It’s been a week of ups and downs at our house. On Tuesday I received word of the birth of my goddaughter’s second daughter, a blessing to that family, and the hope of the first daughter happily fulfilled. That evening I learned that my sister-in-law, a breast cancer survivor, is facing a recurrence of cancer in her lymph nodes, and probably her lungs. Joy and concern pressing in on my heart has made for a week of lots of deep breaths and deep-in-the-marrow prayer, smiles and tears.
At times like this I my soul finds comfort and seeks expression through my senses. Pinterest feeds my visual need for beauty and color (not to mention adorable puppies, and herds of sheep). Cooking fills the house with pleasant aromas, and the results satisfy my palette. My hands find tactile pleasure in massaging my dogs, and music penetrates and reverberates in the fiber of my being.
When you need to hold disparate parts of your life in tension, what do you do? Share five things that steady your pace, recharge your batteries and invite peace to your soul.
Doodling: Yesterday I wrote, "Emptying myself" on my notepad many times. Meditative practice is hard for me without motion, writing or using beads or walking.
Often I write the names of those for whom I am concerned or praying in the margins of my work. In college I thought of it as "writing you down to keep you safe;" now I think of it as a prayer. It runs into Praying in Color, too.
Taize: I go to Youtube and listen to playlists of Taize music during my workday.
Reading: And by this, I mean surface reading, not studying or deep spiritual reading. I am almost always reading something somewhere...cereal box, cell phone, tablet, library book, newspaper. I am able to successfully re-read many books, because I often do not remember entire plots...the ones that are truly memorable are a joy to read again. (But I am also reading Richard Rohr's Falling Upward and oh, my. I have to take my time with it. Or anything by Rohr.)
Knitting: I am very much more a process knitter than a product knitter. Meaning, I really don't care what I end up with (and that's probably a good thing, because I'm not very good anyway). But something about doing it is very pleasing and soothing.
Grocery Shopping: I come from a family of "feeders" and I have surely talked about that here before. I've stopped trying to change myself, and just started observing myself in this area. One thing I truly enjoy and find restorative is shopping for groceries...especially with a list and a plan for meals to be made. It is a way of restoring order to life, ensuring that we will have milk and bread and eggs and the other items that we consider staples, as well as some treats.