Shirin McArthur

prayerful pondering

Broadening Perspective

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Lately, my hiking buddy and I have fallen into the habit of choosing one of the same three or four hikes each time we meet. Partly it’s an issue of time; these trails are relatively close to home and I especially have been very busy with work. Partly it’s an issue of weather; despite being well into October, the temperature is still getting up into the 80s, and even in the morning we want to choose more shaded hiking options. Partly it might be an issue of familiarity; it’s easy to choose a hike when you have some sense of where it will take you.

IMG_0664This past week we chose a hike that took us to the top of Sunrise Ridge, where we could look down upon Bear Mountain Lodge and the hills beyond it. After hiking up the trail through the trees, seeing only a few feet further along the path, it was nice to be able to see for some distance. While we couldn’t see the car, we could see the tree under which it was parked. There’s some sense of safety and security in being able to see your goal, even if you can’t always see every step along the path that leads you there.

It’s also nice to have the chance to sit in stillness for a while and enjoy the broader perspective. So often we move through our days with our goals in mind and lose sight of the precious nature of the present moments through which we move with such driven focus. Taking time to notice the first few leaves beginning to turn (most likely because of the shortening days, since the weather is still so warm) helps me remember to notice, and even embrace, the changing seasons. Without taking time to be still and notice, I might have missed the subtle shift in seasons that has begun while I felt too busy to pay attention.

Today I am beginning a contemplative prayer class with four folks here in Silver City. It’s being offered by the Shalem Institute, which helped to hone my gifts for spiritual guidance almost twenty years ago. I’m looking forward to the chance both to broaden my own prayer perspectives through this class and to share the experience more deeply as our little group gathers each week to pray and ponder together the work of the Spirit in our lives.

When is the last time that you gave yourself the gift of spiritual enrichment, whether it was a hike with a view or an educational or creative opportunity? If you haven’t done so recently, consider keeping an eye out for the Spirit’s invitation to broaden your perspective in some way.

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