December 8th: Day One - Pray
Finally, let’s get down to business! I want to acknowledge and thank you for being here.
TASK #1 VISUALIZATION: You should have a sacred space already in place, go there. Think of it as your Advent manger, where life begins new each day. Otherwise find a spot on the floor to sit. Pause. Set an alarm on your phone for 5 minutes. Taking long, slow breaths through your belly, I want you to imagine Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. If you have seen the movie The Nativity, you can steal scenes from the movie to help you. If you really get into it, feel free to go longer than 5 minutes. Really try to put yourself in Mary’s place anywhere along their travels, but before delivering her son. Tune into the landscape, the way Mary moves her pregnant body, the expressions on her face that give you a clue as to what she might be feeling. Maybe you can be there with her and ask what is coming up for her or what she has to say to you. Can you walk beside her and Joseph? Breathe and be watchful, there is no right or wrong way to imagine this.
Staying in your sacred space, REFLECT on the following and complete TASK #2 in your journal:
The start of this journey is on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
It is often asked; why would Mary have been conceived without original sin?
In a reflection by Bishop Barron he replies with the traditional answer:
“God wanted to prepare a worthy vessel for the Word.”
Mary became that worthy vessel. Think back to your visualization of her traveling to Bethlehem, carrying a baby in her womb. In a very physical way she was a vessel, at that time, carrying precious goods from one location to another. But, once she was emptied of her cargo, what was she then? I propose she remained the same worthy vessel. I also propose that all of us women, whether we have carried children or not, are all worthy vessels! So let’s talk about Your physical vessel, Your body.
Practicing Prayerful Awareness: Awareness is the first step in making any change or transformation, so let's try it out with a brief exercise. Set an alarm for 10 minutes (you can take longer if you’d like) and using the prompts below, write in your journal (to bring into awareness) how you think about your own vessel, your body. DO NOT JUDGE your thoughts or what comes out onto the paper. Look at it with curiosity from a bird’s eye view. This is VERY important! If you find yourself in the seat of judgement, STOP, and simply look at your own thoughts and say, “That’s interesting.”:
TASK #2 JOURNALING for AWARENESS
What are the greatest blessings in your life that your body is/has been instrumental in carrying out?
What about your body does your mind struggle to accept?
Describe in detail your picture of ideal health and wellness for your body. What would you do, think, feel, if you had the energy, strength, no pain, and vitality that you desire?
Put your pen down. In your own words, sincerely and prayerfully offer to Jesus the ideal picture of your health. Next, take as much time as you can to contemplate and imagine feeling how you would feel if you achieved the potential you described in number 3.
Close your time here on Day 1 with a short prayer of thanksgiving and gratitude to God.