My name is Jan Lundy. I’m a woman who’s pretty passionate about living as gently, kindly, and peaceably with myself and others as possible—and empowering others to do the same. You can learn more about me at my website: JanLundy.com. On the home page, you’ll see what I’m talking about as I invite you to: “Wake up to the beauty and power of your own life. Live peacefully. Love wholeheartedly.”
My journey of awakening and personal expansion
My journey began when I was a young girl. I was very sensitive to the world around me (people, animals and nature) and felt something I can only describe as Sacred move through them—and myself. I was constantly leaning into that experience to understand it better. I explored how various people understood the Sacred too and eventually became a teacher of Comparative Religion.
While in college, I discovered yoga and the teachings of the East and fell in love with that philosophy of life: how we are all inextricably connected, one being, one heart in many different forms; that our core is love, our purpose is harmony and connection; and that we are here to experience the Sacred and our divinity. This began to explain my early inclination to better know the “force” I felt at work in the world through beauty, kindness, and community.
Like many people, I got caught up in the busyness of life in my 20s and 30s. I became the mother of three, left teaching, and created other careers for myself so I could still be of service to the world and be home with my children. In 1994, I experienced a severe health crisis, the culmination of 12 years of stress and overwhelm, trying to be it all and do it all, as many women do. In my darkest hour, I discovered the book, “ Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life” by Thich Nhat Hanh. I had never heard of mindfulness as he explained it and I immediately took it to heart. I began to practice it breath-by-breath, step by step, for that was all I could do in the moment to get better. I began to experience greater peace of body, mind, and heart. Mindfulness, I believe, saved my life and put me on the path of inner peace I am so enlivened by today. Within one year of beginning this practice, I had fully restored my health, embarked on a new career, and found a profound purpose and new meaning in life.
My passion fueled, I wanted to share a message that inner peace is entirely possible no matter what is happening in one’s life. Everyone has life challenges and mindfulness can help us navigate through whatever tough stuff we are experiencing with greater ease. In time, I became a professional speaker teaching about this offering workshops and retreats. I began writing about it too and published my first book, Coming Home to Ourselves: A Woman’s Journey to Wholeness. There have been three more books since then and with the release of the most recent ( Your Truest Self), I began teaching online. I’m amazed how much I enjoy this and how it is possible to be a purveyor of peace, even on the internet!
My Positive Life Changes
On a personal level, everything I do now is geared toward living mindfully and peacefully. I realized the importance of taking good care of all parts of myself—body, mind, heart, and spirit. I made many personal changes in my life to embody this knowing. I eat as healthfully as I can (as low on the food chain as possible and organic). I take time each day for the spiritual practices that serve my soul, especially silence and solitude, connecting with nature too. I monitor my mental input by carefully choosing only that which nourishes and uplifts. I don’t have a television. I try to live as compassionately with myself and others through the practice of Metta (Lovingkindness) Meditation. Stewardship of the earth is important to me. Nature feels to me like my “God connection. Sacred Earth! So my family and I reduce, re-use, and recycle. My lifestyle today is very contemplative and rather monkish. I have a passion for learning and growth that never stops. I am a forever student of life!
I began writing. I never intended to be a writer but words seemed to flow during my healing journey and they’ve never stopped. I believe our own words have the power to heal us. Writing is also a spiritual practice for me now; it serves to keep me honest and transparent. It invites me to greater clarity about everything. I’m now enjoying sharing the process of writing for self-discovery and writing as spiritual practice with other women. Last year I led a weekend retreat for women who enjoy writing in this way and it was the highlight of my year. I’ll do another one in 2013 in Michigan in June.
Perhaps because of all that I’ve been through in my life I realize the importance of having wise guides, mentors, and friends to companion you. As the saying goes, “Be gentle. Be kind. It’s a long journey.” My journey has often felt long and arduous, very painful at times with much loss, but there were always others who urged me onward. In 2003 (after a 3 year intensive training program) I became a Spiritual Director with an interfaith focus. This, perhaps, of all the things I do, brings me the greatest satisfaction and joy: to be able to companion someone one-on-one as they navigate the uncertainty of spiritual life. When I learned that fully 25% of Americans feel that they have no one to talk to about the things that really matter to them I knew that Spiritual Direction was an important “ministry” to uphold. To tend to someone’s soul is a sacred act, a holy calling.
My Next Steps as an Evolving Being
Professionally? I am in the early stages of acquiring a PhD in Spiritual Direction. I want to be able to maximize the final ¼ of my life and serve others by extending sacred listening; holding compassionate presence feels right to me. I’d also love to teach again, perhaps in higher education. I very much enjoy teaching online and my program offerings do have a spiritual mentoring component, but, alas, I am “old school” and would love to be back in a college setting again. We’ll see!
Personally? I fully intend to deepen in compassion, self-understanding, understanding of others, and connection to Source/Spirit. To me, there is nothing more important than that because as we remake/revision ourselves, evolving into the wisest beings we can be, the landscape changes; the world is made better by our efforts.
My Advice to Others
“Love and be happy.”