This is a trying time for all of us, and we need soul care practices to keep us grounded in these uncertain times. In my commitment to providing space and skills for soul care, I'll be sharing resources, practices, reflection questions, and other ideas with you during this time. This will serve as a "home base" for all the resources shared. I'll update this post regularly so you can check back often to see what new videos, links, and other resources have been added. I'll also provide the date I shared each resource as our situation is changing rapidly! As always, I'm praying for you, and I'm happy to be a resource to you. If there's something specific you'd like to see, if you have any questions, or if you simply would like to talk to someone, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 18, 2020
I shared these reflection questions to ask yourself as the news is wild and worrying and changing rapidly. Check in with yourself today.
March 19, 2020
For the first day of spring, I shared this free printable color-by-number page. My almost-6-year-old and I both colored a picture, and the slow coloring was really relaxing. It was also nice to focus on new life and the hope of spring as we sat cooped up inside on a rainy day.
March 20, 2020
Dear Therapist's Guide to Staying Sane During a Pandemic (article from The Atlantic)
During our webinar Wednesday night, I shared the importance of both grieving and doing things that bring us joy. The world is terrible AND beautiful. All at the same time. Read this article to learn more.
March 21, 2020
I shared this video originally on Facebook to talk about the changes to our next two events as well as discuss a soul care practice I hope you'll spend some time with while you're at home.
I also updated information on our next two events to move them online! Learn more below:
March 22, 2020
Get a FREE tool to do Labyrinth prayer at home or wherever you are. Watch the video of Amy explaining this ancient practice below.
March 23, 2020
Practicing Abundance in an Age of Anxiety by Christine Yi Suh (Article from Missio Alliance)
Amy's Note: The best way to defeat scarcity is by focusing on God's abundance. Here are some helpful practices that remind us "Any inward spiritual practice must move us to outward practices of compassion, mercy, and abundance towards our neighbors."
March 24, 2020
Join the movement: #ChalktheWalkAurora by writing, drawing, and coloring with chalk on your sidewalk to brighten your neighbors' days!
I shared these great questions from J.R. Briggs. I think they'd make great questions for a nightly reflection, prayer, or journaling exercise.
I shared this webinar (now a video) from the authors of Spiritual Rhythms for the Enneagram, where they discuss practices and prayers for each type during this time of crisis.
March 27, 2020
I shared these thoughts:
Last week, I talked about grief and that many of us have things to grieve right now: lost plans, lost income, lost expectations, lost gatherings with friends. Today I want to say that you may be experiencing grief, and you also might be experiencing joy. Or anxiety. Or fear. Or anger. Or gratitude. And I want you to know this: when we're going through traumatic events, it's absolutely fine to experience a whole host of emotions—even at the same time. Just because you're laughing one minute doesn't mean you can't be crying and grieving the next. Just because you're angry one minute doesn't mean you can't be paralyzed with fear the next. Just because you're feeling peace one moment doesn't mean the very next moment can't be marked by anxiety. There's a lot to feel right now, and however you're feeling is ok, even if it doesn't all make sense to you right now.
I want to invite you to feel those feelings today in a nonjudgmental way. Just feel them. And get curious about what's going on that's stirring that feeling in you. If you're mind is running away from you with judgment thoughts (I shouldn't be feeling this, I'm bad because I feel this) just bring your thoughts to your body and what sensations you notice in your body right now. Breathe. And sit with that feeling knowing it will pass. Then do the same when the next emotion bubbles up. Remember: Jesus sits with you in this, whispering, "It's ok. You're ok. I'm here." You can do this.
I shared these thoughts:
As you scroll through social media or read/watch the news, how do you feel? How does your body respond? If you feel yourself getting more anxious, irritated, angry, or scared, it might be time to put some parameters on your media consumption. Hear me out: You DO NOT need to cut it all together. Honestly, I think that would be a terrible mistake. But I do think we should be wise in our media consumption right now. Here are some ideas for creating some healthy boundaries. See which one might be helpful for you:
*Check social media only a few times a day rather than scrolling all day long. *Set a timer for when you do look at social media or watch/read the news so you limit those trips down the rabbit hole. *Turn off social media/news at a certain time each night so you can rest and ease into bed. *Stick with only social media that's feeling good to you right now (Instagram is known for being more focused on positive images, for instance). *Change who you follow so your newsfeed is filled with more helpful content. *Make social media more social by engaging friends and family more than the pages/people you follow. *Don't believe everything you read: Do your research to make sure it's true before you get angry/anxious.What are you doing to put boundaries on your media consumption?
