Monday, February 9, 2009

Our Truest Self: A Woman Who Chooses Her Thoughts and Feelings

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Today's featured guest is Janice Lynn Lundy. Enjoy her article posted below. We both love comments, feedback and questions.

A Woman Who Chooses Her Thoughts and Feelings

On average, 60,000 thoughts a day run through our minds, most of them not of our own choosing. They are random thoughts. Thoughts about the past, overshadowed by worry or regret, or thoughts about the future, dominated by more worry or fear.

If we desire to live as our truest self, a woman who is naturally peaceful, confident, joyful, and loving, it is important that we develop a new relationship with our thoughts, as well as the feelings that accompany them.

We can do so by beginning to observe—simply notice—the content of these thoughts and where they lead us. We can ask ourselves: Does their presence take me into a greater daily experience of peace, love, or joy? Or do these thoughts keep me bound up in worry, self-doubt, fear, or lack? Then, because we desire to live in an enlightened manner, we pledge to redirect our thinking. This, in fact, is the third Transformational Truth of twelve in Your Truest Self: “I Choose Thoughts and Feelings That Honor My Sacred Self.”

To begin to track our thoughts, words, and actions requires one very important skill—the ability to access silence. It is impossible to get in touch with our thoughts and feelings if we cannot get quiet enough to listen. We must begin to clear out our mind clutter and create room for peace, love, and joy to dwell. For this very reason, periods of silence-infused solitude are vital to our life journey.

One of the most effective methods for working with our thoughts is through the practice of journaling. It is one of the best ways I know to look at what is being said within our mind. Journaling offers a powerful opportunity for self-reflection and self-correction. Once we have taken note of our thoughts, we can tell the truth about ourselves, and begin to remake our lives. We can set a powerful intention to live a new way.

The next step is to redirect our thoughts and feelings. We assess if we are living in alignment. Alignment is a state of being whereby our thoughts, words, and actions are “in sync,” each one in harmony with the other. Each builds upon the other to take us into an embodied experience of our truest self—or not.

For example, if we say we love others but speak badly or gossip about them, we are not in alignment. Our thoughts and feelings do not match our actions. In fact, they are a contradiction. If we say that we desire peace in the world but have feelings of anger, bitterness, or resentment toward others, we are not walking our talk. We are not in alignment.

We change this, we change ourselves, by noticing the nature of our thoughts, then consciously choosing only those that bring us into alignment with our highest desires—the virtues to which we aspire. This process is one of the highest forms of spiritual practice in which we can engage.

This is the call and the challenge being issued to us today. Are we ready to answer? I sincerely hope so, for when we take the first steps to live as the peace-filled women we are meant to be, the world itself will begin to change for the better.

©2009, Janice Lynne Lundy

Janice Lynne Lundy is an inspirational speaker, interfaith spiritual director, syndicated magazine columnist, and the author of four self-help/spiritual growth books for women. Her newest book, Your Truest Self: Embracing the Woman You Are Meant to Be, has just been released by Sorin Books. She resides in northern Michigan.

Learn more about Jan at her website:
Register for her newsletter and she'll send you her new, inspirational 90-page e-book, The Awakened Woman's Guide to Life. Visit her blog: She enjoys hearing from her readers and responds personally. Email Jan!
Thanks to WOW! Women on Writing for providing the introduction.
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Jan said...

Good morning, Allyn and Guests,

I am thrilled to be here with you today at Happily Ever After...we do all want THAT don't we? Our happily ever afters begin when we have a greater awareness that we CAN harness our thoughts and feelings, re-orienting them toward ways of living that bring more peace, love, and joy— for ourselves AND others.

Blessings on your journey into YOUR truest self!


Anonymous said...


When do you find time to journal? I've started so many times and life always gets in the way. Do you set aside a certain time each day, do you squeeze it in between phone calls? Also, do you journal daily?

Jan said...

HI Ms. Anonymous,
Great question. Some people are very disciplined journalers. This is actually (I believe) a form of spiritual practice for them, like meditation, yoga, or prayer. It does take commitment and regular time set aside each day. Many women do it first thing in the morning, even rising 15-30 minutes early, before the day gets away from them. Many more I know write at night before bed.

Personally, I am a "seasonal" journaler. When I appear to be in a phase of life, particularly reflective or slow, or in a more unsettled space, I find I write more. It's important to flow with the seasons of our soul life.

It's good to determine what kind of journaler you might be (or want to be). A go with the flow kind of gal or a disciplined sort. Remember, it takes 21 days to create a new habit, so likely you will have to journal for 3 weeks or so to get the habit to stick. They say 3 mos. for it to become part of your lifestyle.

I do have a helpful video on my blog about the journey of journaling. Check it out!

Allyn Evans said...

Jan, I tend to be more like you. Though not writing daily, I still tend to record one to five entries a week. But I will go for weeks and months at a time without thinking about it.

Can't wait to read your book, Jan!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I agree with all of the above and talk about some of those issues in my upcoming book.

