Finding the rhythm for your life beings with establishing it in daily life. Since the late 80’s when I first entered broadcasting full time, I’ve been privileged to spend the mornings pretty much alone: thinking, reading and praying, and then the afternoons with people: talking, planning or collaborating.
This has become the breathing in and breathing out of my life. Though I am busy and frankly overcommitted (something I am working on changing), my busyness is laid on a half-day of restorative quietness. (Let me here thank the good people and elders of OICC for allowing and even encouraging this pattern to continue here on Orcas Island).
I know my situation is unique, but if my work life changed and I couldn’t keep this schedule, I know I would need to find a way to get the alone time for spiritual, intellectual and creative recharging. Without it I have nothing to offer. Even with it my offerings of service to others are oh so paltry.
I was interested to read Catherine Doherty’s description of a poustinik’s life as “Spending half a day in prayer and half a day in serving the Lord in my neighbor.” (The word poustinia is Russian for desert and as she defines it, a poustinia stands for prayer, penance, mortification, solitude, silence offered in a spirit of love, atonement, and reparation to God.”)
The Russian monastic tradition often blended this private desert time with public service.
One advantage of the monastic life of withdrawal is the revelation of your own sin, which seems to me the foundation of unconditional non-judgmental love towards others. (An Indian Proverb outs it this way: There is nowhere on earth, not the sky, the sea, or the mountaintops, where a person can be rid of the evil if he lets it into his heart.”) It is good to know that evil is in us and goes with us wherever we go, even to the quietness of the monastery.
Our life of meditation and service flows naturally from our understanding of the crucifixion and taking up our own cross. We do not owe our Lord perfection, for we fallen humans are incapable of attaining it, but we do owe him our obedience, 24/7. Obedience to Jesus Christ involves being and action and they in turn, require finding the unique rhythm of your life.