Virtues for a Sustainable Life

Feb 19, 2021

How are you, really? 

Are you caught up in what Linda Kavelin-Popov calls the FOG Syndrome of Fatigue, Overwhelm, and Guilt? Have the demands of your life exceeded your energy?  Illnesses such as Chronic Fatigue and Post Polio are epidemic. Too many of us are E-Type Personalities” – everything to everybody!   How do we reclaim our lives and experience Joy, Meaning and Purpose during uncertain times?  How can we sustain a sense of daily grace?

I am going to share with you A Pace of Grace that contains the following four-part program to help us live our best, most grace-filled life:

  1. Purify Your Life
  2. Pace Yourself
  3. Practice the Presence
  4. Plan a Sustainable Life

We can purify our life by taking exquisite care of our bodies with water, healthy eating, breath and exercise.

We can purify our souls by replacing negativity with virtues in our way of life and our language, including the powerful language of our thoughts.

It is especially important to replace the Internal Critic with a Gentle Observer.

We can overcome the needless pain and negativity in the “Troubled C’s” of relationships – Criticism, Control, Contempt and Contention with the healing virtues of Assertiveness, acceptance and Appreciation.

We also need to create a Space of Grace by sustaining order and beauty around us. Keep only what is beautiful, useful, and/or meaningful.

Purification includes financial healing by replacing addictive patterns of spending with the attitude of gratitude and the practice of responsible abundance.

Having an attitude of gratitude is something that can instantly raise your vibration and help you experience more joy and meaning. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, focus on what you do have.

Denis Waitley once shared that, “Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, worn or consumed.  Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.”

Even when money is tight, it is important to give all family members some money they feel they have control over, even if it is a small amount.

Pace Yourself is slowing down to the pace of grace through Proactive Rest – resting before we get tired, taking regular time for Play, Setting Clear Boundaries, and responding ably to the Stress of Success by learning to ride the waves rather than being engulfed by them.

It is leaning to Pause for Applause when we finish a project or reach a turning point.  It is a choice to structure our lives gracefully and consciously rather than reacting to the endless demands others place on us.

Practice the Presence is about our profound need for reverence and reflection, and the vital importance of honoring our spiritual needs every day.

The RPMS of a routine of reverence include reading, payer, meditation, and service.  One of the fastest ways to help us feel better when we are down is to be of service to others.  Daily acts of kindness actually raise our level of happiness and increase our oxytocin, the neurotransmitter associated with love and connection.

As Mahatma Gandhi said, “The fragrance always remains in the hand that gave the rose.”  When we are generous and give of ourselves we get the blessings and benefits as well.  

Taking regular sacred time and creating a sacred space for reflection allows us to ground ourselves in grace every day.

When we are feeling stressed we can de-stress ourselves with a few moments of quiet time, meditation, snuggling with a loved one, being out in nature or even listening to our favorite songs.

We can turn to our A-Team, our ancestors, angels, and advisors, for continual guidance.

Plan a Sustainable Life is discerning “What is My Yes?” rather than living life reactively.  “Let the beauty we love be what we do.  There are a hundred ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” Rumi

It is organizing and prioritizing our day, our month, and our year to balance mind, body and spirit.  It is finding our true calling and doing what gives us joy and makes a difference in the world.

We can use the 5 Strategies of The Virtues Project as a guide for personal transformation or family, work, or community transformation.

  • The 1st Strategy is “Speak the Language of Virtues’. Language has the power to inspire or to discourage. Using virtues to acknowledge, guide, correct and thank awakens the best within us.  What are your strength virtues? What are your growth virtues?
  • The 2nd Strategy is “Recognize Teachable Moments”. What lessons are you learning at this time in your life, perhaps the need for moderation, discernment or trust?
  • The 3rd Strategy is “Set Clear Boundaries”. What boundaries do you have? What boundaries do you need?  What is my life like when I am driven by my ego vs. lead by my soul?
  • The 4th Strategy is “Honor the Spirit”. During uncertain times it is a great time to look at what brings us the most joy, meaning, and purpose.  What celebrations, rights of passage or other ways to honor the spirit do we call on? Creativity and reverence are 2 great virtues to help us discern what is most meaningful.  Going for a walk or just being in nature is healthy for the mind, body and spirit and the price is right, it’s free.
  • Finally, the 5th Strategy is  “Offer Companioning”. How well do we listen to ourselves, to one another and what really needs to be heard?

 When times are stressful it is an opportunity to re-prioritize. Many of us are going through a transformation.  We are in the chrysalis phase where it is dark, scary, and lonely.  We are not sure what awaits us in the future.  However, with trust, perseverance, unity, and courage we will emerge from the chrysalis even stronger than before it got dark.

Loretta Larouche shared this bit of wisdom, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift that’s why we call it the present.”