Find Your Center

I promised myself that I would take some time to check in with you. Yeah, you! It’s been busy, again, just like last week, only it’s colder weather-wise.

Before we even get started, I wanted to share some news happening over at Real Housekeeping. They are an affiliate seller for the Ultimate DIY Bundle where 76 eBooks and eCourses (and some fun bonuses) are available until January 26th. Why is this great? Fifty percent of Real Housekeeping’s net income (from the sale of this bundle or anything via their affiliate links) is donated to worthy charities assisting the hungry and the homeless. While I can’t add the link here, I can humbly implore you to visit the site and if you feel so inclined to learn to sew, take great pictures, learn how to write, finally get your garden going or scrapbook, that you make the purchase there, knowing that some of your money will go to those less fortunate.

*PSA announcement has ended*

I’ve been going to physical therapy (supposed to be twice a week, but I like I told the physical therapist, “let’s not get crazy”) and we’ve been doing these exercises to help with the neck spasms I’ve been experiencing since November.  Surprisingly, these spasms are residual side effects from a car accident, and a falling-down-the-stairs-as-I-was-walking-the-dog-we-no-longer-have incident. Both happened within 6 months of each other 2 years ago, and left me with two concussions. I really know how to do it, huh?

The exercises are supposed to balance me. I lean toward the left when I stand, my left eye rolls out when I focus on an object as it comes towards me (the eyes should both move inward) and when my eyes are closed? Fugghetaboutit, I look like I’m trying to balance in a bouncy house. I’m all over the place. This causes migraines, dizziness and bouts of trying to get my sentences together and having difficulty finding the words. Kind of important for writing, don’tcha think?

Find Your Center. How does physical therapy, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and faith intersect? Where does an inspirational quote from come into play, read to find out. A new post by @fillpraycloset
By Saffron Blaze (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
At my last appointment, I had to look at myself in a full length mirror (hello fluorescent lighting and when is my home gym going to get here), and really look at how I was standing. I looked like the leaning tower of Pisa. I was leaning to the left, and that felt like center to me. Forget that when I wake up in the morning, the left side of my lower back and hip hurt from the extra strain, I always favored the left side.

She asked me to shift my weight and align myself as she repeated softly “Find your center”. The more she kept saying it, the less I was conscious in that space. My subconscious popped it’s curly head up as if my physical therapist was taking roll call. When I finally got to what center looked like in the mirror, it was hard to keep that weight shifted correctly, especially when she asked me to try to hold it with my eyes closed. I couldn’t. I had to hold on to something. My thigh muscles trembled underneath the new weight. I couldn’t trust that I could stay centered without visual cues. My muscles are conditioned to lean on the left, even when I’m in the car, I noticed that my upper body leans toward the left and when I shift to center, I soon find it uncomfortable and go back to the usual left, crouched position as I drive.

It’s kind of what a lot of things are like, isn’t it? Whether we are so busy a pocket of rest is unnerving and we have to fill it even though we know the balance is good for us; or if we are spending some time to pray in the chapel and the silence is too silent, we get uncomfortable, and pull out something to read, just me? It’s become hard for us, for me, to find and rest with balance, with being centered. As I continued to do the exercises, my mind wandered to God. Of course! I immediately asked myself questions, am I leaning away from God or toward him? And if I’m leaning away, what am I afraid of? Am I afraid of balance in my prayer life and everything else, because then what am I “working on”? I always feel like I can do better, pray more sincerely, be more aware of those in need. In Confessions, St. Augustine says (emphasis is mine):

Find Your Center. How does physical therapy and faith intersect? Where does an inspirational quote from come into play, read to find out. A new post by @fillpraycloset

And maybe it’s just that I will always be this way, until I find rest in Him.

Check your balance. Find your center. Are you at rest there, or are you like me and feel a bit uncomfortable there?

Let me know.

Here’s a sweet pin for ya

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Prayer Requests for December

How can I pray for you?

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If you leave your request, you can also leave any saint name you’d like to intercede on your behalf as well.

Today is the Memorial of St. Nicholas. Catholic Culture has a great write up of this saint. I would like to draw your attention to this part and ask that you try to so this at some point today, tomorrow or even this month.

St. Nicholas did his charitable works secretly. Suggest that your children do one hidden act of kindness in imitation of the saint.

For me specifically, please pray with the intercession of St. Francis de Sales and St. Mary Magdalene.

Prayer Requests for November

How can I pray for you?

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It’s the Solemnity of All Saints today

If you leave your request, you can also leave any saint name you’d like to intercede on your behalf as well. Maybe pray the Litany of the Saints in honor of this special Solemnity and all of the wonderful saints in heaven who intercede on our behalf.

For me specifically, please pray with the intercession of
St. Francis de Sales and St. Mary Magdalene.

Peace.

#7QT Get out of Your Prayer Rut

I didn’t meant to have this be the only post this week, and I also didn’t mean it to be early (again!). Alas, I stopped and started every day this week, and ultimately got angry deleting 3 different posts I started. Probably a bad idea. Wouldn’t be the first time.

I thought an early post would be good for Tiffany, since she asked for prayers – she’s heading out to Maine to visit her sister. This is the first flight where she takes her 8 year old son with her (and leaves her hubby and 3 year old at home.

