Before I dashed off to my college classes each morning, I had a 10-minute oasis of breakfast time around 6:30. With a modest-size repast of tea and lemon, bagel with peanut butter or cream cheese + a piece of fruit, I told God, “Thank you for this food and the leisure to enjoy it in.” Why would I even think to call it leisure? I had just 10 minutes before I bolted out the door, joined the traffic on Beach Boulevard, and rolled my car onto campus at 7:00 a.m. Busy day ahead!
Now in my writing phase of life, at 7:00 I may tune in to 20-minute yoga session, pre- or post-breakfast. It just depends.
But now my breakfasts are more abundant and leisurely. Well, . . . most of the time.
Breakfast time includes a spiritual dimension:
First, CLEANSING . . .
Then, moments of SILENCE
Silence, however brief (then) or longer (now). . . requires meaningful retreat from the hurly-burly busy-ness of life.
In his memoir, The Chosen, Chaim Potok’s main character, Reuven, speaks of the enlightenment his friend’s father, Reb Saunders, a Hasidic rabbi, imparts about the restorative value of long stretches of quiet: “. . . “I’ve begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it.” And later Reuven’s brilliant friend Danny admits: “My father taught me with silence, . . . “ so I would not grow up with a mind having no soul.
Now take a deep breath . . . read s l o w l y :
When you are faithful in [silent meditation] . . .
you will slowly experience yourself in a deep way.
Because in this useless hour in which
you do nothing “important” or urgent
you have to come to terms with your basic powerlessness,
you have to feel your fundamental inability
to solve your or other people’s problems
or to change the world.
When you do not avoid that experience but live through it,
you will find out that your many projects, plans,
and obligations becomes less urgent, crucial, and important
and lose their power over you.
Abbot John Eudes Bamberger to Henry Nouwen (Quoted in Fil Anderson’s Running on Empty, a book about living restoratively in “a world stuck on fast forward.” 73)
Next, MEDITATION . . .
Take another deep breath, read, and reflect
Grandson Patrick, my less pious stand-in for “Meditation.” He is reading from his Grandpa’s Bible the story of one of the shipwrecks of Apostle Paul he learned about in Vacation Bible School.
Happy to say, I haven’t heard the phone ring yet, so there’s even time for another cup!
You were waiting for an OOPS! and here it comes. Life doesn’t always go as planned. Interruptions happen. And frequently. There is often a need to revert to Plan B. (See again Southern Friends Meet PA Dutch Dish)
Fil (really, not a misspelling) Anderson, again, in Running on Empty quotes Author Robert Benson, Living Prayer (page 81) who has devised a theory of life he dubs the “Rule of 21.”
Twenty-one minutes is the amount of time that one can go without being interrupted by a telephone call, a knock at the door, or an attack from cyberspace . . . .
Twenty-one days seems to be the maximum number of days that one’s life can go smoothly. The average is four, but the limit is twenty-one I think. It’s hard to live for more than twenty-one days without a car breaking down, a trip being cancelled, a family member getting sick, a pet dying, a tire going flat, a deadline being missed, or some other thing that scatters all of one’s otherwise neatly arranged ducks.
While I’m writing this post, there have been several hiccups in the rhythm of my own life. Specters in the form of medical, institutional, and financial needs have reared their unwelcome heads either in my own or our extended family. And it’s been, I gasp, about 21 hours — give or take a few!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Here’s the menu. Choose one or two!
Do you eat breakfast? Is it a meal eaten on the run? More leisurely?
What are your spiritual adaptations before, during, or after breakfast?
What do you do when your plans go awry? Share a sure-fire coping strategy.
Breakfast is always one of my favorite meals of the day, especially on weekends. I get the 10 minutes — it is possible to see even short snatches of time as a respite, and I take them. Good thoughts.
Yes, short snatches of time for a respite, with or without breakfast, a good thing. You probably know eating breakfast routinely helps control weight, in my case an extra incentive. Thanks for the comment, Melodie.
I have been so terribly overwhelmed trying to get all of the editing and proofing done on this paperback I am trying to get published. My emails are stacked into the hundreds so I am running through them now playing \’Catch Up\”. Your post comes, no doubt, in a timely manner reminding me of the need to take respite. I can say this much, breakfast time is my most delightfully sane time of day. I wake up and have my coffee on the back porch overlooking \”The Jungle\” and the pool. I follow that with quiet meditation, a devotional, and some mindless observation of all that is beautiful in the world, along with prayers of gratitude for being so richly blessed. This is followed by a meal of hot oatmeal and fresh fruit with walnuts, and a tall glass of refreshing ice water. I don\’t know if I could get through the rest of my days without my mornings. It is nice to be semi-retired. This is what I have looked forward to all of my working life. 🙂
I\’m glad you can savor sweet spots of sanity and solitude amidst all the rush. Now let me get this straight: you are editing and proofing your to-be-published paperback and keeping up with new blog posts almost daily. How do you do it all? Well, I guess you pace yourself. And have a good BREAKFAST!
Currently, in my semi-retirement days, I enjoy breakfast with a view of birds munching away from multiple bird feeders on my deck. My favorite part is looking at the younger birds who are still clumsy…falling off the perches or making crash landings. At the same time, I love to watch my three cats watching the birds – which obviously provides much amusement. For the majority of my working days, breakfast involved \’toast in the car\’ or worse – fast food meals – usually greasy, not so tasty and with little nutrition. Now, I usually have fruit or orange juice, oatmeal or cereal, and sometimes eggs. The concept of \’leisure\’ has finally taken root in my soul, and it feels great! I wonder why I was always in a hurry – with everything. I especially find this ironic because I once co-chaired an entire conference on the topic of Leisure at the College!
Gencie, I can just visualize where you are sitting–the lovely deck in a park-like setting where you live. I love my patio too in the early mornings, but the cats have monkeyed with the birds, and so they are scared to come back. % – (
I\’m glad you are focusing on more leisure these days. You certainly deserve it!. Tell me, when in the world did the College sponsor a conference on the topic of leisure? That must have been back in the good old days—ha!
Breakfast during the week is eaten in my car as I drive into the sunrise to get to school. Breakfast on Saturday is a balm as I leisurely sip my tea, eat my English muffin and read whatever my heart desires.
You obviously have a certain rhythm to your life, even if hurried on school days as you \”drive into the sunrise.\” What a pleasant image.
How did I miss this lovely post when it first hit the internets? Must have been having a 21-day breakdown of some kind. Thank you for slowing me down, something I actually love to do. I also love many of your most quoted authors. Ah well, we continue our two lives, separated, and yet connected in so many ways!
Thank you, Shirley. I just re-read this post and realize there was an Oops! in it too, just like my life now. The link for WordPress problems I originally intended for you is this: https://wordpress.com/settings/notifications