's Let Your Life Speak:
"Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic self-hood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be. As we do so, we will not only find the joy that every human being seeks - we will also find the path of authentic service in the world. True vocation joins self and service, as Frederick Beuchner asserts when he defines vocation as 'the place where your deep gladness meets the world's deep need.'"
Parker Palmer in Let Your Life Speak, writes,
"What a long time it can take to become the person one has always been!"
"I first learned about vocation growing up in the church . . . I mean the idea that vocation, or calling, comes from a voice external to ourselves, a voice or moral demand that asks us to become someone we are not yet - someone different, someone better, someone just beyond our reach.
That concept of vocation is rooted in deep distrust of selfhood, in the belief that the sinful self will always be 'selfish' unless corrected by external voices of virtue. It is a notion that made me feel inadequate to the task of living my own life, creating guilt about the distance between who I was and who I was supposed to be, leaving me exhausted as I labored to close the gap.
Today I understand vocation quite differently - not as goal to be achieved but as a gift to be received. Discovering vocation does not mean scrambling toward some prize just beyond my reach but accepting the treasure of true self I already possess."
From the poet Rumi, a thirteen century Sufi mystic:
"Today like every other day, we wake up empty
Don't open the door to the study and begin reading.
Take down the dulcimer.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground."
Parker Palmer, the Quaker, educator, activist writes:
"Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it, listen for what it intends to do with you."
Today, move toward what makes you feel open-hearted and joyful. Know that this is not avoidance or weakness or a lack of seriousness. In your joyfulness and open-heartedness is your power, your intuition, your effectiveness, your creative solutions, and the gifts you have to give others.
From Wayne Muller's Legacy of the Heart:
"Faith is not a noun, it is a verb. Faith is not something that one person "has" and another "doesn't"; faith is not a thing, so it can't be measured or possessed. Faith is a way of being. It is a spiritual practice, a way of discovering what is reliable and true, a way of expanding trust in our inner wisdom. It is a place inside where we are in a compassionate relationship with what is strong and whole within ourselves, where we listen to the still, small voices of our heart and soul. When we are practicing a path of faith, we are in intimate conversation with what is deepest in our mind, heart, spirit."
"Faith is a centering response. The search for faith is a search for our true nature, for the spirit within, the divine strength that lives in our deepest heart. When we were small, we sought safety in trying to control the dangers that populated our daily lives. We kept waiting until everything was okay, until everyone was finally asleep, until the fighting was over. But as we grow older we discover that the hazards and discomforts that threaten us never totally disappear from our lives. We begin to see that true safety is not the absence of danger but rather the presence of something else - the presence of a sense of faith, born in the heart and sustained by a spirit of serenity, trust, and courage. If we seek safety within ourselves and not in the manipulation of environment and circumstances, then our practice becomes a pilgrimage to uncover a deep and abiding faith in our own gifts, our own strengths, and our own spirit."
Today, every time a fear, large or small, arises, turn it over to the great heart of Love. Let Love hold it. At this point, you don't need to solve the fear, you just have to pass it to Love so it isn't so heavy for you, isn't debilitating, so it doesn't cloud your vision, so you don't feel alone. Let Love hold your fear. Let Love hold you with unconditional acceptance and affection.
Today, know that to feel joy is not a betrayal of the world's great suffering. Joy is not a lack of loyalty to other's pain nor a lack of seriousness about urgent issues. Joy is not ignorance or denial. Joy is not selfish, self-involved, or myopic. Joy is a divine gift. Joy has the divine power moving in it. Joy opens our channels of creativity. Joy connects us to others and to possibility. We can feel joyful and deeply serious about the care of our world at the same time. In fact, feeling an overburdened sense of responsibility or weighty guilt often paralyzes us: in our sense of the enormousness of the tasks before us, we don't see what we can do today, in this moment. Joy gives us the energy to act and the intuition to know how to be effective. Today, when joy comes, embrace and savor it without guilt.
You have more wisdom than you realize. When addressing a life question or wrestling with what feels like a deficiency in yourself, ask yourself: what would you say to yourself if you were your dearest friend? What would you say to yourself if you were your beloved child? Follow that advice. Maybe write it out. Although we may feel confused or tentative, we are created by Wisdom and therefore made to recognize Wisdom's voice.
Tarn Wilson is the author of the memoir The Slow Farm and numerous essays. You may read more of her work at tarnwilson.com.