Dear Universal Heart Networkers
“Well and happy” * “Time?” * Sydney service, 18 March 2012 * Forthcoming events, including 31 March, Sydney; 5-9 April, Easter Retreat; 12-13 May, Byron Bay * How to meditate: ideas & guided CDs * Books on-line * “May peace prevail”
I hope this finds you well? And that you are getting the sustenance and inspiration you need to feel “well” in every dimension and layer of your being? I can’t begin to count how many times I have been helped through pausing to say – for as many times as I need to – that most simple of Buddhist prayers: “May I be well and happy.” Or how often I have been helped by sending to others the next step in that prayer: “May they be well and happy”, rather than surrounding other people with my worries, however well intentioned, or even my disregard or frustration.
Feeling well inwardly means, for me anyway, feeling in harmony with my life and values, and feeling connected both inwardly and to people and the world beyond my own self. This experience of being well – and it has to be an experience, not just a good idea – can sustain us to the last breath, no matter how fragile the body may be at times. Nourishing ourselves from the inside out means being at least as careful about what we “feed” our minds as it does about being alert to what we put into our mouths. Inspirational ideas can be powerfully and permanently sustaining, even transformative.
That makes sense of the time we spend reading what’s most uplifting, writing in our journals, walking, looking deeply, painting or making a corner of our home or garden or world newly beautiful, praying, meditating, singing, cultivating community activities, cooking for loved ones… and sharing time with people who inspire us – in person or on the page. Yet isn’t it often those most sustaining aspects of lives that get put aside when we tell ourselves we “have no time”? No time perhaps to be fully alive…or to be well and happy?
In fact I’d go so far as to say that we dishonor our glorious gift of life when we can’t or won’t pause and notice what sustains us – and do more of it. Do you need permission to invest time and interest in your inner world, not least so that your responses to the outer world (and others) can be far calmer and more appreciative? Sometimes we do seem to need permission, or renewed encouragement anyway. Please, please take it from me – and as I remind you, I remind myself also!! And really, that is also what my books offer: if there’s one constant theme it is encouragement that we can live life consciously and fully – and with joy much of the time.
If you are able to attend one of the monthly spiritually inclusive services in Sydney, they are at Pitt Street (264) Uniting Church, each 3rd Sunday of the month, at 3pm. The next service is this coming Sunday, 18 March. Gorgeous music from Kim Cunio and Heather Lee and always the most uplifting readings, prayers and teachings. (Nearest cross street is Park. A block from Town Hall station.) Tea, coffee, fellowship follows. If you are coming because of this Newsletter, please do take a moment to say hello and let me know that! (We also have an open singing group from 1.15-2.15pm, before the service, starting this month, with Elizabeth Lecoanet. Joy and prayer in music!! All welcome.)
For details of other forthcoming events please click on “Events” on my website. These include a half-day teaching workshop on 31st March in Sydney, the Easter Retreat in New Zealand – if any places available, a beautiful personal development weekend in Byron Bay, 12-13 May, and the Writing in Kyoto workshop late October. (That’s for writers at all levels.)
At the Breast Cancer Network Australia forums that I have spoken at this year (Adelaide and Orange), I’ve again been asked repeatedly about learning to meditate. The benefits are widely known: but how to do it remains a problem for many. And really meditation needs to be problem free! In my newest book Everyday Kindness I offer ideas about helping children to meditate – or take some “quiet time” – and there’s so much research about how this helps them to learn as well as to feel so much better. For adults, especially those going through difficult times or feeling unsettled, I would particularly recommend guided meditation. Peaceful Mind offers excellent basic meditation that can make a world of difference; Self-Love is a double CD set that offers talks I recorded some years ago with broadcaster Geraldine Doogue, plus meditation CD that uses exquisite music: Richard Tognetti playing the slow section of Bach’s double violin concerto. It is rather like allowing your soul or spirit to take the deepest refreshment! And that CD is especially useful if you are feeling distanced from yourself, or finding it difficult to support yourself. You can order these from my on-line bookshop – plus any others from about a million titles. All sales via my website support this Network. Supply is by Collins/Seek and the cost of post within Australia is $6.95 whether for one item or a hundred. Thank you so very much to any of you continuing to buy your books this way. It is a tremendous support.
Do please let me know if you find a book, a chapter, a CD or an idea especially sustaining. That helps me, too. And of course if you are now using Facebook that’s the easiest way to share your experiences not only with me but with all those receiving my Facebook posts. (I send out an inspirational message most days.) Facebook can be a wonderful way to stay connected, and is far more easily contained and managed than you might think!
Please don’t hesitate to forward this newsletter to anyone in your own circles who might benefit in any way from it. We never know when an invitation or thought is especially timely.
I wish you some quiet moments, some joy-filled moments, some welcome surprises. And, beyond everything, I wish you peace.
May you be well and happy,
Stephanie Dowrick (The image below comes from a dear friend’s garden: home-made, heart-filled: what could be more beautiful?)