Psalm 131:1-2 God, I’m not trying to rule the roost,
I don’t want to be king of the mountain.
I haven’t meddled where I have no business
or fantasized grandiose plans.
2 I’ve kept my feet on the ground,
I’ve cultivated a quiet heart.
Like a baby content in its mother’s arms,
my soul is a baby content. (MSG)
One of the benefits of a sabbatical is having the time to stop and let the world go by. In fact I have begun to practice an extension of stopping that I call “what will be, will be.” On my trip I would wake in the morning and intentionally decided to let the day unfold as God intended for it to happen, making few plans, being open to opportunities to meet people or visit a place I hadn’t been before, taking the time to really listen to the person I just met, stopping and really seeing the world around me and the hardest of all, trying not to control my days events. What I discovered was I was more relaxed and rested at the end of the day than this normally anxious introvert is.
This is more than mindfulness or being in the moment. It is letting the Divine control the day, opening my eyes to the Good in each person I meet and greeting them with the Good within me. This is an intense letting go of my expectations of how things ‘should’ be and seeing how they are/can be beautiful and insightful.
Of course I couldn’t do this every day. Sometimes we had already made plans in advance so those intentional days weren’t every day, even on a vacation. But I did make them happen often, and probably more often than I will be able to do now that I am home. However, I do wish to maintain this spiritual practice and hope my ability to let go and let God control my days increase. Here are a few suggestions to help you, and me, get started. As I get better at this, or you, we might add suggestions or take some away, we will just have to wait and see how God unfolds this practice.
Begin the day with silent prayer ending with a prayer for patience and openness
As you start your day and continue through your tasks really notice what you are doing, see the people you are with, taste the food you eat, notice your surroundings, even the ugliest of areas has beauty if you look.
As time allows stop for a moment and breathe deeply, if possible sit and let God into your day, your heart
Let God into the moments of confusion and frustration, breathe deeply, say a prayer, let others express themselves and be aware of their hurt and pain, or joy and celebration. Recognize they too have the Divine within and welcome them. (This is the hardest part, so do not be surprised if you fail, just keep trying)
At the end of your day, sit again in silence; let your heart and mind reflect on your day, the good and the bad hold those you meet that are hurting in prayer, and offer gratitude for those who are celebrating.
End by offering your own prayer of gratitude.
We all can’t take 6 weeks or even a day of sabbatical, but we all can let the Divine into our daily lives. We can offer one of our ‘normal’ busy days to God, and changing how we see our tasks and the people we interact with helps us change how we see the world. It costs nothing to offer praise or condolences, or to sit and listen to someone’s story but the gift is priceless.