The Sacred Everyday

Some time ago, I discovered the Harry Potter And The Sacred Text podcast. This was a wonderful discovery. HP and the Sacred Text takes one of my (and the world’s) most beloved series of books, and engaged with them in a thoughtful and inquisitive way, exploring the lessons and ideas the story has to offer us and providing tools for treating any text – and I would argue any part of life – as sacred.

Here’s how the founders and hosts, Vanessa and Casper, explain what they are trying to do with the podcast:

This podcast creates time in your week to think about life’s big questions. Because reading fiction doesn’t help us escape the world, it helps us live in it.

On this podcast, we ask: What if we read the books we love as if they were sacred texts? 

Each week, we explore a central theme through which to explore the characters and context, always grounding ourselves in the text. We’ll engage in traditional forms of sacred reading to unearth the hidden gifts within even the most mundane sentences.

Vanessa and Casper are so thoughtful and engaging in their exploration of Harry Potter and I have taken great joy and great comfort in approaching these much loved books in a new way.

I am also intrigued by the idea of viewing those things that might be considered ‘everyday’ as sacred, especially in light of my recent musings on my experience of religion and the church. When I was actively involved in the Christian church, one of the things I loved most about it was the chance to take a more considered approach to reading a text. I enjoyed the opportunity to explore deeper meanings and ideas and desperately wanted the change to question those ideas. The sacred practices shared on Harry Potter and the Sacred Text allow me to do just that.

On a recent episode, Vanessa beautifully broke down the elements they believe are necessary for applying this kind of sacred practice to wider contexts – not just the reading of any text but to things like writing or running – and I loved the simple clarity of it so much that I wanted to share it with you today.

  1. Faith – you must have faith that the more you do or engage with something the more gifts you will receive from it. If I persistently dedicate time to reading, writing, running, cooking or any other thing, then those things will reward me more and more.
  2. Rigour – the time you give to these things will be more rewarding still if you approach them with rigour. By ritualising the processes you use, the time you spend will be more focused and valuable. If I want to approach the reading of a text in a rigorous way, I can take notes and I can research or discuss the ideas that arise. If I want to approach my writing in a rigorous and sacred way, I can switch off my phone and focus my attention, I can carry out a mindfulness meditation before I begin.
  3. Community – find others to share the process with. By engaging in these practices alongside like-minded individuals – or even very un-like-minded individuals – you open up more opportunities for questioning, exploring and sharing ideas. If I share ideas about a text with people in my community, their ideas further enrich my own and open my mind to new perspectives. If I share my writing with other writers and readers, I will better understand the impact of my words and will be able to share the struggles and triumphs of the process.
  • I love the possibility that anything in life can be treated as sacred if we only give it the right attention and approach it with intention to do so. This is something I hope to explore and experiment with, especially with regards to writing.
  • I’d love to hear if you decide to give it a go (or decide to listen to the podcast!) too.
  • Reach Out

    It’s so close you can taste it. You can see the possibility solidifying into a reality, just a little way ahead, but it’s fragile: fuzzy and fluctuating like a mirage in the desert heat. But it’s there. You could make it real. You have to reach out and grasp hold of that dream. You have to pull it from that sacred space of imagination and daydreaming into the clear light of day. It may not materialise with one tug. It may take dozens. Hundreds. It may take all your strength and discipline not to let go. Not to give up and let it drift back into that distant and untouchable plain. It may not look exactly how you imagined if you manage to wrench it forth into the world. But you may also find that you can shape it and grow into it. If you want to make it real you’ll have to hold to it with everything you can. Breathe life into it.

    Whatever you do, don’t be afraid if it. It’s your dream. Reach out and make it real.

    Happily Thriving

      

    Hello, lovely people. It’s been quiet over here recently so I though I would share a little update as to why that is…

    When I started this blog it was because I needed something positive to focus on. At the time, although my life for the most part was awesome, I was struggling majorly with anxiety and was in a job that I had wanted for years but which turned out to be too much for me to deal with. I wanted to build something which would shift my focus back to the good stuff and would help me ‘thrive in the chaos’. It was part creative endeavour, part coping mechanism.

    I now find myself in a very different place. I am no longer in that job, but in a new one that I never saw myself doing and completely adore now I’m doing it. Go figure. I am allowing myself to be much more settled in my life and therefore able to enjoy the happiness I have been blessed with. Anxiety is still something I have to deal with but it is, thankfully, occasional rather than every day. I don’t need something to focus my mind back on the happy because I’m just there, most of the time.

    I can’t tell you how great that feels!

    It does mean that I have not been posting as regularly as I intended to, but that’s ok. I had a little moment of guilt when I realised I had let weeks slip by again without even my supposedly ‘regular’ Monday post. Then I realised it didn’t matter. This was always a space for me to share things as and when I wanted or needed. It still is. Maybe one day I’ll start posting more regularly again but right now I’m busy enjoying life and trying new things. I’ve been reading more than I have over the past few years (there will be another what I’ve been reading post coming soon), I’ve been learning new things, doing more crafty stuff (which I have missed!) and I even started playing around with doing some writing. Maybe I’ll share some one day.

    For now, thank you for liking, sharing, commenting and following along with my little rambling corner of the internet. I may be quiet but I’m still here. Happily thriving. I hope you are too.

    Image found here.

    It’s #TimeToTalk – Focus

    1focusongood

    Image found here.

    This is vital. This is absolutely vital. This is sometimes also MUCH easier said than done. But this is what we must strive for, always. Focus on the good. Even if the only good you can find is seemingly tiny insignificant things: finding a parking space, having the right change, getting through a traffic light before it changes to red, it didn’t start raining until after you were inside. There will always be something to find and if you can find it and focus on it then it will get easier to see other good things. Pull the tiny good things out and focus on them, force your mind to acknowledge the existence of good, once you know it’s there then you know there is something to strive for.

    If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health then please don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to someone. You are not alone and help is available. By opening up and starting the conversation we can move forward together and look to a mentally healthy future. Below are links to a range of fantastic organisations that can provide information, advice and services.

    The Samaritans – http://www.samaritans.org
    Mind – http://www.mind.org.uk
    Young Minds – http://www.youngminds.org.uk
    Papyrus (prevention of young suicide) – https://www.papyrus-uk.org
    Rethink Mental Illness – http://www.rethink.org
    American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – https://www.afsp.org
    Please do not struggle alone.
    x

    Off On the Right Foot

    IMG_6377.JPG

    Finish each day and be done with it. Blunders are bound to happen, after all we’re only human. Don’t dwell on them or continue to struggle. Move forward and focus on today with lightness of being, not weighed down with the absurdities of yesterday. Breathe and enjoy each new day.

    Image found here.

    100 Happy Days

    20140326-183259.jpg

    If you haven’t yet come across the #100happydays challenge you should pop over here right now and check it out.

    I started the challenge on Sunday and you can see some of my happy pictures over on Instagram under @jene87. I’m usually completely rubbish at keeping up with daily things – I’ve started the photo-a-day challenge over at Fat Mum Slim on several occasions and never seem to keep it up! But I’m determined to give this one a good go because it has such a fab focus. I get stressed out and bogged down very easily, particularly with work, but actually I have such an amazing and happy life! I’m hoping this little project will help bring my mind back to those happy things and steer away from the stresses.

    You should join in!!! If you do then please leave a comment with a link or twitter/Instagram user name so I can see your happy posts. Let the happy begin! 🙂