I just turned 60, a big birthday, and one that has turned me introspective–even more than usual! Turns out, I’m quite proud of myself. Doing fine.
Usually, by this time in the course of a year, I have completely forgotten what word I started out with and have to do a panicked search through journals to remind myself–if I even think of it at all. But not this year.
I’m still connecting, still trying to say yes to opportunities that encourage me to go deeper. And broader. Truer.
I’ve been working on my relationship to Truth. That’s probably not unusual in this era of misdirection, false facts and “truthiness.” It’s hard to know who to believe, what to believe or, if you do believe, how to respond.
But I’m not talking about that.
I’m working on my own truth, my acceptance and understanding of who I am and what I believe about myself and my place in the universe. My connection to the universe as ME. In January I didn’t have many strategies to develop this skill, but I have more now.
Take a class. I took an online class on self-healing that gave me some great tools and exercises to shift my thinking away from negativity and into feeling good about myself, or at least a lot kinder about myself–and about others also. Maybe that’s just the way it works. In fact, one of the exercises I practiced is from http://thework.com/en. It helped me enormously to do this with a partner.
Find a hero. A lot of heroes. I watched that wonderful new documentary about Mr. Fred Rogers, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, that immediately made me want to binge watch every episode of his show ever made. He is my hero. It’s important to have heroes to inspire me to grow and deepen, yes, but also to keep me feeling positive about our world. It’s a kick to figure out how a person I interact with in my daily life can be–is!–my hero in one way or another. I had to get my phone’s screen replaced recently, and the man doing the work was the most positive, friendly, “yes I can!” person I’ve met in a long time. My hero.
Meditate. I’m a total newbie at this. I did okay on my own (starting with 5 minutes), but it has helped to have an app on my phone to show me the way. I use Headspace. It’s a little embarrassing to call it “meditation for dummies,” so I’ll just say it’s user-friendly. Meditation practice early in the day opens a channel within me, a connection to a creative flow. Who knew? Well, obviously lots and lots of meditators.
Pray. I asked a writer friend, Connie Connelly, how she dealt with the depression and doubt that besets most writers. My question inspired her to blog about her Spiritual Survival as a Writer. (I am the “Mary” she refers to). I’m not sure I’ve ever before made a practice of asking for help from God with making decisions. This concept was not exactly encouraged (or even mentioned) in my Unitarian upbringing. But exploring spirituality on my own was encouraged, and my relationship to God (Life Force, Creator, Spirit, Universe) has deepened enormously as I’ve aged. Still, asking for help for myself through prayer is quite new to me. I’m a bit stunned at how much it’s resonating. Recently I stressed about a selection to read at a salon I participated in: Was what I wrote appropriate? Was it stupid? Did I need to edit it even more? Blah blah blah. So…I asked God about it. The response: “It’s just not that important, Mathilda.” I felt such relief at getting that answer! It allowed me to laugh, for one thing. Relaxing into the release from pressure made the entire reading experience so much more joyful for me. I tend to burden myself with the importance of everything I do, the choices I make, even the words I choose. With a God that can remind me to laugh at myself and lighten up, I feel blessed indeed.
How do you connect to the inner truth that is you? What tools should I explore?