Dear Lord, So far today, God, I’ve done all right. I haven’t gossiped, haven’t lost my temper, haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or over-indulgent. But in a few minutes, God, I’m going to get out of bed. And from then on I’m probably going to need a lot more help. AmenAuthor Unknown
When I found a copy of this little prayer in a book a friend gave me, I laughed out loud. True, so true, and it reminded me why I spend part of my morning in meditation and devotion time. I need all the help I can get.
First thing in the morning, before I get dressed, but after making the bed, I walk up the stairs to the garret. I turn on the twinkle lights around the window and my desk lamp, but I don’t turn on the laptop. I confess I have already checked my phone, just to make sure I’ve not missed any vital messages, but then I leave it on my desk, out of easy reach, and turn to my meditation corner.
Unlike a Buddhist sitting on the floor, legs crossed, back straight, I rest easy in an overstuffed, slightly shabby chair I call my Girlfriend Chair. In our home prior to this one, this chair, slipcovered with vintage tablecloths, lived in one of our guest rooms, quite feminine in decor, called The Girlfriend Room.
I begin my meditation time with my eyes closed, lightly, not tightly, and I take a couple deep cleansing breaths, finding my own rhythm. In fact, finding the rhythm is the reason for this time, although I have not always named it in that way.
What is today’s rhythm?
In what ways am I out of rhythm?
To what rhythm does God call me? Today? Beyond?
What follows in my meditation time differs from day-to-day, but most often it includes a brief reading and prayer for the day, using a specific book, such as Joyce Rupp’s Fragments of Your Holy Name, followed by writing in my journal and studying a book on spirituality. The study time often leads me to reading a passage in the Bible, which may take me back to additional journal writing time. Interspersed throughout the hour or more, is intentional prayer time, lifting up names and concerns on my heart. If I have an appointment that day with a spiritual direction client, I imagine being with that person and pray that we will know the Presence in each other’s company.
Before I end this sacred time, I once again close my eyes, lightly, not tightly. I take a couple deep cleansing breaths to find my own rhythm and I rest in the silence.
When I notice a thought, often a worry, but sometimes a writing idea or an approach to a task on my To Do list, I gently breathe it away, for I know If it is important, it will be there when I need it. Sometimes I feel total openness, but the second I am aware of that feeling, it is gone. Sometimes the silence, the stillness, brings tears to me eyes. Sometimes I feel my heart lift. Sometimes I feel a surge of energy, a freshness.
I may hear the bells from the chapel on the campus of St Thomas University chime, as they do every quarter hour, or I may hear our backyard windchimes, sharing their own rhythm, or a cardinal singing a winter song, or the children next door heading to school. Or I may hear a whisper of my own inner voice, “Nancy, it is time to move forward into the day.”
Often my morning meditation time may be reinforced later in the day by a something I read online, such as Richard Rohr’s daily meditation, or by walking in the neighborhood, or by an interaction with a loved one, but my morning time provides me with the pulse I need. If I miss more than a couple of morning meditation times, my rhythm becomes raggedy and unbalanced. This precious time, this holy time, is what I need to be aware of the movement of God in my life and how I can be present to the way God desires me to move and be in the world.
Before leaving the Girlfriend Chair where I always feel held and known, I lift up one more prayer, “Thank you.”
An Invitation: How do you find your rhythm in the day? I would love to know.
NOTE: In my Thursday, February 24 “Book Report” post I will share what books currently are in my morning meditation basket.