I am delighted to share another beautiful submission for the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Susan Heffron Hajec's reflection on living as steadfast love:
Walking in Faithfulness
"For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in faithfulness to you." Psalm 26:3
I am an ordinary person who is immensely grateful for the gift of living an extraordinary life. At the age of 72, I recognize the steadfast lovebefore my eyes that has accompanied my journey all along the way.
At my age, life’s responsibilities are simplified and I love that. But even during the frantic days and years of multi-tasking, I began a search into the quiet and contemplative practice of prayer and meditation. I am glad the roots of becoming a monk found their way early into my life and took hold because this has become a very natural way of life for me.
Our household now consists of my beloved husband of fifty years and me. The sacrament of matrimony has blessed our lives deeply. The first part of every day begins for both of us with a prayer song of raising and blessing each other and the wounded of our world. Thus, prayer is the first thing we touch our lives and our world with daily.
After breakfast, we each continue in silent prayer, with intentions that include our family, friends, and world needs. We each include quiet, contemplative reading as part of our united practice. This way of life has been in place for many years and I am uncomfortable when there is some momentary interruption to it.
After meeting Christine Valters Paintner online in Abbey of the Arts, I felt drawn to expressing my spirituality in many of the creative venues she offered. Then came the formation of the Holy Disorder of Dancing Monks. I knew instantly I belonged to this disorder.
This is the way I am a monk in the world:
I Am Living as Love. Each year, I make an Intention Mandala and live by the intentions stated on that mandala. My overall lifetime intention is to live daily as love.
In my mind, I live as love by paying attention to the thoughts I have, weeding and releasing those that are harmful to myself and others. I am an amazing expression of God and thoughts that cause me to think otherwise are not the truth of me. I can tell some thoughts, “thank you for sharing” and let them pass through. I can add the discipline of not acting upon other thoughts and praying about them until they no longer take up space in my head.
In my heart, I live as love being my primary life motivator. My love starts with my connection to God during times when I feel it strongly and times when I am in search of it. Love moves out from my heart into the places where I touch people each day. The Prayer of St. Francis is a high bar to meet but it is my reminder of living love.
In my flesh, I live as love by fully appreciating my body as my vechicle of life and the house of my soul. I do this in the choices I make on all levels, physical, emotional and spiritual. When there is discomfort in my body, it is time for reflection, discernment and guidance. Quiet graces are then given for adjustments.
In my life, I live as love primarily through prayer and service. I serve in my primary vocation as wife and mother first. I am respectful of my vocation and mutual love is its first seed. From there, I reach out to our children and grandchildren in living our heritage of faith. They are very aware of my faith-centered life and seeds of example are sown in their lives also. Beyond the family, my love, like water, flows where it will and where it is needed. I lend my Christ-centered hands and heart to the world.
In my world, I live as love by the practice of Reiki healing. I am centered in the practice of SoulCollage® and I have a labyrinth in my backyard for the practice of moving meditation and reflection. These are quiet practices of the arts and spirituality which connect me to life’s daily purpose, and life’s larger dimensions and meaning. I share this through small gatherings which spread the awareness of the gift and grace of quiet in our lives.
In our culture, we are so encouraged to be noisy, busy, and in some other place than where we actually are through constant gadget peering, that the reality of the present moment is negated.
As a monk in the world, I am quiet. I move slowly. I touch peace in my day.This is the gift I give as monk in my world.
Susan Heffron Hajec is a Truth Seeker, Peace Maker, and Love Giver who treasures sharing her spirituality in the community of Dancing Monks and is fed graciously by the contributions from her companion monks. Writing and photography are her strongest spiritual connections and gifts.