Chapter Four & Chapter Five
It’s time to get up and move! These two chapters come at a perfect time as the end of May is generally a lovely time to get outside and explore. Enjoy these resources to help ground you and embrace the wild places!
Questions to Consider
What is your favorite quote from this section? Any chance you could memorize it (or a portion of it) this week?
“Spiritual practices teach those who engage in them… about being human, about being human with other people, about being human creation, about being human before God.” (pg.59) What practices have you, and do you engage in to help teach you how to be human? How do you feel about the way the author talks about spiritual practice in the book so far? Is it new to you? How does it make you feel?
“Touching the truth with our minds alone is not enough. We are made to touch it with our bodies.” (pg.62) Why do you think this is true? Why do you think it’s so difficult for us to trust our body’s wisdom and access it? Does your faith community spend time “touching truth” beyond the vehicle of the mind? How?
What is your favorite quote from this section?
“I have found things while I was lost that I might never have discovered had I stayed on the path…God does some of God’s best work with people who are truly, seriously lost.” (pg. 73) When in your life have you been lost because life has ended up differently then you had hoped or planned? What specific lessons did you learn about yourself, others, God, life during this time?
Brown Taylor brings up the story of Abraham and Sarah, Moses and the Hebrew slaves and says, “God strengthened that wilderness gene in them, the one that made them strong and resourceful even as it reminded how perishable they were. By the time they arrived…they knew how to say thank you and mean it.” (pg. 74,75). What encouragement do these stories bring you as it relates to the lost places in your own life? What questions about God and “lost-ness” in life linger for you? What do you need to hold these questions with courage and strength?
We are all fellow lost-pilgrims and when we are in need of help, and out of control, all of us have preferred coping strategies or programs for happiness that short-circuits some of the valuable lessons and true flourishing we are being invited to experience. What “safety net or expensive armor” (pg.76) do you use when you feel most vulnerable and lost? When have you used this today, this week? Is there anything you can do to sit a little longer with this vulnerable “lost-ness”?
The author mentions looking for opportunities for getting intentionally lost in order to gradually build the muscles of radical trust. (pg. 80). What can you do this week to build a bit more trust-muscle? Take a moment to jot a few ideas down. Pick one or two, and mention them to a friend. Ask them to support you and check in to see how you’re doing.
I hope this practice doesn’t come as a surprise to you. We are going to be praying with our feet! Here are a couple of options. Perhaps over the next two weeks, you can try a few of them. And, while you do, you may want to reflect on the “wilderness” and “lost places” of your own life. Consider taking some of this time to “walk in solidarity” for those who are suffering, lost, and live in the wilderness around the world.
Go for a walk and pay attention (pg.54,55) - Find a new place to walk, or walk a familiar place but perhaps at a different time of day. As you walk, pay attention to what you see, what you smell, what you feel. Use all of your senses and take notice of all that is around you in the present moment. “As long as you are on the earth and you know it, you are where you are supposed to be. You have everything you need to ground yourself in God.”(pg.68)
Walk the Labyrinth (pg. 56, 57) - If you are not familiar with the Labyrinth, you may be surprised to know there is one most likely in your city. Check out LabyrinthNetwork.ca or LabyrinthLocator.com to find one near you. There is plenty of information online, and I’m attaching a one-pager I use in my ContemPLAYte Sessions explaining a bit more about what it is, and some tips for walking it.
Mindful Walking Meditation (pg. 60) - The Buddhists have a lot to teach us and mindful walking has grown in popularity thanks to the modern Mindfulness movement and John Kabat Zinn. Why not try this guided meditation. After, notice how different this way of walking is from your regular means of walking.
Walk Barefoot (pgs. 66-68) - this is self explanatory, but heed’s the author’s advice… “It will help if you do not expect God to speak to you. Just give your full attention to where you are, for once. Walk as if your life depended on it…” (pg.67)
Walk to get lost (pg. 76) - Can you walk and learn the “holy art of being lost.”?
SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE
Sometime in the next couple of weeks, go ahead a take a picture of you practicing; a barefoot shot, a picture of the labyrinth you’ve walked, or the path that you chose to stroll - whatever you’d like. We’ll be gathering on SoulPlay’s Instagram and Facebook. Of course, there is no pressure or need to share, but I’d love to see how this practice has been made particular in your life.
In 2014 I went on pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago in Spain. I had no idea how important this experience would be in my life, and these two chapters on walking and getting lost remind me of some of the lessons transacted on that pilgrim path.
Another of my favorite poets is David Whyte. His 2014 compilation of poems called “Pilgrim” features one poem called Santiago. It is lovely and dense and strikes such a complimentary chord to these chapters.
Below is a video someone created using the poet’s own voice as he recites it in his unique “repetitive” style. I’d encourage you to download the poem and follow the words along with the video. And, if you’re not familiar with David Whyte prior to this book club - you’re welcome!! His anthology of work is well worth investigating.
Recording of Zoom call with Bethel Lee
We enjoyed a great online call last week. If you couldn’t make it, you’ll find the recording here.
Learn more about Paul’s work and in particular his 6 episode series titled ‘Life of a Day’ - exploring the intersection of contemplation and daily life in the world. The most recent episode is about how to craft your own contemplative rhythm, but the entire series is a gem.
This is a “read-at-your-own-pace” book club! Here are the dates where you will receive the next set of resources in your inbox to accompany the chapters. Read the book as you’re able and enjoy the resources as you do!
Wednesday, May 1: Book Club Begins! Resource #1 (LINK TO RESOURCES) *Password: altar
Introduction & Chapter 1: The Practice of Waking Up to God - Vision
Wednesday, May 8: Resource #2 (LINK TO RESOURCES) *Password: altar
Chapters 2: The Practice of Paying Attention - Reverence
Chapter 3: The Practice of Wearing Skin – Incarnation
Wednesday, May 22: Resource #3
Chapter 4: The Practice of Walking on the Earth - Groundedness
Chapter 5: The Practice of Getting Lost – Wilderness
Wednesday, June 5: Resource #4
Chapter 6: The Practice of Encountering Others – Community
Chapter 7: The Practice of Living with Purpose - Vocation
*Wednesday, June 5, 8pm - Zoom Guest Call with Paul Swanson (separate email coming with connection details!)
Wednesday, June 19: Resource #5
Chapter 8: The Practice of Saying No – Sabbath
Chapter 9: The Practice of Carrying Water – Physical Labor
Wednesday, June 26: Resource #6
Chapter 10: The Practice of Feeling Pain - Breakthrough
Chapter 11: The Practice of Being Present to God - Prayer
Chapter 12: The Practice of Pronouncing Blessings - Benediction
Book Club Member Details
Zoom Calls - Our next Zoom Guest Call will be with Paul Swanson on Tuesday, June 4, 8pm EST.
You will receive a specific with information about this conference call - what you can expect from the call, how you can participate, and what you’ll need to do to connect on the Zoom platform. If you cannot make this call, you will receive a link to the video recording in the next resource email.
Your Next Resource Email - You will receive your next email on Wednesday, June 5 full of helpful resources to amplify your reading experience. It will also include the video link to the recording of our conference call.
Can people still join? You betcha! People can sign up for the book club anytime through the duration of the club (end of June). They will receive all the information they’ve missed, including the recordings to the Zoom Guest calls. Just send them the link so they can sign up.