Thursday, January 15, 2015

Thursday's Reflection: Living Mindfully

On my way up to the garret, I glanced out the window and what did I see? This agile and daring squirrel. He was willing to stretch and take a chance in hopes of getting the desired morsel of bird seed. I suspect he was successful. If he wasn't successful, chances are he will try again until he gets what he wants or until he decides the effort isn't worth it, and he spots another place with potential for an afternoon snack. 

This squirrel is always good for a laugh and a smile. And a pause in the day. 

I had been gone all morning, attending a workshop at church about health care directives. Although not the lightest of topics, the time was congenial with pleasant people and helpful information.  However, I was eager to return to my desk before it would be time to pick up our granddaughter from school. The time seemed to be oozing away from the day. More than pressured to accomplish some self-designated task, I was eager to return to the writing I had started earlier in the day. I didn't want to lose momentum or what seemed to me to be deep insights--so deep they may have disappeared. 

But then there was that squirrel, showing off, auditioning for Cirque du Soleil, and cheating the birds out of what should rightfully be theirs. I had no choice but to pause and watch and even now as I sit at my desk, I wonder what that squirrel is plotting next. 

Mark Nepo uses the phrase, "a daily dose of holiness," in his book The Endless Practice, p. 192. I'm not saying the squirrel is holy, but if you want to view him that way, that is fine with me, but the pause I gave myself to stand and watch him and delight in his antics, even though only moments earlier I had been pulled in my own direction was holy. The lure to pause was holy. 

How many opportunities are there in your day for a dose of holiness? The trick is to be aware of them, to allow them past your closed door, to soften and soak up the scene. What was the soft drink slogan? "The pause that refreshes."

In the unplanned moment, I was holy. 

By "holy," I don't mean wearing long robes and removing myself from the world, and I certainly don't mean being better than anyone else. Holiness is not about perfection or about being wrapped in some golden light, too pure to be touched by what is harmful or hurtful. Rather, holiness is being alive to the extraordinary in the ordinary, returning to our center, even though the feeling may last no longer than one cycle of inhale and exhale. 

We each have the potential to bring holiness into our day to day experiences and realities. We each have the promise of noticing the holy and therefore, bringing holiness into our being. 

Perhaps the following prayer will encourage your own practice of holiness.

Surprising One, coming in ways I least expect, open me to your dynamic presence.
          Awaken me, Surprising One!
Perceptive Guide, always available o direct my ways, advise me in self-discipline and decision-making.
           Awaken me, Perceptive Guide!
Freedom Bringer, asking for my willingness to surrender, help me to let go, to let in, to let be.
            Awaken me, Freedom Bringer!
Source of Power, providing stamina and strength for my soul, support me when I am weak and vulnerable.
             Awaken me, Source of Power!
Arousing One, stirring up why is dead or stale, urge my stagnant, sleeping gifts into life.
              Awaken me, Arousing One!
Divine Transformer, encouraging continued growth, grant me both patient and acceptance.
               Awaken me, Divine Transformer!
Peacemaker, offering forgiveness and understanding, encourage me to communicate love.
                Awaken me, Peacemaker! 
Bearer of Love, never-ending font of charity and compassion, may I share my goodness generously.
                Awaken me, Bearer of Love!
                                                adapted from Out of the Ordinary Prayers, Poems, Reflections for Every Season, Joyce Rupp

An Invitation
I invite you to see the holy and be the holy. What happens as you invite the holy into your life and as you offer your own holiness into the life around you? I would love to know. 

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