Labyrinth Walking

Len, Willa, and I are currently in Big Sky Country—Montana. One of our stops is Redsun Labyrinth, located near the spectacular Bitterroot Mountains outside Victor, Montana.

Labyrinth walking is an ancient practice used by many spiritual traditions for the purpose of centering, contemplation, and prayer. 

Contrary to popular belief, a labyrinth isn’t a maze. It has one path to the center and back—that path is a unicursal (meaning one line). A labyrinth doesn’t have blind alleys or dead ends. The path twists and turns back on itself many times before reaching the center. Once the center is reached, there’s only one way back out—the same way one arrives.

A labyrinth symbolizes a journey to a predetermined destination (such as a pilgrimage to a holy site), or the journey through life from birth to death.

A labyrinth walk is done slowly, with deliberate and thoughtful steps. Many times a person begins a labyrinth walk with a prayer or spiritual question to contemplate during their journey to the center. 

When the center is reached, the person pauses to reflect, pray, and listen for an answer, or for an even deeper revelation. On the return journey, the person continues to pray and reflect. Most people find labyrinth walking to be a calm and clarifying experience. 

Even if the walk isn’t tied to anything spiritual in nature, the slow, intentional walk is a quiet place on a set path with a level of focus that’s hard to come by elsewhere. 

Due to travel, I’ve turned comments off this week. If I were here, though, this week’s internal inventory question would be: 

What question or prayer would you contemplate on a labyrinth walk? Click To Tweet

“What question or prayer would you contemplate on a labyrinth walk?”

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Peace Meditation

I just returned from St. Paul, MN, where I had the pleasure of speaking with the Board of World Citizen (a nonprofit organization for everyone who values a safe and respectful world) about peace.

With that event fresh in my mind, I thought, “This is a great time to share my peace meditation.” 

I use a mala. If you’re not familiar, think of it as a Buddhist rosary. Typically a mala has 108 beads, plus the “Guru” bead (usually a bit larger) to indicate the place to begin and end. 

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My mantra is:
“Peace within. Peace without. Peace in me. Peace in the world.” 

Here’s How It’s Done
Starting at the bead on one side of the “Guru” bead, I hold the mala bead between my thumb and middle finger. While holding that bead I: 

Inhale and mentally say — “Peace within.”
Exhale and mentally say — “Peace without.”
Inhale and mentally say — “Peace in me.”
Exhale and mentally — “Peace in the world.”

With this mantra, each bead takes two full breath cycles. After I finish a bead, I move to the next one.

When I make it all the way around and reach the Guru bead, I know that I’ve completed 108 repetitions. If I’m going to continue, I turn the mala around and go back the way I came. 

Do you have a peace practice? Click To Tweet

Do you have a peace practice?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Extend and Receive

When I lay in bed at night, one of the heart-based exercises I do is to mentally go through the alphabet and list things that my best self enjoys extending and receiving:

Acceptance (celebrate our differences)
Benefit of the doubt
Compassion
Divinity in action
Encouragement
Forgiveness
Gratitude
Hospitality
Inclusion
Joie de vivre (joy of life)
Kindness
Listening between the lines (attentiveness)
Mindfulness (present-moment focus)

Namaste’ (honoring the divine spark in self and others)
Optimism
Peace
Quiet strength
Respect
Simplicity (the gift of ease)
Truth
Understanding
Vision (cultivating and nurturing original ideas to fruition)
Wisdom
Xellence (the daily practice of being my best self—living my best life)
Yoga mindset (valuing connection with the world and its inhabitants)
Zen attitude (daily letting go of what I can’t control)

Do you have a consistent nighttime practice?

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Peace Begins with Me

Enzo is the main character in Garth Stein’s book, The Art of Racing in the Rain. “Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs).”

Enzo (or Ensō, both are correct) is also the name of a Zen circle, a Buddhist symbol that represents infinity, “no-thing.”

For me, that symbol translates to simplicity, minimalism, a meditative state, and enlightenment which I define as “Recognizing that we are all connected, then consciously living that realization—our thoughts, words, and actions an unshakable reflection of that understanding.”

Zen is an enlightened state of mind. It’s also a way of being—living. As we close 2017 and look to writing the pages of a new year, my mantra is “Peace begins with me. Right here. Right now.”

Will you please join me?

Incidentally, The Art of Racing in the Rain is one of my all-time favorite books. If you haven’t read it yet, please carve out time and gift yourself with the opportunity. You’ll be glad you did.

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Bare Naked

Contrary to popular belief, ambition and spirituality aren’t in opposition to each other.

  • Ambition is a strong desire to achieve something.
  • Spirituality is connection with our essence, our spirit that’s already whole and perfect.

From my perspective, the important thing is understanding the motivation behind our ambition.

The externals (academic achievement, upper echelon title at work, bling, financial status, the super-duper whamodyne car in the garage) isn’t who we are.

When we remove the externals—strip down and get bare naked to the internals—we reach our essence, our being. That’s where abundance resides: peace, joy, compassion, gratitude, inspiration, creativity, and grace—our basic wealth.

It’s from our essence that we pursue our passion—an expansion of who we are. Living our passion fuels both the internal and the external aspects of our self.

