The first bit was about inward disciplines. Meditation, Prayer, Fasting and Study. I started these a few months ago. I took on the dicipline of Meditation. When I say meditation the secular world sends our minds to the OM and the Eastern culture and practice of emptying your mind to reach salvation. The meditation that I took on was of a very different style. The particular practice I took on is practiced by stilling yourself and then putting your palms down and reciting all of the things you want to pray about... could be words or situations or feelings, you push them all out. Then you put your palms up and wait... and wait... and listen. Now we all know those are not things I am particularly good at, which is why I decided to take on the discipline itself. I enjoyed the centering process. It really relaxed me and made me feel so in touch with God. This year was about listening to what God had to say to me and what His plan is and this discipline is teaching me how to listen when I didn't know how to myself. Untill now God's only way of communicating with me has been to basically smack me in the face with whatever His plan has been for me... I'm not God, but I'm sure He is very happy that I have decided to start listening.
The second part of this book is about the outward disciplines which we started this week. Simplicity, Solitude, Submission and Service. Simplicity is a practice I took on at the very begining of this year as I made the commitment to my YAV year and to simple living. So taking on that discipline was not really anything new. Service is also something I am currently doing... duh. So that left solitude and submission. Solitude is something I struggle with... and since this year is about pushing myself... well there we go! Solitude is not about being alone as the name suggests. The book compares solitude and silence and says one cannot occur without the other. I'm not good at either of those. In fact I would go as far as to say those two things are some of my worst fears. I struggle with them. The quiet moments before bed scare me to the point of needing noise to fall asleep. I don't know why and I'm sure as I explore this new discipline more will come to light. But these two things are also oppertunities to sit with God. Jesus repeatedly withdrew into silence and solitude. A place he even relied on in times of trouble. I won't list them... the book did that and if you want more info send me an email... but I feel God calling me to this. Solitude isn't about being alone, it is about being quiet and centered. And that word continues to come up. The actual practice of solitude has no guidelines... it is an awareness. There are action steps I can take towards becoming more disciplined, but those are not clear to me yet. I am contimplating taking one day a week to be silent... the reality of that may be difficult given my busy schedule, but I would like to try. One of the things I am going to be super aware of is the act of self-justification. We as humans feel the need to explain our words and our actions with more words. We think that we need to explain ourselves to the people around us. We care entirely too much about how other people view us and understand us. I care too much what people think. God should be our justification. Part of the solitude is to stop explaining myself and let the space that I would have taken up using words to let God fill me and the people around me. God is my justification for being, for breathing.I am anticipating this to be a very difficult practice for me... it hits on some of my core fears and insecurities, but I have an amazing support system here in my community and at home and in the people I love. This year is about growth right??
I had inteded this blog to be about something entirely different, but I guess I haven't journaled today so I had other things going on in my brain!
Don't forget to check out the pictures... there is a link at the top of my blog.
Also I am at 70% of my fundraising and if you are feeling the giving spirit please help me:
Peace and Blessings,