Ultimately, I think this is the one area men have the advantage - they know how to silence the chatterbox.

L. Diane Wolfe

Jan said...

So glad to hear that you are mindful of the process and understand how it does help you when you need it. Great!

Hello Ms. Wolfe,
Thanks for stopping by. I sense that the "chatterbox," to which you refer may not just be a male/female thing. It seems to me to be a matter of belief. In other words, do I or do I not have the ability to observe my thoughts/feelings and make new choices? Can I really do that? some might ask. In that, it may be a matter of self-esteem and empowerment. Perhaps women are more prone to self-doubt (cultural programming, and more...).

Embodying your truest self is ulitmately a matter of passion, i.e. how badly we want to be more peaceful, loving, confident or kind. Then choosing the thoughts, feelings, responses, and life choices that support this new way of being. It is about learning to "respond" to what arises rather than to "react."

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Oh, now you two women have given me the biggest order of the day, year, maybe a lifetime. It is hard to do. The most I can do is choose to ignore thoughts (and feelings) when they come to me. To move on, you know? (-:

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Blogging at Writer's Digest 101 Best Website blog,
Tweeting at

Jan said...

Hi Carolyn
Nice to hear from you. Can I share a two part process with you that really helps regarding this?

Notice the thoughts for what they are and actually name them ( ah, fear - ah, worry). Acknowledging them, naming them, takes the punch out of them. Hold them tenderly. Then redirect your thoughts to something positive—if you can, the "opposite" of the emotion you've named. (Trust, as above.) This is a practice that takes time, but it is one of the most powerful practices in which we can engage.

The trick is "unlearning" what we have been taught—that we "are" our emotions. We're not. Emotions (and thoughts) are just something we experience. They come and go, change with the temperature, the moon, our mood, our checkbook, etc. Truly, they are intransient. Our calm, kind, loving essence is what remains....what is real. The more we tap into the that, the better off we are. :-)


Anonymous said...

I found journal difficult. Everything sounds full of self pity and I hate that. I write my fiction instead and that helps.
Thank you for sharing
Jo Ann Hernandez

Allyn Evans said...

Thanks for the post Jo Ann!

Beth Blair said...

This is a very interesting subject, and your book looks wonderful. The "respond" rather than "react" is something I've been working on lately and it has certainly helped. If I receive an email or get put on the spot in person and I have an emotional response I say, "let me think about that" or wait a bit to write back a reply. It has really helped put things into perspective. Otherwise, my emotions are simply pulling me around. Of course, negative self-talk is another thing I need to work on...

Jan said...

Hi Jo Ann,
Well, there are many different ways to journal and many kinds of journals we can keep for self-reflection/self-correction.

I've kept a gratitude journal and that was awesome! The simple act of recording 3-5 things each day your are grateful for is a profound experience. Within one week of doing so, I started to view my life in completely new ways.

I also keep a journal of thoughts that come while I am reading something really wonderful. I call it my "book" journal. My thoughts and feelings about my favorite books are recorded there now and I consider this journal a treasure. :-)

At one time, when I embarked on a new spiritual path, I kept a "Mother Mary" journal. Thoughts, clippings, pictures, holy cards, all opened up a new pathway of communication and understanding for me.

I also have a "nature" journal. I live in a beautiful area of the world (on big water) and I often take my journal to the beach. I watch what is happening around me in nature and write down my reflections. It's really fun for me to write this way. I temporarily morph into Thoreau or Muir.

I think the more creative we can be the better. We each need to find outlets for our most meaningful form of self-expression. Does this help?

Prill Boyle said...

I'm not sure I could have silenced the chatter in my head enough to complete my first book without journaling. It's free therapy. Jan's suggestions also reminded me of Thich Nat Han's practice of mindfulness, which countless people around the world have found helpful as well.

Jan said...

Hi Prill,
Yes, journaling is great for those who dare to venture in (just kidding!) The process of putting thoughts down on paper is very self-revelatory and ultimately very healing.

Thich Nhat Hanh's work was a find for me early on in my spiritual journey (early 1990s). His book, Peace is Every Step, changed my life. Mindfulness has become my way of being in the world and has brought more inner peace my way than any other practice. It also eased my way through anxiety (staying unmedicated) and through many difficult family issues, including a long journey (though ultimately fatal) with my dad through cancer, my daughter serving twice in the Iraqui conflict and more.

The mindfulness practices help us to observe, center, and stay in the present moment. All of my writing is sourced in mindfulness, especially Your Truest Self. It is how I live...Thanks for noticing. :-)

Another great resource for women is The Mindful Woman by my dear friend and mentor, Sue Patton Thoele. She is one of the 12 "holy women" featured in my book and we do cover basic mindfulness practices in that chapter represented by Truth # 5, "I Cultivate Compassion for Myself." It's practical, straightforward, and she presented spirituality with great humor.


Allyn Evans said...

Thanks, Jan, for your article and feedback.