by Maria Sirois

Last night I watched The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and was moved again by the sentiment toward the end when all seems dark and our heroes and heroines are fighting a force that seems too big, too impossibly strong. Aragorn, the newly chosen king, reminds the small force that the time may come when the end of man is near, but it is not this day. “A day may come when the courage of men fails,” he states. “When we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day.” I found myself hearing those words anew last night, not from the perspective of friendship and fellowship with others, but fellowship with ourselves. Every moment of every day we have a choice, as Tal teaches, to choose practices and attitudes that lift us, to be bonded in trust with ourselves and bring the courage of change to our day. What is most difficult often is not the waking in the morning and committing as a friend to ourselves to eat healthy or exercise or practicing benefit-finding, but the middle of the day moments when we “wake up” to realize that we’ve just devoured a bag of peanut M&M’s and have not moved off the couch and half the day is gone. What then? What do we choose when we have betrayed our own practice? It’s about the return … the return of ourselves to the friendship within. Every day we can choose, we can practice, we fall off practice, run away from ourselves, and then we can choose to return. It is that simple. Any time we notice that we have moved away from what lifts us, we simply notice, and then return. Notice, and then return. This habit itself eventually becomes what shifts us into a new level of well-being. For as we incorporate—literally make real in the body—the habit of return, we deepen our trust with ourselves and in this we strengthen the whole of our being as if we have a fellowship of friends within us to see us through. It’s about the return, the return of ourselves to ourselves, the return to practice, the return to knowing that we could perhaps one day break bonds with ourselves and flee from what was is healthy and good and brave. But it doesn’t have to be this day. This day, we return.

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MariaSiroisDr. Maria Sirois, PsyD, is the Vice President of Curriculum at Wholebeing Institute and an inspirational speaker, seminar leader, and author who has worked at the intersections of wellness, psychology, and spirituality for nearly 20 years. As a wellness guide, Maria has been invited to keynote throughout the country at conferences for wellness centers, hospitals, hospices, philanthropy, business, academic and corporate institutions, as well as for the general public. She has been called both a “true teacher” and “an orator of great power and beauty.” Her book, “Every Day Counts: Lessons in Love, Faith, and Resilience from Children Facing Illness, was published in 2006.”