Daily Practices Help Me Stay Centered
in the Midst of it All...
Dear Ones - As we move ever-closer to Election Day, and as the COVID-19 pandemic lengthens day-by-day I find myself leaning ever-more-strongly on my Spiritual Practices to manage my anxiety and stay strong.
Spiritual practices are things we do that feed our INNER life, so that we are able to stay centered in our DAILY life. Practiced regularly over time, they help us be calmer, kinder, less reactive human beings! They also can generate in us a sense of thriving and well-being not affected by outer conditions. It's kind of like they fill up our inner "reserve tank" and give us fuel for the journey along the path our values insist we follow.
I'll tell you some of my spiritual practices (including the silly ones) in a second, but before that, let me say that I was confused for years thinking that the CONTENT and QUALITY of the practice were the most important things. I thought a spiritual practice was something like prayer or meditation, and that I had to keep doing it in a certain way. Kind of like learning to be a concert pianist: practice + practice + practice = perfection - and then I would "feel spiritual."
HAH! Nope. Spiritual practice is more like this: do the practice, do it again, and again, and again... Come back to it after I forget to do it for a while. Enjoy the way it sometimes brings delight; appreciate how it sometimes feels like an old friend. Feel crabby when it seems like a chore. Recognize that doing it helps me in ways I can't quite describe, even when it's a chore -- and keep doing it.
My colleague Rev. Erik Walker Wikstrom says a spiritual practice meets these criteria:
1. I commit to doing it, and I do it "regularly."
2. It has interior circularity (different aspects of the practice feed one another).
3. It's flexible (I don't always have to do it the same way or at the same time)
4. It takes me away from daily life even though it's not entirely divorced from my daily living.
5. It brings joy.
Here's a great example: one of Rev. Erik’s spiritual practices has to do with collecting and playing with his many toy action figures! He says, “I know. A lot of people think it odd that a man in his fifties plays with dolls… Nonetheless I am unabashed in my enthusiasm for these flexible superheroes..." (From Rev. Erik Walker Wikstrom's cool book “Faithful Practices,” a book of essays on spiritual practice written by Unitarian Universalists, and available HERE.)
As you can see from the photo, one of my spiritual practices is reading little snippets of wisdom from books like "A Year With Rilke." I also get poetry in my email every day (sign up for that HERE.) In addition, I also:
- Meet online with a spiritual advisor each month
- Sing and dance in my kitchen every day - sometimes two or three times a day!
- And as you know, I walk labyrinths a lot.
Having more than one or two spiritual practices is good for keeping things fresh - AND, in a busy, overscheduled life, offers flexibility. I can't always take time to sit and meditate the way our awesome UUCW Meditation Group does, but each night before I fall asleep, there's almost always a moment to thank the Great Mystery for the blessings of another day.
Here's two things I'm wondering... 1) What are YOUR spiritual practices? and 2) Would you like the chance to do daily or weekly spiritual practice on-line with me? Send me an email and let me know!
Blessings to you -- The Rev. Suzelle Lynch