There's no sale here. No Black Friday ad. No click funnel. Nope. I'm not that great at sales.
I am great at sharing with you what I'm passionate about - and making sure you pay attention to and take care of your body and spirit. That's why I'm so excited about this Advent season and journeying with you through my new book, Fully Human, Fully Divine: An Advent Devotional for the Whole Self.
My friends, I LOVE the seasons of Advent and Christmas. But it's not always easy. Not all my Christmas memories are joy-filled and positive, and neither are yours. I had a stroke nearly 17 years ago - on my December birthday - that left me in a hospital room for Advent 2005. You could say that this shift in my journey invited me into more presence and embodiment. That crisis changed my life and asked me to be present in my body in entirely different and new ways with God. It actually helped me discover more hope.
But guess what? You do not need a crisis to journey closer to God this Advent season. You just need a little bit of hope and the time set aside time to do it. A reader emailed me this week that she couldn't get the book in time for Advent. I told her that was just fine, to practice presence until it arrived! Your journey is not confined to the calendar. But if you're like me and need a little accountability that does include a calendar, I have a free one for you. I'll be coloring in my days with words or images and some markers noting when I feel close to God.
Also, here's an early invitation from the book to get you started. I hope you'll use it amidst the scrolling of sales to kindle some hope in a world that truly needs it.
Close your eyes and ask yourself: Where do you feel hope in your body? Many of us connect to hope with our heart or our gut. Maybe hope to you is more about reason and thought, and you feel it in your head. Maybe for you hope is about doing something, and you feel it in your hands and your feet. Think about where you feel hope. Take a few breaths and try to connect with where you feel it inside yourself. Then, place a hand on that part of your body and breathe. If you are struggling to connect hope with a physical part of yourself, simply place a hand over your heart and ask God for hope as you breathe.
When you are ready to move on, ask yourself if there is a part of you that is holding back from feeling hope, perhaps even to protect you. It's not uncommon for us to put up walls to avoid disappointment. This is a normal response. However, I invite you to think about what it would look like to hope with your entire being. What would it mean this season? What could it look like?
As a Christian, you already know the end of the Advent story. Christ is coming! Not "Christ might come," or "Christ will get around to coming eventually," but "Christ is coming." The gift of Christ is the physical symbol of our hope in human form. Christ is God with us, let that fill you with hope for the days to come!
Guess what? If you will help me share the gift of an embodied Advent, you may win some art. I'm giving away a gorgeous print from Rev. Lauren Wright Pittman. It's a WIN-WIN (for you and for my Fully Human, Fully Divine Advent book)!
You can participate in any or all of these:
You're helping share an embodied Advent with others and supporting this creative work with your posts. You'll get 1 entry for any of the above with a max of 5 entries per person. I will draw one winner randomly on Monday, November 28th! Remember these must be public reviews/posts for me to see them and be added to the drawing. Then the winner picks the print (from the four in the book) you want and I'll send it to you!
The deadline to post/share/upload for the drawing is Sunday, November 27th - the first Sunday of Advent by midnight.
The Lenten season is upon us and I don't know about you but I am admittedly tired of giving up!
The past two years have been filled with "giving up" things, not by choice, that drew me closer to my Creator (like travel, for example). Oops, see number 5 below.
But this invitation of "giving up" for Lent need not be about letting go for the sake of letting go or letting go with remorse. We are invited to let go of things that get in our way of connecting with God and make room for more time with our God in these 40 days leading up to Easter.
So I am pondering things beyond the standard list I've chosen to give up in the past (like chocolate and wine). I'm pondering things (actions/habits) that will give me a more peace-filled, embodied, and connected journey to God if I let them go - once and for all! Below is a list of a dozen things I am "giving up" this year.
12 Things I Am Giving Up
Ouch, huh?! Does one jump out to you more than another? Once you have found your place to start, take a deep breath and let it soak in a bit. Will you choose to practice letting it go and give it up - for Lent and even beyond!?
Without this (or these) in your life, there's more room to listen and draw nearer to God. There's space to be a world changer and a difference maker. Practice letting go and you'll walk into Easter better knowing a Christ who lived without these 12!
Giving up also gives us room to lean in a bit more. Do you need help along the way to stay connected with your whole self and listen to your Creator (not that other stuff)? If you have your copy of Holy Listening with Breath, Body, and the Spirit on your shelf, it's the perfect 40 day companion to make room for more trust, community, peace, healing, love, joy, wisdom, connection, and hope in your life with Christ. Consider picking it up and begin again your time of holy listening with God.
How will you choose to journey through these 40 days towards Easter? What will you give up this year (or maybe even for good)? What will you pick up?
Whitney R. Simpson
yoga & meditation teacher
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Whitney R. Simpson
Exploring Peace Ministries, LLC