Silent Retreat

https://pixabay.com/en/the-mother-of-grandma-woman-478319/
https://pixabay.com/en/the-mother-of-grandma-woman-478319/

 

 

A few years ago I went on a week long silent retreat. I’d never been on one so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The brochure said that participants should not expect to make or receive phone calls, text, or use their computers, as that would defeat the whole purpose of the retreat. Participants were further instructed that we were not to speak to other participants. Of course if there was an emergency we could speak and contact family or friends.

The retreat center was in a lovely setting and, much to my surprise, I didn’t have any trouble at all with having no contact with the “outside” world or with my fellow participants.

The first day or two I found myself reading and napping—mostly napping, if truth be told! But then I noticed myself being drawn to watch Mother Nature: the way the clouds floated across the sky, the different shades within the clouds, bees and butterflies hopping from flower to flower, the sounds of the crickets and birds, insects scurrying to and fro….

https://pixabay.com/en/dualism-contrast-judgment-conflict-1197153/
https://pixabay.com/en/dualism-contrast-judgment-conflict-1197153/

In the midst of all this busy-ness, there was a pervading peace that seeped into my soul. For the first time in a very long time, I was able to hear myself think.   More importantly, I was able to listen.

I heard my thoughts—they didn’t run at a sub-sonic level as they usually did. This allowed me to identify some not-so-helpful thought patterns.

The most exciting part for me was when I listened for, and was able to hear, the Still Small Voice within. I was filled with a quiet, profound joy when this happened.

I haven’t been on a week long retreat in years. Instead, I would periodically take a day—a weekend, if I could manage it—and give myself the gift of a silent retreat at home. While it can be a challenge to do this at home (there are so many projects and things that need doing!), but it’s a challenge worth taking on.

https://pixabay.com/en/spiral-words-thoughts-mindfulness-544400/
https://pixabay.com/en/spiral-words-thoughts-mindfulness-544400/

Why not give it a try for yourself today? Even if you can’t devote the whole day to a silent retreat, do part of the day—even an hour.

Things you can do during this silent time are: going for a walk in nature or just sitting in a lovely spot; gazing out your window and letting your mind go; listening to quiet and soothing music; choose a poem, or passage in a book, that is meaningful to you; reading in a holy book; or sitting quietly and being open to what the moment brings.

There is no right or wrong way to do this. It’s about slowing down, creating silence and stillness, then tuning your inner ear to hear.

Let me know how it goes for you in the comments section below!

Please pass this along to a friend. Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Thought You’d Enjoy These

http://motivatingmemes.net/whos-awesome/
http://motivatingmemes.net/whos-awesome/

 

I thought these were great and I had to share it with you!

Enjoy!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

http://motivatingmemes.net/understand-life-john-lennon/
http://motivatingmemes.net/understand-life-john-lennon/

 

http://motivatingmemes.net/simplicity/
http://motivatingmemes.net/simplicity/

 

http://motivatingmemes.net/success-comes-in-cans/
http://motivatingmemes.net/success-comes-in-cans/

 

http://motivatingmemes.net/today-i-will-live-in-the-moment-unless/
http://motivatingmemes.net/today-i-will-live-in-the-moment-unless/

Thanking Yourself

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thank_You.jpg
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thank_You.jpg

 

In a follow-up to yesterday’s post, I want to talk more about thanking ourselves.

Recently, I tweaked my morning practice. I now spend the first 20 – 30 minutes of the day sitting in silence–not meditating but sitting in silence and listening.  It’s through this updated practice that I discovered I don’t really thank myself.  I console myself, treat myself from time-to-time, and I even spoil myself when I’m feeling particularly bruised.

But I hadn’t made it a regular practice to thank myself.

The benefits I’ve discovered in the short while that I’ve done this have been pleasantly surprising. As I said in yesterday’s post, it’s helping me turn away from the past, letting go of it, and, as I said in yesterday’s post, I’ve found that forgiveness–of myself and others–is a natural, welcomed consequence.

I’ve also discovered that it’s an effective way to “turn that frown upside down”. The disparaging things that people have said about me–and even the negative things I tell myself–can be neutralized with this technique.

For instance, if someone says that we’re stubborn, usually that has a negative connotation: that we’re ornery and prickly and not very nice people.  Needless to say, this can have a very bad impact on our self-esteem!

But, what if we took that statement, “you’re so stubborn”, and instead dug a little deeper in ourselves to find what’s going on. We probably aren’t agreeing to go along with what the other person wants for a very good reason.  It can be that the person didn’t think through what they’re asking us to do and we can see all sorts of pitfalls.  We should thank ourselves for being the type of people who thinks things through and do reasonable due diligence before undertaking something.  We need to thank ourselves for being in tune with our intuition and the warning bells that are alerting us to something that needs further investigation.

So, stubborn? Not hardly!  And, Yay Us for having the skill and nerve to speak up and do what we think is right!

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:O_Praise_Him.jpg
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:O_Praise_Him.jpg

Also, I’ve found that thanking myself is a great way to start off the day. And, it’s also a great way to press the reset button on the day.  Naturally, it’s an excellent way to fall asleep, too!

