Sustaining Self Development: Lifestyle Changes and Choices

The topic for today’s blog actually came to me as I was struggling through writing my Mission Statement utilizing Joanna Penn’s book Your Author Business Plan. I realized as I was listing my core values that many of these I am already living, so I had to dig deeper for those core values that I am growing into now. Among these are Congruency, Sustainability, and Frith.

CONGRUENCY: in terms of a spiritual and soulful lifestyle, this means living from the inside out consistently and authentically. As a shamanist (and a former Gurdjieff student), I understand that this means I must bring into my life a consistent and actual practice honoring my spiritual values. It is not sufficient to talk about my values without actually living them. It is not sufficient to live my values today and forget about them tomorrow.

Congruency demands that I get up today and everyday prepared and willing to walk my talk. Some days may be full of fight and resistance, and on these days I must take my practice into those armed camps willing to face whatever transpires. That is congruency. I get up and give thanks for my life, no matter the aches and pains of the day. I arise and I pray for those I love – and even those I don’t love; I pray gratitude; and I pray for grace. I pray for the grace of the stamina to meet the needs of my life.

SUSTAINABILITY: is the capacity to keep living congruently, and incorporates those practices that help me to renew myself and to continue those practices. It does include the pursuit of happiness, yes, but for me this is no longer happiness in “stuff,” but in loving who I am and what my life holds now. It has been a long, hard road to healthy self-love, and has involved the pursuit of mystical union with my Creator. I have the things I need. I have a spouse who loves me despite all my idiosyncrasies. I have a son who knows his own mind and who has chosen for himself an honorable service to his country. I have a comfortable home close to Nature and an idiosyncratic dog whose need for exercise also keeps me relatively fit.

This happiness did not come without effort. I had to do a lot of work on myself in order to overcome habitual patterns of thinking that made me unhappy instead of happy. Many divine teachers and mystical guides have pointed out the “Way” for us. Jesus taught the practice of forgiveness. Buddha taught the practice of mindfulness, which includes right thought and right action to avoid the path of suffering. Gurdjieff taught the Fourth Way. Many teachers exist now. Byron Katie is one who comes to mind. Renee Baribeau author of Winds of Spirit comes to mind. My friend Brigid Hopkins, author of Feathers of a Phoenix, who shared with me her insights into Earth Church comes to mind.

Once I was more in love with my own grievances than with finding the way to my own light. That changed when I realized my grievances kept me trapped in discontent and discord instead of releasing me into delight and accord with Life itself! There are methods to become free of this dictatorship of old emotional hurts and trauma for those who seek them.

FRITH: I cannot do this word justice if I try to translate it myself. A much better take on its definition can be found on Galina Krasskova’s post on Frith, here. Frith is a heathen value meaning “Peace,” yet it is not a passive peace, but one which must be earned by constant vigilance, maintenance of “right order,” and even the stance of a warrior. It is a peace held among those who hold their own honor with regard for one another. It is a peace attained within by congruency with one’s own integrity and mindful living. It is not an outward value, but an inward value manifesting outwardly in one’s life. It is faithfulness in one’s role, place, and purpose.

Developing a spiritual, soul-full life must become a lifestyle practice. It cannot be static, it cannot be a daydream of something I will do someday, it must be honed and honored now, to the best of my ability. It must be flexible enough to meet the needs of the day and the demands of my life. For a spiritual lifestyle to be sustainable by me, it must sustain me. I must be open to the changes it will bring, perhaps even wreck, in my life. If there is a spiritual seed in my soul that I want to nurture and grow, I must be willing to water it and feed it the elements it needs to survive and thrive. I did, and I have, and I continue to do so. This will be the basis of my Author Business, sharing ways and means of self-transformation and transcendence through sharing understanding of the things I want to continue to learn and study the rest of my life.


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