I struggled with how to order this, not to mention which ones to include! Should the rosary be at the numero uno spot, or should that be the last one I discuss to keep it at the forefront of your mind. How can I argue? Pick any one of these and you’re golden. So without any further ado, and in no particular order, here are some ways to work your way out of a prayer rut!

— 1 —

Rosary To pray the rosary is to hand over our burdens to the merciful hearts of Christ and his Mother. I didn’t say that, Saint John Paul II did. Sometimes when I pray the rosary it’s because I need the next word. I need to know that I have the next bead already planned for me. Lately, I’m coming to the notion that I prefer boundaries and rules. I feel safe within them. I don’t feel confined, but protected. When I pray the rosary, I know that my mind can do whatever it wants (because it doesn’t listen when I tell it to pipe down) because I’m all about my rosary time. Speaking of which! This one is on it’s way to me. It’s a Blessed Theresa of Calcutta rosary from Rosaries by Allison. Tiffany got one with pale green beads and since we are doing a special novena this month, I had this one made to match #twins. It will be here Saturday!

New post: #7QT Get out of Your #Prayer Rut  #novena by @fillpraycloset

— 2 —

Chaplet I’m not a big chaplet prayer person, but I know that Tiffany is. I do have a St. Michael the Archangel chaplet in my car as well as an Our Lady of Guadalupe chaplet on my nightstand. Those are the only ones I go to really. And that’s when things get tough. Chaplets show devotion to a particular saint or aspect of Jesus and / or the Blessed Virgin Mary.

— 3 —

Novena These are insane prayer powerhouses, because you’re so focused on your intention. Most times the prayers for any given day just so happen to speak to *your* specific and personal experience.  I am currently praying the 54 Day Rosary Novena. It’s pretty simple really, for half the time you pray the rosary in petition to God for your intention, and the latter half you pray the rosary in thanksgiving – all for 54 days consecutively. I pray the rosary daily anyway, so to tweak and focus on particular intentions is a great way to change things up. There are a TON of different novenas to all kinds of saints, aspects of Jesus’ life and / the Blessed Virgin Mary, causes like a Novena for Impossible Causes, and my favorite, Novena to Our Lady Undoer of Knots.

New post: #7QT Get out of Your #Prayer Rut  #novena by @fillpraycloset

— 4 —

Spiritual Reading Nothing beats spiritual reading. I love anything written by St. Francis de Sales. I am working my way through the novice modules for lay Dominican formation, so my spiritual reading has been as pure as the daily readings. I keep my Magnificat with me and when I boot my laptop in the morning, I read over the scripture readings for the day along with any reflection that good ol’ Rev. Peter John Cameron, O.P., Editor-in-Chief chose to include that day (there’s the Dominican flavor!)

— 5 —

Liturgy of the Hours These are prayers that I pray daily (just the Morning and Evening ones, I’m a mom not a nun!). It’s a set of prayers prayed throughout the world by the religious – they have to pray them. As a lay Dominican, I am only supposed to pray the Morning and Evening prayers. I use the Divine Office app and listen to it. It opens with a hymn and now that I am familiar with the music, I can sing along. It’s nice to offer your day in the morning. Again, something about not having to be solely responsible for #allthethings, and speaking that, because sometimes we need to say it out loud or it’s never really internalized.

New post: #7QT Get out of Your #Prayer Rut  #novena by @fillpraycloset

— 6 —

Daily Examen I find that I have a hard time going to sleep unless I’ve done this. I feel like my day is not allowed to close without a proper examination conscience. I don’t make a big deal of it, and in fact do this in the shower before bed. I figure, I’m washing the day’s funk away, may as well clean my soul at the same time. The examen is simple, so simple that you can quickly gloss over it. I’ve written about this extensively when I first started blogging and again in April. Basically, you start at the very beginning of your day and count all the blessings you’ve received, list off your big-ask prayer intentions, bring to mind all that you’ve done wrong in the day – and believe me you have, pause and take time to remember that He loves you anyway (I visualize a big hug. What can I say? I’m a hugger) and close with a promise to try again tomorrow. Isn’t that awesome, simple and perfect in the shower? Here’s another tip, if you had a bad day, you can cry in the shower and no one will have to know. You can get your cry on, your sad on, your whatever on, but as soon as that water goes off, you’re done. Tomorrow is another day!

— 7 —

Confession I was told by a Dominican friar that I should get myself to confession once a month. Confession! I am a month overdue. What? I’m not perfect. However, confession seems like it’s scary, but it’s really not. As I’ve mentioned before, there’s no shame and most times, the responses you get will astound you: “Me too” and “You take yourself too seriously”. Maybe I just luck out and get really sympathetic priests, but I think you’ll find that it’s a deep clean of your soul, if we look at the Daily Examen as like a quick anti-bacterial wipe of the soul.

There are so many other ways to work out of a prayer rut that I didn’t mention here (Adoration, Lectio Divina, and praying for others come to mind!), so why don’t you tell me what you do to work out of a prayer rut? Or maybe share your favorite way to pray? Share in the comments so we can all benefit! Safe travels, Tiff!

 For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!