The new normal. I’ve heard that phrase so many times in the past month. Living now on the outer rim of a pandemic that included some major chaotic social and political upheaval means it can be hard to find a comfortable place to land. Just when I thought I could breathe a bit deeper, two of my sons experienced some injuries, one from a dog attack and the other from an intruder on their property. We also had our second son, Ben, get married last weekend. So much has happened that when I went on a long walk this past week I felt I could exhale for the first time in a very long time. I hadn’t realized how much I had been holding…physically and emotionally. What a relief it was to relax into the arms of God and receive the comfort I needed.
This week I have had a bit more time to enjoy God, to relax and nurture my relationship with him. How about you? Are you finding those times? Summer is here and things are changing and I find it a good time to think about how I want to live my post-pandemic life.
I recently listened to a podcast by Pete Scazzaro (Emotionally Healthy Spiritually) about flourishing. That is not a word I would use to describe the last year and a half. Surviving, holding on, coping are the words I have used. Maybe now is the time to move on.
In my Spiritual Direction work my philosophy comes from an underlying ‘doing from being’ approach. Living out of the overflow. Pete was speaking about the same idea and has much better words than I have to express it. He suggested we ‘deepen our ability to BE before we DO’. If I feel myself striving and feel burdened or experience pressure and stress it is an indication that I need to sink into the heart of God. Don’t skim on the BE. In order to live out of the overflow I need spiritual nutrition. I need quiet stillness sitting with God. I want to live out of a cup that overflows, not one that is scraping the bottom. Just think about all the beautiful images in scripture about water. Life-giving, overflowing, refreshing water.
Before we start back to all the ‘doing’ I would encourage you to deepen your ability to BE. What does that look like for you? A disciplined Centering Prayer commitment? A second sit? Daily scripture reading? I would encourage you to try prayer practices that nurture your inner life and help you experience the delight and embrace of God.
I am looking forward to moving on and flourishing. That will come as I ‘deepen my ability to BE’.
Cathy Mann Christiansen
Nebraska Contemplative Outreach Coordinator