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I had heard of Centering Prayer, but was strongly encouraged (gently forced?) to regularly engage in the practice when I started the Living School last year. I had some misgivings, because while I have a dedicated morning practice (1 hour when I’m tired, 2 hours ideally, and up to 5 hours on some truly incredible mornings) filled with journaling, sacred reading, meditation, petitionary prayer and inspired creation; the one thing that is NOT included is REST.

“I’m not made for rest, I’m made for Fierce High Service,” I muttered to God. “I’m a physician and I have to take care of patients! I’m a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, an entrepreneur, a creator, I have things to do!”

And I love how God is so good and the Spirit replied, “OK, do it your way.” (Oh, free will!)

So I continued to get up and work during my morning practice, and work at work, and work at home until I fell into a deep, exhausted sleep.

And then the COVID and George Floyd and elections came, and uncertainty piled upon the work, with no clear end. 

And I continued to work during my morning practice but with increasing uncertainty, and work at work with increasing uncertainty, and work at home with increasing uncertainty until I fell into an exhausted, increasingly restless sleep. 

And since my word for 2020 is Transform, I knew that the falling apart had to come before the re-creation, so I tried to make the falling apart pieces of uncertain work and restless sleep fit into a comprehensible new creation. But the pieces wouldn’t fit quite right, because the falling apart never stopped long enough.

And I muttered to God, “Can’t you stop the falling apart now so I can create something new?”

And God is so good, and the Spirit whispered, “Will you rest in Me, so I can love you? Will you surrender 20 minutes when you wake and before you sleep to Me, and receive the gift of not having to do anything, be anything, prove anything, control anything? In the midst of all the falling apart outside, will you let your heart rest in Mine, allow Me to hold you in My Love? And in the safety of My Love, will you bear witness to the something new that I’m creating from all the falling apart pieces of all the lives in all the world?”

It took until these last 2 weeks of December, but I’m more consistently getting that first 20 minutes of Rest in.  I’m still wrestling with the idea, though. Rest, then work, then rest before I go to sleep? It’s such an unfamiliar rhythm. When work, then work, then work before I collapse has been what I’ve always known.

But God is so good, because something is starting to happen in even the small shift in rhythm to rest, then work, then work before sleep. There’s this idea that’s emerging regarding my 2021 Word of the Year, Heal. And the idea is to allow Healing through Rest … Resting and being held in Grace, Resting and hearing the invitation to participate in the *Divine Dance of the Trinity, Resting and bearing witness to the continuous self-emptying of a limitless, loving God into a multitude of expressions in the created world. 

Resting and recognizing that I’m not in control, I’ll never be in control, and I don’t have to be. Control is about manipulation and power plays. Control rejects Grace.

In a Grace-filled world, it’s about surrender and love play. That’s the Gospel, the Good News!! The invitation we are all given! Believe it! Receive it! Embrace it!

In a Grace-filled world,  I’m called Beloved, I’m invited to Be Loved, and I’m called to Be Love. 

It’s that simple. And still, it’s the journey of a lifetime.

Peace, health, & wholeness – Arlene

* read Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation by Richard Rohr; or The Shack by William Paul Young

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