Monthly Spiritual Exercises
Each month you can deepen your experience of our worship theme by engaging in the monthly spiritual exercise. If you are not part of the Soul Matters Circle, share your experience of the spiritual exercise with others on the “Friends of UCM” Facebook group, at coffee hour on Sundays, or even with your family and friends in your day-to-day life.
May’s Spiritual Exercises: Beauty
May Spiritual Exercises
Option A: An Artist Date
Take yourself on an Artist Date. Here are the details:
In her book, The Artist’s Way, author Julia Cameron proposes a radical idea. Once a week, whether you consider yourself an artist or not, take yourself on an artist date.
An artist date is a chunk of time that you set aside for yourself – perhaps 2 hours, at least – in which you do something you enjoy. Something playful. Something that immerses you in beauty. Something frivolous. Something that doesn’t result in anything. A time in your week where you get to immerse yourself in the beauty and creativity of others or the world. It could be time to go to a museum, to take a walk in the woods, to finger paint with your grandkids or the children. It could be watching a movie you’ve been wanting to see for years or weeks, cooking or eating an amazing meal, going to a free concert in the park or closing your eyes and listening to your favorite songs on your headphones. The only requirements are that these dates are just for you, that you have no goals of accomplishing anything, and that you immerse yourself in beauty.
Set aside a chunk of time, experience beauty and playfulness for no purpose other than to enjoy it. See what happens – and tell someone all about it. Was it easy or hard to do this? Did it change as you went through the month? How were your first and last Artist Dates similar or different from each other? Did you catch a glimpse of something bigger than yourself along the way? Might this be a regular spiritual practice you would consider taking up?
Option B: Unexpected Beauty
Beauty can often be overlooked until we pause long enough to notice the beauty that is present, sometimes in unexpected places. Beauty can also be overlooked because of societal norms of what it means for someone or something to be “beautiful.” Be open this month to encountering beauty where you might not expect it. Take note of where or in whom you encounter this beauty. Write about it in a journal entry or in a letter to someone whose beauty you want to appreciate (you can choose to give them this letter or not).