Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
1) It helps to have external markers for my days, even if they’re artificial, like I have to get to the store by 10, so that I can start the dish I want to make for dinner before I have to leave to pick up the kids by 2.
2) It’s good to make arrangements to meet with other grownups. As in, I invited E. for coffee this morning so I have to shower and make my bed before 9:00. Not that E. really cares if my bed is made or not, but I know that I do better at housework if company is coming. Also, it’s energizing to me and my writing to be able to talk about it with others.
3) Exercise is important. There is actually a room with exercise machines in my building, but I tend to forget about them. So far, I’ve found two walks that work for me:
a) 20-30 minutes around the block that includes a great view from just above our development, since we live on the side of a big hill;The main thing is that I get outside and move. It’s good for my body and good for my mind.
b) along the beach that could be anywhere from five minutes on the pier to two hours in the hills.
4) Sleep matters. It is one of my soapbox issues that it is remarkable how little mental illness is apparent in the homeless population considering how little sleep these folks get. I’m working on establishing a regular 10:30-6:30 sleep schedule, which would be great for me. It’s not a coincidence that my worst day this week followed a night when I had to go to the bathroom twice(!) and then one of my kids fell out of bed and woke us all up. Hmm. Unfortunately, I didn’t make the connection until after dinner on that miserable day. Otherwise, maybe I would have taken a nap.
5) Caffeine and food are best taken in moderation.
6) Prayer is a good thing. Sometimes just noticing that I feel anxious is enough to help me settle into a few minutes, or maybe seconds, of silent, eyes-closed, wordless communion. Or contemplation of the beauty that surrounds me, wherever I am. I’m going to try H.W.S.’s recommendation of taking my worries to God and handing them over, as often as necessary. We’ll see how that goes.
7) Writing and reading every day. It’s good for me to see these as work, not just a guilty pleasure.
One piece that I haven’t figured out yet is where or when to volunteer some time to help people with more urgent, practical problems than mine. I walked into the St. Vincent de Paul shop the other day, but I didn’t work up the courage to talk to anyone. I think I will try again on a day when I’ve had more sleep.
The last thing I’m going to work on is some kind of big scheduling calendar, so I can lay out all the projects I’m supposed to catch up on this month and work through them, you know with priorities and resource maps, just like my life was a real job. Because it is.
Helpful and relevant excerpts from Pacific Yearly Meeting’s Faith and Practice, Advices and Queries:
“A life centered in God will be directed toward keeping communication with God open and unencumbered. Simplicity is best achieved through a right ordering of priorities, maintaining humility of spirit, avoiding self-indulgence, resisting the accumulation of unnecessary possessions, and avoiding over-busy lives.”
“John Woolman said, ‘As Christians all we possess are the gifts of God… To turn all the treasures we possess into the channel of Universal Love becomes the business of our lives.’ The principle of stewardship applies to all we have and are. As individuals, we are called to use our time, our various abilities, our strength, our money and our material possessions with care, managing them wisely and sharing them generously.”
Do I center my life in an awareness of God’s presence so that all things take their rightful place?
How have I been faithful to the leadings of the Spirit in choosing work or vocation?
What am I doing with my talents, time, money and possessions? Am I sharing them according to the Light I am given?
Do I live simply and promote the right sharing of the world’s bounty?
Do I keep my life uncluttered with things and activities, avoiding commitments beyond my strength and light?
Is my conduct at the workplace consistent with my life as a Friend?
How does my daily work enhance my spiritual life?
How do I strive to maintain the integrity of my inner and outer lives?
Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]