“Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?” — Charles Bukowski
Our Soul Matters theme for January is Integrity, along with the Sacred Word “Soul.” How do the two concepts connect and intertwine?
In January we tend to think that “better” is somehow “more”: more health, more education, more money, more time on the pursuits we love. But perhaps Integrity calls us to let go of the pursuit of more and just get quiet and listen to who we are already are, to that voice that lives deep within, calling us to awaken.
Think of the hunt for integrity more like getting away from all the noise of the traffic so the song of the birds can be heard. Stop and listen.
Spiritual Exercise (from Soul Matters Small Group Ministry Resources)
Integrity and value-clarity go hand in hand. But do we really take the time to name and bring our core values into awareness? And do our self-proclaimed values match how others see us? This exercise invites you to wrestle with both of these questions. To keep it simple, we’ve created a list of values.
Here’s how to engage it:
1. Pick your five core values from the list.
2. Give a blank copy of the list to someone close to you and ask them to pick the five they think are your core values, without letting them know which you picked earlier.
3. Compare lists and discuss the differences, as well as why each of you picked what you did.
4. Share your insights with friends and family.
To live life in awe of everything around you – what a gift! Most of us cannot manage to live our whole lives this way, but we can manage to add more awe to our daily lives. And we should! New research is demonstrating that a daily dose of awe can be healing.
In her poem “Gratitude,” Mary Oliver asks herself questions of attention: What did you notice?
What did you hear?
When did you admire?
What astonished you?
The ancient question, ‘Who am I?’ inevitably leads to a deeper one: ‘Whose am I?’ – because there is no identity outside of relationship. You cannot be a person by yourself. To ask “Whose am I” is to extend the question far beyond the little self-absorbed self, and wonder: Who needs you? Who loves you?
Beauty holds us, strengthens us, empowers us. Beauty shows us that the universe was meant for us. Do you have a special object or image that grounds you? Maybe it’s a stone or a shell, a poem or a memory of a special place.
“Curiosity” is our worship theme for May, and, I must admit, it’s one of those “hiding in plain sight” concepts that I’d never taken the time to ponder. And yet, it’s everywhere, part of every human achievement, and it’s absolutely elemental to our faith tradition.
The more we love and lose – and survive it, ready to love again – the more our wholeness is accomplished, and the more it radiates out from us, lending strength to all around us.
In worship this month, we’ll be thinking about the journeys of our lives, both metaphorical and literal. We’ll look at stories of travel and migration and the immigration controversy in the US, plus we’ll embark together on the journey of Stewardship, expressed in how we choose to support our values.
Our Worship Theme for the month of February is Trust. What if the secret path to overcoming our own fears and trusting ourselves? How can we build trust-filled relationships? Here are some encouraging words and resources to help us take those first steps towards trust.
Our worship theme for January is Possibility. Listen for new consciousness bubbling up from within. Is there a word that keeps echoing through your life? Soul Matters suggests that you choose a word to focus on this year, one that will help you discover and welcome your new purpose.