Today, know that we are all spiritually whole. Regardless of our human circumstances, our spiritual selves are made complete. Beginning with this assumption helps us be steady and inspired in dealing with all the world's pain and injustices and leads us to solutions that are wise and respectful.
In the book Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life by Jungian psychologist, James Hollis, he says that addiction, fundamentalism, and distraction are all anxiety management techniques. "The task for each of us will be found in an increasing capacity to bear our lives without diversion and to suffer the soul's distress until we are led where it wishes to take us." We need to increase our capacity to "tolerate the anxiety, ambiguity, and ambivalence that are a necessary and unavoidable dimension of our lives."
Today, have less fear about discomfort and uncertainty.
When you are feeling anxious about something, say to yourself, "I am having the thought that . . . "
"I am having the thought that I am behind in all my work."
"I am having the thought that if I don't have some chocolate right now, I won't be able to bear it."
That phrase, "I'm having the thought that" allows you to see your thoughts for what they are: just thoughts. Just because we think something doesn't make it true. Maybe I'm not behind on my work. Maybe I'm just where I should be. I am certainly not going to die if I don't have chocolate and I can wait out the craving.
Interrupt your automatic thoughts and create space to question your assumptions with "I'm having the thought that . . ."
Today, you don't have to try so hard to improve yourself or fix the world's problems or do everything perfectly. Today, you can feel Love embracing you and delighting in you, holding you, attending to you, enjoying your company. Love can impel important adjustments in your life - or reveal insights - without so much effort on your part.
This morning, I read the article "How Can I Be a Solution?" by Piper Foster Wilder. In it she details how she got the idea to create a maintenance app to "solve chronic problems with rural electrification," beginning with Alaska Native grid operators. Step by humble step, she successfully build her company - while pregnant and while having little of the technical expertise to bring her idea to fruition.
She encourages us to ask "How can I be a solution?" and then know that Love is both impelling the question and providing the answers.
This was my favorite sentence: "I've learned that God inspired-ideas may look different than what I would have navigated toward myself, and that God's direction often leads me to solutions that are simpler and more tender than I would have thought useful, more immediate than I would have thought possible, and larger than I would have dared attempt."
Today, keep your eye out for simple, tender solutions. Know that ideas may come before you feel humanly ready. You don't have to feel ready to be ready!
There are some people who don't take enough responsibility. And there are those of us who take too much, who see almost all suffering (our own, those we know, global issues) as our fault. This can aid weight, burden, and complication, distraction to an already difficult situation.
Jesus's disciples, based on the belief systems of the time, ask if a man's blindness was caused by the man's sins or the sins of his parents. Jesus answers that neither the man nor his parents had sinned, "but the works of God would be revealed in him." And Jesus healed him.
A lingering sense of guilt - or blaming ourselves or others - can distract us from the business of watching Love do its healing, transforming work. Of course, sometimes we need to make changes or be accountable, but we will better be able to do that when we begin with Love's love for us.
Today, your job is to hold everything in love. The squirrel running across the lawn. The dishes in your sink. If your attention rests on something, hold it for a moment in love. Today, you don't need to change anything or fight for anything. (Of course we need change; we need to be fierce. We also need stillness and love.) Today let love rest: On your friend who talks too much. On your faded socks as you pull them on. On the weed growing out of the sidewalk.
The book of First John in the Bible says, "We are of God . . . hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error."
Because we are created by Spirit and by Truth, we can recognize truth when we hear it. We have the Love-given ability to cut through mental clutter and confusion. We are made to hear Love's voice and Wisdom's guidance. This process does not need to be difficult - but can be clear and instantaneous. If answers are not coming quickly, we can let go and trust that all will become clear.
First Thessalonians says, "Quench not the Spirit." The Amplified Bible expands the phrasing to "Do not quench [subdue, or be unresponsive to the working and guidance of] the [Holy] Spirit.
I feel I can barely glimpse the fullness of this statement, but today, it means to feel that Spirit/Love is alive, now, renewing itself, actively working in the spaces between us, in our communication, in our connection and community. It pulses through us, renewing our thoughts and our bodies. It allows us to see wonder and power in the moment. It entreats us to stay awake to the movings of Spirit - to not be blinded or distracted by schedules, rituals, or strongly held opinions or beliefs. Quench not the Spirit. Feel fullness. Play. Discover. Be healed.
In Angela Watson's teaching book Fewer Things, Better, she shares some strategies for a sustainable lifestyle. She says she works until she hits a point where she knows "she'll be tired , resentful, and impatient with my students the next day if I did any more." She says that stopping point is different each day, based mostly on the emotional and energy demands. "Experiment with choosing your stopping point based on what's going to set you up for success the next day."
She also encourages moments of rest and renewal built into the day. "You don't have to wait until everything else is done before you rest: you can rest so that everything else can get done." "Rest and relaxation work in a reciprocal way with productivity. Many people think rest is the opposite of getting things done, but it's actually the catalyst for it." "You'll perform at your optimal level when there are moments for rest and re-energizing peppered throughout your day."
Tarn Wilson is the author of the memoir The Slow Farm and numerous essays. You may read more of her work at tarnwilson.com.