It’s from our essence that we utilize our talents, achieve our ambitions, and live our potential—to make a positive, uplifting, constructive, and healing impression on those in our sphere of influence.

When was the last time you got bare naked—right down to your essence?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Stillness is Dynamic

Being married to a pilot, we fly a lot. When I take in-flight photos through the window, the propellor looks motionless. Not because it’s still, but because it’s spinning so fast!

Physics tells us that everything—without exception—is in motion. Even the Buddha statues you see in the photo below.

During my sabbatical I visited the GARDEN OF 1000 BUDDHAS in Arlee, Montana

Stillness is dynamic; it’s un-conflicted movement (no friction). We experience it when there’s unrestricted participation in the moment; when we’re unreservedly present with whatever we’re doing.

Stillness is a natural rhythm in the cycle of life. In the space that stillness creates we have the opportunity to quiet the mind and body; to re-group, re-charge, re-connect, and to find a point of reference; something to measure against.

For me, that point of reference is my inner compass. From here, I can move back into the busy world refreshed.

Do you create intentional stillness?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Got Mud?

When I travel to the San Diego area I make a point of visiting the meditation gardens at the Self-Realization Temple in Encinitas. Located on a cliff overlooking the ocean, their aquatic gardens are home to colorful koi fish and lotus flowers.

A lotus flower grows from the bottom of a muddy pond rising upward, emerging at the surface where it blooms into a beautiful flower. At night the petals close and it sinks beneath the surface only to re-emerge in the morning with the sunrise.

In my perspective, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh’s observation, “No mud, no lotus,” is a lovely metaphor for the human experience.

Have you got mud? Turns out, it’s a good thing!

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Book Trailer

Created by the award-winning talent of Rucinski & Reetz, I’m excited to share with you the book trailer for Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth.

Available for pre-order on Amazon

Transforming intention into action, Note to Self equips you to shed your baggage, bridging the gap between where you are and where you want to be—body, mind, and spirit—empowering you to step into joy-filled living now!

“Laurie Buchanan has a knack for helping others find positive, creative, and clear solutions to life’s challenges. Reading this book was like watching the sun rise for me; every page had bright rays of wisdom that made me smile. Delightful indeed!”
Christine DeSmet, author, screenwriter, and writing teacher at University of Wisconsin-Madison Continuing Studies

What book are you currently reading?

Available for pre-order on Amazon.

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Intentional Kindness

I’d like to think that I’m a pretty tough cookie, but in reality, I’m not. Certain types of things—terrorist attacks, school shootings, discrimination, the fact that some people go hungry while others throw food away, cruel treatment of humans or animals—these types of things go right through me; pierce me to the core.

Right through me

I don’t pretend to have the answers, but I do know at least one thing—one positive action step—I can personally take to contribute to the solution. I can be kind on purpose; I can practice intentional kindness.

Some of you may remember that in April of 2012 I had the privilege of having lunch with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. When asked about his religion he said:

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”
—The Dalai Lama

What pierces you to the core?

 

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

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Book Cover Reveal

 

Save the Date - Note to Self announcement

Baggage! We all carry it with us through life. It comes in a wide variety of styles, shapes, and colors—more than enough to accommodate the stuff that we accumulate through life. And no matter how we dress it up, it’s frustrating, inconvenient, and slows us down. In fact, it’s downright disruptive.

This book is about offloading emotional baggage—something that’s especially important when we realize that we don’t just pack for one; we pack for seven. Each of the seven selves—self-preservation, self-gratification, self-definition, self-acceptance, self-expression, self-reflection, and self-knowledge—has characteristics, wellness types, and shadows. Each plays a vital role in harmony, overall health, and well-being.

Chock full of real-life emotional examples, as well as “keys” at the end of each chapter offering actionable tips, techniques, and exercises designed to help you unlock baggage, examine it, and offload it permanently, Note to Self will help you discover a lighter, joy-filled you!

Here’s what two of the advance readers had to say:

“While we are all passengers on a planet called Earth, we can choose to enhance the way in which we travel: emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, and physically. In fact, we can, through the pages of this book, discover new ways to travel that are lighter, more fluid, and life-enhancing. The author, a wise and dedicated traveler, is also the right kind of kind of guide—caring, inspiring, uplifting, knowledgeable—for your journey of self-discovery. I recommend this tremendous book to anyone seeking the companionship of good energy and joyful presence. A five-star read in every way!”
—D.A. Hickman, author of The Silence of Morning: A Memoir of Time Undone

“What a dazzling rainbow of wisdom Laurie Buchanan has assembled into one volume! Drawing on a wide range of spiritual teachers and scientific discoveries, Buchanan guides the reader on an exciting journey of self-discovery. She is a modern oracle at Delphi, and this book a modern temple with ‘Know Thyself’ written on every page. Highly recommended for daily spiritual practice (a list of 365 questions at the end will guide journal writing). Leaders of retreats, and spiritual seekers will be sharing well-thumbed, dog-eared copies soon.”
—Shirley Hershey Showalter, former president of Goshen College and author of  Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World

I’m looking forward to November 1, 2016—the publication date of Note to Self.

What’s the next date/event that you’re looking forward to?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com