Sometimes you have to zoom out before you can refocus the camera, my friend texted me. Yes, that's what these days before Easter have been about for me. Zooming out so I can see again. Discovering focus. Discovering refuge with God.
2017 has been zoomed in so far - packed with opportunities to share and celebrate the release of Holy Listening with Breath, Body, and the Spirit. And a time to soak up being in my community offering local events and workshops. April so far has been for zooming out and refocusing (and washing all the laundry!). And I'm so grateful; the timing couldn't be better.
Holy Week is nearly here! There is much to mourn, there is much to celebrate. There is much to experience, to taste, and to see! Psalm 34:8 in the Common English Bible (my current favorite version) says, "Taste and see how good the Lord is! The one who takes refuge in him is truly happy!" In zooming out, I find refuge in God. In zooming out, I find courage to journey off the beaten path. In zooming out, I can taste and see the good things.
Chasing Slow: Courage to Journey off the Beaten Path has been my Audible read during my morning walk/run lately And wow, has it come at just the right time! Many good things are happening with the ministry of Exploring Peace and amidst this my mom asked me recently, "So, are you practicing what you preach?"
Ping. I'm thankful a mother's love can survive asking such a question. Time for a bit of self-reflection.
So, you could say that read came at a good time. Erin spoke to my heart. And her book wasn't all about building boundaries and saying no to life or stuff (well, maybe some of it). Erin's message invites us to journey the path just for us. Erin invites us to taste and see what God offers us! Erin reminded me to discover joy and delight and not to rush past it.
Yes, I share and teach and offer soul care resources for others. I LOVE my job - zoomed in or zoomed out. They say we are drawn to what we long for most. I long for soul care on this journey. I think we all do. And, you know one thing that is really good for my soul? JOY! My spiritual director and I spent an entire year exploring the concept of finding joy and delight (my homework one month was to blow bubbles - a practice I often invite my retreatants to experience). Delight! And, I think I'm finally getting brave enough to pause and lavish in it. Sound ridiculous? Maybe it's time for more bubbles.
Brené Brown reminded me recently (in one of her talks, not over a cup of tea, wouldn't that be fun!?) that as a culture, we don't know how to experience joy. We rush right past it rather than embrace it. We expect the worst. We move on to the next thing. We rush past a lot, don't we? Okay, book release is complete. Oh, well. That was good...done. What's next?
Nope, I'm choosing to pause right here and give thanks for the joy of this season, for the privilege of publishing my first devotional book, for good health that allowed me a ton more travel than I'm comfortable with in a couple of months time, and now for the chance to take long walks while I learn to chase slow. If I'm being honest, finding joy in chasing slow is harder than it seems.
How are you journeying off the beaten path? How are you chasing slow?
In chasing my own slow and finding my joy, I helped set up a prayer room for my son's youth group this week. And, I couldn't find a reflection mandala that fit our theme of Psalm 34. So, I created one! This brought me joy and the only thing that brings more joy is sharing it with you. Download it here if you'd like. And if praying with mandalas is new to you, check out my friend (and fellow Upper Room author) Sharon's new book, Praying with Mandalas. It's a delightful introduction to using mandalas for prayer and reflection.
Blessings on your Holy Week. May you taste and see, may you discover joy and delight in the good around you as you find refuge in our God this Easter season.
Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the season of lent. It's a perfect time to journey toward wholeness as we journey toward Easter. My friend, Jen, and I have a gift for your journey. We're offering some spiritual food for your Body & Soul. We have put together scripture, thoughts, and activities for the next 40 days and we'd be honored for you to join us. Below is an introduction and a link to get started as we seek wholeness together.
"People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” - Matthew 4:4
Welcome on this lenten journey.
You might be surprised as you dive into this devotional journey. Yes, we are passionate about physical wellness but we’re not focusing on what you may be used to hearing in regards to healing or wholeness. We both believe that food is medicine and that movement and exercise are life-giving for our bodies. Yet, this devotional isn’t specifically about the food you eat or the number on your heart rate monitor (although we may allude to those in our reflections). Consider this weekly devotional as a dose of spiritual food during the season of lent.
We’re so excited for the answers you will find here and yet there are no answers for this journey. There is simply no predictable answer key for what God may be offering you during this season. To be honest, there are zero promises of healing and wholeness after downloading and reading this devotional guide during the 40 days of lent. What we do promise is that our own wholeness and healing has been found in our savior, Jesus. And, this season of lent gives us each the perfect opportunity to be awakened to God’s love through his son, Jesus. That is where we find all the answers.
So, what is lent? Lent is the Christian tradition of preparing our hearts and minds for the celebration of Easter. The lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday (this year that is March 5, 2014) and concludes on Easter Sunday (April 20, 2014). During lent, some Christians fast from specific activities or food items. Others may add a specific spiritual discipline for the 40 days of lent. Not all Christians observe lent with such traditions. We both grew up in traditions that did not place an emphasis on the days leading up to Easter. However, as adults, we have begun to understand that the lenten journey is parallel to the journey of life. We see lent as a wonderful opportunity to connect and re-connect with our faith and our God.
And so we’re inviting you to join us this season. Each week during lent, visit www.zoneconditioning.com to download your free short devotional and guide that includes scripture and activities for reflection. Our hopes are simply that your spirit will be renewed and refreshed this season. We look forward to this journey toward Easter together.
Jen and Whitney
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 Message:
May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it!
Click here to bookmark the 40-day site and download your weekly devotional guide.
Whitney R. Simpson
• author • yoga & meditation teacher • spiritual director • creating soul care resources for exploring the gift of God's peace with breath, body & spirit •
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Whitney R. Simpson,
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