As summer begins to look toward fall, I’ve been holding the idea of habits, and how they define us, in my heart and head. Day by day and choice by choice we build our lives, with each moment, and each choice a chance to shape our lives and our world into the vision we dream about. Whether it is the seemingly simple stuff that is oh so hard, like choosing not to follow my crabbiness into an argument or getting up 30 minutes earlier to start my day with a walk, the habits I live within shape me. In Mary Oliver’s memoir, Long Life, she writes this:
“In the shapeliness of a life, habit plays its sovereign role…Divine attentiveness cannot be kept casually, or visited only in season, like Venice or Switzerland. Or, perhaps it can, but then how attentive is it? And if you have no ceremony, no habits, which may be opulent or may be simple but are exact and rigorous and familiar, how can you reach toward the actuality of faith, or even a moral life, except vaguely? The patterns of our lives reveal us. Our habits measure us. Our battles with our habits speak of dreams yet to become real.”
– Long Life by Mary Oliver, 10-11.
What habits help you to reach toward the actuality of faith? What battles with your habits speak to your dreams? What patterns do you want to support and grow in your life?
For years now, Wellspring has helped to shape and support my habits. When I sit with fellow seekers week by week, when I rise each day with the intention of engaging in a spiritual practice, when I meet monthly with my spiritual director, when I encounter the wisdom of our religious tradition, when I choose how I will live out my faith in the world – I am reaching toward the actuality of faith. Choice by choice, moment by moment, my habits measure me, my patterns reveal me, and my Wellspring experience holds me in loving accountability and attention.
Whether you are involved in a Wellspring group this coming church year or not, may you seek out and find the support you need to live into the healing and hopeful habits that will shape your life and your faith.