I hustle and struggle each week to read the sermon, watch Darkwood Brew and feel qualified enough to write these somewhat relatable posts.

This week, I might have been trying to watch Darkwood Brew while at work. I have the freedom to do so, I suppose. But the irony of the episode on contemplation while I’m trying to cram it into the middle of my workday alarmed me. So, I started over. I planned to watch it in it’s entirety in my Cave on my first day off. I try to plan all of my Leslie stuff: working out, prayer, phone calls, writing – all that stuff I plan to do while my kids are at school or doing one of their 18 different activities. It works until Max came downstairs this morning with a sore throat and fever. He has to stay home from school. But I have contemplating and writing to do. I resolve to accept the guilt, get him set up and go to my Cave anyway.

Within minutes, I’m listening to Darkwood Brew Skype Guest, Phileena Heuertz, tell me that we take care of others but not so much our selves. We need to take care of ourselves so that we can take care of others. I pat myself on the back because I’d gotten Max all set up on the couch, before I ditched him and went out to the Cave. And let’s be real here, I’m not making excuses, the boy is 10 years old and his throat hurts. Mom hanging out next to him to discuss sports, his academics or even worse, his feelings, is not so much his top priority. When I told him I was going to the Cave, there was a twinge of relief in his voice.

There was a question during the interview posed to Phileena about what does centering prayer do for someone when not praying. Strangely, I knew the answer before she answered it. That’s new. In my personal perspective, the whole purpose for taking a time out and centering and contemplating is to simply prepare you for when you’re not in prayer. It widens your vision to what you’re heart is willing to see. Before you know it, that law of attraction starts making sense, but you’ll never want to admit it.

Here’s how I write:

  1. I jot an idea down the moment it comes to me. If that means I step out of the steam room for a second, or pull the car over, then so be it. For the record, I’ve written almost an entire book on my Notes app on my iphone.
  2. I sit down and write the entire idea into a chapter/blog post/article.
  3. Then I take a break. By taking a break, I mean, do laundry, go for a swim/bike/run, or scrub a bathroom. You’d be amazed at the insight that comes to me in the midst of hitting that undercarriage of a toilet bowl with some scrubbing bubbles.
  4. That insight is usually a different angle, song lyrics, or a memory triggers something I need to write down. This is the part that is frustrating if you live with a writer. I’ll slough off the cleaning gloves, announce I cannot be stopped and must go write. I’ll leave whatever is cooking on the stove, or that toilet half scrubbed and announce that no one can use that bathroom until I can finish cleaning it and it may be an hour or so. Thankfully, we have more than one bathroom. But if we didn’t, I’d expect the same courtesy. I’ve been in the middle of a work out with my trainer before I told her I just needed a few minutes. An hour later, I return to find her with her next client. But I don’t care, because I’ve figured what I’m writing out.
  5. I sprint to my computer before I forget that scrubbing bubbles insight and I knock it out, I find how it fits. In short, I sculpt and I work it all out.
  6. I return to the task. (Unless my trainer has moved on without me.)

It gets to the point that I don’t even know if I’m taking a break from writing (prayer)or for writing (prayer).

That’s what contemplative prayer does for me. And it’s why I keep returning to it. So that in my day, it returns back to me.

Max just came out to the Cave to see if I wanted to have lunch with him so that I could take a break.

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