This post started some time ago when I had been asked about my rhythm. Well finally we get to that issue.
Let me say a couple things before I share what a day for me looks like.
Rhythm should reflect health for you. Not health for me, for your friend or for the next guy. Rhythm by definition is created by contact then rests, contact then rests. The pattern of contact and rest is what creates rhythm. Please remember that.
Second, no one elses rhythm should create guilt in you. Reread the previous few lines again.
Third, when someone else’s rhythm appears attractive and inviting ask a couple questions. Why is it attractive? Is the reason a healthy and legitimate reason? If the answer to the previous question is yes then the next question is important. What are you to learn from this person that you can alter or be integrated into your rhythm?
A couple other things you should know. While my kids are now in college and high school and obviously require little if any monitoring, what I am about to share applied to me in one way or another even when we had no kids and even as the kids were born and were young.
So here goes.
Because life long learning is a premium value for me, I have always made sure I read no less than an hour a day, and usually more. Won’t miss it, can’t miss it, it is what makes me tick, stay healthy, lead well, remain fresh, and it is the primary fountainhead of creativity when coupled with the next inviolable piece. Steal time from sleeping, eating and day dreaming but make sure your input channels are flowing.
As far as content goes I have spoken and written about this quite a bit. You have to constantly work those areas you feel will help your life/ministry/leadership/parenting/vocation soar. I don’t know what that is for you but you NEED to know what they are. Plan your work in these areas and then work your plan. I have done this for almost 20 years now. And the dividends in my life are incalculable. I read between 100-170 books a year not to mention hundreds of book reviews. And by the way yes I have taken three professional speed reading courses. Worth every penny.
Spiritual solitude is key for me as well. I have already mentioned the value and importance of a regula fidei and I genuinely believe in it’s centrality. That said, there is one thing I do every day, that is centering prayer. I have been on this pattern for nearly 4 full years now. Two times a day/20 min. (sometimes only one but ALWAYS at least one) I do centering prayer of the Father Thomas Keating sort. This is the way I enact and live into Psalm 46.10. I am convinced a centering practice along with daily input channels are what accounts for whatever creative and theological reflection I have going on in my life. My writing flows from the confluence of these two patterns.
Be relationally deep with at least two or three other people who share similar passions, desire for dialogue and of course great food and drink. At least weekly I connect with 2-3 of my closest friends and confidants for a check in. Sometimes it is simply shooting the breeze over a bottle of some fine libation at other times it is theological conversation or ministry model deconstruction for understanding our current predicament in the church a bit better. But whatever the venue and reason, a couple times of week seems to be a minimum requirement for me.
Work out and physical activity is key. This is nearly daily. I am always at 5x/wk. On the road of course (which is about half the time) this is always a challenge. But it is a non negotiable. It is the thing that keeps my head clear, my sleep patterns regular, my eating healthy (I have always eaten more healthy when my work out has been consistent) and my body young. Over the years my workout has morphed. I used to be an avid runner. But my joints just don’t like pavement pounding like they used to. Seven years ago I started down the yoga trail. Ashtanga Yoga is the power yoga, get a hard sweaty workout type of yoga. Some of you hear the word yoga and all sorts of red flags go up. Get a grip and do some reading. Yoga practice does not require you to be Buddhist so relax. My nearly daily practice has improved so much. Yoga’s interface with a centering practice is actually a very interesting interplay. Maybe sometime I will write a post on that.
More to come. But feel free to make comments.