Confirmation

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I mentioned a few posts back how I’m using The SALT Project’s Lenten study this season. It’s not too demanding – a reading on Ash Wednesday, then one for each Sunday and a few extra during Holy Week. There’s a Gospel reading paired with one of Mary Oliver’s poems. I’ve wanted to read more of her writing so this has been a good introduction for me. After the readings there is a short mediation then a few action items to consider throughout the week.

When I read the one for Ash Wednesday, I was already in the place of purging and letting things go, which was the action item for the following few days.

Last Sunday, as I was preparing to go for a long hike, the action item suggested I “schedule a wilderness walk in solitude or with a friend, listening for how God may be calling [me] to change.”

Yesterday as I opened the pamphlet I thought, “there is no way this one will connect as deeply as the first two have.” For this week it suggests I “try fasting from technology for an hour, a day, or the whole week.”

Friday night I was telling Brad how I think I’m addicted to my phone, how I need to take a break from it and social media, how it’s taking up too much of my time.

Well then.

Each week when I sit down to use this devotional, I get confirmation of something I’ve already decided I need to do. Make space. Get outside. Reduce technology. I had already thought about making some kind of change or taking a certain action and then I am affirmed of that choice in what I read.

The Universe is amazing like that.

I think it all comes back to paying attention, to knowing yourself, to being present. I’ve made some changes in my life over the last 2 years that have really helped me pay attention, learn more about myself and practice presence.

  • I start each morning in silence and solitude. I get up early to make sure I have time to read and breathe and wake up slowly. I read poetry and blessings and reflections. I write in my journal. I create collages. I breathe the names of those on my heart and mind. I light a candle. I cover myself in a quilt made by my great-grandmother. I am still.
  • I walk and run without earbuds more and more. I used to listen to podcasts or music anytime I stepped out the door to move my feet. I don’t do that as much anymore. I enjoy listening to the sounds around me – birds, cars, dogs barking, leaves blowing in the wind, the clicking of Denali’s nails on the pavement. I also listen to the sounds within me – my internal narrative, my wonderings, my reflections of the day and expectations of what’s coming up.
  • I listen to music that feeds my soul on my morning drive to work. I used to listen to the news or a podcast recapping the latest in national and world politics. However, I found that was causing me stress and I didn’t like that. So, I changed things up. I listen to The Brilliance or Sandra McCracken or India Arie or All Sons and Daughters. I listen to music that connects me to God. I listen to music that often brings me to tears. I listen to music that helps me become more compassionate toward those around me.
  • I go to yoga, which reminds me to pay attention to my body and my breath. I find that I consciously breathe a lot more now – at work, in church, in the car, at home. I take deep breaths. I listen to the wave-like sounds that come with a deep breath in and a deep breath out. Yoga also gives me the tools to pay attention the aches and pains in my muscles – to stretch throughout the day, to roll my neck slowly and consciously, to sit up straighter.

When I take time to be still or move with awareness or breathe deeply, I’m practicing presence. And when I practice presence, I notice more, especially the little things. And when I notice more I see signs of confirmation all around me.

God didn’t create us hoping we would have difficult lives. God is for us.

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The Universe doesn’t want us to struggle day after day. The Universe is for us.

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When I slow down and pay attention, I begin to see the signs all around me – confirmation of the choices I’ve made.

I wonder what next Sunday will hold?

peace.


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