From a RevGal, I found out about a blog “carnival” on the theme of “Sacred Pauses.” It intrigued me, so I decided to give it a whirl. April Yamasaki will be offering other writing prompts as a part of her book launch, but I’m starting this “cruise” with my own reflections.
Last month as part of NaNoBloPo (National Blog Posting Month) the questions focused on “energy” — what gives you energy? what drains your energy? where do you find the best place to recharge? what superpower do you want to have so you’ll never run out of energy? (and so on…) I confess that I lost steam part-way through the month when life got complicated and my wacka-doodle schedule (working overnights as a hospital chaplain) depleted my reserves. I found some good ideas among the prompts. The ones that caught my fancy were the ones which asked us to blog about how one gets re-energized.
What an excellent question!
It took several years for me to begin to figure out that just because an author says “this is how you achieve spiritual renewal” that it didn’t necessarily apply to me. Sitting in silence? Maybe occasionally. Doing qi gong or standing meditation? Not so much. Then there was the sweet suggestion of using a rag and scrubbing my kitchen floor on my knees, all the while praying. Uhhhh… no.
Depending on the pace of my day, I have learned to stop and do a gut-check. What do I really need for refreshment? A phone call with a friend? Playing a mindless video game? (Yes! there are times that’s perfect!) Take photos? Attempt knitting? Take a walk? Go on a silent retreat? Just sit and read? Play my piano?
The key is stumbling and bumbling around until I understand — “where is God missing?” in my spiritual/social/physical/psychological matrix. It’s not an exact science. It’s not even a coherent cookbook-like process, necessarily. I’ve tried this discipline and that writer. I’ve done Ignatian/Hildegard/Rumi/Psalms. Nice idea for some. But not necessarily for me, at least, not as a daily, rigorous spiritual diet. (In fact, I view with extreme skepticism those “5 Steps to Spiritual Growth” books because usually they do not match MY steps. But I digress…)
Today was a perfect example of how NOT to stay focused and refreshed. I played phone tag with the tax preparers. I made lists and read a little Medical Ethics (yawn) for my class. I read some more on theodicy for a paper I’m presenting later this month. (Note to self: FINISH IT!) And then I thought I’d just dash off on a few errands, come back and have lunch and then get back to writing and studying.
EXCEPT… the car battery was dead. For reasons unknown, it was nonfunctional and I was not happy. I called Bearded Brewer who coached me through using the charger. I dithered around for an hour, waiting to see if the battery charger would give my car enough juice to get back on track again. (It did. And I kept my fingers crossed and went off on maneuvers.) But it just “done me in.”
The car battery? That’s an easy enough fix. What took considerably more time was my emotional equilibrium. Because when I let myself stay “stewing” I’m spewing a lot of extra energy. (I figured it out. Eventually. And things are cool now. The battery may or may not need replacing. Or the alternator. Or the starter. But whatevs.)
Today what reset my grump-o-meter was a bit of Henry. A few scritches. A wuzzle. And a lap cat. Prrrrrrfect.
Finding that place to refresh, refocus, renew – that’s what a “sacred pause” is for me. And I’m looking forward to blogging more about that.