I share through this space in a similar manner as through my personal living space. It is always such a delight for me to host friends in my space–I love that we share together and all that they reflect to me is internalized and integrated into my own creative expressions.
Today I am delighted–thrilled beyond words!–to share energetic space with Janice Lynne Lundy.
When I began my first site almost four years ago, Jan was one who shared her wisdom and knowledge and so gently encouraged and guided me as I began to settle into my personal truth and allow full creative expression of that truth. I am drawn to Jan’s work because what she presents in terms of material and essence is similar to my own in that it is heart based and genuine. Yet, Jan has this ability to take the most profound truth and present it in such a beautiful, simple manner that I can readily grasp it and living it seems very do-able rather than overwhelming. Jan’s work (and life) reflects to me the quiet power and strength of living your truth fully, and allowing that truth to guide you as you create in all realms.
Jan Lundy is an author, educator, retreat leader, interfaith spiritual director,
and the editor of “Buddha Chick Life” online magazine.
J: If we may start with basics. Your site is called Awakened Living. May you share with us a little about the meaning of these words and your vision as you create through this site?
Jan: Joy, thank you so much for sharing your sacred space with me and for these wonderful questions. I feel very blessed and grateful to be here with you and your readers today.
I like to think of Awakened Living as a “gathering place.” A sacred space where a woman can come and know she will be seen for who she is. She would also gain insight as to who she can become—what fullness of self she could embrace. The website (and all the work I do) is dedicated to providing women with what they need to live “in an awakened manner—with clear, open minds and wise, compassionate hearts.” This, I believe, describes the journey to living an awakened life: inner calm, clarity, compassion, and wisdom. And doing so in a world that can be oh, so challenging!
J: May you share with us a little about your philosophy; how did you find your voice?
Jan: “Awakened Living” has been my focus since the mid-1990s. This came as a result of my own “awakening.” I was living a very fast-paced, stress-filled life; a woman trying to do it all and be it all for everyone, everyone but herself. After a string of health issues that resulted in complete burn out, I took one year off of “life” (work and commitments) to reclaim myself, and my well-being. I longed to feel peaceful inside and I was determined to do everything I could to make that happen. I was so tired of being tired and feeling overwhelmed by life! I knew there had to be another way to live. I learned that peace comes, choice by choice, and it is up to each of us to make that wise choice, moment to moment.
This is how I found my voice, Joy, and a new way to live. By giving myself permission to be; to make healthy, new choices; and to feel the results of those choices over time. And once you’ve done that, you can’t go back to living the old way. You are awake. Life only gets better and better—even when it’s difficult—because you know how to choose peace for yourself no matter what is happening in life.
J: I wonder, when you are creating and doubt surfaces (does doubt surface?), what resources do you rely upon as you continue to create? And, if I may ask, what would you consider is the source of your power?
Jan: I have a deeply creative nature, Joy. I believe I was born with it. My creativity IS my source of power. This feels divinely sourced to me. It comes from Something larger than myself and it resides deep within me at the same time. It is ever-present. All I have to do is quiet myself to access it. It feels very holy and it does need to be honored or I simply can’t function. Creativity is my essence and my expression of myself in the world.
In the words of Matthew Fox, “Creativity is where the Divine and human meet.”
If doubt surfaces, I know it is only the voice of my ego trying to keep me small and quiet. I pat it on the head and say, “Thanks for visiting, but I don’t want to play today.” Most days this works!
J: You have chosen to embrace technology by creating your first video blog. In launching this series, you stated that you were initially hesitant and had fear. May you share with us a bit of your internal process as you embraced this new feature? And what is your vision as you move forward with this technique?
Jan: Video is the new “way” of connecting with people. I am such an old-fashioned, non-techie Chick that I resisted having to learn how to do this. I’d much rather write or create audios that feel “natural” for me. Video does not.
Truthfully, I’ve never loved the camera, though I was a model for many years and did video and film work. I still have vestiges of vanity. I was deeply “programmed” to always look good. My ego loves to tell me (still!) that I must look and sound absolutely perfect to do even a simple video. Alas, we are all a work in progress! When I can get beyond that, and forget I am being filmed, I know I can simply speak from my heart about my passion and the ego will disappear.
In these short videos—I call the series “Portable Peace” —I hope to offer practical strategies and techniques for accessing inner peace wherever you are. I share the practices I use myself on a daily basis. They have helped me create profound peace in my life. I was originally planning to write a book on this but decided to do a “video book” instead.
