it was really fun to dig into my soul and pull out some of the words that always touch me. words that i now realize are not that deep inside me. for, as i began to list my mantras, i realize how they are connected to my core beliefs + priorities in life. i draw on them constantly at different times the day or week or year, for they all have their own purpose.
and, it turns out that i have a ton of matras/sayings/phrases/quotes that i return to again + again in my life. and i most definitely cannot narrow it down to one. so, you’re gonna get blasted with those that mean the absolute most to me.
yes, it can be annoying with words and quotes. it can feel cliche and fake. some of my mantras may be sayings that “everyone” uses. but, f*ck that (see how i used that mantra from the other week, now bringing into my fold of go-to mantras?!). these words + phrases speak to me deeply. personally. so i’m totally fine with sharing them with the rest of the world. i don’t even care what the rest of the world thinks about them, or me. all i know is that when i need them, these mantras are here to remind me + inspire me. i suppose you could say that they define me.
1. i am the vine. you are the branches.
when things feel crazy, or get hectic, or i forget who i am, or feel stressed out about what to do, then i go straight to this mantra to remind me that, in reality, i have only one job. the only thing that i am supposed to do is be.
if you think about what a branch on a vine does, it ain’t much. it is not actively doing anything except remaining attached. the work flows through it. flowers + leaves bloom only because the branch remains attached. we are the same. all that we can give and be for this world, all that we need to do in order to make a difference is to simply be. to be exactly who we are, attached to our soul, letting the life and magic of the universe, and of spirit, flow through us. when we are true to ourselves, then we will make more of a difference than we could ever imagine.
2. all shall be well, all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.
this is a quote from the christian mystic, julian of norwich. julian lived in england in the 13oos, right in the middle of the time of the plagues. she lost most everyone she knew to death and even fell deathly ill herself. and it is recorded that she had visions, or showings, of jesus christ to her. in these mystical experiences she came to understand the boundless love that god has for everyone. that life is much more about relationships and compassion, than of duty and rules.
she spent her life, after recovering, cloistering herself in a little room off of the side of a church, anchoring herself to her faith. she was,in fact, called an anchoress, meeting with people through a hole in the wall, listening to them and talking with them. counseling + supporting them.
hers was an optimistic theology. one that she shared with everyone she talked with, and even in her all of her writings. her message? in the end, god is good and only good. and all will be well.
what more can i say myself except, this i believe deeply. this is the core of who i am and how i see the world. it is not some rose-colored, unicorn optimism. it is not some simplistic, childish belief (or maybe it is). but, it is a deep knowing, a knowing i tell you, that all will be well. i cannot describe it more. and while i have had no showings like julian, i have had moments. and i know, just as much as i know that i am breathing, that this mysterious, inexplicable belief is true.
in life, i remember that, in order to stay focused, motivated, and authentic… in order to stay connected (see #1 above), then i must simply breathe. i must get quiet so that i can hear. i must go within. i must contemplate, meditate, practice yoga, pray, and take care of my soul. for, when i do that, then i feel + hear + know. i can more easily embrace the mystical, mysterious parts of life, because of the experiences i have when i retreat and spend time alone. it is like nourishment for the soul. a chance to let go + surrender. a safe place of peace, where anxiety and worry and fear gain perspective. when i simply remember to breathe, then i simply remember who i am. and that all is well (see #2 above).
4. there’s no where you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be
thank you, beatles. when i first heard this lyric, and really heard it for what it was, then i knew that it captured a spiritual belief that many mystics/gurus/monks/theologians hold to be true. the present moment is all we have. practicing the art of living in the present moment helps us to create a life of gratitude, compassion, love, joy, and inner peace. and while i am no expert at this at all, i have found that as the years pass, i am able to grasp onto this way of living more + more. and, as i do, my life has become filled with a sense of calm and certainty that exists even as chaotic, messiness swirls around me.
when i am able to accept where i am, even if i don’t like it at that specific moment, then i am much more able to go with the flow of the universe, as the tao says. and this, in turn, immerses us in a way of living in the middle of mystery and energy. we get wrapped up in the crazy, beautiful, mystical spirit that tells us who we are. and, in order to do that, we simply must forget what we think we know is best for us at all times. we must let go of expectations. we must set aside the beliefs that we think that we have to know the fact or have all of the power. we must put down the ideas that money, security, success, and the “normal” way is the way to growth and transformation. no, friends, the way is the way of freedom and lightheartedness and calm in the midst of everything that happens. it the way that focuses only on what is really real: love.
