Those of us with creative minds enjoy turning a blank canvas into something new. I’ve always had an active imagination, and I’ve always loved looking ahead, imagining what could be, and then working towards making that dream a reality. Sometimes it’s as small as trying to turn a palm into a crucifix, or a garden into a meditative space, or a cluttered room into a streamlined and peaceful oasis. Other times it’s a grander goal. Regardless of the size of one’s dreams, I believe everyone’s mind is capable of imagining what can be. I believe everyone can envision something to make our world better than it is today.
Today, we are constantly inundated with advice urging us to be more, do more, and accomplish more, as if we aren’t enough already. So, we bend ourselves trying to become someone who others will admire. We try to mold ourselves into people we think will be loved. We try to keep up. I think we do this because we don’t believe in our own divinity. We do it because society leads us to believe that we are not enough on our own.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
For Catholics, this week is known as Holy Week. It leads into Easter Sunday, the day that Jesus rose from the dead. Now regardless of your religious affiliation, and regardless of whether or not you believe Jesus rose from the dead, I’d like you to join me in thinking about what is holy to you. I’d like you to join me in seeing something—anything—in your daily life as holy. Because, believe me, there is holiness all around you.
Many years ago I went to see Thich Nhat Hanh speak about turning your mind to the daily tasks of life and seeing them in a different light. He spoke about focusing your mind on the beauty of washing a dish, drinking tea, or walking. He spoke about focusing your entire attention on one small thing and noticing the change felt by doing so. At the moment, I thought that was a silly idea, but now every time I wash a dish, I think of his words. I focus my mind on that act and the gift of being able to walk, and in an instant something mundane becomes something holy.
We can each decide where we want to focus our minds, and the truth is that our minds can hold images from Ukraine and images of holiness and goodness in the same space. In these dark times, we must. It’s critical that we don’t lose sight of all that is good, all that is beautiful. It’s critical that we not forget the everyday gifts we have. Otherwise, we can easily descend into darkness. We can find ourselves becoming people we don’t recognize, ones who believe there is no good in our world. We can find ourselves without hope.
Each of us must fight against this. We must do our part in celebrating the holiness in others and the holiness within ourselves. It’s important not to lose faith or hope. This week, I felt blessed to witness Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson take her rightful place on the Supreme Court. I closed my eyes and remembered when the very first woman was appointed to the court. Yes, that happened in my lifetime.
Judge Jackson herself spoke of the change within her own family. Standing on the White House lawn, she said her family went from segregation to the Supreme Court in one generation. Think about that.
Many things are happening all around us that are extraordinary, and that continue to move us forward in a positive direction. We must not lose sight of these truths. The news moves so rapidly at times that we take these big changes for granted. We forget that they even happened. But if we slow down, pause, and focus our minds on the huge change behind these stories, then we can see that amidst the darkness, there is still light and hope.
So this week, look for the holy in your daily life. Look not just for the beauty that exists outside of you, but turn your mind to your own heart and mind and be reminded that there is holiness within you. Believe that there is.
There is holiness in the face of a child. There is holiness in nature. There is holiness in your family’s pet. There is holiness in that caregiver who takes care of an elderly person. There is holiness everywhere. We just need to believe in that truth.
So this week, remind yourself of the incredible power that you have to bring that holiness and beauty out into the world. In the end, that’s what moves humanity forward. That’s what inspires hearts and minds. That’s what takes the small act of washing a dish and makes it a holy act, an act of reverence, an act of gratitude, a blessing.
Dear God, thank you for the holiness that’s all around me. You’ve created so many things that are worthy of being celebrated. May we all slow down and appreciate them for what they are. Amen.
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