Hesychia: Day 4, Week 1

Every time I sit down to write one of these posts, I have to resist the urge to give a play by play of all we’ve been learning.  I’m sure it will only get harder to resist as the program continues.

This afternoon I found out that I am to be the first “directee” of the first practicum session of the program.  This means I sit before the group and share something real that I want to receive spiritual direction about while another member of the group functions as the “director” and the practicum leader observes.

So tomorrow I pretty much have to bear my soul to half the participants at Hesychia.

Now you’d think playing the director would be the hardest role, but actually most of what she’ll be doing is listening, being silent, and perhaps reflecting back what she is hearing.  Which means I have to talk the whole time.

Introvert’s nightmare.

Dear Jesus, help!

I also have to spend the evening preparing for the session and deciding what I’m going to bring in to share with the group.  It has to be something real, something I’m really dealing with, but I also don’t want to be too personal.  We only have about 25 minutes for the session, so it’ll need to be a relatively short or concise issue that I can explain quickly so we can spend more of the time going deeper.

Here are some ideas:

  • discerning what to do with what I learn with this program (vocational discernment?)
  • exploring my changing concept of God and searching for language/framework that helps express my experience
  • discussing an interpersonal conflict
  • thinking through ways I can participate in the new church community we’re a part of while remaining true to myself and utilizing my gifts

Anyway, I don’t know what I’m going to choose. Maybe we’ll just see what comes up in the moment during the beginning silence.

Speaking of silence, I think that’s the element that I appreciate most about this program, or maybe just about hesychia spirituality in general.  The value of silence.  What silence teaches us.  The way silence prepares us for the movement of the Holy Spirit.  The emotions and distractions that arise in the silence.  The embodied rhythm and pace that silence creates space for and facilitates.

I’m fortunate that I work from home and can spend as much of my day in silence I want.  Yet that silence is full of thoughts and activity as I work online and write reports.  That silence is only outward and not inward.  It is not fruitful in the way that attentive silence is fruitful.

How can I bring this attentive silence into my daily work?  Is it even possible? Maybe that‘s a good question for my spiritual direction practicum tomorrow. How can I pursue this embodied rhythm and life balance when my brain is so fully occupied?

I think that’s one reason the monastic lifestyle stresses manual labor.  That kind of work leaves the mind free for contemplation and prayer. I notice that when I cross-stitch. Although my mind is still occupied to an extent with choosing the correct color thread  and following the pattern, there is also a rote-ness and repetition to it that becomes almost methodical and leaves the mind open to wander and process and move among thoughts.

But my work is pretty much all cognitive.  Unless I’m in the office doing printing and filing or cleaning where there isn’t much mental effort involved, I’m generally thinking critically and creatively at all times.  It’s hard to think about prayer while writing an email to a client who is upset or coordinating multiple schedules to find the best time for a conference call.  My work is restful in that I don’t have to invest the same type of energy that it takes to interact with people face-to-face, but it requires all my mental faculties.

Maybe I will bring this up tomorrow after all.  We’ll see what happens.  I’ll report back, so stay tuned!

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3 Responses

  1. You’ll probably read this after you do your “share,” but I’ll give you my input anyway, because that’s the kind of friend I am :).
    I know the introvert’s nightmare, but in my head is a voice that says, “the director is the vessel through which you bare your soul to God.” Think about what people will be sharing with you, when you become their spiritual director. Maybe this practice should be a practice in which you allow yourself to be vulnerable, so that when you are the director you can let them know that you have been there, you can share your own moment of vulnerability and you can know what it’s like.
    That’s just my suggestion. Good luck girl!

  2. […] Of The Garden Variety. Another blogger with an honest journey. She’s open about her journey and her struggles and she invites you into her world. I love bloggers that really bring you into their world. […]

  3. Thanks, Tammy! I so appreciate your prayer- and friend-support. And thanks for the linkage. =)

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