Friday Favorites for Prayer and Writing

Each Friday I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. If I think it could help you pray or write better, then I’ll include it below.

Do you have someone else’s article or post to share? Join the Contemplative Writers Facebook group, comment on today’s post on my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter (@edcyzewski) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

Nurturing Craft in an Age of Content (A Fantastic Interview with Author D.L. Mayfield)

The Magic of Early Mornings (Wake up early = Less stress)

Without Smartphones, Productivity Increased 26%

A Journey into the Social Media Lives of Teens

What Happened When a Company Adopted a 5-Hour Work Day

Book Discount: Pray, Write, Grow: Cultivating Prayer and Writing Together is $.99 on Kindle

 

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Scripture Meditation: Responding to God with Silence

O LORD, I am not proud; I have no haughty looks. I do not occupy myself with great matters, or with things that are too hard for me. But I still my soul and make it quiet, like a child upon its mother’s breast, my soul is quieted within me.
Psalm 131:1-3

 

Do you believe that God desires to nurture, protect, and guide you? Can you accept that God desires you to rest like a child resting with his/her mother?

Stillness and quiet are appropriate, even essential responses to God.

 

For Reflection

Meditation for August 30

 

Featured Book: Thoughts in Solitude

Week Five: Silence and Solitude for the Anxious

thoughts in solitude-mertonThomas Merton was well aware of the anxiousness and fragmentation of our wold. Perhaps he saw these trends with particular clarity because he had given so much time to solitude.

Solitude can be learned and developed, just as anxiety can be exposed and then replaced. These aren’t quick fixes or processes that happen over night. They take practice, with the word practice indicated a lot of imperfection and failure as we continue. However, the rewards are invaluable.

Thomas Merton writes in Thoughts in Solitude:

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“Ours is a time of anxiety because we have willed it to be so. Our anxiety is not imposed on us by force from outside. We impose it on our world and upon one another from within ourselves.”

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“The solitary life, being silent, clears away the smoke-screen of words that man has laid down between his mind and things.”

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“When we are not living up to our true vocation, thought deadens our life, or substitutes itself for life, or gives in to life so that our life drowns out our thinking and stifles the voice of conscience. When we find our vocation—thought and life are one.”

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“As soon as a man is fully disposed to be alone with God, he is alone with God no matter where he may be—in the country, the monastery, the woods or the city.”

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Read more in Thoughts in Solitude

 

For Reflection

Featured Book for August 29 (1)

 

 

Saturday Prayer

Today’s prayer is by John G. Whittier:

Drop thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of thy peace.

Source: The Divine Hours

Friday Favorites for Prayer and Writing

Each Friday I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. If I think it could help you pray or write better, then I’ll include it below.

Do you have someone else’s article or post to share? Join the Contemplative Writers Facebook group, comment on today’s post on my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter (@edcyzewski) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

Hiking Actually Changes Your Brain

Gratitude Changes Your Brain (How about a gratitude hike???)

The Rebel Virgins and Desert Mothers Who Have Been Written Out of Christianity’s Early History (Prepare to have your mind blown)

A Daily Exercise that Can Revolutionize Your Writing… and Prayer (My guest post for Jane Friedman)

Why the 8-Hour Work Week Doesn’t Work

Lessons from Weakness with Elizabeth Maxon

NEWS: Pray, Write, Grow: Cultivating Prayer and Writing Together is $.99 on Kindle

 

Keep the Contemplative Writer Sustainable

The Contemplative writer is ad-free and never shares sponsored content, but it is a lot of work to maintain. We rely on affiliate links from the books we share and the generous gifts of our readers. An automated monthly gift as low as $1 per month or a one-time gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers. Thank you!

Choose a recurring monthly donation:

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Make a one-time gift via PayPal (credit cards accepted!)


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Featured Article: Multitasking Drains Us, Kills Focus, and Leads to Anxiety

You may have applied to a job that values “multitasking,” but the latest research tells us that regularly switching between work, email, and social media can kill focus and lead to a sense of anxiety. Even worse, we can train our brain to crave interruptions.

While working on this post I even had to close my email tab because checking email has become a regular habit. Researchers suggest that we need regular breaks away from our screens in order to recharge and set aside focused time to address email and social media without constantly interrupting our days.

Read more from the article in Quartz: 

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“When we attempt to multitask, we don’t actually do more than one activity at once, but quickly switch between them. And this switching is exhausting. It uses up oxygenated glucose in the brain, running down the same fuel that’s needed to focus on a task.”

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“Gloria Mark, professor in the department of informatics at the University of California, Irvine, says that when people are interrupted, it typically takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to their work, and most people will do two intervening tasks before going back to their original project. This switching leads to a build up of stress…”

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“The solution is to give up on multitasking and set aside dedicated chunks of time for each separate activity. So only check your email first thing in the morning and again at midday, or set aside 10 minutes per afternoon for Twitter.”

