Tag Archives: first thing

Pilgrimage: Quotations from Pema Chödrön

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This week we’ll be talking about how the life each of us is living is one big soul-prospering pilgrimage.

 

Recently, I came across a few quotes from Pema Chödrön, an American Tibetan Buddhist, that are relevant to this week’s topic.

 

Without loving-kindness for ourselves it is difficult, if not impossible, to genuinely feel it for others. ~ Pema Chödrön

This quote sums up the underlying theme of the lives of each of us. On the days when we find it’s really tough to be understanding, compassionate, and kind to others, this is our spirit’s error message telling us that we, ourselves, need loving-kindness. We need to care for ourselves–that piece of us that feels deprived or neglected–so that we have a spirit overflowing with loving-kindness that then we have plenty to share with others.

 

Rejoicing in ordinary things is not sentimental or trite. It actually takes guts. Each time we drop our complaints and allow everyday good fortune to inspire us, we enter the warrior’s world. ~ Pema Chödrön

It’s the little things in life that we need to focus on in order to lead a soul-prospering life of joy, peace, loving-kindness, and abundance. We wish and hope for, and intensely focus our stare and wait for the Big Stuff that we’re sure will bring us happiness, peace, and fulfillment. Sure, sometimes the Big Stuff comes along, but those times are few and far between. And the happiness we derive from it does not last.

Taking pleasure and satisfaction from the little moments and letting those simple joys infuse us is how we step into our soul-prospering life. The really fantastic news is that we don’t have to worry about sustaining joy, contentment, and peace because every moment of each day is brimming over with little pleasures and happy surprises so we’re continuously renewed and refreshed.

 

We think that by protecting ourselves from suffering, we are being kind to ourselves. The truth is we only become more fearful, more hardened and more alienated. We experience ourselves as being separate from the whole. This separateness becomes like a prison for us – a prison that restricts us to our personal hopes and fears, and to caring only for the people nearest to us. Curiously enough, if we primarily try to shield ourselves from discomfort, we suffer. Yet, when we don’t close off, when we let our hearts break, we discover our kinship with all beings. ~ Pema Chödrön

It’s when we uncover our hearts and spirits–those tender, vulnerable places within us–that we begin to see through, beyond, and underneath the heartbreak and travail of the world and can experience Creative Intelligence that nourishes and sustains all in the cosmos, both seen and unseen.

 

This is why this week we’re going to talk about pilgrimage and what it means to each of us personally.

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

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Self Care: Pilgrimages

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Think of the act of self caring as making a pilgrimage to feed and nurture that part of you–those parts of you–that gets dismissed and trampled by every day Life.

The pilgrimage doesn’t have to be traveling to a Holy Site, a basilica in a far-off country complete with a centuries-dead saint’s relics; the pilgrimage only has to be holy to you. This is what elevates self-indulgence to an act of self-care.

A pilgrimage of self-care is a form of honoring, connecting with, and even consecrating the place within you that is deep, rich, and eternal.  

Sometimes I need to sit on my deck at night or in the early morning and gaze at the stars in astonished wonder at the exquisite magnificence of the heavens. Other times I need the camaraderie of my family or my very good friends. At another time, I may need the nurturing comfort of a bowl of soup that I’ve made from scratch or the sustenance of a freshly baked batch of cookies made from a recipe handed down from my mother.

Then there are times when all I need is to take a breather by gazing out my window and daydreaming, or pulling out my bottle of bubbles and filling the air with shimmering, iridescent bubbles.

My pilgrimage of self-care morphs and shifts to what I need in the moment. It’s all good!

For instance, my pilgrimage today is reading. I’m reading a book about an autistic person’s experience and fascination with language, and another book on a person’s spiritual journey.

Of course there are those who would say that nothing good will come of this reading: these aren’t books to choose if you’re looking for entertainment; they aren’t books that I can somehow use to further my career by making my skills and knowledge more marketable.

But they’re feeding me and nurturing that part of me that’s feeling pushed to the side and overlooked.

They make me see the world from another’s point of view. My mind considers ideas I wouldn’t have had on my own. As I go about my other tasks today, I ponder a sentence, a phrase, or a whole thought from each of the books. I know I’ll continue to do this in the weeks and months to come. I know this pondering and considering will lead to insights that will smooth some of the rough spots on my path or show me beauty and goodness I would have otherwise been blind to.

So, if eating gourmet chocolate while sipping a fine wine is an activity that restores calm, peace, and balance in your life; if it fills you with hope and reinforces your belief that beauty, love, and goodness in all forms out-weigh the negative in the world, then I say you’re on the right track.

What self-care pilgrimage are you currently on? Feel free to share in the comments below. Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Self Care: You Aren’t Going to be Perfect

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This week, we’ve been talking about self care and how it helps us stay balanced in the midst of the pressure in our lives. Self care is instrumental in helping us restore balance if we’ve gotten discombobulated.

We also talked about self care versus self indulgence so that we can choose the techniques that will not only soothe and comfort us in the moment but also sustain that peace and well-being as we move forward.

I want you to know, though, that you aren’t going to get it right every time so don’t have the expectation that you’ll always choose the right thing to do in a particular moment.   Sometimes, instead of reaching for a nutritious pick-me-up to soothe you, you’ll reach for and eat that bag of potato chips or that pint of ice cream.

You’ll choose the self-indulgent thing instead of the self-caring thing.