J: You have this beautiful sense of love and peace and joy about you. Within your life, how do you find your center, what brings you peace? And what brings you joy?
Jan: Thank you, Joy. If what you say is true, my peace has been hard won. It has been a very long journey to feel more calm than stressed. Nothing really brings me peace. Peace lives within my core, my essence, and all any of us has to do is drop down in to experience it. It doesn’t go anywhere. We are the ones that move away from it.
But, yes, there are elements of life that help me access inner peace. Being in nature is probably #1. Nature is my “God connection.” Music. Beautiful words and books. Silence. Loving family and friends. Breath. Water. I might consider these things “tools,” that when drawn upon, help me access my innate peace.
Peace and joy are intertwined for me. The pleasure of feeling at peace is my true joy.
J: I wonder, do you have any routines that you follow? Is there a “typical” day for you?
Jan: I rise and enter my day slowly, honoring silence. The first 30 minutes are spent in gentle self-nurturing activities. Bay gazing. Drinking tea. Light reading. Connecting with my husband. Listening meditation.
Then my day begins, which is often a long day on the computer. I stop often during the day to take breath and stretch breaks; connect with the Bay that I live on or my garden. I have to write something everyday or I feel bound up inside. I eat lightly and healthfully. Most days I am able to do as Thich Nhat Hanh advocates, “Breathe, go slowly, smile.”
I bake and cook. I connect with my 3 adult children over the phone. We do not have a television so my husband and I rent movies and watch them in the evening. We are big movie fans, but only movies that uplift, inspire, or make us think. No violence. I monitor my input carefully for I believe as the Buddha taught, “With our thoughts we make the world.” I am very blessed in my lifestyle but I’ve consciously created it for myself. I made choices. I want to live and breathe peace and compassion. I lead a rather a monastic existence but it suits my nature. Others, I’m sure would consider it very boring, even odd.
J: You are the editor of “Buddha Chick Life” online magazine. May you share a bit about this magazine with us? How would you like us, the reader, to use what is presented through this wonderful resource?
Jan: My husband and I published a holistic living (print) magazine for many years and I loved being the Editor. I enjoy bringing people together to create projects and offer resources that uplift and inspire us. “Buddha Chick Life” is my latest endeavor in this area. It is a magazine and community dedicated to helping people live with mindfulness, loving-kindness, and compassion.
J: You offer an online retreat “Cultivating a Heart of Compassion” this weekend of March 24 and 25, 2012 (the participant chooses which day to attend). May you share with us a little about this retreat…the message and the process and the vision?
Jan: At the pace most of us are living, we simply must take time to stop, rest, and restore ourselves or we pay the price. It is vital that we move away from the world, even for a while, and go “in”; to take as good care of ourselves as we do others. But we don’t do this, not on a regular basis.
Statistics indicate that the majority of people (U.S.), especially women, say they are exhausted. The online retreat I am offering is one way that we can stop and engage in sacred rest. Take one entire day off to be with your sacred self. We can also use this time “in” to learn something new.
This year’s retreat focuses on compassion and we’ll learn and practice “Metta Meditation” together. Metta (“loving-kindness” or “unconditional friendliness practice”) is the most powerful mindfulness practice I have ever found. It has completely transformed my life since I began using it. It has eliminated anxiety and worry and has opened my heart toward myself and others in ways that I never expected. It is a profound practice that was taught by the Buddha himself.
I am delighted to be able to teach it with the blessing of my friend and mentor, Sylvia Boorstein. I trained with Sylvia for 2 years. I do hope that many women will register for the retreat and give themselves permission to BE instead of DO for just one day. And to offer themselves the loving-kindness that they so deserve.
As the Buddha said, “You can search the whole world over and not find anyone more deserving of loving-kindness than yourself.”
Jan has so generously gifted this site with one complimentary Cultivating a Heart Of Compassion “Retreat Kit”. The Kit will contain all the materials, recordings, etc. for a day of Metta – Lovingkindness.
Each reader who leaves a comment addressing the following question will be entered into a drawing for the retreat kit. The winner will be randomly chosen Tuesday March 27, 2012 at 9pm (PDT). May you share with us one action step that you may take to honor the concept of slowing down and the principle of loving-kindness in your current life?
**The winner of the retreat kit raffle is Aimie Benko! Thank you:) – March 28th-Joy**
Thank you, Jan! Thank you, dear reader! *Excellent* indeed:)
Much peace and abundant love,
Reminder: Experiment. Explore. Experience.