One Thing You Can Do to Know Yourself Better

2015-05-09-1431207459-8802235-W6PG4Y8WAK.jpg by Daniel Bowman

The rain was coming down hard on the skylight in my living room just before 6 a.m. I breathed in the smell of my coffee before the first sip. I sat my mug down near the lamp on my favorite, mirrored, dragonfly table and picked up my notebook. I glanced down at my reflection and noticed how gravity tugged at my face. It made me think of other things that have been pulling at me lately. I wrote them down one by one -- my gratitude and grudges and plans and petitions. I asked for grace, for guidance, for patience, for perspective.

In that moment, I realized how my journal has become an altar over the years, the place I lay my life before God. Coming to this altar each morning is the one thing I've done consistently for as long as I can remember.

I didn't start out calling it anything specific or doing it with the intention of spiritual growth. Really, I just started writing things down because it helped me feel slightly sane. I could move the crowded and sometimes cruel dialogue out of my inner landscape into the physical world, where the words could run free (and hopefully away from me). Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't.

But what did work, is that the page itself never turned my words away -- no matter if they were pitiful or brave, dark or light, caddy or compassionate, fearful or funny. The page would always take whatever I brought. And if I stayed on the page long enough, it would tell me wonderful secrets about myself. It would offer new perspectives, solutions, comfort, and even humor, as my hand moved across the lines.

For decades, I have decluttered my mind and my life in this way. Through it, I've learned that divine guidance flows steadily when we consistently show up to receive it.

People often ask me how I ended up doing what I do- following my dreams and pursuing my purpose. It did not happen with one big bang like some might suppose. But through a small, consistent practice, I got to know myself.

If you want one actionable step you can take without a lot of fuss, make a daily date with yourself and get quiet. There are no specific rules for this date except that you show up. This is not a call for "quiet-time" or "journaling." Sure, you can write things down like I do -- but you don't have to; you can just breathe.

The point is to hold the space.

Breathe in deeply and breathe out the junk that's trashing your inner landscape, because that is priceless real estate.

Breathe in purity; breathe out pollution. Breathe in patience; breathe out busyness. Breathe in peace; breathe out each problem. Breathe in courage; breathe out fear. Breathe in forgiveness; breathe out grudges. Breathe in trust; breathe out your need to be in control. Breathe in clarity; breathe out confusion. Breathe in love for yourself; breathe out condemnation. Breathe in compassion for others; breathe out judgment. Breathe in what you need, breathe out what you don't.

Kept daily, this date with yourself will become your altar. It is in this place of quiet communion that will you learn to listen, to yourself and to Divine guidance. It is from this place your authentic heart will rise up and make itself known. As you begin to breathe and listen, you will find peace and strength and clarity for your life.

Don't label it. Don't table it. Just make the date.

Because this one little habit, done diligently, will set you on the road to follow your dreams and pursue your purpose.