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Your Truest Self

Rick Coates - November 3rd, 2008
For most of us, changes in life’s direction is a direct result of some monumental crises. A destructive relationship, a health tragedy, job loss, depression or substance abuse will often lead us to revaluate our path in life. Author and spiritual director Janice Lynne Lundy wants to encourage readers of her new book, Your Truest Self: Embracing the Woman You Are Meant to Be to start the process of a spiritual journey of seeking inner peace before such calamities arise.
Lundy found herself 15 years ago in pursuit of trying to have it all, and then some. Her desire to be the perfect wife, mother, employee, friend and trying to do it all for others led her down a path of exhaustion and facing her own major health issue.
“In 1994 I found myself faced with a health crisis and realized that I needed to make changes in my life. I started to say to myself that there has to be a better way,” said Lundy. “What I realized was that I had been pursuing all of these personal growth concepts that were popular at that time, but I was not pursuing my own spiritual growth.”
Lundy took time to heal herself by taking long walks on the beach, getting more sleep, meditating and starting her pursuit down a spiritual path.
“I spent that first year reading about authentic living,” said Lundy. “What I began to discover was that I was not alone in where I was at. Society and culture has sold us on this concept that we have to have it all. But this pursuit often leads to us actually not having it all. So I began the process of seeking out inner peace and finding out how to be true to myself.”

Lundy believes that physiologically, psychologically and culturally, women are driven to serve others before they serve themselves. But Lundy wants to encourage women to create balance in their lives and realize that in order to serve others, they have to serve their own needs as well. That process begins by slowing down and making changes in one’s life direction.
“It is hard to change, but there is this simple truth that if you keep on doing what you have been doing, you are going to keep getting what you have been getting,” said Lundy. “Each of us begins where we are. We set an intention to live in a new way, one which honors the woman we are meant to be. We begin by acknowledging that we are spiritual beings, then vow to do everything we can to cultivate our divine connection. Key to this journey is letting go of old, disempowering messages about who we’ve been told we are; embracing new personal truths; and exploring how we can connect more fully with our spirit, and the greater spirit—or God. I call these ‘Transformational Truths,’ and there are 12 of them in the book.”

So what are those 12 Transformational Truths?

1. I Am Free to Live a Spiritual Life of My Own Making

2. I Trust My Body’s Divine Connection

3. I Choose Thoughts and Feelings That Honor My Sacred Self

4. I Engage in Daily Spiritual Practices That Nurture My Spirit

5. I Cultivate Compassion for Myself

6. I Experience the Divine in Everything and Everyone

7. I Know Divine Assistance is Available to Me at All Times

8. I Acknowledge that Difficult Times Bring Healing and Deeper Wisdom

9. I Can Create My Life Anew Each Day

10. I Trust the Divine Timing of My Own Unfolding

11. I Courageously Live and Speak My Truths

12. I Open My Heart and Celebrate Our Oneness

The combination of her personal spiritual pursuit, along with her work as editor of the Healing Garden Journal and her national syndicated column led Lundy to interviewing and reading works of the 12 spiritual mentors she writes about in the book. It was through writing the book that these 12 truths were revealed to her.
“They just bubbled up through the writing, research and reflection process of this book,” said Lundy. “I have attributed one of these truths to each of the twelve spiritual mentors that I write about. But actually each of them poses all twelve of these truths.”
Your Truest Self is a spiritual book, not a religious book. Lundy points out that each of the 12 women she features in the book all come from different religious backgrounds but share a commonality of suffering incredible life changing adversity that led them on a spiritual pursuit of inner peace and courage.
“The truths, I believe, are universal. That was one of the most profound awarenesses that came as a result of meeting the women in the book,” said Lundy. “Each was from a different religious background, representing both Western and Eastern traditions. Yet, they were all so similar. Each woman could have represented any one of the truths herself. This is because each woman had fully embodied her sacred self. Of course, each has done so in a unique way through her own spirituality and life expression — as a writer, artist, musician, talk show host, environmental activist, scientist, therapist, and so on.”

The 12 women who Lundy writes about as spiritual leaders include Naomi Judd, a successful country music artist and mother of country star Wynonna and actress Ashley; New York Times bestselling author (five times) and Ebony Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Black Americans, Iyanla Vanzant; and integrative medicine pioneer and world-renowned expert in the mind/body connection Dr. Joan Borysenko; They are among the most famous women featured in Your Truest Self.
“I wrote this book from a perspective of slowing down. We all find ourselves moving so fast that it becomes difficult to take a breath and be in the moment,” said Lundy. “When we slow down and seek calm in our lives we find clarity and in clarity we are able to seek wisdom and these truths. Society has driven us to believe that we need to search outside of ourselves to find the answers, but actually the answers are within all of us. We find those answers when we have clarity in our lives.”
Lundy encourages readers to take their time when reading her book and not to seek quick fixes, but rather embrace change as a lifelong spiritual journey. At the end of each chapter she poses Reflection Questions and also a Peaceful Pause to help reader take in each “Truth.”
While Lundy believes that the answers for a peaceful life and understanding your “true self” exists within every woman; she believes in seeking out positive support in the female community.
“What you find is there are like-minded women out there and it is important to surround yourself with women who are positive and supportive,” said Lundy. “There is so much negativity in this world, so much fear that is being created. I do not watch T.V. anymore because so much of what is on it today perpetuates fear and negativity. Newscasters are telling us we have to be fearful. They are creating this false sense of worry and fear. There is this low level anxiety that is spreading out there that is causing unnecessary worry, so I believe now is a time for personal reflection and for all us to seek out these transformational truths.”

So what did Lundy take away personally from writing this book?
“Each of these women, in one way or another, expressed the concept that ‘if I can do it, you can do it because I am no one special,” said Lundy. “Regardless of our plight in life there are commonalities that exist. Regardless of how much money we have or perceived success we all from time to time find ourselves seeking that inner peace that has escaped us.”
Lundy is also an interfaith spiritual director with private practices in Grand Rapids and Traverse City. She also serves as an adjunct staff member for The Institute of Spirituality at the Dominican Center at Marywood in Grand Rapids, leading women’s workshops and retreats and mentoring spiritual directors in training. In 2004, she became a Dominican Associate.
Your Truest Self is available at area bookstores, as well as online at Lundy posts words of inspiration often on her blog, and will be making several appearances around Northern Michigan:

Sunday, November 9 • 2-4:00 p.m.
Inn at the Rustic Gate, Big Rapids, MI

Friday, November 28 • 3-5:00 p.m.
Round Lake Bookstore, Charlevoix, MI

Saturday, December 6 • Noon-3:00 p.m.
The Log Mark, Cheboygan

Saturday, December 13 • 1-3:00 p.m.
Horizon Books, TC

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