I’m still mulling a good question that came up in Women Time a couple weeks ago.
What do you expect from your devotional/quiet time? As in, what do you do it for? What is supposed to happen? It's been a while since I've held a consistent spiritual practice.
Partly (the big leafy foliage part) the issue is my lack of motivation & time management. I forget the good that’s in it. Instead I sleep, or I cuddle the cat, or I chat with L. These are each good things. They are peaceful, anchoring, morning rituals to start the day. And yet, these are different from a spiritual practice. I think.
Partly (the tiny vital seed part) I don’t know what I’m doing it for. If it’s not a peaceful, anchoring, morning ritual to start the day – what is it? Can I do something, even without fully knowing why, and have some good come of it?
The books next to my bed hint at why to do something:
I'm looking for proof - of Something Paying Attention, of gifts or power in myself; looking for It to be and to move in women's lives, to have some feminine aspects;
looking for meaning in daily life, messages and invitations to draw me into a living world and to provide or foster relationships to keep me there, to provide or foster the vision to read the code, to see the meaning;
looking for actions that I can make that have social or political significance as well as contribute to making my own life rich, personally significant, joyful, generous, welcoming, gracious and grateful;
looking for words, friendships, places, activities that stir my gifts, vision, faith.
I have a lot of good answers for "what do you do it for."
And for all of this, how do I show my devotion?
Choose one action. Practice it. Be devoted in it. Trust that the rest will follow. (but will it?)
But who am I devoted to? Or what am I devoted to? If I show up, for a devotional practice, will It?
Because that's what I really do it for.
The book list:
Book of Shadows, Phyllis Curott's memoir of her spiritual path into wicca, beginning with her vivid dreams and premonitions. I think it's also a story about the divine feminine and the significance of spiritual communities of women.
Celtic Devotional by Caitlin Matthews is not strictly Christian or Pagan. I love the way she uses the Pagan calendar, attending to the four seasonal holidays and the phases of the moon each month, to draw attention to particular focuses, questions, activities, and blessings.
Simple Living is by a Franciscan sister Jose Hobday. She addresses both the practical issues of simple living (food, housing, transportation...) as well intangibles that mark the quality of our lives. It's not about denial and sacrifice. It's more about freedom, creativity, joy, friendship.
The Daughters of Joy is a novel by Deepak Chopra that, to me, feels more like a sermon. But it's a gentle sermon and it reaches me with a message about seeing the world differently, seeing people's hearts and offering each other forgiveness and hope. While reading it I felt a resurgence in my own intuition and I acted upon it.
(The Bible is not on this list. It's by the bed but I haven't opened it for serveral weeks. That's for another post.)