#grace #spiritualjourney #wildernessjourney #ignatianexercises #contemplativepractice #spiritualdirector #spiritualcoach #wisdomtradition #perenial #orderdisorderreorder #thomaskeating #divinetherapy #trueself #introvert #solitude
It was one of those groggy mornings; even my morning cup of Joe wasn’t clearing the fog. I was thankful this morning for my prayer template from my training as an Ignatian Spiritual Director. One of the opening prayers is to ask for a grace. The grace I asked for this morning was for the Spirit to help clear the fog. Also, we come to our time of prayer being real and honest and write how we are arriving in a sentence. Boy, can this be enlightening.
Besides being groggy this morning, I came with frustration and disappointment. Can you relate to these feelings? Ugh. I recently finished an excellent training to be Certified as a Life and Spiritual Coach, in addition to my 3 years of spiritual direction training and 8 years of practicing as a Spiritual Director. I left feeling excited with all of the tools and benefits to share with new clients and current ones.
Guess what, after going up a mountain, what happens next? That’s right, you have to go back down. Welcome reality! I imagine any of you who has a business, ministry, or new venture may have experienced the struggle, frustration and loneliness of starting out and how slow it can be. The most frustrating part, that I really don’t enjoy, but that I have been told is needed is marketing, networking and social media. As an introvert this is what I really need grace for.
So, let’s get back to what I shared in the beginning of this blog about the prayer template and groggy grace after I, as my mother would call it, Bloviated, in other words, got sidetracked and long winded. After I wrote how I was coming to prayer and asked for the grace I needed, I opened several readings and felt they were just what I needed, and my fog cleared, connecting me to the message. Yeah!
I like to notice themes arising from various readings and life. The first reading started with one verse, “The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day he appeared publicly to Israel.” Luke 1:80. If you are familiar with Lectio Divina or Sacred Reading, when something shimmers or is highlighted by the spirit you then pause and reflect or chew on it contemplatively, so I did. I won’t get into all of my reflection, well maybe I will Bloviate a bit. Firstly, maybe I am just childish, (the child grew), Ha Ha!
Back to the theme of what I received was that frequently, before appearing publicly, there is a good deal of Wilderness time to grow spiritually. This is often the spiritual journey and what the Wisdom Tradition would call the pattern of (order, disorder, reorder). As I pondered this more, I felt a comradery with others who have gone before and also with all of humanity. This passage was about John the Baptist before his public ministry, but Jesus was also in the desert before His and also Moses and David with their sheep in the wilderness.
After pondering this I was blessed with noticing a synchronicity in my Thomas Keating’s “Daily Reader for Contemplative Living.” He frequently spoke in his writings about the Divine Therapy that occurs during Centering Prayer. Today, my reading spoke of not being able to fully fulfill our role until we let go of our programs for happiness and the false self. He calls this process the spiritual journey, which requires us facing our dark side of our personality and our emotional investment in false programs for happiness and cultural conditioning. We must come to the point where we realize our ideas for happiness won’t work and turn our lives completely over to the Divine.
The synchronicity I received was that this pattern and wilderness experience were pretty normal, and I am not really alone. I already kind of knew this from my experience and study, but the Spirit needed to remind me of this today. Much of the growth happens in the wilderness of life and in the contemplative practices, such as centering prayer, which I highly recommend, by the way.
My next contemplative practice might be to do the Ignatian Prayer of the Colloquy and have a chat with Jesus and John the Baptist about their wilderness time. I would also love to chat with you about wilderness experiences of your own. Feel free to contact me or share your experience here.
Have a Blessed Day Friends,
Supporting you on your Sacred Journey
Carol Mullen CLC, CSC, Spiritual Director