Rhythms of the Soul: Post-Pandemic Life
Updated: Sep 17, 2021
Depending on where in the world you live, and what the current spread of the COVID-19 virus in your area is, you may or may not be experiencing a shift in your life yet. Here in Colorado, the United States, where I live we have begun the process of recovery and rebuilding our lives as we enter the post-pandemic period. Each of us experiences this gradual change differently, of course, but I dare to assume that many of us are faced with some consideration to the question "Now what?". How do I want to rebuild, rearrange and re-engage with my life? What about the pre-pandemic life do I miss and want to seek out again? And how did the pandemic change me and what does that mean to my life now and moving forward?
Late April this year, The Washington Post published an article titled "A Better Normal" where they asked parents at the end of this pandemic tunnel: "What is one change you’d like to carry with you into post-pandemic life?" Many talked about increased family connection, time together and slower rhythm of life. In this article, I will share a host of life rhythms and practices that spiritually and emotionally nurtured me during the pandemic (and prior), as well as rhythms that I yearn to re-engage, strengthen or try out. It is also important to point out that I do not engage in ALL the practices at once and neither do I recommend this to anyone! Instead, I engage in one or two from each seasonal rhythm (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly) in different periods of life. Choosing soul care rhythms and spiritual practices is a practice in discernment in itself.
01 Daily Rhythms: Prayer and Work
“Our Lord moves amidst the pots and pans."
― St. Teresa of Avila
Most of us have heard the saying "How we spend our days is, how we spend our lives." This, of course, is true for our spiritual lives as well. Over the years I have been encouraged to find communion with God in and through the daily work, a short chat with a passer-by, household chores and the other ordinary business of life. And yet, I keep coming back to my desire to return to old and discover new rhythms for intentional, unhurried moments of connectedness that nurture my spirit.
I know that I am not alone in this. Christians over the centuries have relied on the ordinary routines and ancient rituals as reminders or "calls" to prayer. The circular passing of time offers a reliable structure for a life of prayer. There is always another morning, day and night. Some examples of daily prayer are Fixed-Hour Prayer and Praying the Hours. You may want to create your own Book of Hours including seven traditional hours of the monastic day: vigils (night), lauds (dawn), terce (morning), sext (noon), none (mid-afternoon), vesper (evening, and compline (night), or simply use the four main movements of the day: dawn, day, dusk and dark.
Families with children often utilize a visual day rhythm wall decoration that includes familiar rituals. These nurture the child's need for safety and connection, varying between times together and "alone", (naturally, the alone time for young children needs to be still supervised, but offers unstructured quiet play time) and form an early foundation for the child's spiritual life.
The transition from sleep to awake is a "thin place"for many, a time when heaven and earth seem closer together. I have listed a few practices that I have found especially nurturing during the moments soon after waking up or before going to sleep.
Contemplative walk or yoga (listening to body with God)
Scripture reading and journaling
Guided audio prayer (e.g. Pray-as-you-go)
Service and work; gardening, housekeeping, giving, helping others
Teatime art, chat, reading
Table blessing Evening walk in the neighborhood Bedtime prayer + reading
"Give children time for moments of solitude and silence during the day. A consideration of those things that are of ultimate value and meaning requires times of silence."
― Brendan Hyde, Children and Spirituality: Searching for Meaning and Connectedness
For more inspiration, view a list of creative prayer guides and practices here.
What daily rhythms are sustainable, and nurture your life with God currently?