March 28, 2020
I shared this video, originally on Facebook:
March 30, 2020
Here's a worthy practice for your week: release self-judgment and embrace love. I call it a practice because it's something we work at, something we do a little bit and then a little bit more. Something we may have worked at a lot, then experience a setback, and then work at some more. No matter where you're at on this journey, I invite you to practice this week.
Another reminder: You're doing the best you can with what you know and what you have. And that's enough.
Christianity Offers No Answers About the Coronavirus. It's Not Supposed To
"The point of lament, woven thus into the fabric of the biblical tradition, is not just that it’s an outlet for our frustration, sorrow, loneliness and sheer inability to understand what is happening or why. The mystery of the biblical story is that God also laments. Some Christians like to think of God as above all that, knowing everything, in charge of everything, calm and unaffected by the troubles in his world. That’s not the picture we get in the Bible."
Helpful tips for helping kids through this difficult time from @seed.and.sew:
March 31, 2020
I don't know how you're feeling tonight with the news that Illinois will stay home until April 30. But however you feel, it's ok to feel that way. This song is a beautiful reminder that God is with us, even now, no matter what we're feeling. Enjoy!
April 1, 2020
Some encouraging thoughts for your Wednesday morning. Hang in there, friends.
April 2, 2020
How's your neck feeling? When we are holding stress in our bodies, we often feel it in our tiny neck muscles that can't stand up under the pressure. Give yourself a gift today by doing a few neck stretches, and I think your whole body will feel a bit better. Watch this short video from our friends at Aurora Yoga Center to learn how.
April 5, 2020
I shared this lovely poem from Luci Shaw to give us something to think about.
The absurdity of a world on its knees, behind its doors, whose fingers, even, may be traitors and whose breath, created for living, may breed death. Its instruction: Split up. Stay apart. This is now the ultimate act of friendship.
Like the moon of light at the bottom of the well, hope shines small, but if we stay, head over edge, we may watch the deep water shimmer with small possibilities. At noon, a pale sun shines, telling us we may still live in the light.
April 6, 2020
Our weekly #MondayMantras continued with a special one just for this time:
As we begin our fourth week of stay home orders in Aurora, it's beginning to sink in that this is a marathon, not a sprint. You may be feeling weary. You may feel overwhelmed by the news reports. You may feel like the walls of your home are closing in on you. And that's ok—these are signs that you need some rest. Mental, emotional, and physical rest.
How will you make time to let your mind truly shut off and rest? How will you encourage your body to get more rest? How will you give yourself permission to rest from the emotional roller coaster for a little while?
It might look like going to bed earlier, putting down your phone and reading a book, doing restorative yoga, journaling your thoughts so you can let your mind rest, or spending a few minutes in meditation. If you want to be able to keep going, you'll need to make real rest part of your everyday routine. You can do it!
I shared this article about Zoom Fatigue and how to overcome it from Mindful.org.
I shared this video talking about our Mindfulness Box with practices and tools to help you experience a bit of The Perch right at home.
April 11, 2020
During times of upheaval, transition, and change, it can be helpful to sit with someone who can listen to us and listen to what God might be inviting us into. Spiritual directors are people trained to do just that. They'll listen intently and ask great questions that can help you sort things out. If you're interested in getting started with a spiritual director, I recommend these three lovely individuals, and you can learn more about them on our website. Bonus: All three are available for virtual meetings. Learn more here about the three spiritual directors we recommend.
I shared this journaling practice related to the last few days of Holy Week and relating it to our times right now.
April 14, 2020
Just a quick encouragement: In this wild time when everything feels a little odd, it's truly a soul care practice to intentionally do something that makes you feel like yourself. Whether it's enjoying a hobby, focusing on the work task at hand, wearing a favorite outfit, or sticking to a routine, find a way to feel like yourself today. It will do your soul good.
I launched a private Facebook group to support pastors and church leaders in their soul care and spiritual formation during this unprecedented time. It's set up to be a place for sharing, prayer, and supporting one another specifically in caring for ourselves. Join here.
April 16, 2020
I launched a new line of cards specifically for this season of social distancing. They're the perfect thing to brighten someone's day—including yours! See all of the new designs, including some new empathy cards, right here.
I also launched several new t-shirts to keep you comfy and cool during our time at home. See all 4 designs now. Each comes in a variety of colors!