Harvesting the Blessings
To notice the blessings of the day
is to water the garden of the soul.
Welcome to the Reflection for July!
In the Spirit Garden Moment for this month, I mentioned that the Celtic tradition honours the cyclical nature of time unfolding. This tradition encourages recognizing these cycles of life and the rhythms that are held within each day, month and year.
This past month, I have been paying more attention to the morning sun rising in the East and the evening sun sinking in the West. I have always been one to pay attention to the sun rising every morning, but lately, I have been trying to pay more attention to turning toward the West and witnessing the setting of the sun. As I do this, I have been noticing how my body feels as the sun sets and the sky is turned to shades of purple, pink, orange and blue. A subtle relaxation permeates my being.
I believe that something deep within us recognizes that as the sun settles down for the day, it is inviting us to do the same. This is a special time of the day and in times past, families would gather around a fire as the light left the sky. They would share stories and have time to dwell upon the events of the day. There was a natural acknowledgement that as the sun set, it was time to lay down the work for the day and begin to move toward relaxation and rest.
In a number of traditions, the direction of the West, the place of the setting sun, is a part of the cycle of life that invites us to bring in the harvest and give thanks for the abundance of the day. In this Spirit Garden Reflection, you will discover a practice for Beholding the Day that is intended to help you harvest the blessings of your day. This is an opportunity to briefly review the day, noticing the moments when your gaze lingered upon something that nourished your soul. When we revisit the moments when we were truly connecting with the life around us, we harvest those blessings as though sipping from a refreshing drink of water. In this way, doing this practice daily becomes a means of watering the garden of your soul.
I hope you enjoy this short reflection and guided meditation.
Here’s to harvesting the blessings of your day,
The world is full of magic things,
patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.
-William Butler Yeats
Harvesting the Blessings
The audio file below offers a reflection on harvesting the blessings of the day. The reflection is followed by a handout with some questions that are intended to help you journal your own thoughts and experiences with the practice of beholding and gathering in these blessings. Please print these out before you listen to the audio file.
You are invited to create a comfortable space for yourself and perhaps light a candle as you take about 20 minutes to listen to the recording and then answer the questions. May this be a time of watering the garden of the soul.
Please click on the button below to download the reflection questions that go along with this reflection.
When evening arrives…
people have a universal desire
to find a serene place where they can
pull the parts of the day together
in some tranquil way…
-Br. David Steindl-Rast
Spirit Garden Moments
Spirit Garden Moments offer a short pause in your day and an opportunity for reflection. The Spirit Garden Moment this month offers you a prayer practice for greeting the day.
Greeting the Day
While camping over these summer months, I have been inspired by reading several books on Celtic spirituality, which is rich with the sense of the Sacred found in all of creation.
As I spend more time outdoors, my senses are becoming more attuned to the movement of the sun across the sky from sunrise to sundown. It is so beautiful to witness the phases of the day, and I have been reminded that special attention was always paid to the sacred rhythms and cycles of the day as well as the seasons in the Celtic tradition.
During the month of July, I have found myself greeting the day with a prayer that I would like to share with you. It is a prayer to the four directions that I have named A Compass Prayer. I offer it to you in the hopes that it might help you be mindful of the invitations each day offers as the sun moves across the sky.
As the author, Christine Valters Paintner shares in her book, Sacred Time, “In the Celtic tradition, time is depicted as a wheel, as in many other indigenous traditions, always turning and moving through cycles and seasons.” Sometimes, as we get focused on the tasks of the day, we forget the turning of time that connects us to the natural world and seeks to harmonize us to natures cycles of light and dark that support our rising, working, reflecting and resting.
May this prayer accompany you through this season of summer, helping you remember the sacred time embedded in the turning of your days. I invite you to adapt the words to this prayer as you need to more accurately reflect what resides in your own heart as you face each direction to greet the day and welcome the gifts it brings.
With spiraling blessings,
May you experience each day
as a sacred gift
woven around the heart of wonder.
The Spirit Garden Reflections for July have focused on noticing the rhythms of the day. In these summer months, may we each become more attuned to the rhythms and cycles of nature. May we take notice of the sun’s movement across the sky and allow it to invite us into the phases of waking, blossoming, reflecting and resting. May we each experience moments within the unfolding of our day that cause us to pause and behold the wonder and the beauty of the life before us.
Connect & Share
You are invited to share any of the words or lessons that the element of water has evoked for you, or perhaps what you look forward to each spring. May we help each other welcome the energy of this new season!