On spiritual practice, picking up and putting down

IMG_20150903_202514208I splurged today and bought a perfectly sized, beautifully woven, fair trade basket. I handled every one in the store looking for the perfect combination of design and feel. When I picked this one up, it had a soft solidness to it, reminding me of the comforting weighted blankets that nurses placed on me after a surgery.

As I lingered in the store, trying to justify my purchase, I remembered that I might use this basket to hold devotional materials. The idea came from as Kathryn Haueisen’s piece on moving, “Establishing Stability Amid Change. Though my physical self remains rooted to my home, my family and my work, my mind and Spirit are longing for stability after a year of changes large and small.

Lately, as I encounter the human story, both global and very local, I’ve been accumulating the weight of anger, sadness, impatience, fear and even horror. Like gathered stones, each bit of injustice and tragedy quickly grows into a heavy load. I’ve been looking for places to release the weight on my heart.

The peaceful, little pond by my home and the blank page are where I have been putting down some of the feelings. Spiritual practices of prayer, quiet, creative expression and breathing are helping. So, I have made my new basket a portable little sanctuary to carry along with me to the pond, carpool, or anywhere. The basket is not just for when things get overwhelming, but an everyday, visible reminder to practice thanking God for the gifts of compassion, strength to face the messiness of life, and the promise to pick up the burdens that are not mine to bear.

In my Blessing Basket, I have placed those devotional books which have brought me peace recently, the prayer beads fashioned from my grandmother’s necklaces, a blank book to write my thoughts, my favorite water color pencils, my prayer journal, and my grandmother’s Bible.

I wonder, what practices help you release the messiness of life and point you to God’s presence? What do you carry in your basket?

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