Today, sense that you are standing on stable, spiritual ground. You are held there, solid and secure. When you feel buffeted by world news, others' worries or suffering, or your own fears or moods, sense that spiritual ground underneath you. Feel how solid it is. How stable. Feel how you can rest and hold yourself steady there, on a firm foundation.
Sometimes, this is my spiritual message: life is short, wake up, seize the moment, face what needs to be faced.
Today, my message is the flip slide. Our spiritual identities are eternal. God, Love, lives outside of time. Therefore, we have eternity to learn, discover, grow in wisdom and understanding. This is not an excuse to drift through life half-asleep, but it does gives us deep patience and trust, a sense of spaciousness and perspective. It lowers our fear and sense of urgency. Knowing that others also have an eternity gives us more patience and trust in their journeys.
Today, accept gifts. Know that your work is a gift to you. Your home is a gift to you. Food and sun and music is a gift to you. Relationships are a gift to you.
Today, instead of focusing on areas of lack, fear, or disturbance, notice and feel the ways that Love is showering you with gifts, right now. Accept the gifts with appreciation and an open-heart.
This does not mean we slip into denial, repress our feelings, ignore our intuitions, or avoid important work. It does mean pausing from our worries to see a bigger picture. This takes courage - because most humans have a built in superstition that to acknowledge good is to curse it. Challenge this belief.
There is a pace that Love moves. Sometimes, I try to move faster, frustrated that my long to do list isn't finished right now. Sometimes, I move too slowly, afraid of change or failure or that I won't meet my standards. But Love's movement and timing meets our deepest needs and the needs of those around us. Today, ask to move as Love moves. Let go of opinion and will. Don't push or resist. Listen and trust.
James Hollis, in his book Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life, suggests asking ourselves, "What does my soul want?" Not, what does my ego want, but what does my soul want?
Even if we have a fuzzy idea of ego and soul, I think this question wakes us up.
What does my essential self want?
What does God-in-me want?
What does my creativity want?
What does my joy want?
What does my sense of integrity want?
What does my-self-that-tells-me-the truth want?
The ego gets caught in artificially constructed sense of identity, the desire to please authority and meet cultural expectations, the desire for familiarity and comfort, even if those patterns no longer serve us.
Today ask "What does my soul want" and be open to whatever the answer may be.
Today, have a new relationship to your struggles.
Instead of focusing on the injustice, the confusion, the seeming intractability of your struggles, recognize - and if you are able, feel grateful for - the deep teachings of your struggles, which are asking you to grow, to see differently, to live differently, to be a wiser, more humble, stronger, more empathetic version of yourself.
Your struggles are your teacher. It doesn't matter what kind of student you are (fast or slow, eager or resistant). Just see yourself as a student.
Today, know that Spirit, Love, does not require perfect forms to do its work. It does not require perfect people, perfect schedules, perfect words, perfect buildings, perfect systems.
Today, feel the activity, the movement, the communication, the energy of Spirit, Love, working powerfully and effectively in our imperfect lives. Feel a sense of wonder about this. Trust this divine movement, which meets our deepest needs, often hidden from ourselves.
If you are feeling guilt, don't stop there. Ask yourself what is hiding under guilt.
Guilt is unpleasant. But for those of prone to guilt, we can default there because it is familiar - unpleasant but comfortable.
So next time you feel a splash, or waterfall, of guilt, ask what is hiding under it. Sometimes the demand is for change. We feel guilty because we aren't behaving in a way that is healthy for ourselves our others. Rather than squander our precious energy on guilt, we can put our attention into examining what we want to do differently, rallying our resources, and beginning the hard work of change.
Sometimes we feel guilt because it is more familiar and comfortable than joy. We might fear that if we feel joy too fully, we will set ourselves up for disappointment, for grief over future loss. (I often dampen my sense of joy by feeling guilty for having any good in my life someone else seems to lack.) Accepting the joy and gifts of your life takes courage and open-heartedness - and actually makes you more prone to generosity and more clear about how to do actual good for others. Refusing to fully feel joy does not protect us from future loss; it only steals from the present.
Sometimes we feel guilt because we are actually on the right road for positive change but are feeling uncertain in our new patterns, and maybe fear that we may be betraying those we might leave behind. Guilt is just a price of progress.
Today, pay attention to what is hiding under guilt.
Because we live with ourselves, it can be difficult to see what we bring to the table, to a room, to others just by being ourselves: our good motives, our humor, our skills, our perspective or insight, our nature. Because of this, we sometimes put forth more effort than is necessary - either in the number of tasks we assign ourselves or in our level of effort. Know that you are blessing to your work and your work is a blessing to you. Today, let go of over-effort.
From the book Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life by Jungian psychologist James Hollis:
"Beginning with Mom and Dad, most children learn to get love by providing others with what is demanded, expected, or merely implied. Accommodation is a leaned response, sometimes even necessary for civilization to survive. But when repeated accommodation overrides the desires of our inner life, becomes a violation of personal integrity, the results are ugly. Notice there are many polite words for we have learned to accommodate our accommodations. We say someone is "sweet," "personable," "amicable," "easygoing," and most often, "nice." When these labels repeatedly apply to someone's behavior the consequences to the person's inner life may in fact be ugly . . . If we find ourselves repeatedly, reflexively being nice, we have not only lost integrity through reflexive response, we have lost the power to conduct our own life."
"Learning to find one's own truth, hold to it, and negotiate with others seems easy enough on paper. In practice, it means catching reflexive actions while they occur, suffering the anxiety aroused by acting more consciously in integrity, and tolerating the assault of anxiety-driven "guilt" thereafter. (This guilt is not genuine; it is a form of anxiety aroused by the anticipated negative reaction of the other person. Such reactions for the child were enormously distressing, and are still debilitating in adulthood.)"
Tarn Wilson is the author of the memoir The Slow Farm and numerous essays. You may read more of her work at tarnwilson.com.