Meditation Part 3: Contemplative Prayer and "Spaciousness for Peace"

Have you every had someone tell you to "lighten up?"  Did it help, or was it infuriating? 

Do you ever feel like that space between when something happens to you and when you react is very, very thin?  

 

I think what a lot of us are craving right now is some SPACE to LIGHTEN UP.  The burdens of living in a pandemic and all that goes with it have a lot of us on edge.  This is totally understandable! And I'm here to help you create some space for your mind to relax and your spirit to breathe.  

 

Today I recalled a time when things were quite hard for me.  Nick and I were starting our restaurant, our kids were very small, and everything was on the line.  Nick had to work long hours every day for several months to get the business going, and my troubles and stress felt BIG.  

 

For my birthday, my mom gave me a little sign to hang on my bathroom wall that said,

"Put on a little lipstick. You'll feel better." 

 

I hated that sign! It felt so dismissive and like my problems weren't real...until I realized the wisdom of that little sign.  

 

In Start Where You Are, A Guide to Compassionate Living, Pema Chödrön encourages us to 

 

"connect with the open, spacious quality of your mind, so that you can see that there's no need to shut down and make such a big deal about everything. Then when you do make a big deal, you can give that a lot of space and let it go." 

 

My situation was not going to change.  But I could control how I perceived my situation.  I was going to take care of the kids and the house and my own career no matter what I thought ABOUT it, so I might as well put on a little lipstick, lighten up, and feel better.  So I did :)

 

In this week's PODCAST, I talk to my friend Nancy Herlin about another type of meditation that I'm practicing right now, and it's helping me lighten up as well.  Or, as she puts it, it creates "spaciousness for peace." It's called Contemplative Prayer, and it is definitely helping me take longer between stimulus and response. When you sit with consent to be with Divine, you learn to consent to be with people and situations just as they are.  And that's when you get to feel better!  

 

Here's the basic idea (and Nancy takes us into a brief session during the interview as well):

  1. Find a quiet place to comfortably sit for some time.
  2. Read some inspiring scripture, breathe, or chant a bit to arrive in your body in that moment.
  3. Choose a sacred word for yourself to use as a tool to return to Divine.
  4. Recognize that this is time you are consenting to sit with Divine and just be.
  5. Whenever you have thoughts come up, ever so gently and with compassion, bring your mind back to your sacred word. 

 

See the yoga?  You are directing your mind toward the Divine and maintaining a sense of presence.  This deeper presence has space for peace, and that will expand into your life in your work, relationships, pleasure, and challenges. 

Try it on this week's PODCAST.

May you gift yourself the space for time to be.  Let yourself lighten up! You'll feel better.

 

Much love,

Jess

 

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