Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Right Tools: Thursday's Reflection

The other day I went to the Fed Ex store to have a bin full of vintage pottery mailed to a friend. We have several bins of this colorful pottery, which we bought in Ohio and displayed first in a large painted cupboard in our dining room at Sweetwater Farm and then on top of our cupboards in the kitchen of our home in Madison. Alas, there is no room for these treasures in our current home. We sold a number of pieces in garage sales, but still have quite a bit left. (Anyone interested?)

I was thrilled when a friend said she would love some pieces for her kitchen, but packing them up didn't sound like much fun. Off I went to Fed Ex.

In about 25 minutes the two workers did what it would have taken me hours to do --and much spent frustration and energy.

The secret: they had the right tools.

I would have had to buy many rolls of bubble wrap and packing tape and find the right size box. I can imagine myself struggling to wrap each piece securely and safely and sticking to the tape as I tried to cut just the right amount. Even wrapping Christmas presents is not my favorite task, so this would have been a nightmare.

No problem for these guys. They had packing tape guns and huge rolls of bubble wrap which they unrolled easily. They had a tool to cut down the large box to the exact size and a scale to weigh it on and zoom, zoom, I gratefully paid them for the job well done, and the box was on its way. 

The right tools can make a big difference in many areas of our life--cooking, gardening, cleaning, creating art, participating in sports and fitness activities. Etc.

The right tools --or practices--can make a difference in our spiritual lives as well. And entering a new season is a perfect time to evaluate the practices and tools you are using to deepen your connection with God, the sacred, the holy. Is it time to make a change to try something else?

           I do whatever works and change it when it 
           no longer works. Thich Nhat Hanh

           And suddenly I know: It's time to start something
           new and trust the magic of beginnings.
                                        Meister Eckhart

Some Ideas
Is one of your spiritual practices writing in a journal, but you haven't been doing that for awhile? Do you need a new journal? Do you need to write in your journal at a different time of the day?

Now that spring is arriving consider walking meditation rather than or in addition to sitting meditation. 

Use your phone as a spiritual tool. Take a photograph a day to awaken you to the beauty around you or the human condition or your ongoing quest for wholeness.

Open to a new volunteer opportunity. Ask your friends and family what needs they are aware of in the community. Check online for organizations in your neighborhood doing good things. Stretch yourself.

Extend a hand of friendship to someone you don't know--the person in the pew in front of you or the person next to you at a concert or lecture. In fact, deciding to take a class or attend something out of your comfort zone can be a spiritual practice.

Walk a labyrinth. Make a string of prayer beads and pray your blessings, your burdens, your hopes. Open a sacred book and see what the message is for you. 

Stand on your front step and welcome the day. 

This list could go on and on, but here's just one more. Make an appointment with a spiritual director. Meeting with a spiritual director can open you to the movement of God, the sacred, the holy, in your life and can lead you to new tools, new practices. 

An Invitation
What tools and practices have been helpful and meaningful in your life in the past, but may need rejuvenation or replacement? I would love to know. 

To find a spiritual director in your area consult Spiritual Directors International here.
A favorite book about spiritual practices, but there are many, is Jane Vennard's  Fully Awake and Truly Alive. 

NOTE: I am taking a brief spring break. My next post will be Thursday, April 7. 

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