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Summer of 7: Stress Week, Day 1 of 7 (I Stink at This Already)

This is it. My very first official “Summer of 7” post. It’s on, y’all.

This week I’m supposed to be cutting out excess stress in my life, and you know what? I’m stressed about how unprepared I am to CUT OUT STRESS. Gah. Am I unteachable? I’ll get to why I’m unprepared in a moment. First, an explanation on “Stress Week.”

I’ll be following the example set by Macrina Wiederkehr in her book “The Seven Sacred Pauses: Living Mindfully Through the Hours of the Day.” Here’s a brief description I yanked from Amazon (where I purchased the book):

Macrina Wiederkehr’s bestselling book invites readers to learn how to pray the hours through the practice of consciously pausing at the seven sacred moments of each day, making their daily passage through time a more sacred pilgrimage.

Using scripture, poetry, reflections, personal stories, and quotes from a rich array of spiritual teachers for many religions, Wiederkehr helps readers become more attuned to living in the present moment and develop a kindred spirit with the rich tradition of the sacred hours. Seven Sacred Pauses is a wonderful gift to those who seek to find balance in their busy days and to bring the practice of the Divine Hours home to their own hearts.

Sounds good, right? Except that I spent all day today wine tasting with my mama-friends, and only just bought the book on my Kindle, because all the stores that sell real physical books were closed, and I didn’t plan ahead. I have basically zero idea what I’m getting into here, because I haven’t even begun reading the book yet. SO. At the very least I need to read enough of the book tonight to know when I’m supposed to stop and pray tomorrow. (How is this supposed to help me rid myself of excess stress again?)

Never one to idly whine, here’s why I think this whole “Seven Sacred Pauses” thing is going to be a valuable practice:

  • I love rituals and traditions, and I think that unless I’m more purposeful about my prayer life, I’m totally missing opportunities to celebrate and reflect throughout my day, simply because I’m rushing right through them.
  • love that the book uses poetry, reflections, and quotes from all over the place, in addition to scripture. Being a word-person, creative and beautiful use of language really hits the spot for me.
  • While I say countless small prayers throughout the day (while brushing my teeth/washing my hands/warming up the dishwater I’m always thanking God for the blessing of clean running water, and remembering those who are not as privileged as us to have clean running water), I lack a focus or direction sometimes. Because “Seven Sacred Pauses” is guided, I’ll at least have a focus for seven prayer-times throughout my day.

I don’t intend on writing a daily update on how “Stress Week” is going, but who knows what will happen. I’m already feeling overwhelmed, and it’s only day 1. I guess de-stressing and refocusing that energy on God is harder for me than I thought. Is one week really going to be enough to change me in this regard? I’m still skeptical.

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  1. I’m So Joyful, I’m Disgusting Myself (Or, How to Be Joyful When Nothing is Perfect) « melissajenna.com

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