Lately on this blog we’ve talked a lot about the big picture. The future of the church. The role of religious institutions. This is no coincidence. It reflects a lot of what Chris and I are thinking these days as we react to some pretty big decisions facing the Mennonite denomination right now. The big picture matters. It’s important to dream and to wonder and to pray about what could be. That’s how change happens. That’s how wise decisions are made. In the midst of all the big picture dreaming, however, it’s easy to forget about the here and now.
Right now, in this moment, I am person with a spirituality that needs to be nurtured.
Easy to say. But what does that even mean? What does it mean to have a spirituality? How can I nurture it? As I have engaged with the work of PiE over the last few years, many people have expressed a need for a space where they can explore their spirituality and learn some spiritual practices. That’s why PiE has started a brand new gathering called….Exploring Your Spirituality. Every month we will bring in a different spiritual director (from Mennonite Spiritual Directors of Eastern Canada) to guide us through a spiritual practice.
A week ago we held our very first gathering, with 20 people coming out to walk a labyrinth together, and in so doing to remember that we are spiritual beings. I think it’s fair to say that few of us knew what to expect when we saw the large canvas labyrinth with rich purple markings spreading out before us. Speaking personally, it was a deeply meaningful experience. For those precious minutes, nothing was expected of me (and I expected nothing of myself) other than to place one foot in front of the other.
Each of us present had a very different experience and belief system, but for me, the room felt full of the divine presence as we walked in silence together.
We wound our way step by step, turn by turn, to the centre of the labyrinth, paused for one moment or many to process what we were experiencing and for some of us to pray, and then one by one we wound our way back out to the place where we had started.
Many thanks to Patricia Wagler for guiding us through the experience of walking the labyrinth with equal parts humour and deep compassion, and to the good folks at Queen Street Yoga for the use of their gorgeous studio space.
If exploring your spirituality is on your heart and mind these days, let me know. I would be delighted to talk with you about that, and/or to invite you to our next gathering. My Anabaptist Mennonite faith informs my spirituality, but even if Menno faith doesn’t resonate with you, I would still love to hear about your experience (or maybe your lack of experience) with spirituality. Don’t worry, I won’t try to make a Mennonite out of you!
Whoever you are, whatever you believe, and whatever today holds for you, I dare you to spend five minutes today doing absolutely nothing.
That’s right, do nothing. Sit down. Put away your smartphone. Just be. Notice how you feel. Notice the thoughts that pass through your mind. Let them pass. As we begin to explore what it means to be spiritual or to engage in spiritual practices, doing nothing is a great way to start making space for something extraordinary. Do nothing, and you may be surprised what happens.