It was fun to hear back from many of you in response to last week's audio version of the Sunday Quiet letter. It appears the "bucket of shame" is quite familiar to many of us. Isn't it amazing, the prevalence and power of shame? It makes me thankful for the work Brené Brown is doing and bringing into the world.
This week's letter feels a bit like a "report from the field," as I've just completed my first week of full-time attention to the work of Still Forming. I thought it would be fun to share with you the kinds of things I have been doing and discovering.
First up is a return to important habits and practices.
For the first time in a long while, I'm sitting at my desk again in the mornings, opening the Scriptures and taking time for sacred reading. My little girl cat, Diva, who is so much my teacher on contemplative prayer, is quite happy about this development. Most of our mornings look like this.
I'm also returning to greater self-care. For those of you who followed along with the body series we explored on Still Forming early last year, care for the body is a rather recent development for me. I've learned it's important to have gentle and consistent practices in this area of my daily life, yet that hasn't been an easy reality for me to follow for some time now, given some of the requirements of my previous schedule.
Thankfully, my new schedule is making it easier to incorporate good habits of self-care into my life again. That's taking the form of regular bike rides followed by stretch yoga, both of which I enjoy very much. (It also, on Thursday, included my first attempt at Pilates — and my hip flexors, in particular, are still feeling the effects of that experiment. Ouch!)
Lastly, I'm gaining an increasing clarity about the people this Still Forming land is meant to serve and invite inside its borders.
This piece of clarity was nudged along by a conversation I had with a new friend during last weekend's training in California about the critical journey of the spiritual life, based on the work of Janet Hagberg, and how the spiritual life generally follows a number of key stages. Other classic texts have been written about this subject, all of which describe a key portion of the journey to be that of "hitting "the wall" — the point at which previous practices and answers for our faith no longer work.
My friend and I talked about the disillusionment that follows such hitting of the wall and how little we know about what to do when it happens. Unfortunately, this is often the point when church becomes a difficult context for many, as questions and doubts feel less welcome than the certainty and faith found there.
"Those are the people Still Forming is meant to serve," I said to my friend. "The people who have hit the wall, and those who have moved beyond it."
As I flew back home to Florida that night, that conversation lingered and increased my clarity about the "Land of Welcome" ebook I've been in the process of writing about what it means to live here in Still Forming land. All those qualities we are about here — welcome, kindness, bravery, openness, reflection, honesty, tenderness — are the gifts we need to receive when we hit upon the wall. They're also the gifts and qualities we take beyond the wall and then seek to offer others.
I'm excited to be serving such a community of people. I'm thankful that you're here. Thank you for being a part of our land of welcome. (Can't wait to have the ebook ready to give to you!)
How about you? What's going on in your world these days? How would you describe your own "report from the field"?