Ever read a book that promises the moon and the stars, and you’re feeling all excited the whole time you read it? Yes, yes, this is what I want! This writer is nailing it! I can’t wait – this must have been written just for me. Then . . . the end of the book comes, and along with it, the let down. You’ve read the last sentence, you’re exactly the same. You have not, by some miracle, achieved what they were promising, and worse than that, they haven’t told you how to get it. Here is the answer:
P R A C T I C E
At this point, I consider my practices to be necessary non-negotiables in my life, but this certainly didn’t happen over night. The fact is – I came to my practices by way of desperation – . I started each practice because of and despite feeling uncomfortable, trusting that if I showed up and stuck it out, the discomfort would slowly fade away to be replaced by wellness or growth. This has been my experience, and it’s not easy, but it is absolutely worth it.
“Spiritual practice is not just sitting and meditating. Practice is looking, thinking, touching, drinking, eating and talking. Every act, every breath, and every step can be practice and can help us to become more ourselves.” -Thich Nhat Hanh
Some of the practices that will be presented here are beautiful, ancient practices that people have been doing forever. Some of them are mostly just common sense things that help me in my everyday life to be more conscious of the choices I’m making that affect how I feel emotionally and physically. When committed to, these practices have the power to be life changing, and that’s no exaggeration!
Other lovely practices to come. . .
- drinking enough water/li>
- lectio devina
- walking daily
- . . . and more
Macrina Wiederkehr wrote, “I believe that the word practice is one of the most important words in the spiritual life. If you want to be a dancer, a pianist, a singer, a figure skater, you practice. If you want to make the team in any area of sports, you practice. Just imagine the many hours of practice given over to those who make it to the Olympics. Why should the spiritual life be so different? We practice pausing to remember the sacredness of our names, who we are, and what we plan on doing with the incredible gift of our lives – and how we can learn to be in the midst of so much doing. We have to practice loving and forgiving. We practice breathing and being careful with one another’s life. We practice nonviolence. We practice enjoying what we have rather than storing up possessions. We practice silence.” (Seven Sacred Pauses pages 13 and 14)
A consistency I’ve noticed in many of these practices is that after I began practicing them for a bit and was unmistakably experiencing the benefits, Reason entered and filled me with ideas about how these practices were not for me, too hard, too time consuming, not my style, over the top . . . and once a suggestion to quit comes up, it can sometimes be very difficult to ignore. I have often wondered why we stop doing the very things that make us feel good. We will use this space to examine and address this oddity.
If one of these practices appeals to you, I encourage you to give it a try, consistently, for 21 days and see what happens. If you’re struggling to make this happen, let me know, and we can work together to create some accountability for you.