“If you can’t remember when you last basked in your own glow, it means you’re overdue.”
― Gina Greenlee, Postcards and Pearls: Life Lessons from Solo Moments on the Road
We are bombarded daily with strident messages telling us what to think, what to believe, what to be. In the midst of the frenetic media messaging, it is easy to lose ourselves. Family, friends, and coworkers have expectations for us. In the business of life we can get caught up in focusing on meeting the needs of others and miss out on meeting our own core needs.
Taking time each day for reflection and self-nurturing allows for discovery of the true self, increased knowledge of our own desires, and decreases daily stress.
Take time each day to write. Writing can be a journal with or without writing prompts. Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, teaches “Morning Pages.” This exercise is to write 3 pages long hand of stream of consciousness writing. In other words, whatever comes to your mind.
Periodically, I encourage my clients to engage in an exercise where they complete the sentence: “I am a person who…”
I am a person who… is kind.
I am a person who… has a small family.
I am a person who… likes animals.
I am a person who… feels lonely.
I am a person who… works hard.
In this exercise, I encourage them to fill an entire page in their notebooks. Generally, the more observations they make, the deeper they delve into their true selves
Growing up, I was told that prayer was talking to God and meditation was listening for God. Regardless of your beliefs, prayer is a powerful connection to the spiritual dimension. Whether your prayer is to God, to a higher power, to the universe, or to your own Wise Mind, prayer centers us and opens us to that which is unseen. Several studies have shown that prayer increases rates of recovery in hospitals.
Prayer can be informal, talking to God as if talking to a friend. Share your concerns, heartaches, desires, hopes, and dreams. Ask for guidance and direction.
Prayer can be also be formal. Recite the Lord’s Prayer or Serenity Prayer, read from the book of Common Prayer.
Regardless of how you choose to pray, allow yourself to be open and fully enter into the experience.
One doesn’t have to be a Zen master to meditate. Meditation is about learning to listen to your higher power and to your own inner self.
As with other self-discovery tools, there are several methods to help you develop your own practice.
I often recommend that those new to meditation begin with a guided meditation. There are many apps available for smartphones which have free or low cost guided meditations. They will lead you through the process.
Alternately, meditation by focusing on your breath is a simple way to begin a meditation practice. Sit in a comfortable position, and breathe in deeply through your nose and out through your mouth. Notice the thoughts that arise then return your focus to your breath.
Set an Intention
The final step in this daily practice of self-discovery is to take what you have learned is to take the information that you have gleaned and begin to use it to build a life worth living. An intention is like a compass, pointing us in the direction we want to travel. A favorite affirmation from Fordham University is:
May I be happy,
May I be healthy,
May I be safe,
May I live with ease.
Take the time each day to nurture yourself, to bask in your own glow. Developing a habit of writing, prayer, meditation and setting intentions will take you on a journey of self-discovery.