“Love is a sacred reserve of energy; it is like the blood of spiritual evolution.”
—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
The outside world often feels chaotic, tumultuous, and stressful. So often, we feel helpless or powerless to do anything to “set it right”—especially when it comes to senseless tragedies, natural disasters, and world conflicts, which we have no shortage of lately.
Of course, out of disasters and tragedies comes the desire for most of us to become involved in causes, donate our time or resources, and take actions to effect change and growth. However, there will always be cases when we still feel helpless and, quite frankly, sad, and we simply cannot do anything but send our loving energy to heal a situation.
For decades now I have been sending my love, prayers, and healing energy out to the world by writing my Sacred Mantra. If you have read my book The Practice, attended my workshops, or visited my website, you know that a Sacred Mantra is a hallowed phrase of your choosing that you turn to throughout the day for support and connection to your inner sense of well-being, love, and power. My Sacred Mantra is “My God and My All.”
Writing my Sacred Mantra is a powerful, meditative, and transformative experience for me. I use a small notebook and write “My God and My All” again and again while focusing all my attention on sending loving, healing energy to wherever it is needed—whether that’s to a country, a family, someone close to me, myself, the world, or any other being or group. I have found this to be a profound and moving way to know deeply that I am absolutely making a difference for the greater good by directing my energy and love in this way.
I have an “artist” inside of me—I believe we all do! So an intimately creative way to work with the Sacred Mantra is to write it within the white spaces of a line drawing to create Sacred Mantra art. I do this for many reasons—not just because I love to! When the world seems like a “hopeless mess,” creating mantra art is incredibly comforting. If a friend is experiencing a particularly difficult time, giving him or her my Sacred Mantra art as a gift lets my friend know how deeply I care. The list of reasons I create Sacred Mantra art is virtually endless.
I mentioned in a previous post and in my book The Practice that I created Sacred Mantra art for my daughter, Michelle, when she went away to college. For four years, I filled in various beautiful line drawings I found and sent her loving thoughts by way of my mantra art. Truth be told, it helped me immensely to stop worrying so much about her and obsessing over the fact I had no control! This is one of the pieces I did for her.
If this activity speaks to you, you may wish to download one of the line drawings on my website by clicking here. With sharp colored pencils or fine-tipped markers, begin writing your Sacred Mantra in the spaces until all of the white space is filled up. All the while, keep your attention focused on sending loving energy to whomever your artwork is intended. I guarantee your finished product—your loving energy on paper—will be a breathtaking masterpiece physically, mentally, and spiritually. You may even want to frame it as I have done with some of my “works of art.”
I often quote these words by my friend, Buddhist nun, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo: “Our mind with its incessant stream of thoughts, memories, opinions, hopes and fears is our constant companion, from which we cannot escape even in our dreams. So it makes sense to cultivate a worthy travel companion for our journey.”
For me, these words ring true, and I have devoted much of my life to learning how to cultivate my mind through the spiritual practices I now teach in my workshops and in my new book, The Practice. But let us not forget the other companion with whom we also spend our entire lives: the human body.
This body of ours is an incredible machine. It may not use words the way the mind does, but it speaks to us all day long through feelings and sensations. We know when our body feels good, when it hurts, and even when something just feels off. It carries us around the world, allowing us to interact on all the physical levels through our senses. It is our miraculous vehicle for accomplishing our great works in life!
So, to me, it also make sense to cultivate this companion, to be kind to it for all it does, so that we can be healthy in both body and mind—and as a result, in heart. When we are in alignment—body, mind, and heart—we are just naturally happier and more at ease with the world and ourselves.
Here are several ways to cultivate a healthier, happier body:
- Eat clean. Clean eating is a big topic these days. This approach to eating generally focuses on foods in their most natural forms and avoiding harsh chemicals and other food additives. It’s not my intention to offer dietary guidelines here, but it’s certainly a good idea to become familiar with the healthiest options in all the food groups so that you can make the best choices at the grocery store and when eating out.
