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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Introducing Janice Lundy and the Buddha Chick Training


I first met spiritual writer and teacher Janice Lundy when she dropped by my blog several years ago. I drifted over to hers and found her book, Your Truest Self, which I found a lifeline to well being and sanity. Her voice, both written and spoken, is sweet, wise, and comforting. Through the years we've been mala friends and I've learned a lot from her. She inspires me with her can-do, compassionate approach. Today she's answered my questions about her work.

Janice Lynne Lundy is the woman behind "Buddha Chick™" and the creator of "The Mindful Makeover Kit." She is an educator, interfaith spiritual director, retreat leader and celebrated author of 6 personal/spiritual growth books for women. Visit her at BuddhaChick.org and AwakenedLiving.com

The giveaway part: She's generously offered to give one reader a copy of her course, "The Buddha Chick™ Mindful Makeover Kit", which she describes below:

"The Mindful Makeover Kit empowers women to live physically calm, mentally clear, openhearted lives, handling life's challenges with ease. 12 hours of downloadable recordings, Workbook, Buddha Chick™ Affirmation Cards, and private mentoring support. Nothing short of a complete life makeover with mindfulness and self-compassion."

Over the next day or so, she'll drop by and read and answer comments—leave a comment and you'll be entered into a drawing for the course.

And she's giving everyone an online, stay-at-home retreat you can follow in one day on your own schedule. Just click on the link with the photo of the woman with her feet up to get to the retreat--------------------------->

Welcome to all. Let's enjoy our conversation!

*****
Janice:

Laura, thank you so much for inviting me to be a guest on your blog today. And hello to all of your lovely friends! It’s pure delight to be here. Let’s string some beads of wisdom together, shall we? Malas of mindfulness and compassion.


Q: What’s your “job description” at this point in life?

A: Oh, my what a question! Transparently, I do see myself in the mentor stage of life. Old enough to know “some stuff” that is worth sharing; young enough to feel great passion around supporting others on their spiritual journeys—and having the energy to do it!

I was a classroom teacher for many years and am back doing that—online this time, which is great fun because it is borderless and you get to meet so many kind people. I’m a Spiritual Director and love serving as a companion to someone who is on a path and wants to live with greater calm, clarity and wisdom. I adore writing and developing creative projects so that “job” never feels like work. In fact, I would like to have more time to write. I have so many books in me!

Last year, I gifted myself with a 30-day retreat in the tropics. I planted myself under a very old banyan tree (Bodhi tree) and not unlike the Buddha, “sat” for a month. Though most of my sitting time ended up in writing. I was in heaven.

I am also a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister and friend. To be present to each of those roles and the people I love brings me great joy.


Q: Who do you emulate or admire greatly?

A: Powerfully, peaceful people: Gandhi, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, my own teacher (in the Vipassana tradition of Buddhism) Sylvia Boorstein. Most of my adult life, I have longed for inner peace because it eluded me. I often say that I inherited worry genes from my father’s lineage and anxiety genes from my mother’s. I was a nervous child and a fretter. That’s why I resonate so deeply with Sylvia’s work and why she is my spiritual director and teacher. She is a recovering “fretter” and always startled easily. Me too! To find personal peace has been my passion and path for the past 20 years. (My next book by the way is aptly titled, Pockets of Peace. )


Q: What are you trying to establish in creating Buddha Chick™ and Dharma Sisters Circle? Can you describe them both?

A: Both of these efforts are the result of my passion to provide women with a safe place, a sanctuary, where they can explore and get in touch with their true selves.

Buddha Chick™ is the culmination of my life work: a mindset, a process with a set of practices, a lifestyle, and an interspiritual community that promotes living from our essence (through our basic goodness) for the benefit of all beings. At BuddhaChick.org, through classes, retreats, and training (especially “The Mindful Makeover Kit”), we breakthrough all that prevents us from embodying our innate peace, love, joy, generosity, kindness, and more.

To do this good work within sacred community is powerful. We can support one another. No one wants to journey alone. And with so many of us being non-affiliated spiritually, or living far away from practice centers, the internet can provide a positive space to do this. I created BuddhaChick.org and its programs for this purpose. I love connecting with women, sharing and growing together.

DharmaSistersCircle.org is an online membership community. We practice Buddha Chick™ principles, sit at the feet of wonderful guest teachers (in June it will be Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche), and convene in groups of special interest: “Mindful Moms”; Khanti (“patient endurance”), a healing circle for women with ongoing health issues, etc. Everything we do at both sites is rooted in mindfulness, loving-kindness and compassion. It is very exciting!


Q: What inspires you and gets you going in the morning?

A: Beauty. Natural beauty may be my greatest inspiration. I am very blessed to live on a gorgeous Bay. To be greeted by water every morning is pure joy. And I have an enormous perennial garden in my backyard, so green things lift me up. And also my husband, he inspires me. He is my beloved, a true spiritual partner and my creative partner too. I love knowing that when I get up in the morning I will do what I love the most—to write, connect, journey with others. I am very aware how lucky I am to be able to live in this way. It’s a simple, contemplative life. I say “Thank you” a lot!


Q: What helps you sleep at night?

A: I do Metta! Loving-kindness (meditation) practice. I am pretty faithful about it. It is, for me anyway, the antidote to everything—anxiety, insomnia, worry, self-doubt, a closed heart, you name it. I learned Metta from Sharon Salzberg and Sylvia. I studied it privately with Sylvia for two years. Last year, she encouraged me to begin teaching it and I offered my first Metta retreat in Michigan. Metta has been my lifeline and my invitation. Plus, the Buddha himself promised that if we did Metta, we WOULD sleep peacefully and have peaceful dreams. It’s true! If I could suggest one spiritual practice to everyone, regardless of faith tradition, it would be Loving-kindness practice. It will transform your life if you let it.


Q: What are you proudest about?

A: Being alive. Surviving and thriving through some very difficult times. Coming out the other side with dignity and grace. And, now, on most days anyway, a peaceful heart. Knowing that, as His Holiness the Dalai Lama reminds us, just to live is a precious gift. “This one precious life,” is a mantra I often repeat to myself.

And what will I do with that precious life today? What will YOU do?



Monday, May 23, 2011

East Meets West in Hula Mala


Hula-Inspired Mala

Okay, I have the nicest and most interesting customers ever.

A few months ago a customer approached me to make a special mala to honor the hula tradition she's studying. She requested lava stone, sandalwood, and koa wood with a yellow tassel to match the Lehua Mamo blossoms of a Hawaiian tree. The guru bead was to be red aventurine.
The symbolism was rich and very personal for each bead.

We ended up using black obsidian instead of lava and here's the final result.
The customer took this beautiful photo and let me use it, but she wished to be anonymous.

It was a very special custom mala. Combining the traditions of hula and meditation—what could be better?

Monday, May 16, 2011

epis gone wild

Each May I look forward to seeing these cacti bloom. These epiphyllums (yes, I look it up every time I write it!) are stunningly beautiful. Here's a double bloom, two on one stem, with a yellow Kuan Yin statue behind it.

Now if only I could get them to bloom forever! But then they might not be as special.

Impermanence makes everything so precious.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Me and Mom...

Happy Mother's Day to you all! Since you've all, according to Buddhist thought, been my mothers throughout countless lifetimes, I honor and thank each of you.

May you have a joyful day, whatever you do.

Love,
Laura