Wednesday, October 14, 2009
The Unexpected Bliss of Author & Spiritual Mentor Janice Lynne Lundy
This week, my Inner Introvert needs some serious down time and rest, so I have the honor of presenting a series of guest bloggers writing about Unexpected Bliss.
Today, we are joined by author and spiritual mentor Janice Lynne Lundy, who has two blogs -- one here and the other here. The thing I admire about Janice is her openness and her accessibility, and now I find out she is a fellow Bird Watcher.
I have a sacred space I created for myself—a special place just for me, where I can sit comfortably and enjoy a little slice of paradise. I can breathe and “be,” nary a “To-Do” or “should” in sight.
My Eden is a small porch, overlooking a 50-year old perennial garden, complete with a hand-built fieldstone wall and an array of ever-changing visitors who inspire and delight.
Finches and mourning doves fill the garden with song. Hummingbirds, jays, and cardinals arrive in a flash of color. Chipmunks scurry along the wall, and an occasional solitary fox sneaks through to the field beyond. My fondest desire is to sit and savor the glory that is here: pale, pink climbing roses, waving purple iris, nuthatches and chickadees flitting around, building nests in the cedars that line the yard.
I am in heaven on earth in this place.
Any one of us can create something similar—an outdoor sacred space that fosters peace of mind and heart. In fact, it just may be one of the most important things we can do for our self and our well-being.
“The impulse to carve out a zone ... for reflection has its roots in ancient cultures,” writes Ruth LaFerla in Spaces for Silence, “yet it flourishes today with a new vitality ... An oasis of calm amid the myriad distractions of contemporary life is important ... More than that, it may serve as a refuge, a place to come to terms with the pressures and anxieties of an uncertain world."
My garden-view porch has become that for me: a doorway into the peaceful places I know lie just below the surface of my ever-busy mind.
And when I can get quiet, really quiet, miracles happen. Bliss arrives.
One day, a few summers ago, as I sat there in my wicker rocker, quiet prevailed. Out of the corner of my eye, I spied a slight flicker of color and feather. A white-breasted nuthatch had come to call, resting its tiny body upon the fountain less than six inches from my hand. He sipped from its flowing waters and sat, just as I was, taking everything in. Minutes passed and together we savored the morning, two contented souls at peace with ourselves, one another, and the world.
Since that day, I have taken my porch sitting to a new level: as a form of spiritual practice, to see how very quiet I can make myself, in body and mind. And if I’m succeeding, they come.
A tiny chickadee will land on the climbing rose near the fountain. She’ll wait to see if I am calm enough for her to pay an intimate visit. I sit, breathe, observe, and attend to my inner self to create a landscape of peace. She hops in, taking delicate sips from the pooled water. Be still my heart!
Then just the other day, I was extra still, effortlessly so, and it invited the birds to something more. After drinking, my little visitor hopped into the fountain and took a bath, just inches from my arm. She allowed the water to trickle over her back. She did a little dance around the rim and flicked off the excess with a flap of wing. Unexpected bliss! I shared a shower with a chickadee.
May inner peace prevail within you, for the gifts—such as these I’ve experienced with my feathered friends—are great. May you find your bliss today.
(Photo Credit: Janice Lynne Lundy)