Unit 2: A Rhythm of Prayer, Work, and Recreation
R. Simpson — It is essential to establish a good rhythm before all else.
J. O’Donohue — to be spiritual is to be in rhythm
Rhythm — a link to creation, looking towards a way of life that keeps a balance. There are three labors of the monastic day: prayers, work, and recreation. Prayer creates spaces in the day for balancing the body, mind, and spirit. So be mindful of those spaces.
Take time to think about the things that are “daily” in my life. What makes it difficult to manage my time? What can I do to overcome those obstacles? What does a day in your life look like?
A Day in my Life
I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to structure my day and my work into four periods of time where I focus on different things. I learned early in my Anglican journey the value of the daily offices and from the Enneagram (specifically, The Road Back to You) the value of SNAP. So I transition into my day and through my day with prayers and small moments of meditation. My day is a practice in interruption — a cute interruption called Jasper, the pup. “I need out.” “I need in.” “Here, throw this!” “Can I sit on your lap?” “Hey!” ” Intruder Alert!” “RED alert!” “Rabbit!!”
Morning (6 – 10 am): As soon as I know I am awake, I begin the day with the daily devotion Laud. I have it memorized and say the words aloud as I stretch and move for those first few moments. Upon leaving the bed, I quietly sit on my yoga mat for about 5 minutes, just breathing, and seeing what I feel and where I feel. That leads to my yoga practice, a walk, a shower, and then breakfast. After breakfast I have a system of tiding up (maintenance) and cleaning (focused attention) the house. I work my way from east to west, gathering laundry, and end by starting the washer. In the gardening months, I do my garden work after my walk and before my shower. I like to get out there early and get it done before it gets too warm. In order to make this work, I get up about an hour earlier in the gardening months.
Prime (10 am-2 pm): This time begins with a SNAP meditation and moves me into my academic and work part of the day. Things here aren’t nearly as structured as my morning. I have a list of what needs to be accomplished and steadily work my way through it. Bible reading is usually first and I read the passages from the chart in the BCP. Then I generally do some writing. I try to write every day, my assignments, blog posts, letters, snippets of story, etc. I also try to write before I’ve consumed any news, blogs, or writings by others. It helps keep my words my own words. After writing, I usually spend time studying for whatever courses I am taking that semester/year. At 1 pm, I get up, reciting Sext in my head, prepare my lunch, and take a short break to eat, check news, and surf a bit. After lunch I do my Welsh. This is a highlight of each day and I look at more as a reward than a course I am taking.
Afternoon (2 -6 pm): Another SNAP meditation leads into this period. I start by either doing some strength training or a 15 minute Pilates session — I’m not trying to exercise so much as work out the kinks from four hours of primarily sitting still. I also take some time to switch laundry around. Because we have chosen not to have an electric dryer, laundry needs to be rotated on the racks by the stove or on the lines outside. This normally works out to be about an hour of moving around. Then I sit down with my knitting (or crochet, or coloring) basket and listen to an audiobook. Dinner preparation, another tidy up of areas where I worked, reading for pleasure, more laundry work, and dinner all happen in this time too. I conclude this time with lighting a candle and saying Vespers.
Evening (6 -9 pm): Another SNAP before news (and sometimes during news, because holy cow!) then quiet family time, sometimes a movie or tv episode (iTunes), usually just everybody sitting around together but doing their own thing. I choose to read, do Examen, and Compline before turning in early.
It is a quiet, predictable, life. I have chosen carefully the best way to get enough rest to manage my disease and yet have enough interaction and busyness to keep me engaged and active.