“If you direct your heart rightly, you will stretch out your hands toward God . . .. You will forget your misery; you will remember it as waters that have passed away. And your life will be brighter than the noonday; its darkness will be like the morning . . ..” – Job 11. 13, 16 & 17
Perhaps you do this, too. I subscribe to various e-newsletters. Some of them are spiritual and religious, some health-related, others news-oriented. Often the articles tout a number of things that will make your life better: 7 Ideas for Improving Your Workout, 5 Things in the Japanese Diet to Improve Your Weight Loss, The 10 Best Cities for Vacationing, 8 Ways to Pray, etc.
So, I thought I would try my hand at it today.
We are living in troubling times. It seems that violence and terrorism run rampant, global warming is becoming a reality, and attacking your opponent with unheard of name-calling seems to be the new way of running for public office. I could go on, but I won’t. You know what raises fear and anger in your soul.
So here are my “5 Ways to Weather the Storm.”
- When you awaken in the morning, before you do anything, take a deep breath and offer your thanks for sleep, the new day, and a new beginning, regardless of your present circumstances or whether you slept well or not. Scholars tell us that gratitude transforms our outlook on life, calms our anxious hearts, and gives us hope.
- Some time in the morning hours, stop what you are doing and spend five minutes, yes, that’s right, just five minutes, in silence. Pay attention to your breathing. If you pray, offer a prayer of praise and gratitude to God for that present moment.
- At noontime, take a break. After lunch, for example, take a walk, listen to inspirational music, just listen, don’t do anything, call a friend to say “hello,” write a note to someone you miss, or read a poem. Better yet, write a poem. Taking a break from work can energize you for the rest of your day.
- At home in the evening, make a conscious effort to read something meaningful. Instead of turning on the television or reading something work-related, read something that lifts your spirit, causes you to think deeply, and inspires you to dream. Reading can help slow you down so that you can get ready for bed and rest.
- Before you drift off to sleep, take a moment to reflect on your day. Name to yourself the five things for which you are most grateful. Then thank God for all the gifts. This can help you go to sleep and rest well.
Oh, yes, one more thing. If you wake up in the middle of the night, I suggest you lie still in bed, take a few deep breaths, relax your body, and then repeat this mantra, “Here I am, here You are, here we are together.” This is thanks to Brian McLaren who suggested it as a middle-of-the-night prayer in his book, Naked Spirituality.
I believe that if you were to follow these practices you would find yourself more peaceful, more joyful, and more confident. By “directing your heart rightly, you will stretch out your hands toward God,” and you will discover that “your life will be brighter than the noonday; its darkness will be like the morning.” Now if I can only heed my own advice.
Holy One, help me to stretch out my hands toward You every day. Then draw me close to you so that I may dwell in Your Light. Amen.