“Let your heart guide you. It whispers, so listen carefully.” ~ Littlefoot’s mother, Land Before Time
So how do we learn to listen carefully? For me, learning to nurture positive thoughts about who I am, who the people in my life are, and what I feel is a crucial first step. We all have self-doubt and it’s easy to become focused on it. Since our brains are NOT hardwired, they constantly change as we experience life. Negative thinking over time will become a habit and will ultimately transform our brains. The good news is that the opposite happens as well; positive self-talk can also become habitual and transform our brains – in a good way!
A large part of spiritual growth is getting rid of negative thinking about who we are and about the world in which we live. A great way to begin is to learn to reframe things that are happening around you and the thoughts you have about them. In other words, step back and look at things through another lens. Try to positively reframe upsetting events, actions, or relationships. Try to see actions of others as unintentional or motivated by factors other than you. If these explanations clearly do not apply, simply “let it go” to maintain your own inner peace and spiritual wellness.
Reframing can change your body’s response to stress. Learn to visualize what you want to be and how you want to respond. Close your eyes, breathe deeply, and focus on positive thoughts and images. Over time, the positive thoughts and images (self-talk) will become “etched” into our brains and our behavior. So, in your quest for spiritual wellness try positive reframing – before long, you will be listening more carefully!
Who am I?
I find this to be a very intriguing question; this search for the “True Self” as it is often called. I could think of a quite a few words to describe myself, such as: wife, mother, daughter, friend, patient, peacemaker, etc. One word I typically wouldn’t use, nor do I think others wold use, is “athlete.” For some reason, that word just doesn’t fit even though in truth, I’m a runner. I enjoy running for exercise and am currently training for my second marathon. But since I’m not trying to win any races, I just don’t see myself as an athlete. (Which by the way, “slow and steady wins the race” isn’t true.) So I do some running but that’s about the extent of my athleticism. One thing
I know should go hand in hand with running is stretching and I’m terribly guilty of not doing that!
So what does this have to do with discovering my True Self?
Well, I find that running without stretching causes me to be very tight and inflexible. When I do take the time to stretch and practice yoga, my body opens up and creates space for me to move freely. This is a metaphor for my spiritual life. Running without stretching is like living without meditation. I can give and give of myself; loving others, ministering to those in need, engaging in holy listening. But if I haven’t taken the time for meditation, then like the physical running, my spirit begins to tighten and I’m in danger of serious injury to my soul.
I believe that within each of us is a holy place where we are at one with the Divine and it is there that we discover our True Self as we are created to be. This sacred space holds the truth of Love and Grace that gives meaning and purpose to our life. How do we discover and dwell in this place? We must “stretch open” our soul. We must take time for prayer, meditation, and contemplation so we can quiet the distractions of life and loosen all the muscles that contract around this holy of holies blocking our entrance.
So today I will begin a more diligent discipline of stretching. Stretching my body to open to the wonders of the world and stretching my soul to open to the wonders of the Divine within.
How do you open yourself?