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Weekly Practice in Conscious Living

801st Week: Nurturing Gentle Moments

I posted this quotation to the Devadana Sanctuary website and Facebook page, as one of the daily inspirational posts that go up each morning:

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours. 
And so may a slow
Wind work these words 
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak 
To mind your life.

~ John O’Donohue

One of the things I seem to always experience with the poetry of John O’Donohue is how alive his words become as I live into them and allow them to touch me. This poem feels deeply relevant to our current experience of the Covid pandemic and reminded me of the importance of taking time to nourish ourselves in gentle ways. 

For this week’s practice, I invite you to sit with this poem and notice your experience as you allow each line to speak to the deeper listening and understanding we each carry inside ourselves. You may find that a particular line holds more power on one day and then a completely new experience arises with another line the next day. The key here is to notice in what ways this poem nourishes you.

I’ve written many times about the importance of the frequencies with which we resonate, with the choices we make—moment to moment—as to where we place our attention, where we focus our awareness. Notice the quality and tone of the frequencies that you notice as you sit with the lines of this poem. Pay particular attention to what happens in your body, to the sensations that arise, and to your overall felt sense physically. 

Then, notice the tone of your emotions as you sit with the poem and with whichever line calls out to you this time. Do you find yourself feeling uplifted? Sad? Expansive? Contemplative? The quality and tone of our emotions radiate out into our environment as the frequency we emanate, so it’s helpful to be aware of what’s moving through you emotionally in any present moment.

Also notice the tone and quality of your internal self-talk as you read the poem. Do you find that you talk more kindly to yourself? Are there any edges of harshness in your self-talk? It’s useful to remember that all self-talk is self-hypnosis, so notice how you are programming yourself from moment to moment.

Another thing to bring into awareness is the tone and quality of your responses to the world around you. Does the poem help you to feel more connected or does it elicit something else? It is powerfully beneficial to find resources that help you to feel more connected to the world around you and to everything you encounter in it. When we feel connected and related to what’s around us, we often find that we feel less alone.

As with all these practices, there’s no right answer as to how to do this one or what to do with it. The above suggestions may be a starting place that you then take deeper in ways that are appropriate and familiar to you. Please remember to bring along curiosity as your constant companion and to pat gently on the head any judgments that may arise, inviting them to move on through without your having to do anything with or about them. They are like clouds in the sky, appearing, then scudding along, clinging to nothing, eventually disappearing.

Photo credit: Ange Dibenedetto

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