Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Experiment in Loving

I was touched by the idea of paradox from Sunday's worship. The concept was already percolating after recently reading a passage from Henri Nouwen's Spiritual Direction:
"Without solitude, it is virtually impossible to live a spiritual life. Yet we cannot live our spiritual lives alone. Although we need solitude to know God, we require a faith community to hold us accountable. We need to learn how to listen to the word of God, ever present within our hearts. We need disciplines of study and spiritual practice to discern the word of God in words and scripture. We need a church or faith community that provides opportunities for worshipping and sharing, engaging in mutual correction and bearing of burdens, confessing faults, offering forgiveness and celebrating life. We also need guides: spiritual friends, a spiritual director, or a spiritual accountability group that can function for is as a safe place to bear our souls."
This morning, in another meditation, I read that releasing our woundedness means surrendering the idea that our wound can be healed. Powerful stuff, even if it seems contrary ... perhaps because it does.

In worship, I wondered about when I feel most free. When I am  most unencumbered, I thought. Surrender, I am learning, is doing exclusively what Spirit asks, not grasping, holding or clutching. And when I asked God what she wishes from me, I heard:
• Releasing your worries to me.
• Tapping the creativity of your heart; and
• Loving as the basis for living.

It's that last little thing that got me. I don't live that way and probably haven't since I was a carefree kid. There is always another agenda: proving myself, presenting myself in a particular way, being someone else for someone else, avoiding who I really am.

That's not living or loving, so what's it look like to love as the basis for living? Well, I think it may be something I call Experiment in Loving and this is what it could look like:
1) WAKE UP with a prayer of gratitude, gentle stretch and naming three things for which I   
     am thankful.
2) EMBRACE the first person I encounter.
3) HONOR my body with joyful, loving and prayerful exercise.
4) Set an INTENTION for the day
5) Approach each meal with REVERENCE:
    – Savor its nourishment
    – Bless its origin as well as its way into my body
    – Say thank-you
    – Make wise choices, filling my tank with care, not junk
6) Spend some time during some part of the day with meditative reading, prayer or
     spiritual PRACTICE.
7) LIGHTa candle of intention (physically or metaphorically) as I begin my work
    – Pray to discover God's guidance for the day even as I create my to-do list
8) Spell myself while working by breathing, stretching, keeping PRESENT and God
      nearby in my mind.
    – Take a break with water or tea as refreshment of spirit.
9) Work JOYFULLY, attentively and intentionally.
10) At the conclusion of work, express thanks and use the EXAMEN as a check-in to
      see who and how I touched spiritually as well as how I was touched.
11) Transition to HOME, expectant of family energy and demands:
    – Pray to stay grounded in Spirit, preventing work tensions from erupting at home.
    – Be present to the preciousness of children, spouse, parents, pets and neighbors.     
     Remember what gifts they are in my life.
12) Joyfully prepare the meal as if holy, an intimate act of SERVICE.
    – Bless the food.
    – Bless the preparation and the preparer if not me.
13) Hold a collective BLESSING, silent or otherwise.
14) Honor a time for each person to SHARE their day.
   – Take a walk or meditate together.
15) Give thanks for the day and its blessings, enter sleep at PEACE

I'm attempting this, probably feebly. Anyone want to join me?

Listen to this post:


  1. So I have been holding the prayer for a while that it will be Love, embodied Love, that gets me out of bed in the morning. My list of intenionality is different than yours, and yet oh so the same. I am hoping/trusting that what is often the most difficult part of my day will become Beauty as I surrender each day to my limitations.

    Angela York Crane

  2. Anj –
    Suzanne always thought we'd connect and I think we have much in common. I love your prayer and also hope the difficult time will become Beauty. I recently visited my massage therapist/shaman with the intent of feeling love in every cell of my body and it happened. It was so wonderful. Blessings on your journey. Thank you for stopping by.