- Drink water. The human body is made up of about 60% water. Every system in our body depends on water to function. Although other beverages contain water and can conceivably replenish our fluid levels, fresh water doesn’t contain any sugar, flavorings, or difficult-to-pronounce ingredients that might have a negative effect on the body. Therefore, make water your beverage of choice as often as possible. Herbal teas and water with a twist of lemon, lime, or other type of fruit are good choices as well.
- Exercise. This is a general term for getting your body moving. Exercise comes in many forms, and finding the right physical activity and frequency for you is a personal matter. My advice here is simple: condition your body so that all your joints, tendons, and muscles have a chance to see some action—after all, that’s what they were made for. If you are uncertain how to begin, check with your healthcare practitioner for suggested exercises.
- Get outside. A cool breeze on your face, the tickle of grass on your bare feet, raindrops on your head, and the rays of the sun warming your skin—this is your body interacting with nature. Being outdoors for at least a few minutes every day is one of the most powerful ways to connect with the earth and ground ourselves in its life-giving sustenance.
- Listen to your body. Your body has a language all its own. As you start to listen to it, you will begin to understand what it is telling you. Sometimes your intuition speaks to you through your body—butterflies in your stomach, a tightness in your chest, a lump in your throat. These sensations could be suggesting that there’s something you need to address. Take these messages to heart so that you can take action.
- Practice relaxation techniques. At least once a day, consciously give your body the opportunity to relax for at least a few minutes. The number-one form of relaxation on my list is meditation. If you are familiar with The Practice, you know that I recommend meditating first thing upon awakening. Meditation is sitting with yourself, to connect within, grounding yourself, and learning how to listen within to your intuition, your body and accessing your heart. Take a minute to check out my Waking Up Meditation, the first tool in my book. We have other types of relaxation as well—for example, deep breathing, progressive relaxation, visualization, and a good old-fashioned bath. With all of these suggestions, the benefits of relaxation on your body are virtually endless.
- Get regular checkups. Visit your doctor, acupuncturist, holistic health coach, etc. as often as recommended for your age and level of health. Staying proactive with your physical health makes great sense.
- Pamper yourself. Be kind to your body by doing something extra nice for it from time to time. Some ideas include taking an aromatic bath, trading massages with a friend or partner, and getting a manicure and/or pedicure. Let your body know you appreciate it by taking a little extra time when it comes to your personal care.
The good news is that all of these steps are also incredibly good for your mind! The mind-body connection is a powerful force in our lives, and when we strengthen one aspect, the other naturally wants to follow suit. So now that I’ve shared some of my tips, I’d love to hear your thoughts for maintaining and strengthening the mind-body connection in your daily routine.
I like describing myself as a student of life. I am always learning, studying, growing, expanding, and exploring. I believe strongly that my purpose in life is to pass along this knowledge to all of you; be a teacher. Actually, we are all meant to be students and teachers! So, as a student of life, I am not perfect. I always try to practice what I preach; be authentic. That being said I am a human being, so I slip off track from time to time. I believe strongly that leading a spiritual life means falling on and off the path and the teachings come from how quickly we recover; get back on the path! I need my constant reminders and my positive reinforcements just like anyone else. With all of this being said, there are five core ideas that have really helped me live my own authentic life, serving my highest and greatest ideal. Here are the five best things I have learned while on this spiritual path of life.
- Cultivate your ability to trust, have faith, accept, and surrender. This is a really big teaching for me. Deep down we know we cannot control what happens to us in life; but we try anyway! We cannot manipulate, force, or pressure anything into happening. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way in many instances, so my greatest motto is, “let go and trust; all is well.”
- Make yourself your priority. This is a tough one for many, but so important. Exactly how do we do this many ask me in my lectures and workshops. I always say, “make taking good care of your body and mind a priority, so you can continue to be of service to yourself and others.” You are the only “you” that you have. You cannot possibly live the amazing life you were born to live if you are not feeling your best! Mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, take care of yourself, daily. You’ll have so much more to give to everyone around you when you are your #1 priority.
