Simple Advent Revisited: Time to pause, ponder what we truly value

(Brenna Davis)

(Brenna Davis)

by Brenna Davis

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Editor's Note: For the 2021 Advent season, EarthBeat is revisiting and republishing some of the reflections from last year's series, "Simple Advent, Abundant Life." Sign up here to receive the "Simple Advent Revisited" reflections three times a week in your inbox.

First week of Advent theme—Time
Friday, Dec. 3


We can seldom live a joyful simplicity in relation to how we use time until we believe there is more to be gained by slowing down and exercising mindful selectivity in our activities than by speeding up and trying to jam as much as possible into every moment. How might we move in this direction? I suggest there are three steps to practice:

First, we renew consciousness of what it is in our lives that we most value, we reconnect with those things that are most meaningful, we remember who we are.

Second, it's difficult to live in voluntariness and deliberation if we are living unconsciously. To become conscious of how we are actually using our time requires the simple expedient of keeping close and honest track of what we are doing ... 

The third step in practicing simplicity in the use of time is to give urgency to the things that are most important.

-Excerpts from the chapter "Simplicity, Time, and Money" in Stepping Lightly by Mark Burch

Take a few moments now to reflect on what you most value in your life and how you might reconnect with those things that are most meaningful to you.

Taking these types of periods of intentional pausing during your day can invite you into a simpler way of living.

Macrina Wiederkehr, author of Seven Sacred Pauses, invites readers to use the Benedictine practice of pausing from work for prayer seven times a day. She encourages us to pause at particular moments in our day in order to "learn to be in the midst of so much doing."

The art of pausing can be as simple as breathing, standing in front of a tree or plant, stretching or drinking a cup of tea — anything that you do with all of your intention. 



State out loud to yourself one way that you will prioritize what you most value in your life today or in the upcoming week. Is there something of which you might need to let go (an additional activity, event or habit) in order to make this happen?

Find a moment today to intentionally pause in the midst of whatever you consider to be your "work."

You can also view Days 4 and 5 of the Ignatian Solidarity Network Advent Simplicity Calendar for activities to help you prioritize what's most important in your life and to find time to pause this Advent.

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