The Most Important Thing You Can Do for Yourself


I’ve been doing something for the past three decades or so, and I’m just now realizing that it’s the most important thing I do, and the subsequent skill developed is the most important skill I’ve cultivated.

It’s been responsible for any success I can claim, any effectiveness and even joy I experience.

It’s responsible for helping me cope with trauma and incredible, ongoing stress, both short-term and long-term. (Those who know me well can’t believe I haven’t broken down in the face of them. This practice is why.)

The practice is spending time every day when I tune in to my innermost self, and to God (not exactly the same, but uses the same faculty, perhaps).

Through this, I’ve learned to listen to God, so that hearing his voice comes naturally to me.

I’ve shared some of what I’ve heard, such words as the 12 words that changed everything (“You must allow others the dignity of living with their choices,”), the wry observation that led me on a long adventure of discovery: “you create a lot of your own stress, you know.”

Then there are the enigmatic words that seem to be my guidance currently, and may speak to you, too: “Strengthen what remains.” The past several years have taken much away from all of us, but these words help me focus on something I can do now, with what does remain. (It also focuses me with gratitude on what does remain, and helped me to see that subtraction is actually a good thing.)

I’m not yet sure what all this applies to, but as I follow the clues and inklings, I am guided very specifically in my business and relationships.

“It’s the glory of God to conceal a matter, and the glory of kings to search it out” it says in Proverbs. (Those who follow God reign with him in his kingdom, so in this sense we are kings and queens. I readily embrace my queendom—something else I’m “searching out”!)

I highly recommend this practice of spending time, preferably with pen and paper, and just tune in to God, your innermost self, or the muse. 

Perry Marshall calls it Renaissance Time. I like that. It gives the flavor of something new, also of opening up to all sorts of possibilities–which is what this time does.

Julia Cameron, who for decades has been fostering creativity in people through her many books such as The Artist’s Way, suggests you start with “morning pages.” The best time for this practice IS in the morning, when you’re fresh and still kind of tuned in to your subconscious. Morning pages are a kind of “mind dump,” where you spill out onto the page whatever is coming to you, no judgment or editing allowed.

It’s very important, if you’re going to get the most out of this practice, to do it BEFORE you tune in to any technology. I keep my phone on “airplane” mode and don’t turn it back on until after my “Renaissance Time” is over.

My “Renaissance Time” starts with morning pages—writing 3 pages of longhand, first thing in the morning.  I use an 8 1/2 x 11 spiral notebook, and write anything that comes to mind. It is a way of “mind dumping,” where you write quickly, without any worries about punctuation or grammar. You just—write. (Side benefit for writers: if you do this regularly, you probably won’t ever suffer from writer’s block.)

You can also write in a bit more structured way of dialoguing with God. Dr. Mark Virkler just finished a series on Hearing the Voice of God, in which he gives four keys: 1) get quiet 2) fix your eyes on Jesus, 3) tune in to flowing thoughts and pictures, and 4) writing down what you “hear” and “see.”

You can also pose a question, and just start writing anything that comes to mind. It could be a specific question you want answered, or just, “God, what do you want to say to me today?”

I tend to start off with the “mind dump” approach, and maybe I’ll get to the dialogue part, maybe not. I may do the more structured “dialogue with God” writing at other times in the day, as needed. Once I’ve written my morning pages, my mind is cleared. For the rest of my Renaissance Time, I read, usually Scripture, do my healing work, then take my walk. That’s often when I get “downloads” of ideas and insights and answers.

I used to feel guilty about all the time I spent doing these things, but now I realize it is the wellspring of my ability to get ideas, deal with stress, ground myself, and generally set myself up for a demanding day.

CC BY by Kent Schimke

You could always shorten it for yourself by, for instance, just writing a page or two, reading a bit, doing your Healing Codes, and walking at another time. I have to say, though, that the order and combination I outlined—morning pages, reading, healing work, then a walk (breakfast is during the reading part)–create a dynamic synergistic effect that is very powerful.

I now see that time as the most productive part of my day.

In fact, this is the very practice I was led to do when I was in a post-partem depression 25 years ago. This was what came to me after trying medication (which didn’t help). I prayed and felt God led me to do morning pages, reading and walking. (When The Healing Codes came into my life, I added that.) It worked like a charm.

I suggest you start with 20 minutes, first thing in the morning, pen and paper, and just get quiet and listen. See what comes up for you. Again, most important: do it before “plugging in.”

Let me know how it goes if you try it.

In my upcoming program, Align with Your Divine Design(TM), I will have a whole module on this and more. Stay tuned!

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