Summer is a time for kicking back, taking in the natural
beauty around you, and getting in all the fun outdoor adventures that fall and
winter seem to make difficult.
Perhaps some of you reading this live in the Seattle area…
if so, what a summer we have had so far! Whether near or far, if you are
trekking in the woods, walking around a park, or biking around town this season,
we at Magis invite you to slow down, pause, and breathe in summer.
Ignatian Spirituality is known for helping busy people to
slow down. It is also known for using the imagination as a way to experience
God or the Divine in the midst of our everyday lives. Two particular
imaginative forms of reflection that are fun to try out are Lectio Divina and Ignatian Contemplation.
So many of us spend time in fast paced, media overloaded productivity mode, so
taking even five or ten minutes to engage a process which invites you to pivot
from that pace can be helpful to your emotional, physical, and spiritual
health. Each of these methods is also intended to help you get out of your head
space and into that deeper heart place, where you can encounter the stirring of
All you need to start is a scripture passage from your
religious or spiritual tradition which sparks your interest, such as from the
Christian Scriptures, Qur’an, or Jewish Bible. Or, if you prefer, try looking
for a poem or selection of prose that speaks to you. The key is to enter into the
narrative as if it were a movie: picture the place, experience it with your
senses, notice where you are being led, consider a character or inanimate
object you might be, and reflect upon the experience. You may even want to
journal from an insight you receive.
Let’s give it a try! Here, we will take a twist on Ignatian
Contemplation and invite you to read a poem called "This Summer Day” by poet Mary Oliver.
Ready? Here we go…
Find a space to quiet yourself… maybe this is in
your living room, at a park or other space where you feel relaxed.
Notice how your body feels… be gentle with
yourself and release any tension you may feel by breathing in deeply a few
Read the poem once. Allow yourself to read it
slowly and savor the narrative. Sit with what you read for a few moments.
Read the poem again. This time, pay attention to
your feelings and senses: What did you see? Smell? Hear? Feel? Is there a
character or object in the scene you identify with? If so, why do you relate to
him/her/it? Jot down your thoughts, if you like.
Are there any memories that come to mind? What
is the connection?
As you draw a close to your reflection, give
thanks for the gift of this time.
This reflection exercise takes practice, so don’t be too
hard on yourself if it doesn’t work the first time! The important thing is to
keep trying and showing up to the practice.
Have a question or
suggestion for Magis to cover on Ignatian spirituality and leadership? If
so, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know!
We want to hear from you.
P.S. – Be sure to
mark your calendar now for a Jesuit Alumni Day of Reflection, being held
Saturday, October 11, 2014 at Seattle U!
All comments are moderated for appropriateness and may take a few minutes to appear.
great reflection, her poetry is always a great thing to contemplate.
Thinking about Seattle makes me think about my time there when i was studying. It all took me right back there.
thank you. enjoyed the invitation to go deeper.
Is the Jesuit Alumni Day of Reflection the same event that is traditionally held during Lent? If so, will there be another Alumni Day of Reflection in Lent 2015 or is this event the replacement for that one? Please advise. Thank you.