In October 2016, after an intense year of caring for my husband through six months of chemotherapy and his recovery from a broken back, I went on a restorative solo beach retreat.
I craved physical, mental, and emotional renewal. I needed to reconnect with my true self and zest for life.
Being immersed in nature and solitude is my favorite spiritual practice.
So every morning for a week, I rose just before dawn to watch the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean. And I spent every day close to the sea, either journaling, meditating, or taking long walks on the beach.
The vastness of the sea and sky. The roaring surf, warm sun, and salty wind. The sacred solitude.
They all comforted and healed me. After a few days, it felt like coming home — like remembering who I really am.
On the fifth day, while sitting in meditation, the sound of the surf and watching the waves must have lulled me to sleep.
I remember coming back into my body with the most fantastic feeling. It was a combination of deep relaxation, inner peace, quiet joy, and radiant, pulsating aliveness.
It’s hard to describe in words, but I’ll never forget it.
What Is That Radiant Aliveness?
Over the years, I’ve experienced similar episodes, some while alone in nature and some in less ideal circumstances.
Eventually, I came to the realization that I want to share with you today:
That feeling by the ocean I tried to describe, it’s Love. Love with a capital L. It’s what I now think of as Holy Love.
(I don’t think the word holy should be dedicated only to religious use. It's such a beautiful word, meaning held in high regard and worthy of reverence.)
We usually think of love as an emotion we experience or a bond we share with someone close to us. But Love is so much more than that. It’s the source energy of everything that is and the very essence of your being.
It’s right there inside of you. It’s dynamic and alive — the most powerful, extraordinary force in the universe.
You can access it at any moment by slowing down and taking time for stillness and contemplation, by tuning into the vitality of your heart.
To get started, I highly recommend the HeartMath Institute’s Heart-Focused Breathing® Technique. The technique is as powerful as it is simple and can be used anytime you want to create greater relaxation or more energy.
1. Heart Focus: Focus your attention on your heart area. Breathe a little deeper than usual, in for 5 or 6 seconds and out for 5 or 6 seconds. You may find that placing your hand over your heart helps you maintain your focus there.
2. Heart Breathing: Now imagine while breathing that you’re doing it through your heart. Picture yourself slowly breathing in and slowly breathing out through your heart area.
(Maintaining your focus and breathing through the heart area leads you naturally into a state of ease. Then, when you’re ready to proceed with the rest of your day, you’ll do so with more energy and resilience for future challenges.)
If you become still more often and look inward, you will understand that, as Buddhist teacher Pema Chödrön wrote, “You are the sky — everything else, it’s just the weather.”
This is my holiday wish for you:
During all the hubbub of the season, along with everything you do for everyone else, may you give yourself pockets of stillness, tune into your heart space, and be drenched in the light and love of your own being.
7 Ways to Treat Yourself with Love
Having self-love means having an appreciation and respect for yourself. That includes taking care of your physical and mental health.
Although most of us are so busy right now, it's important to take time to nourish yourself and treat yourself with the love and kindness you deserve.
Ways to Practice Self-Love | Very Well Mind
The XX Brain: The Groundbreaking Science Empowering Women to Maximize Cognitive Health and Prevent Alzheimer's Disease
This book presents fifteen years of research on why women represent 2/3 of the Alzheimer’s population, the role that menopause plays in brain aging, and how to care for women’s brains.
The XX Brain | Amazon
Let's Talk Hot Flashes
Hot flashes and night sweats related to menopause have a medical name—they are called Vasomotor Symptoms, or VMS for short.
What You Need to Know About Your Internal Infernos | What's VMS
Little Bits of Light
Words to open your heart and refresh your spirit
Photos by: Linda Wattier