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Phase of rest…

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Keeping Sabbath…

They have been popping up everywhere lately…
reminders of how important rest, silence, solitude, prayer, meditation, movement, and reverence are…

A few weeks ago the sermon was on the idea of Sabbath, keeping the Sabbath, what it means to rest, what it means to allow God to renew you.

And this passage has been just behind my consciousness since I read it more than two weeks ago.

“The heart is a leisurely muscle. It differs from all other muscles. How many push-ups an you make before the muscles in your arms and stomach get so tired that you have to stop? But your heart muscle goes on working for as long as you live. It does not get tired, because there is a phase of rest built into every single heartbeat. Our physical heart works leisurely. And when we speak of the heart in a wider sense, the idea that life-giving leisure lies at the very center is implied. Never to lose sight of that central place of leisure in our life would keep us youthful. Seen in this light, leisure is not a privilege but a virtue. Leisure is not the privilege of a few who can afford to take time, but the virtue of all who are willing to give time to what takes time- to give as much time as a task rightly takes.”

Brother David Stiendl-Rast
Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer

Lately I have found myself seeking ways to bring the Sabbath feeling into every day. To find balance in my life that can be maintained long-term, a balance that allows the ebb and flow of life, and doesn’t leave me exhausted.

After spending the past two years in a program to become a Spiritual Director I have been thinking a lot about the ideas of Sabbath, of nourishment, of how to let the Sacred fill and renew me. Although it was an intense program there were these moments of rest that were built in that kept us nourished and filled through the time. I remember listening to the schedule of weekends and looking at the reading list and being a bit dismayed because I was already feeling torn and overwhelmed by my commitments, and the director nodded reassuringly and smiled as she read my mind “Although it sounds like a lot you will leave feeling more rested and filled.” Honestly I didn’t believe her at the time, but two years later I am in awe of how true that was.

And now that the program has ended one of my intentions is to begin to learn how to do that for myself in new and more meaningful ways. There is rest, and there is deep rest. And to learn what is deeply restful is an integral part of self-care.

So as you begin a new week may you find time for a “phase of rest”, may you take the feeling of Sabbath into your week and may you find the renewal you seek.

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I just spent the past week filling my well, soaking and savoring in all of the things I crave, good conversation, beautiful sights, delicious food and soul filling silence.  I was reminded of the importance of making time for renewal, for being refreshed.  I was reminded in a very visceral way that in order to live a nourished life we must not only give, but freely receive as well.  

So my friends, soak it all in, the joy, the grace, the beauty, the love… it is all there waiting for you.  

Embrace it, fill yourself up until you overflow and from that overflow continue to serve others. 

 

Filling the Well

by Dorothy Baird

Sometime the day comes
when you have given everything
in your attempts to be everything to everyone.
You will know this day
when your small bird cannot flex
it’s wings against the wind.
When you’re sun cannot heave itself
over the horizon, when you lower
your bucket into the well and hear it
thud against the clay.

When this day comes you must take off
the smile that is no longer truly yours
and batten down your heart
that now betrays you with its giving.

You must hold your hands about your ears
for their voices are the siren calls that will bind you to them
and you must walk or limp or run
through the door you can barely see
into the darkness of a lonely room
into the ocean of an empty moor
into the wild arms of the forest.

and sit or walk until from deep within
a trembling starts to pulse
and your diviner’s hand sense
what the oak tree and the sycamore
and the worm that flicks its tail
all know; the source
is the same source
you are thirsting for. Drink deeply
Be still. Be slow. The world can find its way

without you. For you must drink
until your well is filled, until your feathers
plump, until a new sun rises
in the winter of your eyes. Then,
and only then, may you return,
and when they see you, lush
against the light, let them
stand back a little further than before
and be amazed.

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