by Clare Brauer-Rieke
Each of us comes to a point in our lives - even multiple points in our lives - at which we begin to feel we are surviving more than thriving. After a particularly rough month, I've realized exactly this. Life, of course, is too short to focus so intently on surival above happiness; this led me to ask myself about ways to shift gears back into thriving.
It was then that I came across these words:
The fullness of joy is to behold God in everything. God is the ground, the substance, the teaching, the teacher, the purpose, and the reward for which every soul labors. Julian of Norwich, England (c. 1342-c. 1419)
God is the ground, the substance. God is the purpose. Why don't I experience this each day? It may have something to do with what I experience instead: traffic, the onslaught of both personal and work-related emails or phone calls, loud advertisements on the internet, TV, radio, billboards, financial stress, social commitments, etc. Where is the ground in my life, what is the substance? How do I unintentionally reassign my own purpose? "The fullness of joy is to behold God in everything." I don't leave myself time to behold anything, much less God, and the "everything" of my life crowds out the true everything that is.
So, I have given myself a challenge, in which I invite you to join me. In researching ways I could choose to slow my life down (which I suppose carries its own sense of irony), I've been intrigued by The Ten Principles of the Sabbath Manifesto:
1) Avoid technology.
2) Connect with loved ones.
3) Nurture your health.
4) Get outside.
5) Avoid commerce.
6) Light candles.
7) Drink wine.
8) Eat bread.
9) Find silence.
10) Give back.
As I read through the principles and consider them as a way of life, thriving doesn't sound so hard to come by. So, I printed them out and placed them where I will see them every day when I first wake up. In small ways, I hope to integrate them into my daily life; in addition, I will commit to a full Sabbath each week, sundown Saturday to sundown Sunday.
"The fullness of joy is to behold God in everything." Connect with loved ones. Get outside. Find silence. Give back. And maybe surviving will turn on its head and we can begin to thrive.