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Thirteen roots for a rootless age

by Peter Raible

  1.  Allow time for self-nurture. So not fill all waking hours with the frenzied activity or, worse, narcotic, dulling activity.
  2.  Find practices that are spiritually nurturing for you - prayer or meditation, periods of silent reflection, walking, music listening, etc.
  3. Be intentional about what you want to have happen; and this probably means scheduling it. Good intentions never work.
  4. Inculcate a spirit of generosity in your habits. Strive to be open rather than suspicious toward the world. The giving of ourselves, as well as our substance, has import and has few limits. The idea of a daily good deed.
  5. Strive to be with persons that nurture rather than drain you. Make sure this happens at least weekly. If you don't know such persons, discover them.
  6. Learn. Good feeling is not enough, for sentimentality may delay realistic solutions. The sharp prong of doubt, the incisive scalpel of questioning, the bright light of knowledge. These can contribute to the faith adventure.
  7. Occasionally seek new environments, best done in travel. Break the rituals; look on the world with freshness; deal with strange situations; stimulate the mind and spirit.
  8. Cultivate your total being. If left brained, cultivate aesthetic - read poetry, look at art, really listen to good music, dream. If you are right brained, cultivate the intellect - read a provocative book, analyze a problem on a notepad, attend a lecture on a subject you want to know more about.
  9. Give a regular period of time to dedicated service to others. This overcomes the preoccupation with the self. Realize that others carry a heavier burden than you do. You may also do some good for the human adventure.
  10. Give sacrificially to the causes that most nearly approximate your ideals. This is the purchase of immortal real estate for what will continue beyond our years. This ties us to the continuing human adventure. This helps human dignity. 10% of your tot al income is a good giving figure.
  11. When feeling smug, languid or at loose ends, work on your margins. Find an area where you need to grow ( e.g. accepting gays, disciplined silence, being generous), then put yourself in a place, where there is a little risk, to be open to that experience.
  12. Worship regularly in a community. Affirmation is important. Our affirmation, buttressing ourselves and others at the same time, is even more important. We all get eroded by daily life. We all need to hold before ourselves our continuing values and re affirm them.
  13. Join a meaningful community. This need not be a total way of life or even a daily direct participation, but a community that is more than casual, more than a club, more than an interest group. A community attempts to relate us to others at dimensions of significance. A community has significant values. A community allows us opportunities for growth and service. A community gives us a chance to meet and seek the holy. A church might suffice.

You can add or detract from the list, or make your own. The point is that we serve neither ourselves or others well when we simply bemoan fate, the times in which we live, and decry out own powerlessness.

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