Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life! A life that is filled with infinite possibilities! I love a new year, a clean start. Really, every morning, we have a clean start. God’s love for us never ceases and God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). How do you want to start anew?
It is a good time to adopt a beginner’s mind, a mindset that allows you to try new things and make mistakes because we are just beginners. The beginner’s mind is one way to quiet the inner critic and keep perfectionism at bay, which is an endless job. I signed up for a year long class on faces and figures called Let’s Face It 2018. I’m a beginner at faces; my drawings look like people, just not like the person I was drawing. As a beginner, I have given myself permission to make mistakes. By committing a whole year to this endeavor, I am also hoping to see some progress. I’ll keep you posted!
Besides learning new art skills, I want to explore new ways of finding God in the world around me, in the faces of people of love and even in those people I don’t love. God is always near. We just need to pay attention and take notice. I find I am able to pay attention more when the pace of life is a little slower. And when my day starts with prayer. Beginning this year, I am committing to spending some time in quiet contemplation before God. In The Heart of Centering Prayer, Cynthia Bourgeault recommends spending 20 minutes twice daily, being silent and present before God. I am starting with just 15 minutes each morning. Here are her guidelines for Centering Prayer:
- Choose a sacred word or short phrase as the symbol of your willingness to consent to God’s presence and action within you.
- Sitting comfortably and with eyes closed, settle briefly and silently introduce the sacred word as a way of being aware of being in God’s presence.
- When engaged with your thoughts, return ever so gently to the sacred word.
- At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes.
When thoughts bubble up, which they will, consider them a new opportunity to return to God. Try not to resist thoughts, but rather detach from them. Simply let them go and return to your awareness of being in the presence of God. Cynthia suggests that if you catch yourself thinking, or feeling, or remembering, just let the thought go. And return to God. If you need a little more silence in your life, or yearn for a heightened awareness of the closeness of God, you might want to try Centering Prayer.
What new things are you considering trying this year? How will you be a beginner this year? Does the idea of unlimited possibilities energize you or paralyze you? How did your experience with Centering Prayer go? Let me know in the comments!