Discover more from Seeking the Sacred
...and finding our anchors in seasons of transition
I hope this finds you feeling a sense of wholeness in this moment. I’m sitting in the passenger seat of our car headed north for a little extra time with my family before the summer closes and we all transition into the whirlwind of the academic year.
This summer has felt like a complicated mix of both flying by at the speed of light and a slow presence between kids’ camps, family trips, work meetings & tasks, play dates, ice cream dates, making friendship bracelets (a new favorite contemplative practice), swimming, game nights, and TV time. We saw Barbie (twice) and The Little Mermaid and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse and Elemental. We played video games. We spent a lot of time indoors to escape the unbearable heat gripping the state of Texas. We went to several doctors’ appointments and started new medications to treat various illnesses. We sang along with Jason Mraz together as a family in the car, kitchen, living room, and at his concert.
Perhaps most importantly, this summer, I learned to rest in a whole new way that I had never before felt or given myself permission to do. Although, this form of rest didn’t feel like a choice, but more like one that happened to me after the last few years — whether I was ready to rest or not.
As I look outside, I’m reminded to be here. Breathe. Be. In this moment.
On the other side of the window, I see the heat-scorched cornfields and cloudless blue skies, the slumped trees that look tired from the heat and drought, shreds of tires as evidence of the hot road, and a few cows grazing, despite our car showing it’s 104ºF (even in the evening).
Resilience. It seems to be echoed all around as we head north on I-35.
The start of the new academic year is a swirling mix of joy and excitement for the learning and collaboration ahead, the rhythms of the school year, reconnecting with friends, and whew, for the hope of cooler temperatures and the fall season.
At the same time, truthfully, this time of year is really hard on me, with August holding transition upon transition upon transition for our family. (And with highs reaching 107ºF everyday, no less.) As we soak up these last moments of this summer, I’m preparing for the kids to go back to school just days before my academic year launches, and for our daughter’s birthday. August also holds planning fall conference travel, launching CXMH, piecing together the jigsaw puzzle of my schedule, connecting with new students and colleagues, committee meetings, and more.
There are so many both-ands through the bumpiness and transitions of August. Held with grace and patience, I acknowledge the deep joy and the wound-up muscles, the growing to-do list and the need to rest, the gift of our kids at home and the gift that they’ll be with friends soon.
And acknowledging that, at least for right now, it’s still summer… as I breathe in… and out…
This summer has been good and peaceful, even if I didn’t feel good and peace through it the whole time.
This summer met me in a season of need and wrapped me with the most generous, grace-filled permission to take care of myself. It taught me the value of patience when it comes to recovery and the gift of prioritizing my body’s needs over what others may think. And it allowed me to set down some things that I’ve been carrying for months, years, decades…
These are not easily gained lessons or experiences, friend. At least, not for me, and for several complicated reasons. They’re lessons/experiences I’ve been searching for for years, but something shifted this summer that finally let the lessons drop a deeper anchor.
With the start of the semester and school year, it’ll be tempting to throw out these lessons in the thick of the transitions with less margin to discern what I need to care for my whole being — mind, body, heart, spirit. Perhaps the same is true for you, too.
Friend, I am praying that we can drop the anchors that steady us based on the lessons we’ve discovered over the summer. There will still be bumps and waves, and change will still be the only constant for any of us. But my hope is that these anchors support our resilience in this season of transition as we lean on the wisdom we’ve excavated over the last few months.
We are so, so worth acknowledging and honoring our resilience.
We are so worth allowing our anchors to settle and steady us in seasons of transition.
And we are so worth our healing, recovery, and care simply because we are Beloved.
Seeking the Sacred is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Spirituality + Mental Health
Each month, you’ll find miscellaneous resources here on the intersection of spirituality + mental health that I’ve recently been reminded of or come across! Most are general resources, but I’ll add some research-focused ones every now and then.
Examining the influence of colleges’ and universities’ religious affiliation on graduate social work education in the United States (Polson, Oxhandler, Selman, & Haworth)
Abstract: Throughout social work’s history, scholars have debated the impact religiously affiliated colleges and universities have on social work education. Some have viewed religious affiliation as an asset contributing to training in values and ethics, while others question whether institutions’ religious commitments conflict with professional values. To date, no national study has examined the perceived influence that institutions’ religious affiliation has on Master of Social Work (MSW) programs. Drawing upon data from a national survey of MSW faculty across the United States, we begin to address this gap. Results reveal several ways faculty perceive their institutions’ religious cultures influence education and training on social work competencies.
Dr. Michelle Pearce’s How to Make Lasting Positive Change (virtual group coaching)
From Dr. Pearce: This program is designed for people who want to change a behavior, start a new habit (or stop an old one), or reach a desired goal. For smart people who just need some extra skills, support, and accountability to take their desired goals to the next level. The group starts September 11th - click here to learn more.
Spiritual First Aid’s Family Activity Kit
From the website: This Family Activity Kit was designed to equip families with tools and practices to help navigate life's challenges with fortitude (courage and strength) and resilience (the ability to cope or adapt). During times of distress, research shows that simple actions and practices can make a big difference in our minds, bodies, and emotions. And because God helps us when we call on Him, reading scripture, praying, and worshiping together provide hope and peace for our anxious hearts.
CXMH is a podcast on faith and mental health that I cohost alongside my friend, Robert Vore. Be sure to subscribe, leave a review, follow on social media (@cxmhpodcast), and share episodes with others!
Season 8 is coming soon!! In the meantime, check out our previous episodes at cxmhpodcast.com.
In addition to hosting CXMH, I’ve been honored by some recent opportunities to be a guest on others’ shows. Thank you to these hosts for their invitation and the good work they’re doing!
A Couple of Books for Your Journey
Do Nothing: How to Break Away from Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving by Celeste Headlee
A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life by Dr. Parker J. Palmer
Want MORE book recommendations? Check out my bookshop page!
(I get a tiny portion of purchases made through that link, but feel free to buy the book wherever you prefer. I mostly prefer the layout for recommending books to others!)
What I’m Listening To These Days
Lots and lots of Jason Mraz. We took the kids to see him perform in Dallas last week and the whole show filled up our cups in the best way. I’m so grateful for Jason Mraz’s performance style, attention to positivity + love + hope, and the playfulness with which he brings to all of his songs and shows. And our kids know all of the lyrics (thanks to my husband), so it was even more fun singing along with them!
What about you? 💛
What books, music, or pieces of art are serving your soul these days? Or what practices are supporting you as a whole? I’d love for you to share in the comments below what’s breathing life into your days!
With whatever transitions are on your horizon this month, fellow traveler…
May you find your anchoring lessons, reminders, or practices that allow you to ride the waves that the transitions bring.
May you breathe deep into this unpromised moment and wholly allow your muscles to unwind.
May you protect the space you need throughout the day to practice discernment and to care for you in the ways you need it.
May you be protected from the claws of shame and the temptation to should yourself, perform, people-please, and perfect anything.
May you find rest in knowing that good enough is both good and enough.
May you extend excessive grace toward yourself and be patient through these changes, trusting that these transitions will pass and you will find your new rhythm soon.
Be well, friends. Breathe deep and remember how truly loved you are as you are in this moment.