Clenched jaw. Tossing and turning at 2 am. Distraction. Are you experiencing them, friends? I certainly am.
As our world confronts this constantly changing pandemic health crisis, I want to share an empowering practice that can bring calm, peace, and healing to you and to our world.
But first, it’s helpful to understand that most of us are experiencing fear, which is manifesting itself in a variety of ways. Fear is a natural and necessary part of our evolutionary make-up. It helps us survive. Fear tells us to run from a burning building or from predators we encounter. Like the coronavirus. When we sense danger, the body generates a fight or flight response (also called a fight, flight, or freeze). Our hearts beat faster, our pupils become dilated, we breathe rapidly, our blood pulses, and sometimes our hands and faces tingle. These reactions are all natural responses to danger as our bodies prepare to meet the threat.
Our minds and bodies cannot maintain the continual state of fight or flight. Over time, this stress response impacts our entire well-being, leading to things like high blood pressure, changes in our brain, and weakened immunity. Not a healthy or sustainable way to live.
You can diffuse fear’s power by tending your soul.
Beneath the surface, your soul has a deep sense of calm and peace. Your soul is that divine aspect of you, your essence, that spark of God you are born with. It is the source of deep love. Your soul lives in a constant state of peace, the peace that surpasses all understanding. This loving, eternal part of yourself cannot be taken from you. It is always there.
This is why we all need spiritual practices—everyday tools to tend our souls.
So I want to share a practice that’s been quite meaningful for me. I have a hard time meditating in the classic sense, as many do. But this a relaxation prayer, an easy “go-to” — helps me find peace and calm. I hope it helps you.
Rest in love. Take a few moments to breathe, and repeat these words (slowly is best):
Rest in love…
Rest in love…
Rest in love…
This practice was inspired by one of my favorite books: Frank Ostaseski’s The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully.
A wise and compassionate end-of-life leader, Frank Ostaseski tells the story of a man named Carl who was in hospice, struggling with intense pain. While battling his pain, these words rose up from some innate place within him: “Rest in love.” From then on, Carl repeated these words whenever he felt overwhelmed. He learned to draw from this inner resource. As Carl encountered pain, fear, or anxiety, he said, “Rest in love.” As he pushed his morphine pump, he repeated to himself, “Rest in love, rest in love.” As his wife fidgeted anxiously by his bedside, Carl reached through his bedrails, touched her lightly, and said, “Rest in love, my dear. Rest in love.”
Carl’s story moved me deeply. I sensed that resting in love was something I needed. It was. And it still is, especially in these times.
These words have become a practice that renews my mind, body, and spirit. When I rest in love, I’m no longer striving or stressing. As I relax into love and come to a place of rest, I imagine warm, loving light surrounding me. Sometimes I envision loving beings around me, including loved ones who have passed. Peace seems to bubble up from within. My jaw unclenches. The concerns that previously occupied my attention fade to the background. I am calmer. I am reminded that peace is here. Peace is always here.
Thank you, Carl, for your words that keep on giving.
So friends, in these times, I invite you to acknowledge and calm your fear with an internal strength you already possess. Tap into your inner resource of peace.
Rest in love. Rest in love, my dears. Rest in love.
With blessings and love for your wellbeing,