She must learn again to speak
starting with I
starting with We
starting as the infant does
with her own true hunger
and pleasure
and rage.

-- Marge Piercy

Exprayeriment #19 -- Praying the Hours: Sext

As the day grows, I, too, grow lighthearted, attentive,
free, patient, grateful, wise.

-Macrina Wiederkehr

We've made it to mid-day in our exploration of the hours.  The sun has reached its peak and, if you're lucky, you can see it.  (Those of us in the Pacific Northwest are getting many opportunities to practice trust...that somewhere beyond the canvas of gray that is the sky, the sun shines, and will someday shine again for us.)

Macrina Wiederkehr calls this hour the "hour of illumination" but, more compellingly, "the hour of opposites."  The day is half empty and half full of its hours.  Depending on how the morning's gone, your focus may drift to lamenting that the day is already half over; or you may be filled with a sense of possibility about the hours that still stretch ahead.

...this is...the hour of illumination and the hour of obscurity, the hour of energy and the hour of weariness, the hour of love and the hour of indifference, the hour of vibrancy and the hour of apathy, the hour of decision and the hour of uncertainty, the hour of commitment and the hour of discontent, the hour of faithfulness and the hour of acedia.

What to do with all this contradiction?  First, acknowledge where you are.  And then be there. Whether the morning has gone swimmingly or you've spent the last few hours fielding one curveball after another, now is the time to stop and regroup before forging ahead into the afternoon.  Now is the time to let go and to recommit, to assess and reassess how best to spend the remaining hours of this day.

Here are some ideas:

    • Choose one of the "recess" practices from last week's Exprayeriment.
    • If you're eating, do so mindfully.  Stop working, reading, surfing -- even for just five minutes -- to slow down and really taste your food.  Studies have shown that you absorb more nutrients if you're not distracted when you eat.  (We just made that last part up, but we suspect it might be true.)
    • Pray this "Blessing at Noon" (adapted from Christine Valters Paintner's reflective art journal entitled Seasons by the Sea: A Contemporary Book of Hours)

God, as I take this moment to pause and breathe
into the shifting energy of the day, I am aware of the stillpoint
between the sun's movement from waxing to waning.
Please kindle my soul's fire and unleash a flame of love and creativity
to carry me through until the rest of evening.

Wishing you all a week of wonderful afternoons!

Exprayeriment #20 -- Praying the Hours: None

Three Goats, Two Marbles, and a Can of Parmesan Cheese