Don’t worry about it. If this happens to you, it isn’t the end of the world. You can always make another–a different–choice. That next choice will be better because you now know what may give you a little bit of comfort and calm for a short while, but it really doesn’t sustain you. And it’s finding techniques that sustain the feeling of calm and well-being that you truly crave.

Recognize that the particular experience of self care in that moment includes doing something that may work for a tiny while but then you move on to another technique that has more staying power.

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Give yourself the elbow room, which is a part of self care–experimenting, trying things, combining techniques, and the like.

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Self Care: Questions to Ask Yourself

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Sometimes we’re in such a state that it’s difficult to figure out if we’re indulging ourselves or if we’re caring for ourselves.

When we feel ourselves feeling out of sorts or discombobulated, it’s because we’re out of balance:  we have too much of one thing and not enough of another.  Usually, we have too much of the world and Life pushing us, prodding us, and making us feel not enough and that we have to rush, rush, rush to try to catch up.  On top of that, we don’t have enough of feeling good about ourselves, feeling capable and competent, and that we’re enough just as we are.

Self-care is the key to getting ourselves back on solid ground.  To do this we need to pause, check in with ourselves, and identify what’s causing the imbalance.

Here are a few questions to ask ourselves so we can nurture and nourish ourselves in a way that will comfort and soothe us now as well as sustain us going forward:

 

What do I have too much of right now?

What do I have too little of right now?

When was the last time I laughed, or even smiled?

When was the last time I did something just for the pleasure of it?

What am I resenting or angry about in my life right now?

What is making me sad right now?

What am I starving for?

What am I yearning for?

What do I wish I had right now?

 

 

These questions are a starting point.  You might come up with questions that are more tailored to your needs and circumstances, and that’s perfect.

Take the time to ask yourself these questions, listen to your answers, and FOLLOW THROUGH WITH ACTION—doing something about it!

You can do it; I believe in you!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Self-Care: The Difference Between Self Care and Self Indulgence

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People often confuse self-care with self-indulgence. People think treating themselves to chocolate or ice cream or cookies is a form of self-care. They think skipping their session at the gym is self-care. Or, they may convince themselves that staying out late with their friends, getting drunk or high or zoning out in front of the TV are forms of self-care.

These aren’t.

All of these are self-indulgence.

The difference between self-care and self-indulgence is that self-care helps balance the effects of emotional, physical, and mental stressors in every day life. The effects of self-care are long lasting.

Self-indulgence is a quick fix for stressors and the effects are very short-lived.

Self-care is doing things such as eating nutritious food, getting plenty of sleep, making sure you have quiet time for meditation and contemplation, including exercise and movement in your day, regularly engaging in activities that are enjoyable, and spending time with people who celebrate you.

Self-care is all about balance, moderation, and thoughtfully choosing what to do–how best to soothe and comfort yourself.

What are some things you do to care for yourself? I watch the sunrise or sunset and I enjoy blowing bubbles. How about you? Feel free to share in the comments below. Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Back by Popular Demand: Quotes to Inspire You

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Need some inspiration? Here are a few quotes:

 

When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps. ~Confucius

 

Wisdom is knowing what to do next; virtue is doing it. ~David Star Jordan

 

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. ~Helen Keller

 

Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work. ~Stephen King

 

In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It isn’t what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently. ~Tony Robbins

 

Defeat my serve as well as victory to shake the soul and let the glory out. ~Edwin Markham

 

Never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you were meant to do. ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

 

Use what talent you possess; the woods would be very quiet if no birds sang except those that sang best. ~Henry van Dyke

 

Why should you continue to go after your dreams? Because seeing the look on the faces of the people who said you couldn’t do it, will be…priceless! ~Kevin Ngo

 

Which quote(s) did you like best?

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Spirituality: Happy Friday the 13th with 13 Inspiring Spiritual Quotations to Celebrate!

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A cherished friend of mine is a graduate of Colgate University. The number thirteen is a lucky one for all people connected to Colgate University and every Friday the Thirteenth is a celebration day for them.

In honor of my friend’s achievement of graduating from Colgate University, and to join in the celebration of the number thirteen, here are thirteen inspirational quotes about spirituality.

Being on a spiritual path does not prevent you from facing times of darkness; it teaches you how to use the darkness as a tool to grow. ~Unknown

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle that shines or the mirror that reflects it. ~Edith Wharton

People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road does not mean they are lost. ~Dalai Lama

A Spiritual Badass: sends out love to strangers; is always seeking the lesson; knows that happiness is a choice. ~Unknown

The candle loses nothing by lighting another candle. ~Italian Proverb

Maybe the journey isn’t about becoming something but rather unbecoming everything that isn’t really you so that you can be who you were meant to be in the first place. ~Unknown

Throw kindness around like confetti. ~Unknown

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle and the life of the candle will not be shortened. ~Buddha

Someday we’ll forget the hurt, the reason we cried, and who caused us pain. We will finally realize that the secret of being free is not revenge but letting things unfold in their own way and own time. After all, what matters is not the first but the last chapter of our life, which shows how well we ran the race. So smile, laugh, forgive, believe, and love all over again. ~Unknown

Three years from now make sure you can say that you chose your life, you didn’t settle for it. ~Unknown

Sometimes when you don’t know what to say, a hug says enough. ~Unknown

It is well with my soul. ~Horatio Spafford

Be kind when it is possible; it is always possible. ~Dalai Lama

 

I think each of these are filled with simple wisdom and timely reminders; I hope they are as meaningful for you as they are for me.

 

Enjoy!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren