Week 5: Sacred Preparation
One of the biggest struggles in mindful and contemplative practices is being present. We are so accustomed to living in the past or living for the future, that the present is often a third-place contender for our attention. It may be hardest for us to be most present during practices about the future, such as preparing for the day.
Spiritual Practice Details:
In consecrating our practice of preparing for the day, we learn to be present in the moment while preparing for the future, aware of our surroundings and resources, and more acutely alerted and connected to the plight of those who lack the resources to plan as we do.
Make a space for preparing for the day ahead. This could be the evening before or morning of depending on your personality. Before beginning to plan, ground yourself and set your intention. Ask for God’s help in being present in the moment, aware of your resources, empathetic to the resources of others, and open to God’s voice.
- Then, mentally prepare and think through your day. What needs do you have for the day? What items will you take with you? If you pack clothes or a lunch, what will you wear or eat? How do you decide? How many choices do you have? If you plan with a calendar, look through your day, the work you will do the, the people you will meet, the breaks you will take. Will you buy supplies or a lunch? Is there space to breathe and think as you are doing now? Are there others who have fewer choices or resources than you do? How might they plan their day . . . or do they?
Next, emotionally prepare. How does your day make you feel? Rushed, scared, free, excited, nervous, fearful, inspired, hopeful? Are your emotions centered on things within your control or outside of them? Where in your day is room for love? Is there space in your day to emotionally process and respond to surprises that may occur, chance encounters that may spring up? Are all your emotions centered on you or on others as well? How can you share your heart for others this day?
Now, physically prepare. Use what you learned in thoughtful and emotional contemplation to physically prepare for your day. If it is clothes or food, pack and prepare them. If you are looking at your calendar, plan your work and study time and move meetings. Create space for resources, time, or love for others who don’t have the choices or resources or support that you have. If possible, pack extra for those you may meet who are not able to plan but who may meet God in you as you meet God in them. Snacks, gift cards, gloves, tissues, are some practical items that can easily be shared to meet the needs of others.
Reflect on your experience and the ways God spoke through your thoughts, emotions, and planning. Give thanks for God’s presence, for awakened eyes, and for the opportunity to plan not just for ourselves, but for all people.
Go out into the world. Bless and be blessed. Keep your eyes and heart open as God presents opportunities for you to give as you have prepared yourself to do.
Any practice can be consecrated and filled with God’s presence. Because preparing for the day connects you to all of your daily routines and practices, it can be a gateway practice to greater awareness of God throughout your day. With regular practice connected to your daily activities, you can learn to be aware of God through most of your day.
Putting your clothes out for the next day
Looking through your calendar for the day
Making a list of all you must do today
Packing a lunch bag, work bag, school bag, gym bag, or baby bag for the day