When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.
When your vision has gone,
no part of the world can find you.
— from “Sweet Darkness,” a poem by David Whyte
Are your eyes tired? Sometimes I can feel that way, especially when the news is too much, too negative, too sad. I can lose touch with my vision, both of a better world and of a better me who could help make that world unfold. It’s especially easy to lose touch with ourselves and our goals when we haven’t been to church in a while. (Summer break, anyone?)
That’s why it’s important to keep our vision fresh, to revisit it and rework it often, especially when the world changes, when our circumstances change, when we change. And let’s face it — isn’t that all the time?
Last year, during its Diversity Year, MUUC explored shared themes across worship, RE, and covenant groups — and most of you reported that sharing these themes helped you to deepen your engagement and participate more fully. This year, as the church decides how to move forward with the social action insights gleaned in our Diversity Year, the MUUC staff — in partnership with the RE committee, the Worship committee, and other leaders — will continue this collaborative approach. We’ll present and support worship, RE programs, and covenant groups sessions that center on a spiritual theme.
Thankfully, unlike last year, we won’t need to create all our own materials. Instead we’ve decided to explore the idea of participating in Soul Matters Sharing Circle, a resource-sharing UU collaborative involving hundreds of UU churches. Check out the Soul Matters Sharing Circle website to see how it works.
For September, along with many other UU churches, we’ll be exploring the theme of Vision, as in: What does it mean to be a People of Vision? I’ll be preaching about revisiting our vision as a community, as individuals, and as a nation.
Where to start on this journey? Well, Soul Matters provides a beautiful spiritual exercise for the month — I challenge you to try it along with me. The suggestion is that we start with ourselves, formulating a vision statement (in words, in art, or on a T shirt) that comes from our very depths, a statement based in core values to guide our life choices. Sound tricky?
Happily, Soul Matters provides some excellent — and fun — instructions to get you started. I include them below. Please let me know, with an email or a phone call, how this works for you. I look forward to hearing about your results!
Together on the journey,
Soul Matters Spiritual Exercise for September
We’ve all heard of companies writing vision statements, but we rarely write one for ourselves. Use this month to fix that. Simple, clear and memorable statements of vision inspire us, help clarify our choices and motivate us to get out of bed each morning. Without them, we wander. With them, we choose and shape our own path. It’s one of the best gifts we can give to ourselves.
And here’s the great thing: it’s not really that hard to give ourselves this gift. You don’t have to make it complicated. In fact, the best personal vision statements are short and simple, even one-sentence. You can also make it less intimidating by narrowing the timeline. For instance, instead of trying to write a vision of what you will make of your entire life, just focus in on what you want to accomplish this year. For instance, you could just make the exercise a matter of answering one or both of the following questions:
- “How do I want to be different when this church year comes to an end?” and/or
- “What do I want to have done when this church year ends?”
Here’s some more support. Check out this video that boils it all down to two questions.
If you want to dive in more deeply, here’s a great road map to a more detailed personal vision statement.
As you are writing your statement, run it by those close to you. Ask for their reactions. Something insightful will surely arise from those conversations.