A few hours dedicated to soul-care can really help you refresh your perspective and renew your energy. On regular days, it can be challenging to make opportunities to pray on your own, much less organize extended period of time for reading and study of the Writings.
If you know it would make a welcome difference in your life and emotional well-being to carve out special time for soul-care, beyond ten minutes here and there throughout the day, try to think creatively about how you can organize a few hours to yourself and use the steps outlined below to have a morning, afternoon, or evening of spiritual rejuvenation. Even if it can only happen once every few months, or a few times a year, it is worth the effort.
Whether it’s asking your husband to take the kids, arranging for Grandma to babysit at her place, or dedicating some evening hours after the kids have gone to sleep, consider how you can make this happen.
[quote type=”center”]Immerse yourselves in the ocean of My words, that ye may unravel its secrets, and discover all the pearls of wisdom that lie hid in its depths. Take heed that ye do not vacillate in your determination to embrace the truth of this Cause — a Cause through which the potentialities of the might of God have been revealed, and His sovereignty established. With faces beaming with joy, hasten ye unto Him.[/quote]
-Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 136
Here is a step-by-step guide to how you might like to spend two hours focused on soul-care:
- The day before your time is scheduled, prepare the following items: comfortable clothes to wear, a candle or some incense, a clean space, a pen and paper (or your journal), some Holy Writings of your choice.
- Start your hours alone with a 20 minute wind-down period. Take a bath, make yourself a cup of tea, or sit outside to enjoy the sounds of nature. Do not use this time to make a “to-do” list or think about an issue you have been struggling with lately. Focus on your sensations in the moment: what you hear, smell, taste, feel, and see. Clear your mind of the past and the future. Set a timer so you know when your “time is up” so that you don’t keep looking at the clock.
- Set your atmosphere for your soul-care. Again set the timer, this time for 45 minutes before your mothering duties start again. Find a clean, quiet space (so you don’t get distracted by the clutter and noise… use earplugs if you must), light a candle or burn some incense, and focus on your breathing. Imagine yourself in your true spiritual state, free of the material world.
- Start with the Tablet of Ahmad, the Long Obligatory Prayer, the Healing Prayer, or another prayer you love but may not regularly have time for. Sometimes when one is so tired, with a mind so full, it is hard to let go of everything in order to pray… this is your time to really try. Focus fully on the Words of Baha’u’llah. Don’t worry about the kids – they are in safe hands – and everything else can wait.
- Choose another selection that will be inspiring to you – whether it’s the recent Ridvan Message or a Tablet of Baha’u’llah. It’s probably best to read something you have a hard copy of (so print out the Ridvan letter beforehand if you want to read it!) to ensure you are not tempted to do anything else while on the computer.
- When the timer goes off (now 45 minutes before your time ends) begin to journal. Write down what has inspired you, the ideas that have come to your mind, and any new goals you would like to consider. Set the timer for 10 minutes before you children are due to arrive home. If you have extra time, write down things you are thankful for, questions you have which you would like to search for answers for in the Holy Writings, or copy a quotation over and over to help you memorize it.
- When the timer goes off, you now have time to regroup after your relaxation. Close your eyes. Say a prayer of thanks. Put away your books and papers, and be ready to greet your family with new spiritual energy.
You will probably find that having a large dose of reflection on the Writings will cause you to crave more and more contact with the Holy Word, so that your daily time spent reading the Writings is even more focused and appreciated.
What other suggestions do you have for mothers who want to take a few hours for true “soul care”? Share them in the comments.
The steps listed above have been made into a PDF document which you can print so that you do not have to turn on your computer during your soul care time.
[box type=”download”] Download the Steps for Mama Soul Care.[/box]