5. it’s not about the destination, it’s all about the journey.
oh lord have i annoyed people with this mantra of mine. if you know me well, then you know that i throw this out there all of the time. but, i am convinced of its truth for our lives.
as a lover of travel, i automatically use the metaphor of a journey when i think about life. many of us do. we all know the references. the mountains, the valleys, the deserts, the oceans to cross, the canyons to jump. the trails to wander. we even talk about which path we choose to take in life when we talk about deciding on a career. we know that we are on a journey. that life is one long process of living.
as a kid, just like everyone else, when i took a roadtrip with my parents all i could think about was the destination. when would we get there? i just wanted the trip to be over. but, my parents somewhere along he way taught me that the trip was part of the journey. yes, the destination was important, but just as important were all of the sights we saw along the way. something that took me a long time to learn.
but, now that i get it, i embrace it. and it makes life so much more fun. it’s a very concrete way to live in the present moment (see #4). and i find myself doing my best to teach those around me that adventure is found everywhere. that part of life is living right now, experiencing what is happening right now, and letting all of it become part of the story of our journey in life. besides, if we only focus on the end, then we will miss out on so very much.
believe me, though, i call on this mantra when i’m dealing with a challenge, or when something is not going my way. i literally remind myself that it’s all part of the journey. that the missed train or the unexpected job or even the death that occurs, is all part of my story. all something to teach me and transform me and help me grow. and all i need to do is just take one more step forward.
6. the mountains are calling and i must go
i think that i think about this mantra of mine every single day. even if i don’t go outside, and even if i am nowhere near some deep, beautiful nature, i call up images of trees, water, forests, and mountains in my mind’s eye. i need nature. i need to see the sky. i need to feel the breeze. i need to gaze out over the sea, or feel the sand, or smell a flower, or touch a leaf. nature renews my soul. nature teaches me. some of the most powerful moments i have had in my life have occurred among nature. in the midst of nature, i feel vulnerable + powerful all at the same time. i recognize my place in the world, just another living thing called to be true to who i am.
oh, i love the city. but, i daily remind myself that the mountains are always calling me. they are softly whispering to me to get out + explore. they are always urging me to take the long way home. and even if i can’t get out into the countryside, the mountains are calling me to observe all of nature that is around me.
7. the world is my parish
so, this one comes from my theology days as well. it’s something that john wesley, the father of the methodist denomination, said in reference to his work. in england in the 1700s, wesley was pretty much pissed off with how the anglican british church was handling things. many blue collar workers, the poor, widows, children, were being left out of the anglican church. it had become a church for the elite, with close to no social work involved. wesley, an anglican (as everybody was then) pastor/minister was not satisfied with people being left out, and not being able to hear a message of love and grace from god.
so, he took to the streets. literally. he preached from fields in the countryside, early in the morning, where people could stop for a moment to and from their shifts at work. he preached in the town squares, traveling on horseback from city to city. eventually, he found himself on a ship to america, where he began preaching to slaves, natives, as well as the colonial whites from europe. of course this was scandalous. and viewed by the church of england as being in contempt.
but, wesley was living out his mantra: the world is my parish. now, a parish is an ecclesiastical (religious) district having its own church and member of the clergy. it’s the small area where a pastor/minister is assigned to work and serve the people. like a town, or neighborhood, or county. wesley, however, defined the entire world as his parish. and he lived just as he said. preaching and sharing a message not of class, damnation, fear, or judgement to people; but rather a message on endless grace and love offered to every single person in the world. and he didn’t really care what the church of england thought about him.
i grew up a methodist, hearing this message myself in the churches that i attended. i learned about wesley and his methodical, old establishment-pushing ways of sharing that message. and then, i began preaching and sharing that same message myself. i shared it not because it was what i supposed to do. no one ever told me what i should or should not believe. i shared that message because i grew to believe it myself.
and today, i still believe in the same message that john wesley spread in his unconventional, status quo-crushing, daring ways. the message of love that all people should be able to hear.
today, i often quote this mantra to myself as i walk around. as i see all kinds of people, in all kinds of situations, with all kinds of lives. and as i travel to far off places and countries. this mantra reminds me that we are all equal. that we all deserve love and justice and peace. that is our right as human beings, and there is not one person left out from the grace and love that is available to us, within us.
i may not preach or work in a church anymore, but i don’t need to. the world is my parish. the whole world is where i work to use my life to bring about peace and to share love. at least, that is my hope.
8. follow your bliss
this is that great quote by the mythologist, philosopher, writer joseph campbell. when i stumbled onto it years ago, it was just the permission that i needed at that point in my life to give me that extra push to being to truly live that life that i had been working on creating inside me.
i repeat this mantra constantly. it is an empowering one. and one that sums up everything. period. it is being attached, and knowing that all will be well. it is breathing, being present in the moment, enjoying the journey, connecting with nature, and sharing love with the world. for me, follow your bliss, is learning to embrace a life of being, loving, and living.
9. be. love. live.
and this is the mantra that i created for myself, and for this blog, 4 and a half years ago. it has now become a way of living. and here is what i mean when i say be.love.live:
find yourself. find what makes your soul sing. and do it. follow that path. commit to letting your inner voice lead you. follow your instinct, your heart, your soul. be you – exactly who you were created to be. because you are beautiful and you are loved. just as you are. embrace everything that you are. love yourself and others just a little bit more. live your life to the fullest. it makes all the difference in the world – for you, and for everyone around you.
onwards + upwards! xoxo
thanks so much for reading, and for creating your mantras, if you did. and if you didn’t, well, then get to it! please leave a comment below and a link to your blog post with your mantras. it’s so great to share + get inspiration from each other!