Today, remember that you have a still place inside of you where you can take refuge. When you can find a moment, retreat into that place where you meet the wise and whole parts of yourself. Pause there, steady yourself, feel confident in your strength. Be shielded for a moment from the winds of judgment, opinion, rush, comparison, and fear.
From Wayne Muller:
"When people share with me their sorrow and suffering, at my best I am merely a faithful companion, watching for the wholeness embedded deep within their fear and confusion. For a time, all they can see or feel is the cold, cutting blade of their terror, the ache of their despair, the burning sadness. My work is to be good company, to allow them to lean for a while on my unshakable belief in their inner fire. Even on the good days I cannot do more than this. Then, slowly, in their own time, their bodies begin to open, and they begin to feel and taste the possibility of this wholeness in themselves."
Today, even if you are feeling fragile and fearful, recognize that you have a deep well of courage, strength, and wisdom. It is a spiritual gift. It has served you well before and is present for you now. See that same deep well in other people. When you treat others as if they have courage, strength, and wisdom, they begin to recognize and trust it in themselves.
Paraphrased from Wayne Muller's Legacy of the Heart:
Especially for those with challenging childhoods, we often overreact to anxiety. We assume our fear is a reaction to real threat, as it was in our past. Instead, anxiety may just be "a signal that something in this moment is in need of attention. Something in our body, our emotions, or our environment may be somehow disrupted or off balance, and needs our care." Today, keep any anxiety in proper perspective.
The Bible says, "My presence shall go with thee, and I shall give you rest." Wayne Muller in his book on the Sabbath says, "God does not want us to be exhausted. God wants us to be happy." Today, feel Love as a presence that holds and sustains you. Let Love set your priorities. Accept rest as a gift.
Wayne Muller writes more on the sabbath. To him, the Sabbath does not mean only a the traditional day of rest, but any moment, hour, afternoon, or season of restoration:
"' Remember the Sabbath' means 'Remember that everything you have received is a blessing. Remember to delight in your life, in the fruits of your labor. Remember to stop and offer thanks for the wonder of it . . . Sabbath honor the necessary wisdom of dormancy. If certain plant species, for example, do not lie dormant in winter, they will not bear fruit in the spring . . . We, too, must have a period in which we lie fallow, and restore our souls . . . Within this sanctuary, we become available to the insights and blessings of deep mindfulness that arise only in stillness and time. When we act from a place of deep rest, we are more capable of cultivating what the Buddhists would call right understanding, right action, and right effort."
From Wayne Muller's book Sabbath:
Our culture invariably supposes that action and accomplishment are better than rest, that doing something--anything--is better than doing nothing. Because of our desire to succeed, to meet these ever-growing expectations, we do not rest. Because we do not rest, we lose our way. We miss the compass points that would show us where to go, we bypass the nourishment that would give us succor. We miss the quiet that would give us wisdom. We miss the joy and love born of effortless delight. Poisoned by this hypnotic belief that good things come only through unceasing determination and tireless effort, we can never truly rest.
Part of the 23rd Psalms reads, "He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul." Today, feel Love itself providing and enforcing rest, renewal, and restoration for your body and spirit. Accept moments of pause, stillness, beauty, and joy without resistance or guilt. They are a spiritual requirement.
Today, recognize that through your work, Love touches the world. As ordinary or flawed as your job may feel, recognize and honor it as part of Love's activity, serving you and others in ways both visible and invisible.
Today, notice the places you are holding tension in your body and relax them. Like the person afraid of flying who grips the armrests to hold up the plane or the ancient tribe who believed their prayers made the sunrise, some of us falsely believe we hold our lives together by being tense. Practice releasing this false belief. Trust.
Tarn Wilson is the author of the memoir The Slow Farm and numerous essays. You may read more of her work at tarnwilson.com.