Phase 3: My Relationship with Self
Observing your practices and hopes in relation to self:
There are these wonderful words in the prophecy of Isaiah, where God says: ‘You are precious in my sight and honored and I love you’ (Isaiah 43:4). We have been created by the love of God, for the love of God, and in the love of God. Love is the chief characteristic of God. Love is how God operates, so cooperate with God by accepting and sharing God’s love! How you love yourself will make a world of difference in how you relate to others. Loving yourself is so important. Remember, you are worth it.
A reading from The Way of Discernment, by Stephen V. Doughty.
Reflect on how this reading relates to your relationship with your self.
The monk Thomas Merton once asked an earnest student a question that he immediately answered himself: ‘How does an apple ripen? It just sits in the sun.’ The student, James Finley, thought long about that image and years later wrote, ‘A small green apple cannot ripen in one night by tightening all its muscles, squinting its eyes and tightening its jaw in order to find itself the next morning miraculously large, red, ripe and juicy.’ The apple just sits in the sun. It is naturally positioned to receive the daily nourishment it needs to ripen. This is similar to how we mature in the fullness of God’s life, except that we are not naturally positioned like the apple. We must place ourselves where we can receive the light of God, and this is the purpose of spiritual disciplines. Through them we position ourselves to receive the sunlight of God’s grace.
Reprinted from Companions in Christ: The Way of Discernment Participant’s Book by Stephen V. Doughty. Copyright 2008. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. www.upperroom.org.
Take Time to Breathe
Take a moment today – and for the next few days – to lie down and breathe. Find a cozy spot in the grass under a tree or light a few candles in a quiet room and stretch out on the floor. Put yourself in a space that is nurturing for your body and soul. As you breathe in slowly and breathe out slowly, invite the Holy Spirit to be with you in each breath. Now focus your attention on the top of your head. Gradually shift your attention to your shoulders, then to your chest, your abdomen, your legs, and down to your toes. Take several minutes to do this, moving slowly from your head to your toes. Through the whole exercise, stay as relaxed as possible and breathe calmly and quietly.
Exercise: My Own Self
Spend time now recording some of the key points you want to recall related to your relationship with self. Download the exercise and use it to consider each question, starting with the head and moving down to the toes.