There is a dance that occurs in a thriving life, a spiritually healthy life, in which we have embodied experiences, interpret them through our narrative, and reflect on the meaning. Our reflection is what reinforces or disrupts the internal narrative we have about ourselves and our perception of the world.
We have experiences and intuitions, but we also engage in practices. Our practices can be intentional or unintentional, habituated or sporadic, but they could all be just a little more illuminated by reflection. Reflection allows us to “zoom out” and gather the bigger picture—what are we actually doing? When we can slow down enough to reflect on what is bringing us joy, for example, it is invigorating and enlightening and points us towards more joy.
There is often an element of what we experience that goes beyond what we can actually say, what we can describe, what we can explain. Reflection gives us access to living into those moments outside the confines of language. The beauty of who we are is that God has created us to be able to have more than words to contain experience.
A Five-Minute Reflection Practice
Tips for beginning this practice:
- Set a five-minute calendar “reflection” event on your phone for the 1st of every month (or another regular date that works for you). Assign it to a time that is usually accessible for you.
- Download a free meditation app or add a playlist for some calming background music.
- Decide on where you will do this ahead of time.
- Turn on your calming music.
- Set a timer for five minutes or another desired time frame.
- Calm your body by closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths.
- Imagine yourself waking up on a typical day. What is the first thing you normally do? Does your morning routine serve you well?
- Picture moving through the rest of this typical day.
- Identify some routines. Use segments: morning, midday, afternoon, evening, bedtime.
- What does your intuition, that feeling in your gut, tell you about these routines? Are they habits that create joy or habits that produce stress?
- Next, think of a moment or event in your month that was significant to you. This could be positive or negative.
- As you reflect, think about why it was significant. Did it reinforce a narrative you hold about yourself or the world? Did it challenge a narrative?
- Is it necessary to reframe this event? What meaning do you attach to it?
- Enjoy the reflection you are experiencing and allow it to illuminate your story.
Meaning-Making (Part 1): The Power of a Meaning-Making Mindset
The practice of meaning-making involves exploring our belief systems, especially our beliefs around spirituality, which offer a distinct and powerful role in making meaning.
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