The longer days and warmer weather of Summer cause our daily routines to slow down and shift. Last summer, during a vacation in the Finger Lakes region of New York, I had the opportunity to reflect on how my sacred practices change during downtime. This post first appeared on my personal blog, but I recently revisited and updated it to share here on Belle Coeur.com.
Just as our brains and bodies do, our Spirituality benefits from the luxury and spaciousness of downtime.
Each morning during my vacation, I found myself drawn to sit in the side yard of our cottage that overlooked Seneca Lake to meditate and pray. Those languid mornings had a profound impact on my daily sacred practices.
My daily practice evolved because of a new location.
Usually, I pray and meditate in my study at home. The familiarity of place helps me to drop very quickly into a contemplative mind-space, and my daily practices feel comfortable. However, shaking up my routine in a new space opened new “channels” of inspiration, while being in nature meant that my appreciation turned to the wonder of creation that surrounded me.
If you haven’t changed up your practice routine lately, I would suggest that you try it. Even after I returned to my study after vacation, new thoughts were percolating, and my insight had shifted.
Slowing down during my practice made it even more fulfilling.
On vacation, I had the luxury of time to go more deeply into my meditation and prayer. When I am at home, there’s competition for my energies (home repairs and chores, kids’ needs, dogs that need walking, hospice visits, grocery store trips, etc.) and my practice always has a definite end point before I launch into daily life. During my break, I found that while my practice would end physically, I was able to revisit ideas throughout the day and further contemplate new insights.
This relaxed reflection time showed me that self-care is a compelling aspect to my practice. I realized that while I am on vacation, I shouldn’t take a break from my daily rituals. Downtime is a luxury, and our Spirituality benefits just as our brains and our bodies do. The next time you head out of town “pack your practices” and take them along with you.
Whether or not you have a vacation planned, the invitation of unhurried summer days is a perfect time to refresh or renew your daily rituals. Here are a few reflections that might help you get started:
- Where might you find new energy for your sacred practice? Outside in nature? In a different room? A different time of day?
- What makes you sacred practices portable? Particular books? Music?
- What are the “must have” elements of your sacred practice? Your journal? A prayer book? The Bible? Sacred poetry? Music?
- Does anyone, in particular, come to mind when you think about inviting another person to share your sacred practices? Family? Friends? A spiritual director?