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Number my days aright

by davesandel on July 31st, 2022

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 31, 2022

            (click here to listen to or read today’s scriptures)

Number my days aright

Stop lying to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in the image of its creator.

Emilie Pelletier is a life coach in Montreal. Like most life coaches, she might struggle sometimes with what she calls “toxic positivity,” which includes a reluctance to look at situations or problems that are not likely to improve. But many parts of my way of life could stand a little improvement, including what I do before I sleep and as I wake.

She suggests five daily habits to “make me a more positive person.”

  1. Lying in bed, scan the previous day for positive things, especially the tiny ones. Spend a few seconds remembering before moving on to the next one. Do this until you fall asleep.
  2. Have something to look forward to the following day. Schedule at least one activity for the following day that brings you joy.
  3. Absorb uplifting ideas in the evening.
  4. Make a gratitude list of three to five things and why you appreciate them.
  5. When you wake up, choose your state of being as you open your eyes. Try doing this before you even open your eyes. Train your brain to see what’s positive. This isn’t toxic positivity, which ignores or denies the negative.

Brothers and sisters, if you were raised with Christ, seek what is above. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

I appreciate Emilie’s ideas. They are simple to try. She gives me enough to do to keep me busy for a few minutes if I don’t fall asleep right away. Lately I have been listening to some audio adventure for fifteen minutes, but I like her ideas better. They remind me of Ignatius’ Examen, which is another good way to end my day. And to begin the day, I sometimes listen to the tolling bells and music that begin “Pray as You Go,” a morning dip with British Jesuits into the day’s lectionary.

One more link. In the middle of the night or the morning or the afternoon, it’s always a good time for centering prayer. Be still and know that I am God, at least for 20 minutes. The app from Insight Timer, after you dig through the extras, lets you set up 20 minutes with an opening bell, gongs every five minutes, and then a closing bell. Each of them can be different.

A thousand years in your sight are as yesterday, now that it is past, or as a watch in the night. You make an end of us in our sleep, the next morning we are like the changing grass, which at dawn springs up anew but by evening, wilts and fades. Teach us to number our days aright. Fill us at daybreak with your kindness, that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.

As I get older, sleep is more elusive. I wake up too often most nights, and it’s hard to get back to sleep. I appreciate these tools, and I sleep better because of them.

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes establish the work of our hands.

(Ecclesiastes 1, Psalm 90, Colossians 3, Matthew 5, Luke 12)

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