Our liturgical theme this month is “The Path of Finding Our Center.” What does that even mean?
What comes immediately to mind is the way moments of appreciating my natural surroundings can often quiet the prioritizing, strategizing, and negotiations continuously taking place in the recesses of my mind. Last Friday evening, as I was packing my car for the long ride from White Stone to Jacksonville, I stopped to take a call from Tina as we were also working on finalizing the Friday E-Blast. I told her “I’m looking at the most amazing sunset. The sky is full of lavender, three shades of blue, and pink. The whole sky is like that.”
The awe and wonder I felt in that moment quieted, among other things, the worry that I would leave something important behind. In that moment of appreciation, I found peace and felt centered. All was right with the universe.
Our Soul Matters materials this month points out that finding one’s center isn’t always about the quiet appreciation of nature. Sometimes it’s about getting in touch with the values that are central to the way we live our lives. Sometimes it’s about reaching deep inside for the courage to speak truth to power or to make our bodies count in a demonstration against injustice. One of my favorite essayists, E.B. White, said “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” I can relate.
The material that resonated with me the most this month, however, was an insight attributed to Christopher L. Heuertz, an activist, author, and public speaker who has written extensively on the use of the Enneagram. He observed that “We all find ourselves bouncing around three very human lies that we believe about our identity: I am what I have; I am what I do; and I am what other people say or think about me.”
These lies center us on our possessions, our occupations, and our reputations. What if, instead, we are the values by which we live – not just the ones we avow, but the ones we actually embody. Spiritual Exercise Option A on page two of the Soul Matters small group packet invites you to choose your five core values from a list of values that they created. The list can be accessed here. The exercise then invites you to consider:
- What were your parent(s) five core values? In what way are your core values and theirs most similar or most different?
- Which of the five core values you chose would you like to live into more fully?
- What one or two of your current behaviors is most consonant with your core values?
- What one or two of your behaviors routinely miss the mark? How does it feel to admit this?
You can do this alone or with someone else. If you are with a close friend or family member, you might ask them to write down what they think your five core values are and see how close the two lists are to each other. Then, discuss the differences. You can also take an online values assessment and see if it reveals anything new to you: https://www.valuescentre.com/tools-assessments/pva/.
May you enjoy this month’s Soul Matters materials and may they help you find your center!
Rev. Lee Anne
P.S. You may find the Soul Matters small group materials here.