“There’s no doubt in our minds that a regular, long-term practice which involves
body, mind, heart, and soul, and which aims at good health and the cultivation of our untapped potentials, can enhance individual lives and contribute to the social good. There are some who would say, “Yes, but you can never get many people to devote themselves to a long-term practice.” How are we going to know unless we try? – 1995 Michael Murphy and George Leonard from “The Life We Are Given”.
Labyrinth number 170 over 13 years 1999 – August 2013
I facilitated my first labyrinth in December of 1999. After that, for 170 months, on the second Wednesday of each month, I lit 120 candles, consecrated the space, set out the meditation pillows, spread a deck of Angelic Messenger Cards by Meredith Young-Sowers and filled the room with sacred sounds of chant and song for the walkers.
Long term practices whether they are daily, weekly or monthly are like pools of waters reflecting the state of our hearts and minds.
My own reflection shifted over time. I would resist, diminish its importance, be in awe of it, love the beauty, channel energy, move in harmony, sit in gratitude, listen to tears, send prayers, receive guidance, open to love, experience faith filled connection, seek forgiveness, know clarity, feel emboldened to take another step, ache for relief from sorrow, fear and pain, be enchanted by the circles, joy, flames and reflection…extinguish the candles, gather my supplies and make my way home encircled, soothed and complete. Eventually, everything surrendered to the commitment, the internal chatter stopped; the practice became part of a way of life.
Murphy and Leonard studied the effects of long term devoted practices on their students’ lives and desires. “Catching the winds of grace”, they set out on a transformational path that combined affirmations, conscious eating, exercise, mental imaging and meditation. People transformed.
I have discovered that most things we do can be shaped into an intentional long-term practice. With an inner orientation and conscious parameters even annoying or basic activities like household chores, social media posts, daily commutes, dog walks, dancing, sports, cooking, and (fill in the blank) can join yoga, meditation and prayer as an intentional joyful and loving practice.
I proposed the idea of house cleaning as an intentional practice to a friend. It was a stretch. “Cleaning the house can be a practice?” “Forget about it!” “You do it!” “I am on my way to Carnegie Hall, I will be practicing piano!”…
How will you know unless you try?
It can happen when feelings of “obligation” give way to a reality of reciprocity, the giving to and receiving from, the practice. Fill it with joy and peace where you can and it will work for you.
This is the world we are given.
In All Is Well – Heal Your Body with Medicine, Affirmations and Intuition, a new book by wise women, Louise Hay and Mona Lisa Schulz MD, “practices” are given to their client, Angelina, as part of prescription for healing. Their intention LEAPS over “integrate stress management practices” to “inundate Angelina’s life with love and joy.”!
Included with Angelina’s nutritional and therapeutic remedies are these “medicinal practices” which, according to Louise and Mona Lisa, stimulate healing through the seven emotional centers of the body:
Make a date, watch children playing, give a gift, look at old pictures of family and friends during pleasant times, visit the makeup counter for a makeover, dance like a banshee, watch comedies, start coloring, sing at the top of your lungs, play with an animal, learn a new language, reflect on your improvements over the week, look to the sky to reach your higher power and begin each day with “I’m thrilled and grateful to be alive.”
There’s no doubt in my mind that a regular, long-term practice that is loving and joyful and involves body, mind, heart, and soul, is a healing modality.
Let’s practice inundating!
What practices do you have for inundating your life with love and joy? Is there anything you do on a regular basis that can be shaped into an intentional practice?