Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Bad Habit: Tuesday's Reflection

Note: I am taking a brief break. No post on Thursday, February 9. Back on Tuesday, February 14. 

A confession: I have gotten into a bad habit lately. I check my emails before getting out of bed and that includes reading the newspaper online. 

The result: I am all riled up before I even start the day. I have an even harder time settling into my morning devotion/meditation time. 

This new pattern is sort of like eating a piece of chocolate before taking my vitamins in the morning. 

Now more than ever it is important to stay grounded, to give priority to the ways that give you stability, that deepen your relationship to God, even as you respond to the world in new ways. 

So I hereby resolve to check my emails, read the newspaper and other articles that come my way only after I make the bed and slip upstairs to the garret where I begin my day praying and meditating and reading words of wisdom. You can keep me accountable.

Here are some words of wisdom;
          Each footstep on the vacillating path of life,
          Each heartbeat on the rugged road of growth,
          Each passage on the shifting river of renewal,
          Each thoroughfare of increasing self-knowledge,
          Each route on the way toward further freedom,
          Requires the attendance of your wise presence.
          Whether the journey is deliberate or unexpected,
          Whether the voyage is taken inward or outward,
          With every inch of the tentative way that I travel
           I count on your companionship and teaching. 

           Today: I turn to my Wise and Faithful Guide.
                                           Fragments of Your Ancient Name
                                           Joyce Rupp

An Invitation
Are you noticing any new habit that may be undermining your spiritual practice? I would love to know. 


  1. I too have been working to redirect my morning from the distracted path I find myself on. This is part of a larger project to reclaim my day. This has me on a quixotic quest to move from preparing to do, to doing. This involves applying Marie Kondo’s decluttering tome, with German heritage overtones, while, in the back of my mind, hearing the voices from forty years of business meetings with time management speakers.

    I have Dickens’ relationship with electronic devices. Am I the master of the devices or their victim? In truth I am neither and both. No matter the value judgement I place on them and what they are capable of doing, they are an important part of my life’s toolbox. The process of putting value judgements on them can send me down irritatingly unproductive paths. In the midst of one such value detour Kondo’s voice surfaced in the background. “Does this object spark joy?”

    I have migrated from a landline through various iterations of cell phones to the smartphone that constantly with me. It is my alarm clock, watch, communications device and, at times, tv. Does this thing spark joy is not a metric that springs to mind when I evaluate keeping my smartphone or pitching it under the wheels of a bus. Ms Kondo’s voice and I have settled on purpose rather than joy as our operative term.

    The phone, in any form, is a passive tool. Over time designers have infused it with more and more artificial intelligence. Much of what my phone does is on its own. Alarms go off. Reminders pop up. It rings when someone calls. The list goes on. Yet, for all the capacity to do all sorts of tasks it still requires me participate. I set the alarms, reminders and answer the calls.

    I am master and victim of the device if I choose to be. The question Ms.Kondo and I settled on is do I value the action or app? This is not in terms of good versus bad. At some point the device and its capabilities were of importance and value to me. I find myself looking at the app icons and thanking them for doing whatever it is they do and asking if I still want them to do it. I delete app after app until my smartphone inhabits an electronic netherworld between the flip phone it replaced and what it is capable of, yet serves my purposes for it. Setting the phone aside I move to the next device and the next.

    The quixotic quest to reclaim my reflective morning writing time continues with varying degrees of success. When I am successful I am confronted with an electronic blank page. This morning I went rss reader to find a writing prompt and found your post. Thank you for the prompt leading me to reflect on the process Ms. Kondo and I are working through.

    That the alarm on my phone went off. It is time to end this, find Rocinante and tilt at other windmills.

  2. I am so grateful my post became your writing prompt. I appreciate the distinction between preparing to do and doing. In many ways my cellphone prevents me from doing, but it is my laptop that moves me into the doing. My laptop and I have a relationship, but the cellphone is much more of a tool, even though it is in my sight even more than the laptop. The phone alerts me to the doing or interrupts the doing more than becoming my means of doing. Would I give it up? NO. I don't love it nor do I hate it. I merely accept it and use it as needed. It's like a prescription for the flu, "take as needed." I should add I am less neutral about "others" use of it, often nothing how disruptive it is and what a barrier, instead of a connector, builder it becomes. Thanks for prompting me into more reflection.

  3. Your post gave me a prompt as well. I finally took a more dispassionate look at my early morning routine, thinking it has not been as productive recently, and wondering if I should change anything.I wake no later than 5:30 a.m., and go straight to my study to write for at least an hour before having my coffee, then continuing for another hour or so. I then take a break to have my breakfast while watching the news, which sometimes gets me upset, since the news is worse than ever before. After thinking about his, I've decided to discontinue this practice for now. Thank you for helping me to become more conscious about my habits!

  4. Good luck to you as you change your routine. May there be blessings along the way.


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