Creating an Individual Rule of Life

Creating an individual rule of life:

  • Start by discovering your unconscious rule of life, with the following exercise:  Take a few moments and make a list of ALL the things that your currently do that nurture your spirit.  Make the list as complete as possible, coming back to it in the next few days to add to it as more things come to mind.  Write down EVERYTHING you do that nurtures your spirit.  Be as thorough as you can and avoid censoring anything that you might put on the list.
  • Now what do you notice about your list?  Did you only consider things such as prayer, worship, meditation and other things associated with spirituality?  Are there hobbies listed?  People? Does what you do for a living appear?  Try to notice what is NOT on your list and think about that.  Are there other things that come to mind as you hold your list prayerfully before God?
  • Now you have the basis for a Rule of Life!  You can see how things you are already doing connect your spiritual life to your daily living.  You also may notice that there are some areas that are missing from the rule.  Maybe nothing about your job feels spiritually nourishing.  Maybe there is no time for quiet or prayer.   For now, simply notice what is missing.  Over time there will be ways to adjust to fit new practices in.

How to live with your rule:

    1. Listen to your heart’s desires. God often speaks to us through our heart’s desires.
    2. Make sure your rule includes some joy, play, and fun.
    3. Take baby steps. Don’t make your rule too hard to follow.
    4. Baby steps are good, but give your self some challenge too.
    5. Figure out how much structure you need: lots or just a little.
    6. Learn to pay attention deeply to your practices. It will help prevent boredom.
    7. Find someone to talk with about your rule. It is easy to fool ourselves about all sorts of things.
    8. Figure out how to help yourself be accountable for keeping your rule.
    9. Read your rule regularly. It is easy to forget the stuff we don’t like so much.
    10. You are going to have trouble keeping a rule sometimes.  Recognize that you’re human and try again.

To have a balanced rule of life consider having a spiritual practice or attitude in each of the following areas:

  1. The foundations: putting Christ at the center of your rule.
  2. prayer: finding a prayer thype and rhythm that works for you
  3. Work: approaching your work as part of your spiritual life, rather than something divorced from it.
  4. Study; establishing a regulear practice of learning more about God.
  5. Spiritual companionship; committing yourself to regular companionship and community on the journey
  6. care of your body; taking care of yourself as a spiritual practice
  7. reaching out: caring for others and the environment as a spiritual practice
  8. hospitality: finding ways to be a gracious presence in the world.

Above from  Living Faith Day by Day, how the sacred rules of Monastic tracidions can help you live spiritually in the modern world. By debra k. farrington

Questions to reflect on in choosing disciplines for your rule of life:

  1. What am I deeply attracted to and why?
  2. Where do I feel God is calling me to stretch and grow?
  3. What kind of balance do I need in my life?
  4. What is realistic for you in terms of living the rule?

From Soul Feast by Marjorie Thompson

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