PRACTICES FOR LIFE

On the value of being irresolute
Sandra Lommasson 1/1/2016

New Year's resolutions generally rely on will power to change something we no longer want in our lives. What if there's another way?
 
True confession: I refuse to make New Year’s Resolutions.

While intentions are important mechanisms for focus on what we choose to partner in our lives, they can be easily co-opted by the lesser lights of ego and become part of a vicious cycle.

At Bread of Life we do not see ego as enemy, but as a mask that covers and protects the buried treasure dwelling in the depths of each soul. Resolutions too often remain at the mask-repair level rather than going beneath to the deeper place.

As a spiritual director I often hear people struggling with some aspect of their well-being. Perhaps the issue is weight or a habit of chronic lateness or a difficulty in establishing mutually nourishing relationships. Something has been designated the problem and resolutions resolve problems.

Except that they don’t; the perceived “problem” is very often an unacknowledged solution emanating from deep within the soul. Consider the possibility that what now hampers your life was once a movement of grace that saved it. Perhaps most resolutions do not work because their disregard of this truth is a form of spiritual violence.

One Practice for Life is to simply name the dilemma in prayer – “Here I am God, still struggling with my weight. Show me what you want me to know about that.” It’s a simple practice of confession or being with the truth in the company of another. And then be silent and notice what stirs in image, memory, a felt body sense or perhaps a few words that arrive. You may be surprised at what comes, including the birth of new self-compassion that is the soil for genuine transformation.

 
What do you notice as you hold the possibility that what now hampers the life you seek was once a movement of grace that saved it?
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**Many find it helpful to have a spiritual director as a companion in this process who can provide another pair or eyes and ears on the human, holy journey into the deeper places. Spiritual direction is not problem-focused. It is relationship focused – bringing into view a person’s relationship with the dimension of Spirit and helping it become more conscious, however they name it. As the relationship with God/ the Holy/ Mystery/ Christ deepens, so does awareness of an invitation to a fuller, freer life and the ways of being that block it. This awareness is in turn  brought back into the deepening relationship with the Living Spirit. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution or resolution I have come to trust that authentic goodness always emerges from this process.

Want to find out more about spiritual direction? Join us for Is Spiritual Direction for Me? on Tuesday, January 19, 5:30-6:30 at a Sacramento location to be announced.

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Entries
 
Posted by Dianne Aldrich on 16-Nov-2016 at 08:34:07 EST
Subject: Providing a Pathway

Thank you for these necessary words we will need over and over again in the coming days, months, years. May the voice of BOL remain strong and beautiful providing a path through the wilderness.

Posted by Sue Mannshardt on 15-Nov-2016 at 07:03:44 EST
Subject: Renewing Hope

Thank you, Sandra…as always your words hit home, inspire, and help make clearer the road to healing that we need so desperately in our country and world. Many prophetic voices, including yours, have come forward these past few days…from Maria Shriver's interview with Desmond Tutu a day or so before the election, to Jim Wallis, Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault…some pretty challenging stuff. I sent at least one of these to our daughter who is deeply grieved (as are we all are), who replied, "I don't see the hope yet!" And as more and more of his cabinet appointees are made known, that hope seems dimmer and dimmer…For me the the question is, what can I do other than contribute to programs like Planned Parenthood or some agency/program that supports saving God's creation, gay rights, civil rights etc etc etc…My hope is that with the approach of Advent, and the coming of hope, joy, peace renewed, my hope will grow stronger and more and more light will shine through the cracks in the darkness you call a sticky pit, and once again we can sing "Holy Darkness!"

Posted by Lynne L on 15-Nov-2016 at 06:19:48 EST
Subject: Engaging

Staying present in the discomfort is the not-so-easy task. It is not easy to stay in the process with the finger-pointing and name-calling when it touches our own ire. Active, engaged presence and deep listening is essential. I am so grateful for the skills, and especially the attitudes, that we have been honing over the past couple of years as interns. May we all remain humbly engaged.

Posted by Carol Abbott on 14-Nov-2016 at 08:59:38 EST
Subject: Community

I join you in wanting to open myself to the times of meeting and listening that will begin to heal our deep divides. Right now my grief makes that seem impossible, and yet I trust that the breath of God IS still creating. I am grateful for the breath of life and hope that comes with and from Bread of Life community.