by Christine Sine
In last week’s Meditation Monday – Going for the Gold , I talked about how impressed I was by the discipline of the young Olympic athletes and their commitment to endure in the hope of winning gold. Several people asked me what disciplines I currently use to keep myself on track so I thought I would share these with you.
Start With A Cup of Tea
My morning prayer time begins, not with a prayer or a scripture reading, but with a cup of tea. My practices change over the years but this is the one consistent point that anchors my day. With my cup of tea in my hand I feel I can accomplish anything.
Second I center myself by sitting quietly for a couple of minutes with my feet firmly planted on the ground contemplating my Lenten garden. I take a few deep breaths in and out allowing the peace of God to flood my heart. I say the following prayer which I have written out on a piece of paper, and take a few more deep breaths in and out.
Light Some Candles
My third step is to light candles, purple for the season. One sits in front of photos of my family and of myself with Tom. I pray for each person in the photos. Then I light the candle on my nature table and pray for the world. My third candle sits on my small altar, decorated especially for Lent. My last candle sits on what I call my repentance table where I have placed several broken pieces of glass and broken crystals that I collected years ago in Australia.
Enjoy Another Cup of Tea
By then I am ready for another cup of tea. Getting up to refill my cup is a great way to stretch and refocus from the contemplative inward journey to a more outward focus.
With my cup of tea in hand I pull out my creativity journal. Some mornings I colour this labyrinth pattern to center myself once more, but primarily I ask myself questions.
Over the last week this has blossomed with new images as I have asked myself a progression of questions about what I would give up for love of God and for love of the world. Next week I will add images that move me into life changes that I need to take on now not just for Lent but for the season beyond Easter too.
Read Some Scripture
Next I read scripture – this year using the book A Fragrant Offering by John Birch whose prayers and readings I am finding particularly inspiring. At this season I am only reading a verse or two so a book like this is ideal. I can reread the same scriptures several days in a row or choose a new one each morning.
Finish With Prayer
Finally I read another prayer and add my own spontaneous prayers before blowing out my candles and moving into the day.
Go To Bed with Prayer
I am also finding that an evening discipline is important for this season. Sometimes a modified Prayer of Examen, sometimes a breathing prayer but also a ritual when I put away my cell phone (there is more and more evidence that cell phones by our beds at night is not good for us, and reading on our cell phones definitely makes it harder to sleep).
My favourite prayer for the evening is this Welcome the Night prayer that I wrote several years ago.