A few years ago, I learned of the Wellness Wheel from the ELCA. I tried to narrow that down into three categories that I could create mindfulness around: reading, writing, exercise. My goal was to incorporate all three of these practices into my day. I wanted to make it attainable, so I put broke it up into bites size pieces of time: 30 minutes of exercise, 20 minutes of reading, 10 minutes of writing. We get plenty of reading and writing for seminary classes and such, which can take away from the exercise. Just on the opposite side of this, it can be easy to slip out of practice with reading and writing when we are on breaks from seminary work.
Another mindfulness that I have tried to keep incorporated into my daily thoughts; who is my accountability partner? This was a question posed to me by my spiritual director before I left to go on internship. Having a partner at home meant I had a built-in default for accountability. Leaving that familiar place of accountability meant I was going to have to be mindful of my time and my goals.
These two topics, daily wellness, and accountability have become a foundation for me. I was a traveling sales rep, which meant I lived on the road three to five days a week. There were pros and cons to this type of work, which is for a different conversation. Internship helped me realize how much I missed working with people. Reflecting on my past career, I didn't see how many ministries I was surrounded with until I was out of that context.
Spending time doing a daily examine and contemplative prayer has helped me appreciate where that community comes from. A community for me is like swimming with a school of fish in a variety of waters. “I AM” is the love of God "Poured Out" into humanity, and the bodies that surround the cross are all the saints who have gone before us, witnessing to the love and grace poured into the world. These souls that are circling the cross are holding onto one another, surrounding one another, by embracing one another through the love that has been poured out through the “gifts” given to the entire body of creation. These gifts work for the greater good that is God’s creation, made in each person, to share with one another.
Accountability partners are community partners who share in their life experiences, along with their love and displeasures alike in the world. As I look at these pictures, I see a variety of ways community has been formed around me like a school of fish. I sense God’s creative work in more ways today as I have started looking for those creative moments being made. I chose these pieces to represent my photos because these were all gifts given to me, minus the rock that I made. The presence of these gifts fills me with the presence of the people who are in the school of fish swimming together, or the souls of the cross-holding onto one another while circling the place where we find everlasting life. Maybe these pictures are waiting for a bigger story to be told?