Sacred Time and Slowing Down ~ A Love Note from Your Online Abbess

Dearest monks and artists,

I am so excited that my book Sacred Time: Embracing an Intentional Way of Life is published! This book is the fruit of about ten years reflection on our relationship to time and how we can shift our perspectives by embracing more intentional and cyclical rhythms. The book invites you to consider the moment of breath, the Hours of the day, Sabbath rhythms of the week, lunar cycles, seasons of the year, seasons of a lifetime, ancestral time, and cosmic time. From the breath to the cosmos we find this pattern of inhale and exhale, of fullness and release.

This excerpt is from the conclusion of my book:

How many of us wish there were more hours in the day to get things done? As if thirty-hour days or being able to get by on less sleep would somehow solve our problems with feeling so rushed and busy all the time. We think that by hurrying we will somehow catch up, but that is the great illusion.

We are all suffering from time poverty in a culture that worships productivity and accomplishments. We become hostage to our calendars. In his book Time Wars, Jeremy Rifkin says, “We have surrounded ourselves with time-saving technological gadgetry, only to be overwhelmed by plans that cannot be carried out, appointments that cannot be honored, schedules that cannot be fulfilled, and deadlines that cannot be met.” What is the purpose of managing our days more efficiently if we don't understand the meaning of our days?

There is of course the social and cultural reality that many people are forced to work relentlessly in low-paying jobs, sometimes multiple jobs to make ends meet. They may not have the ability to create a more spacious way of living. We need to ask questions about social justice and demand reforms that will enable people to have a higher quality of life. Those of us who do have this accessible to us, we have a responsibility to witness to another way of being. Part of transforming the culture is embodying a different path so others might see what is possible.

In 2010 at Christmas, I had an experience of confronting my own mortality in a very intimate way. I ended up with a pulmonary embolism after a long-haul flight. It was profound for me to walk away alive but knowing it could so very easily have been otherwise. I was humbled and profoundly grateful. As with many others who have had near-death experiences, the days, weeks, and years since have cultivated in me an even deeper cherishing of my moments. That experience was a significant part of what compelled me to finally consider moving to Europe, something I had longed to do for most of my adult life.

And yet the irony is that while I am keenly aware of the preciousness of my days and even my hours, overall I don't generally feel more rushed in my life or more compelled to get things done faster. Instead, I am compelled to inhabit my days more fully so that each one feels more like a wide expanse and an open field of possibility rather than a narrow tunnel nearing its end.

This is the heart of our relationship to time – first, experiencing its cyclical rhythms so that we don’t experience ourselves as rushing toward deadlines and the end of things, but always moving toward new beginnings as well. Second, a more expansive and present way of being in the world, where we might touch and taste eternity more often. Eternity is not something that happens after we die, eternity exists here in all the glorious spaces where we lose track of time because our hearts are so full of wonder and delight. God is a God of circles and rhythms, inviting us always to fall fully into this moment.

I am always grateful for your support of my writing and work. If you are able to leave a review of the book on Amazon or GoodReads (or both) it goes such a long way to support spiritual publishing.

We will be going on a journey through the book in community starting in April.

With great and growing love,

Christine

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