What Are Our Choices? Conventions, Elections, and Spiritual Practices

What Are Our Choices? Conventions, Elections, and Spiritual Practices July 26, 2016

Walking the Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage Trail, Spain

As a spiritual director, I believe strongly in the power of choice and in the dignity of each of us making our own decisions. So I don’t write to influence your electoral choice. However, I do write with an invitation about our choices to remain close to God, as we move through the rest of this convention cycle and election.

This summer, I walked the ancient pilgrimage trail, the Camino de Santiago, and dedicated my walk to a peaceful outcome for the world from our political elections this year and to climate stability. As I watched the first party convention last week, I explored how to manifest that intention of peace. I thought I would just practice within myself. But as I have listened to ​reactions in ​the political commentary and general public conversations, I no longer want to stay silent and practice alone. I want to share them with all those who desire to walk o​n ​a spiritual path.

So, here are a few invitations:

  • ​I​f you find yourself resisting​/fearing/judging/anxious about​ something that you hear in the political realm this week or next week, I invite you simply to visualize putting it down at your feet, step away from it, and return to a strong felt-experience of God that elicits love in you (​​your favorite place in nature, hugging someone you love, making a fabulous contribution in your work place, deep inner contentment…)​​​
  • Experiment to see if any inclinations to sarcasm, judgment, disdain, or disengagement can be melted by ​curiosity, wondering what those inclinations tell you is missing for you–what you long for and deeply desire. ​
  • Instead of allowing ​anxiety, ​fear​,​​ or anger​ to mount in you, explore breathing in the brightest light you can imagine, and breathing out ​every wisp of​ ​contracting emotion and limiting belief​.
  • ​Build in a few extra minutes to your tasks throughout the day so that you can pause and take stock of what source is moving your actions.
  • Make your choices about food, beverages, sleep, and exercise even more intentionally and with self-care so that they all nourish you, instead of aid any numbing you might unintentionally be seeking.
  • Feast on something beautiful each day.​
  • ​Attune your ears to what you are grateful for in political speeches, family conversations, work collaborations, and nature. Share those gratitudes with someone you trust and ask about theirs.​

​​I have no responsibility for what anyone says on any political platform. I have total responsibility for how I ​consciously ​respond to it. I hope you will consider joining me in taking responsibility for what is in your grasp. That way, we don’t outsource our contentment and well-being to those with whom we ​may ​differ in how to live in this world. We build the peace we want to see in the world from the inside out.

May Love be our one​​​,​ tru​stworthy​ guide​ in all our choices​.

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Nancy Wiens is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and has an interdisciplinary  Ph.D. in Christian spirituality, ritual studies, and the dialogue between theology and science. She practices coaching and ​Spiritual Direction with people who long to deepen their relationship with God and respond to God’s calling more fully in their lives. Nancy also guides wilderness rites of passage, helping people mark transitions in their lives by discerning God’s calling through nature.

Nancy is also the Director of Emergence: A Center for Initiating Contemplatives in Action. She co-founded Emergence because her​ passion lies in helping others discover what it means to come alive. She is inspired by working with those committed to the growth of themselves, their families, their organizations, and the planet’s regenerativity. She thrives on supporting others’ sense of belonging and empowerment: to know themselves as Beloved, as interconnected with nature, and as uniquely able to contribute to the well-being of the world.

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