Linda Mastro is a retreat presenter at our Center and will be guiding, “Seeing with the Eyes of the Heart”, a women’s retreat next January. Click here to read more about the retreat. Let’s take a moment to read this reflection and to ponder the questions that Linda presents about our future during this uncertain time.
What future are we creating?
“The future is not some place we are going, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made. And the activity of making them changes both the maker and their destination.” ~ John Schaar
I grew up believing that questions required answers. In school I earned high marks for the most correct responses on a test. At work my bosses handed out bonuses and promotions for solutions, not problems.
Then, I discovered as a graduate student in a spiritually-focused program, that questions spark creativity and “I don’t know” is the most curious, humble response.
I have lots of time to practice courageous inquiry these days, alone and in virtual sessions with my clients. In my private contemplation one question keeps nudging me: “What will the world be like after…?”
This elusive “after” refers to some future that is still undefined. “I don’t know” is the best answer I have. When I try on answers about this future, though, I experience some interesting options.
After this crisis related to COVID-19 is over, I will …
- be more grateful for a safe place to live and food to eat.
- give more time and attention to the people whom I love.
- more consciously balance “yes” with “no” when asked to give of my time and talents.
- support businesses and non-profit organizations in my community.
- pray more and more fervently to be of good help.
The list goes on and on.
I experienced an “AHA” after I made the first of these lists. I can me more grateful now. Now is also to time to give more attention to others. Ditto to how I give of my time, talents, money, and support.
One day, when I had eaten too much junk food and couldn’t remember the last time I had taken a shower, I reviewed my list of how I want the future to look. I realized that many of my days are shaped with future-creating activities that also enrich the here and now.
- I mow my lawn and weed the flower beds, grateful for the sanctuary of my garden.
- I clean out closets and drawers to bring order and beauty to my home.
- I mail handwritten cards instead of waiting for Christmas or a birthday.
- I unsubscribe to e-newsletters that clutter my email inbox.
- I sign up for online conferences and collaborate on projects that keep my mind and spirit engaged.
- I am earmarking some of the money I am saving by not dining out or attending a concert to support local food pantries, homeless shelters, and other non-profit organizations that continue to serve the community.
- I pray for the serenity, courage, and wisdom to know how I can partner with our Creator to make the “after” a time in which we can all find peace and love.
- And I rest, confident that when the “after” comes, I will be ready to be a citizen of a future that serves the highest good.
Questions to ponder:
- What future do you envision?
- How is God calling to you to be a part of what comes “after”?
- What routines and practices can you adopt to create that future today?
Linda Mastro is a Bon Secours Associate, a wellness coach, retreat facilitator, and a spiritual director. As a spiritual companion she partners with people seeking a more enriching relationship with God. Teaching people how to ask courageous questions and to listen for responses is the heart of Linda’s spiritual direction process. She is co-author of the book Petite Retreats: Renewing Body, Mind, and Spirit without Leaving Home.