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Read more here…

 

Keep the Contemplative Writer Sustainable

The Contemplative writer is ad-free and never shares sponsored content, but it is a lot of work to maintain. We rely on affiliate links from the books we share and the generous gifts of our readers. An automated monthly gift as low as $1 per month or a one-time gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers. Thank you!

Choose a recurring monthly donation:

support-patreon-orange

Make a one-time gift via PayPal (credit cards accepted!)


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Featured Book: Thoughts in Solitude

thoughts in solitude-mertonWeek Four: Contemplation Is a Gift

Contemplation is a gift from God that we could not even attempt in the first place if God hadn’t given it to us. This approach to prayer reminds us that we truly do rely completely on the grace and kindness of God.

However it’s also all too easy to turn the pursuit of contemplation into it’s own end. Merton warns us against seeking mountain top experiences or assurances of God’s love because these pursuits can overtake our greater pursuit of God’s loving presence. He writes in Thoughts in Solitude:

 

 

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“The only thing to seek in contemplative prayer is God; and we seek Him successfully when we realize that we cannot find Him unless He shows Himself to us, and yet at the same time that He would not have inspired us to seek Him unless we had already found Him.”

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“There is a stage in the spiritual life in which we find God in ourselves—this presence is a created effect of His love. It is a gift of His, to us. It remains in us. All the gifts of God are good. But if we rest in them, rather than in Him, they lose their goodness for us.”

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“If you want to have a spiritual life you must unify your life. A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. No man can serve two masters. Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire.”

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Learn more about Thoughts in Solitude…

 

For Reflection

If you want to have a spiritual life you must unify your life. A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. No man can serve two masters. Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire.

Saturday Prayer

Poet Gerard Manley Hopkins has translated the following prayer from St. Francis Xavier for us this week: 

I love thee, God, I love thee—
Not out of hope for heaven for me
Nor fearing not to love and be
In the everlasting burning.
Thou, my Jesus, after me
Didst reach thine arms out dying,
For my sake sufferedst nails and lance,
Mocked and marred countenance,
Sorrows passing number,
Sweat and care and cumber,
Yea and death, and this for me,
And thou couldst see me sinning:
Then I, why should not I love thee,
Jesu so much in love with me?
Not for heaven’s sake, not to be
Out of hell by loving thee;
Not for any gains I see;
But just the way that thou didst me
I do love and will love thee.
What must I love thee, Lord, for then?
For being my king and God. Amen.

Found in: Excerpt from God’s Passionate Desire by William A. Barry, SJ.

Learn more…

Featured Book: Thoughts in Solitude

thoughts in solitude-mertonWeek Three: Prayer as Slow Conversion

This week’s readings from Thoughts in Solitude remind us that even when it seems that nothing is happening while we pray, God is present and working in us even as we struggle to break free from our worries and routines.

If you’re new to contemplative prayer, it’s tempting to start measuring and observing yourself as if something big and momentous is about to happen. However, Thomas Merton assures us that our work is to turn away from our cares and to trust ourselves to God’s care:

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“One cannot then enter into meditation, in this sense, without a kind of inner upheaval. By upheaval I do not mean a disturbance, but a breaking out of routine, a liberation of the heart from the cares and preoccupations of one’s daily business.”

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“There is no such thing as a prayer in which ‘nothing is done’ or ‘nothing happens,’ although there may well be a prayer in which nothing is perceived or felt or thought.”

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“All real interior prayer, no matter how simple it may be, requires the conversion of our whole self to God.”

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Learn more about Thoughts in Solitude…

 

For Reflection

Featured Book August 16, 2016

 

Featured Article: Tips for Overcoming Distraction

Whether at work with our writing or seeking the quiet of contemplative prayer, distractions will become a major challenge. Thankfully, there are some tried and true ways to approach our days and to organize our tasks in order to make the most of our time.

This article in the Harvard Business Review offers a great summary of the latest research in overcoming distractions in our day to day lives:

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“Start trying a simple mindfulness practice when you wake up, which can be anything from quietly taking a few deep breaths to meditating for 20 or 30 minutes. Dr. Seppälä explains why this is so important: ‘Meditation is a way to train your nervous system to calm despite the stress of our daily lives.'”

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“Instead of struggling to accomplish what matters, you can take advantage of your body’s natural rhythms. Focus on complex, creative tasks in the morning; these things will tend to be ones you accomplish individually or with 2–3 other people. Push all other meetings to the afternoon.”

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“If you want to avoid wasting time and burning out, add buffer time between each meeting. For every 45–60 minutes you spend in a meeting, make sure to take 15 minutes or more to process, reflect, and prioritize.”

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Read more at the Harvard Business Review…

 

 

Keep the Contemplative Writer Sustainable

The Contemplative writer is ad-free and never shares sponsored content, but it is a lot of work to maintain. We rely on affiliate links from the books we share and the generous gifts of our readers. An automated monthly gift as low as $1 per month or a one-time gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers. Thank you!

Choose a recurring monthly donation:

support-patreon-orange

Make a one-time gift via PayPal (credit cards accepted!)


Donate Now Button

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