Wisdom for Surreal Times
I am acutely aware of how quickly life can change beyond comprehension in such a short period of time. All of the events I was busy planning for have now been cancelled. I find myself struggling to keep up with the pace of the enormous changes that have occurred this past month.
I just listened to the audio podcast of the sermon I gave in January and while it appears as though a section in the middle was cut out, the ideas at the end felt relevant to these times.
Instead of spending time and energy trying to figure out “why” things happen as they do, I find it more useful to try and discern how to respond most skillfully to the circumstances. Sometimes that means I need to just be still and feel whatever feelings I am experiencing. Sometimes that looks like trying to make the best of things the way they are by putting one foot in front of the other. You can hear that sermon here: http://peopleschurch.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020-01-12.mp3
What this time at home means is different for each of us. Since I don’t regularly have small children in my home, I am planning to use more home time to deep clean, sort and discard stuff, make art, read and write as well as meditate and exercise regularly.
For families with kids at home, it can be more challenging to keep those with shorter attention spans engaged in meaningful activities. As valuable as school lessons and enrichment activities are, it is more important that our kids are feeling safe and connected. In an ideal world, they’d all get both. But we do not live in an ideal world so give yourself a break from unrealistic expectations.
I would argue that a foundation of love and safety are essential for successful academic learning. These are frightening times. How can we best support ourselves and our children during these times with so many changes and such uncertainty? How can we best support one another in this time when we are physically distant from one another?
I hope that each of you can find ways to nourish your own spirits and offer compassion for yourself during these rapidly changing and difficult times. Please reach out if there are ways we can offer spiritual support.
Blessed Be, Diane Melvin, Religious Education Director
Spiritual Practices for Unexpected Times
What can we do to remain centered and grounded in the midst of so much change and uncertainty? What spiritual practices do you do to center yourself?
Everyday Spiritual Practice: Simple Pathways for Enriching Your Life by Scott W. Alexander contains essays by a 40 people sharing a vast array of personal practices they do to make each day more meaningful and satisfying. These include prayer and meditation, knitting, creating a home altar, writing poetry, quilting, making music, art, journaling, martial arts, yoga and tai chi.
Many of us have a bit more time on our hands than usual. How can we use some of it to tend to our inner lives? What practices can help us to cope more skillfully with the increased fear and anxiety?
Meditation, deep breathing, journaling and time in nature are all spiritual practices in which I regularly engage to help me try to skillfully respond to external circumstances. When I find myself overwhelmed with fear or anxiety, I try to acknowledge my feelings with curiosity and humility. After sitting with them for a time with compassion, I seek to move through them to find a centered place of inner calm.
It is from that centered and grounded place that I aspire to live. I can be very critical and judgemental, but I’d rather bring more peace and love into the world.
Living through these unprecedented times offers the opportunity to cultivate spiritual resilience in ourselves and we can model that for our children. What do we need to do to try and be our best selves during these challenging times?
Let’s try and do more of that as we are able and with compassion.