I noticed my own invitation from God to let something go last week…
Quite some time again I had the idea for a breath prayer series: 4-5 weeks of virtual gathering where we would spend each week learning a different way to enter into breath prayer (scripture, our own desires, etc), talking about the physiology of the breath in the body, discuss breath in scripture, and engage in the practice of breath prayer. We would practice, connect about our experiences, and then aim to take the unique entry point to breath prayer with us until the week until we met again. When we gathered once more, we would share what the week was like; what was the experience like, did we have a sense of closeness with God? Was it easier to enter in or more difficult? What is God like when you practice? It was going to be beautiful.
At the end of 2022, when I was anticipating all that 2023 would hold, I wrote out a little ‘outline’ for the year. This outline for Wander to Wonder Soul Care held the plans for offerings I wanted to offer. From full-day in-person retreats, to virtual gatherings, to the now annual traditional of Advent Soul Care Yoga, each season was intentionally planned out. On the list was the breath prayer series. I was excited to try offering something different, something new outside of my past offerings as a yoga teacher and spiritual director in training. I was ready for something new.
As the year has gone on, life has been quite full of twists and turns…
An ill parent meant I spent a lot mental and emotional energy, and physical time, elsewhere.
A move to a new country meant I was physically in a new space, bound by restrictions out of my control.
When I look back on that list now, only one thing has come to pass so far, which was Aligned+ Designed at the very beginning of 2023.
(As it turns out, all of 2023 has been a giant lesson in letting go.)
As we’ve become settled in our new home base, I revisited the list of the year and committed to bringing the breath prayer series to life. I can do that from where I find myself. I can make it happen.
I looked at my calendar, set out the dates, and began one of the many to-do lists I love to write when I know I want to maximize limited time. To-do lists would frequently include the breakdown of things to do to get the breath prayer series up and running; write the content for the page on the website, design the graphics, get the page on the website up, get a newsletter written and scheduled, make the sign up page, etc. I would break it all down into bite-sized pieces to not overwhelm myself, I even planned out what each week would hold in a rough outline. But, when it came time to work on it on my Sunday work sessions, nothing came…
No inspiration, no excitement..
Just me, a computer screen, and a to-do list on a Taylor Swift notepad.
So, on a Sunday when journaling in bed with a cup of tea and a candle lit, blinds open to the sky outside, I checked in.
I took time with God to ask the questions; When I think about a series on breath prayer, what comes up? What are the feelings, thoughts, sensations? What can these insights tell me? What WOULD make me feel excited? What makes me feel inspired and aligned with you, God, for this season?
I made note of the resistance I was feeling.
Was this resistance because it wasn’t for me to do right now, or was it because the series requires more work and wouldn’t come as easy or as efficiently as something I’ve done before, like planning a yoga series?
The words that followed this question were as follows:
‘I almost like the idea of a’liturgy of the day’ series– all practices that can fit into the rhythms of your day to recognize God and make every moment feel sacred. 1 – Liturgy of your day: What’s a thing you do every day? What’s a prayer you can repeat as you do it? bed making, coffee, lunches, etc? 2 – Breath prayer: we inhale + exhale in constant continuity every moment of our lives, try being intentional with the inhales and exhales of a few minutes of your day. 3 – Visio divina: when you see something that captivates you, linger there a little longer and connect with God. 4 – Examen to end your day: As you’re getting into bed, asking yourself a few questions about your day…’
The next words that followed:
‘ That sounds really fun! Perhaps that a better series? An introduction to a few practices could be more fun for people and me LOL! (yes, I wrote the LOL). Then maybe if people want to dive into a specific practice more, there’s the invitation for a full series or spiritual direction practices. Maybe this is the invitation and change this series.’
Then I checked in; how were my mind, body, and heart/soul/spirit feeling? What was the invitation from God here?
Later that day, as I sat down to my set aside time to work, Moment by Moment was brought to life.
It felt like losing track of time.
It felt refreshing and energizing.
It felt like God with me as I flowed from one task to the next.
The very things making their way week after week onto a do-list for a breath prayer series happened like dominoes falling one task after the other, until, by Sunday night, it was complete. Content written, design work done, web page up, Instagram graphics made.
Now, Moment by Moment: Finding Daily Rhythms of Connection with God is online for people to register for!
I let go of one thing, to make room for something better.
I let go of the plans made at the end of 2022, for what God had for me right here, right now; the person I am now, the experiences I’ve had, the life I am living, the way God and I are growing together.
As I thought about the idea of letting things go this week, I wrote down the phrase ‘Let go of what no longer serves you.’ I’ve heard this phrase used both as an invitation to growth and avoidance and I’ve heard people lean into it and push back hard against it. When we invite it in as a question, as a practice of connecting with God about what we are holding onto that no longer serves us and the journey we find ourselves on, it can be a beautiful practice.
The leaves, after all, teach us how beautiful it can be to let go.
I reflected just yesterday on the lessons of the leaves..
Once we let something go, we are given the opportunity to appreciate its beauty as something that once was, like when we pick a fiery-hued leaf up from off the ground. We lift it from its momentary resting place and admire it; we look at it the way we look at the ideas, the dreams, the sentiments, the beliefs we once held dear, and we can appreciate them once they are gone for what they were— opportunities to shed to make room for a season of deep growth before sprouting new dreams, new beliefs, new ideas, to continue growing, and be on display for people to see, and connect about… it’s perhaps only after a season of winter and deep growth below we can feel confident to show our new leaves in spring. We do this enough, we bear fruit.
Letting go to bear fruit.
Letting go, admiring what was, and knowing that, as God’s creation shows us, something fresh is yet to grow.
So, what is God inviting you to let go of? What might there be for you this season of letting go? How can letting go of something invite space for excitement, newness, refreshment?