Sometimes the very thing that has inspired this ministry—spiritual practice—gets undermined by my working on the ministry.
Silly? Yes. Common? Yes, that too.
There is some dispute as to who made the following wise remark—I’ve heard it attributed to at least three spiritual or religious leaders: If I am busy, I must pray for an hour. Today, I shall be very busy, therefore I must pray for three hours.
Recognizing that spiritual practice is supportive of the work we do, and not something to fit in around our work—that’s a big a-ha for many of us on the spiritual path.
The ministry of The Way of the River is consuming. I love it. It is life giving and energizing. And yet…
And yet…And yet, too much work, no matter how good, can cause me to hit the wall by the afternoon. I write too much, I fiddle and fuss too much, I plan too much, and BAM, my brain becomes staticky and unhappy. I get hungry and tired and have the hungry crankiness that is SO pleasant to be around.
The solution, though, is so simple. Not easy, but simple.
The solution is to choose your way to “kneel and kiss the ground,” as Mevlana Rumi wrote. The solution is to go and do the thing that grounds you. To take a run. To sit at the altar and sing. To read your prayer book and go through your Rosary.
The solution is to give yourself the gift of practice, even for just a few minutes. And also the gift of restoration. The come together.
The thing, though, that comes to me here is that, while gentleness is always key, so is discipline. “Even just for a few minutes” may not be what I believe is most important in this particular post.
Discipline, the act of following our practice, can encourage us to follow the dictum above—that the more stress we are likely to have coming up, the more practice invites us.
The more unfocused I am, the more self-care I need. Some of that self-care is sleep and food and a phone call with a friend, perhaps. But some of that self-care and one of the greatest lovegifts we can give ourselves is practice. Heaping helpings of it. Waking up earlier to have it. Walking to work so you can have it. Taking time out of your workday so you can have it.
Today I commit to you that I am going to sit at my altar and sing for half an hour, and then write for forty-five minutes or so. That is my story, and I’m stickin’ to it.
What’s your plan?
Blessings on you and on your house!