Chapter 3 of Receiving the Day seems, most essentially, about making choices. Dorothy Bass encourages the reader to exercise choice about how we use our bodies throughout the day. I liked the connection she drew between respecting our bodies and “honoring the integrity of each twenty-four-hour period” (32). If we make choices throughout the day that correspond to our bodies’ needs for nourishment, rest, and exercise, then we live with hearts and minds open to possibility.
OK, time for some straight talk. As nice as all this sounds, part of me kept reacting to Bass’ reflections with this not-so-generous sentiment: “Well, duh.” Of course it would be nice to pattern our days in the various ways she suggests. Of course we ought to turn of the television. Of course we ought to adhere to small, meaningful rituals that help anchor us in this busy world. Of course… I could go on and on. Bass herself admits throughout the chapter that the patterning of her day is nothing extraordinary. I appreciated her humility in admitting that she, too, forgets or rushes or neglects to “receive the day.”
I really found myself wondering why we find daily practices of prayer, rest, and reflection to be so difficult. Is it just because we’re so busy or stressed out? Or is there something else here? Perhaps it goes back to that question of respect for oneself, body and mind. I suspect that many of us struggle to take our own needs seriously–or to even recognize and name them out loud. We don’t want to appear, well, needy. In my sermon on July 4, I reflected on the courage it takes to ask for help. Maybe it takes a similar courage to take time for oneself, in a culture that so values work and socialization.
So my question for you is: what do you need, right now? Do you need a patterning of life similar to what Dorothy Bass describes in chapter 3? Or do you need something else entirely? And why?