You don’t have to make a big ordeal out of thanking yourself and it doesn’t have to be for Big Stuff. It can be for simple things such as “Thank you, me, for enjoying Nature and being able to give myself a lift by gazing at it through my window.”  Or “Thank you, me, for being diligent and persistent about understanding who I truly am.”  Or “Thank you, me, for choosing such good friends.” Or “Thank you, me, for buying fresh flowers for my home once a month.”  Or “Thank you, me, for always trying to see the good side of situations.” Or “Thank you, me, for giving people the benefit of the doubt.” Or “Thank you, me, for being a great cook!”

Simple things, ordinary things, the way you naturally are, the things you naturally do, are all excellent things to thank yourself for.

By making this a regular practice, you’ll find you feel lighter, more hopeful, and you’re more present in the moment and looking forward to the future. All good stuff!

Give it a try and let me know how it goes for you. Leave a comment!

Please pass this post along to a friend. Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

One Technique to Help You Let Go of the Past

https://pixabay.com/en/becoming-fractal-design-unfolding-774726/
https://pixabay.com/en/becoming-fractal-design-unfolding-774726/

 

Yesterday we talked about letting go of our past–at least turning away from the past. The reason why we want to do this is because there is nothing for us in the past.

There is no rescue, no salvation, no absolution. 

The only place we’ll have a hope of finding those things is in this moment right now and doing what each of us can to help ourselves live a more peaceful and contented life.

Letting go of the past is no easy feat, though.

Most people will tell you that you have to figure out a way to forgive the other person as well as forgiving yourself.

I’ve tried this technique but it only got me so far. In working through letting go of pain from the past, the technique I’ve found helpful is to appreciate myself–and even to thank myself.

This might seem like a crazy idea–thanking myself for getting hurt, appreciating myself because someone else took advantage of me and played me for a fool?? That doesn’t seem to make sense to be glad about this.

I’m certainly not happy or glad about the pain, embarrassment, or humiliation.   These are the things on the surface, though.  What I’m talking about is digging a little deeper and appreciating myself for being the type of person who, for instance, is apt to give people the benefit of the doubt.  I don’t want to ever become they type of person who distrusts others and is bitter and cynical.  I want to believe that the majority of people are trying their best to be good and helpful people.

Perhaps I’ll run across people who don’t deserve the grace of being given the benefit of the doubt and, as a result, I’ll get hurt. But, to me, the pain of being taken advantage of is less than the pain I’d feel if I didn’t give the benefit of the doubt to a person who truly deserved it.  I mean, we all have bad days.  We all have days where we behave badly…and we all regret it deeply.  And, you just never know the grueling battles and the horrors people are facing in their lives.  So, I’d rather err on the side of cutting them some slack rather than being judgmental and distrustful.

https://pixabay.com/en/mural-girl-balloon-heart-graffiti-1331783/
https://pixabay.com/en/mural-girl-balloon-heart-graffiti-1331783/

So, that’s what I mean by looking below the surface of the emotions that are linking you to the past–the pain, humiliation, embarrassment, anger…whatever the emotion happens to be. Ask yourself why you’re feeling that.  Why did that incident cause that reaction in you?  What is going on below your surface?

Answering these questions will help you see the goodness and the big heart that you have. And you can be thankful and happy about those qualities!

Once you begin to see the good qualities you have and be thankful that you have them, you’ll see that forgiveness and letting go will naturally happen.

Give it a try! Let me know in the comments below how this technique works for you.

Please pass this post along to a friend–thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

The Past: Let Go

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=85398&picture=writers-desk-with-cappuccino
http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=85398&picture=writers-desk-with-cappuccino

 

Last week I was at the coffee shop waiting for a friend of mine. She’d called me to say she was running late so I settled in to do my favorite thing:  people watch.

It was a conversation that caught my attention, though.

At a table nearby, a woman was upset about the break-up of a relationship and her friend was consoling her. Even though the relationship ended a while ago, it seemed, the woman was having a hard time letting go.  She seemed to be questioning whether she could have done more or done things differently.  Her friend gently told her that she had done all she could.   The woman continued on, though, as if she was searching desperately for something she could do now that would change what had already happened.

In other words, she wanted to do something in the here-and-now that would reach back over time and change the past.

That realization struck a chord with me because there have been times in my life–heck, even now!–where situations had turned into issues because I wasn’t letting go. I, too, had looked for something to do in the present that would change the past.

There is nothing we can do now or in the future that will change the past, alter what happened, or make it come out differently–better.

Which means that all we can do is find a way to make peace with the past.  We don’t have to like it or be happy about it.  We just need to come to terms with it such that we can turn our backs on it and look to the future.

SkyTheLimit webOur hope of salvation is in this moment and in the future. There is nothing for us in the past.

Realizing this has made it a little easier to detach from my feelings about what did/didn’t happen that had then caused me pain and made me stop in my tracks. It’s made it easier to look to the future, which has helped me stop trying to fix the past.

Let it go.

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Do Not Let Your Fire Go Out

 

http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=504&picture=candle
http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=504&picture=candle

 

I found this quote and I think it says it all:

 

Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours. ― Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

 

Print out multiple copies of this quote and tape it to every surface you touch and see throughout your day.

Read it. Often.

Memorize it.

Never let it out of your mind.

https://pixabay.com/en/candle-christmas-star-advent-1428451/
https://pixabay.com/en/candle-christmas-star-advent-1428451/

I absolutely love the last lines:

The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.

 

TAKE THE NEXT STEP!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren