Tag Archives: Rest

(1 of 5) -Monday’s Mini-Retreat (5 min or less)

Ed Cyzewski invited me to carrying on with his 5 minute Retreat series, “with my own spin”. So, for the next 5 days, I invite you to come here for a short and refreshing retreat in your day.

Let’s work through this and apprehend how God is with us. (Please feel free to comment anytime. Sharing your experience is valuable for all of us.) Blessings to you.

First, please be prepared to take a short rejuvenating break, and eliminate potential distractions. (Silence your phone, computer, shut your door, etc.)

Start off with five deep inhales and exhales.
— Be increasingly aware of yourself occupying a space, where you are. Feel the weight in your chest as you breathe, and let your air out slowly and calmly.

Cover your ears and breathe in and out five more times, listening to the sound of your breath.

Now-Be aware of God giving you life–the Breath of Life. His Spirit.

Spend a bit of time chewing on that theme.
–Allow yourself to make associations, dwell on an image or phrase about this topic which comes to mind, and how it relates to your life, today.

(If you get distracted, or your mind starts to wander, cover your ears again, and listen to your breathing.)

In this way-you try to “get out of your head” (a.k.a. to stop or dull, the chatter in your mind, and set your inner monologue aside.) Remember you are a spiritual being having a physical existence and tangible experience, right now in this moment. You live, you eat, you sleep, you think, and you breathe. Right now, you are here, breathing and living. Stay with that.

Briefly, talk to God (in some way) about your gift of life and Living breath. (Or, the associations, phrases, or images that have been on your mind.)

Now, realize you have God, with you, at hand (not far away), and you may keep this awareness to be revitalized and strengthened in your day.

One more deep breath, and stretch your arms, or whole body, a bit. Find relaxation in these few calm moments.

Here you are. You are yourself. Enjoy that.

And Enjoy your day.


Man Cave: Of sanctuaries and retreats

(A Room Decoration and Demarcation)

It’s been said that the adult male human regularly needs some “down time” after a work day (a.k.a. Cave Time) to rejuvenate, find refreshment, recharge, gain clarity, and so on.

BUT-I doubt–a LOT–that “cave time” is truly a need reserved for the masculine of the species.

As many men will attest, females also enjoy and feel the need to retreat, and find refreshment. For some women it looks like taking a walk alone, reading a book while soaking in a bubble bath, or even not being alone–such as, sharing emotions with a trusted friend or ally.

Whatever this time looks like, it is a demarcated boundary of sanctuary, and vitally important to good mental health, and a balanced life–notwithstanding the spiritual benefits.

My husband doesn’t feel he needs a “den” or a man gym set up in the basement to get his man cave time in. He most enjoys a vigorous bike ride through the beautiful countryside on his road bike. I most like a variety of sanctuaries and refreshing conduits–both with others and without.

It’s not a weakness or a shame to realize you need space, and find your own space routinely (be it physical space, quite down time, mental respite, or beneficial time of social interaction). It is part of how we [all] live out our humanity fully, and how we are better able to best rejoin to loved ones, and others in our work or social lives in the most healthy way. If you don’t alreadly, encourage your loved ones to carve out demarcated time for this human need, as well as maintain your own. Seriously. Put in on the calendar or in your planner. It’s really that important. Be systematic so you stick with it, and keep your appointments with yourself. You will be surprised how much everyone will benefit.

Do you get the “cave time” you feel you need?

What does cave time look, or sound like for you?

Any body know Scripture that encourages ‘cave time’?

I look forward to your responses. Thanks.

Sunday Verse for Reflection

(Creative Commons photo of Robert Williams/Navy)

As you read these, absorb them. Worship our Maker and Savior today.

(3 versions/translations)

Psalm 37:7

(The Message)

Quiet down before God,
be prayerful before him.
Don’t bother with those who climb the ladder,
who elbow their way to the top.

Psalm 37:7

(Holman Christian Standard Bible)

Be silent before the LORD and wait expectantly for Him;
do not be agitated by one who prospers in his way,
by the man who carries out evil plans.

Psalm 37:7

(Today’s New International Version)

Be still before the LORD
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Thoughts or comments?

otium sanctum means…

(photo: Thomas Merton)

A friend’s comment spoke volumes to me, so I wanted to devote a post on the idea.

“The key to spiritual growth is otium sanctum, so hard to trust in our world that values efficiency and quick results.” -Doug Jackson (Excerpt of his comment on the previous post.)

On page 85 in his book, Spiritual Direction and Meditation, Thomas Merton explains otium sanctum:

Now the Fathers of the Church well understood the importance of a certain “holy leisure”  [or] “otium sanctum.” We cannot give ourselves to spiritual things if we are always swept off our feet by a multitude of external activities. Business is not the supreme virtue, and sanctity is not measured by the amount of work we accomplish. Perfection is found in the purity of our love for God, and there is plenty of  time for it to mature.

Otium Sanctum is part of the not doing– It’s the “hard work” of that. The notion is paradoxical certainly, but bluntly revelatory.

How do you “not do” in your life, or for God which brings you to greater maturity?

Do you think God does or does not function with otium sanctum?

If so, how?

Thanks for your participation on this one.


I unplugged

Yesterday, I felt a leading to not do the regular stuff of my day.

Usually, I “tend” my blog, I water my facebook connections, I weed my emails, I fertilize my social media outlets. Not yesterday. I heard a still small voice say. “Don’t do it today.”

This seemed silly…. and counter-productive, counter-intuitive, and just plain “not what I wanted.” I dug in my heels a bit. I balked. I sighed just a little–kind of like a whine. And then I resign to it for the day. But it was good.

I didn’t have expectations. I had nothing to “put out there” for people to see or like. I didn’t have to try. And for more than several hours, I felt a different sort of restfulness than I have regarding writing.

I’m thinking about taking a sabbatical, of sorts.

Maybe unplugging. Perhaps a retreat.

Word Origin & History(1)

1645, “of or suitable for the Sabbath,” from L. sabbaticus, from Gk. sabbatikos “of the Sabbath” (see Sabbath). Meaning “a year’s absence granted to researchers” (originally one year in seven, to university professors) first recorded 1886 (the thing itself is attested from 1880, at Harvard), related to sabbatical year (1599) in Mosaic law, the seventh year, in which land was to remain untilled and debtors and slaves released.

Graduation is coming, and it would be a good fit.

What ideas do you have about sabbaticals, or how to best encounter them?

1. sabbatical. Dictionary.com. Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian.http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/sabbatical (accessed: April 21, 2010).

Meditation to Contemplation – Kataphatic to Apophatic Prayer

Prayer Exercise

(a.k.a The 3 x in 7 days invitational)

First, a bit about Meditation-

Meditation: In prayer-

The half-way house between thinking and contemplating.

(Worship) Meditation is Recollection (a re-gathering):

No more and no less than the subjection of the attention to the control of the will. –Evelyn Underhill

Read her book “Practical Mysticism: A Little Book for Normal People” –free here:

Book Cover: "Practical Mysticism: A Little Book for Normal People," 1914

From Meditation one may move to a stage of Contemplation.

The two contemplative purifications at work:

The purification of sense, and the purification of will.

For millennia, fire has symbolized the Spirit of God.

If your prayer time has lost some of its richness, please enjoy this prayer exercise:

Meditation Prayer Exercise (7-20 min)

(Please note: It may take several, or many times of disciplined meditation, (as a spiritual practice), to move into a more contemplative prayer experience or mindset. I challenge you to have the courage to keep at it.)


1. Read through this exercise the whole way. (You will likely need to refer back to it during your meditation time, as well.)

2. Light a candle to represent the Spirit of  God.

2. Slowly Read and Reflect on a portion of Scripture, or the following poem:


All our knowledge, sense, and sight,
Lie in deepest darkness shrouded.
Til Thy Spirit brake our night,
With the beams of truth unclouded.

Beginning this time of prayer and worship:

First, surrender to the influence of the Object of your meditation, [in this case, through the vehicle/aid of the poem words, visual aid (candle), plus symbolism (flame = Spirit)]. Surrender to The Divine exhibition of unexpected meaning, beauty, and power. Pray on these things.

Focal Point:

Not if, but when, your thoughts wander, or your attention wanes, bring your internal, (and external) gaze back to the flame of the candle before you. The chatter of your mind will be ceaseless at first. Refocus. Recall what the flame symbolizes, and the goodness of God, (Trinity-Creator, Savior, Spirit). Center, again, your awareness on the Object of your worship (God), in thanksgiving and grace.

As you continue to meditate: See your self distinctly from the Other, and, in time, transition to observing your connectedness; Move from a “multiplicity to a unity”.

Once you have been vested in the experience of meditation for a time:

You may notice how your efforts of trying to focus and worship God, may adjust to a resting or receiving from God, in silence of the mind, and spirit. In this case, there is no effort on your part, but a loving dispensing, from God, into your heart and mind.

Enter and enjoy this time as though receiving an inpouring of God’s love, healing, and grace.

This contemplative stage of prayer cannot be forced, and for some, it is a difficult experience to come by. If you never approach this stage during your exercise, the discipline of prayer and meditation, done routinely, can aid in the apprehension of this mysterious reversal called contemplation. This is the stage where praying/thinking, moves to determined focus, which may transform into surrendered contemplation–which is a nourishing and awing spiritual communion with God.

Thank you for reading.

Please share your thoughts.


(If you tried this exercise, now or in the future, please mention that here, as well.)

Thank you.

My ugly Confession.

I have a confession to make.

ambition while missing the point

 

In about 2 weeks, this blog site will be a year old. In the last 5-6 months, I’ve been trying pretty hard to write interesting, helpful, or entertaining stuff for this place, almost every single day. I’ve made fantastic contacts, great new friends, and I’ve had a good time doing it.

This is hard to admit, but, I have to confess, that I’ve been blogging mostly to build a larger reading audience. A little while ago my agent told me that I stood a good chance to have my material published, but the biggest obstacle was “lack of platform.” Lack of platform sort of means, not too many care who you are, or what you do. A successful blog can change that, and help a writer build this much-needed platform. I know there’s nothing shameful about writing a blog and hoping others read it, but my remorse at this moment is that I realize I have made it my means to an end. I’ve been holding so tight to this idea that I can generate a solid readership base to, as Pedro says, “make all my wildest dreams come true,” that I didn’t realize I was putting it before the whole point, which is to share myself and my God with others. In a real sense, I’ve thought of this blog as a vehicle to “get me somewhere,” and I’ve made it an idol. Sometimes I have said to myself, “Well, it’s really both, a vehicle and my ministry.” This may be true, and I hope things work out like this, but if my priorities or motivations shift weight, things get off balance. And they have been.

I stopped long enough for God to speak to my heart, and in my spirit, it seems “he” said, “Let it go.” I got a little panicky at first. “Completely? What? Huh? What ‘chu talkin’ ’bout Willis…er, Father in Heaven?”

Then it seemed like God nudged me, and “said,” “Don’t be such an extremist.” This threw in off a little. So, I sort of looked around sheepishly for a little, almost looking for an exit, but without trying to be obvious about it. It seems like God “said,” “You’re clutching. Stop it. Just write and stop thinking about the rest. It’s none of your business.”

This bothered me. I felt out of control. Of course, it was a false assumption that I really have control like I was thinking I had. But, then I thought about what that might feel like…to hand things over… and I tried to “put that skin on.” Even just putting it on halfway felt SO nice. Relaxing. Like the pressure was off, and leaving the room, like a smog lifting. So, I stopped that exercise midway, I took a deep breath and I yielded. I took my sweaty feet off the pedals and coasted. I waited. And nothing happened. Nothing, for better or for worse, but I felt much better.

I wanted to tell you about it, because I know I haven’t been thinking the right way. I know that has to change, and I’m turning my heart the other way. I may post less often, but maybe there will be more true joy and inspiration when I do.

I do hope many are blessed by this blog, and resources, but I’m not going to transpose the priorities anymore, if I can help it, (with God’s grace). This will happen on a heart level, and it might not even be apparent to you, but I hope that my honesty will not only encourage you to look carefully at your own priorities, and goals, but also be a way to ensure that I stay congruent to my core convictions and values, in the way and nature of my God.

It’s hard to make confessions because, sometimes, it makes you feel really weak, stupid, or like some kind of a scum bag. It’s risky. The temptation to keep on a mask, and act like things are all pulled together, can be a strong influencer. Even though it feels embarrassing, it’s still the only way to move forward, and toward shalom (well-being/peace). I’m trying to be brave.

Thoughts… comments?