Just practice.That’s it.

Increase your sweet practice.  Your practice will benefit you at another time; someday your need will be suddenly fulfilled.       -Rumi-

I love this quote.  It says so much of what I really believe in my heart about a whole life of faith and health.  I love to READ it.  If Mr. Rumi were to interrupt my day I don’t think he would be impressed with my sweet practice.  ahhhhhhhh.  But, I’m trying.

Yesterday I posted about how I have been feeling like crap and that I had made a commitment (before God and all of you, whoever you are!) to do yoga for 10 minutes a day and to spend 3 minutes in prayer.

What is amazing is that I have probably spent 210 minutes since then thinking about it.  What has been the predominant thought, you ask? Hm.  Why did I say that?  I’m embarrassed.  I feel like I over-exposed myself.  I’m a yoga instructor and a pastor.  I would think I would spend more than 13 total minutes a day doing that which I claim to love – the foundation of this whole blogging Daily Bread venture?! BAH!

The part of me protecting my ego comes up with lots of comforting rationale.  Such as; but, Rachel, you do yoga more than 10 minutes a day, some days.  Or, you take your dog for a walk several times a day – isn’t that holy time for quiet prayer?  Hm. No.

I remember shortly after I started teaching yoga another instructor said to me, “now that you’re teaching your own practice will go out the window. ”  There’s a lot of truth in that.  I love to teach yoga.  I get a different kind of release and rejuvenation from teaching than I do when I’m receiving instruction.  So, then I think “You did yoga!”.  But, I didn’t do MY practice.  I lead it for other people.  They were the focus.  I couldn’t listen to my body, relax all my muscles, or feel that delicious whole body humm at the end, because I was facilitating that experience for others.  Nor did I have to challenge myself to go a little further or back off a little.

I think most pastors would agree that the same can be said about becoming a pastor.  When I was a parish pastor, the reality was that my personal spiritual practice was pretty much writing a sermon every week.  While this was at times sincerely rejuvenating for me, the sermons weren’t supposed to be about me or for me. The focus of the sermon was the congregation.  So how was it to just sit in my own faith journey, reflecting only on me and God and not everyone and their mother?  That was a lot tougher.  It was like yoga, I would have spent so much time writing a sermon and felt like I had grown spiritually, somehow… who has time to sit around praying, reading, or writing just for themselves?!  Jeez.

It is so much easier to encourage others to dig through their experiences of shame, forgiveness, grief, or whatever.  It is a lot easier to push others in a yoga class to dig deep into their resources of strength and endurance.

It is exponentially easier for me to share with others about the wonderful gifts of a daily practice of prayer and yoga than it is for me to commit to a daily practice myself.  Now you know.  I’ve said it.

I have started to read the book “Embracing the Full Catastrophe: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness”, by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D.  The book is based on a class that he has developed on mindfulness.  The main point of the whole thing is having a daily practice of meditation.  I would like to say that I recommend the book, but I have been reading it for about the last 3 years, so I hardly think I’m one to give an opinion.  I have read the first few chapters a couple times a year and that’s always where I stop.  I get stuck when Zinn basically tells me to start meditating for 40 minutes a day.  Or don’t.  He challenges ME to not confuse the practice of mindfulness (or the discipline of meditating) with reading a book about mindfulness.  He writes;

In this regard, cultivating mindfulness is not unlike the process of eating.  It would be absurd to propose that someone else eat for you.  And when you go to a restaurant, you don’t eat the menu, mistaking it for the meal, nor are you nourished by listening to the waiter describe the food.  You have to actually eat the food for it to nourish you.  In the same way you have to actually practice mindfulness in order to reap its benefits and come to understand why it is so valuable.

Hm.  You have a point, Dr. Kabat-Zinn

I feel like I could write on and on and on here.  But this seems to be the whole point for me; figuring out how to show up and thrive every day.   (Another time I will write about God giving manna to the people in the wilderness…but, another time.  It’s just flashing through my mind so much I had to get that much out.)

It seems that this is just enough for me today. And my daughter just woke up from her nap and wants to cuddle and read books.  That sounds dreamy delicious.

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