- Get out of your own way! Life truly is what we make of it, and so often we create the very chaos that we so desire to be rid of. Our anxious thoughts, mindless actions, and necessity to please others create a confusing, stressful way of existence. Take yourself out of this endless loop, and do the work that you are able to do to create the life you desire. Incorporate healthy habits, make wise choices moment to moment, start your day in balance and stillness. Do your best to be your best!
- Don’t compare – EVER. Maybe my second biggest teaching, and one that creeps into my life from time to time. Theodore Roosevelt’s quote, “Comparison is the thief of joy” is so incredibly true! No matter what the situation, comparison is a complete joy killer. So I say to myself and I say to you right here, just don’t do it. Find something to bring your attention on when your mind begins to compare yourself to anyone else in this world. Using your breath, a sacred mantra, or an affirmation is powerful here. We are very unique and magnificent in our own ways, so how can it possibly make sense to compare yourself to another person? Let’s come back here to teaching number one, trust that whoever you are is enough. You do you, and let everyone and everything else be!
- Be compassionate and loving as often as you can. We absolutely have no idea what is going on in the lives of others; but unfortunately we think we do. So be the light when you walk into a room. Do whatever you can to lift someone up rather than bring them down. From loved ones to strangers, treat each person with love and respect; let your essence be love. Be the ray of sunshine in someone else’s day. Maya Angelou said, “Be the rainbow in another person’s life.”
I leave you with my MOST profound teaching; it’s at the foundation of them all-
Never underestimate the power of silence and stillness. Mindfulness, awareness, purposefulness, positivity, all stem from being still. We gain all of our power, self-confidence and strength in life by “sitting with ourselves.” Find a quiet space every morning and sit with yourself in silence, focusing on your breath, tapping into that place within of love and strength. Give it a try and see what happens. Remember if you think you just can’t sit still, here’s a teaching- “In the sitting still we learn to be still.”
My wish for you is that these teachings are as meaningful and helpful for you as they are for me. Let me know what has inspired you to live your most beautiful, magnificent life?
Yes, the day is finally here and your dear friend is ready to walk down the isle with the man of her dreams. So much pressure and expectation has been put into making this a day she will remember for the rest of her life. So, what can you do to help ensure that not only is it magical, but also a day that you will look back and smile about?
- GOOD VIBES: This is all about energy, planning ahead. A week up to the big day, nourish yourself so you can be the person on the wedding day that is sending good vibes and ready to help. Raising the bar of the bridesmaids! Help things stay positive and in the moment. The whole idea is to start prior to the big day, cultivating this for yourself.
- BRING YOUR “A” GAME: When you’re feeling you’re best you can show up and be the best support and help for your bride. You’re able to think ahead, be in the moment, and full of stamina. Also, pace yourself with the champagne! It’s great to celebrate, but you don’t want to be a distraction!
- STRESS RELIEVER: Be the model when you start to feel that things are becoming stressful and suggest doing a group breathing every couple of hours. And make it fun or meaningful!. To lead a breathing exercise: have everyone close their eyes for a few deep breaths; Breathe, let everything go and just “BE”.
- HER DAY: Remember this day is not about you! This is the bride’s big day! By taking the lead, planning ahead, and consciously breathing you will be bringing compassion, and love into the day and raising the energy of the group to it’s highest potential. Set the intention that you will be present, help everyone remember that this day is for the bride and groom and everyone else is here to be supportive, helpful and giving. Help everyone remember not to take anything said and done personally; this is a day of celebration and love, stay in the moment and be present.
- TAKE A MOMENT: Take some time to go for a quick little walk, spend a few minutes alone breathing and smiling and enjoying this precious day. This is not your day so have only the expectation of bringing love, light and peace to the party! If you’re getting stressed don’t endure it, or suck it up; go somewhere and breathe, remembering why you love all involved with this wedding and focus you attention on the moment and all that is good right now!