Listen. This is something that we hear pretty frequently in my family - as we tend to be fast and loud talkers. This simple word is a reminder to slow down and pay attention to what another person is saying.
But is there a similar phrase that reminds us to slow down and listen to the Spirit? To check in on our souls? To listen to our own deep questions and longings?
That is the beauty of spiritual direction. A dedicated place to listen to ourselves, another, and the Spirit. A space to gently listen to what is going on inside of us.
We all need to listen. But we all also need to listen to ourselves. Where is your holy space to listen deeply?
One of the things that I consider myself to be pretty good at is giving gifts. But I also have discovered that, at least for me, giving a good gift takes time. I am not a last-minute shopper - often thinking weeks ahead about what a particular person may find meaningful. I am also not a generic gift-giver - thinking about a specific person - their likes, desires, and needs.
Recently I found myself wondering if I am as intentional about giving gifts to myself. That is a train of thought that I often do not go down because it seems so indulgent. To give a gift to myself?
Yet, I give gifts to people as an act of love. I need to find ways to love myself as well. There is a piece of scripture in my tradition where Jesus is talking to folks about what it looks like to live a life of faith and he says love God with all you have and all you are and to love your neighbor as yourself.
We often focus on the first part - loving our neighbor - at the expense of loving ourselves. Yet, they truly are intertwined.
How are you seeking to love yourself today?
have found myself several times over the last few weeks behind cars with drivers who were not familiar with our area. Some of these were a bit harrowing - with cars not realizing where there are stop signs and where there aren't any. But more often than not, I found myself behind drivers that were traveling at speeds that were considerably under the speed limit. (i.e. going 20 in a 45 zone)
This left me with a choice - did I get frustrated or did I accept that this was the speed we were traveling and go along for the ride. I chose the latter. The result was seeing things I often missed while traveling at the speed limit. Things like the ice on the trees that looked like crystals. Or the way that the sun reflected off of the snow. We live our lives at such a fast pace.
Sometimes we need an invitation to slow down - whether it is by choice or not. What catches your attention when you slow down?
This week I have been blessed to be surrounded and poured into by many beautiful people. I met with a dear friend for lunch. My peer supervision group started working through Jacqui Lewis's powerful book Fierce Love. I talked with two of my dearest friends on the phone. My parents and grandmother and I played a fierce game of Rummikub. The list goes on and on.
In many ways, each of these people has a special place in my life - but they are not all the same. That may seem obvious. They are all different ages and located in various parts of the country. But it is more than that. They each have a different yet vitally important relationship to me.
We all need a circle - a group of people who are in our corner. However, we also need to acknowledge that presence may show up in different ways from person to person.
Who would be on your list of people who are in your circle? How long has it been since you interacted with them? And what does their presence bring to your life?
This week, I spent a lot of time driving - which is where I do the bulk of my thinking. The question that I wrestled with on those open roads was: What would I do differently if I only had a week to live?
Michelle is a Spiritual Director and End of Life Doula. She is the founder of Abide in the Spirit.
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