Four Daily Essentials

Balanced StonesI took a vacation recently. While it was filled with things I love, something surprised me. By the end of the ten days, I was missing the practices that are part of my daily life at home. It felt just like I was longing for the company a dear friend, from whom I’d been separated.

When I thought about it, there was perfect sense in what I was experiencing. Among all the family fun, hiking, canoeing, exploring new territory, and connecting with new friends, I’d slipped away from some of the basics that I’ve come to rely on to ground and steer my life.

When I returned I watched my routine for the common themes among these daily practices. Here’s what I found.

There are four basic components to a daily practice that create a safe haven and boundless nurturing and guidance.

  • Rest
  • Tuning In
  • Energizing
  • Thanksgiving

Rest – This one is all about creating a refuge. It can mean taking a nap, but it can also be active. For me it’s that place of peace where I can settle into  being fully at ease. Practices that fall into this category include napping, having a good laugh, hanging out in the yard, taking a few minutes for a cup a tea (nothing else, just a cup of tea), a gentle walk in the forest, my yard or a local park. These are just a few of countless alternatives.

Tuning In – The heart of this practice is listening. Actively listening. Sometimes what most needs to be heard is what is going on inside myself. Other times the connection I need to make is with the world around me or a source of spiritual support. In some ways all these are interchangeable or at least related. Connecting on one level, inevitably aids a connection on other levels. Just a few of the ways to activate this kind of listening are meditation, journaling, sit spots, spending time in nature – whether its a city park, the local arboretum or a wilderness experience. 

Energizing – This applies to whatever element of my being needs uplifting – mind, body or spirit. Tuning in helps me see what I need and points me toward where it can be found. I might need a trip to the gym, a quick walk around my neighborhood, or a yoga class. Maybe it’s time to read a good book or research something new I want to learn. Opening myself to sources of inspiration are reliable fuel for my spirit. 

Thanksgiving – I’ve written so many times about the power and gift of gratitude, here it is again! Beginning and ending each day by being aware of what you feel grateful for is a special kind of elixir. But don’t stop there. Apply gratitude liberally throughout the day. The possibilities are endless and so are the benefits.

Putting these four components together can be like assembling a puzzle with endless possible combinations. You might find a set routine that you practice every day, or you might prefer to let your intuition be your guide and make it different every day.

Whatever combination works for you, over time you’ll create a tapestry all your own. Practiced long enough, it will be something that allows you to weather any storm or move through any change. 

Your practice can be a kind of home that you can take with you wherever you go. Let it grow and change as you grow and change and it will be a life-long source of well being. 

Here’s to good friends – of all shapes and sizes!

I’d love to hear about yours!

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