Cultivating and Keeping Your Daily Practices
Your sacred, ordinary days start here
Cultivating and keeping daily practices has not come easily for me. But, part of the problem has been that people often teach about “a daily practice” like the only option is a big block of time that happens once a day, at a fixed time, every day without fail. That doesn't work for me. It's not life-giving when I approach it like that.
My daily practices change some as I go along based on the needs of my heart, my family, my home, and my work. I also have different "practices" throughout the day that I return to again and again but don't do all at once in the morning before anything else. I fit them in where they make the most sense or the most difference. While I don't need to do the exact same thing in the exact same way day after day for years, I absolutely go from survival mode to joyful flourishing when I keep a few anchors in place.
Some of my anchors include:
- Naming three daily priorities (and the cues that will serve as a catalyst for each)
- Embracing a rhythm of rest (and rewards) interwoven with my work
- Keeping time for reading scripture, silence, and prayer
- A cup of hot tea as I wind down at the end of the day
If you want to live with more peace, presence, and purpose, you’re in the right place
Maybe you’re a person of extreme consistency and discipline. Maybe you’re a person who grows best loosely along a trellis. You might even be a little of both, depending on your season of life (more on that below). No matter what, you're in the right place.
A daily practice can help you live with more peace, presence, and purpose. And, I'd love to offer some guidance and companionship to create or update yours.
But, let's leave some room for gracious, spacious, hospitable creativity as we set out, shall we?
Regularly pausing and evaluating your life can give you some good clues as to what your daily practice might need to be right now. We’ll talk more about this in our next email when we cover your weekly rhythms and praying the Examen.
Allow your practices to ebb and flow with the seasons of your life
Just as there are common ebbs and flows in the natural world, our individual lives carry a similar pattern. Often our personal intentions, decisions, and reactions depend on the season in which we find ourselves, which can be impacted by the time of the year, our life stage, and whether we’re in a season of joy, feasting, and celebration or a season of sorrow, fasting, and mourning.
Prepare for your daily activities with your current season in mind. Ignore the shoulds and oughts that might arise. Trust yourself and your loving God that you have what you need.
The daily pages in our planner are structured to help you find the right mixture of direction, intention, productivity, and efficiency in your days. See the steps (and the page itself) below.
Try the planner for the month of October for free, if you like.
Our hope for your sacred, ordinary days
Our real hope is to help you build a more fully integrated life of faith and work.
What is your real hope when it comes to your daily practice? Or, said another way, what is your real hope for your days?
Daily pages for crafting your daily rhythms
DATE & HOLY DAY or LITURGICAL SEASON
The top of each page shows the day and date, as well as any specific holidays or holy days. Use the white space in between to mark your own celebrations and days of remembrance (birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, milestone moments, or other important events).
REFRAIN from COMMON PRAYER
A brief prayer serves as a refrain to return to throughout your day, (taken from Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals, by Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, and Enuma Okoro).
The Daily Office Lectionary (from the Book of Common Prayer, an Anglican/Episcopal resource) is a two-year cycle of texts for personal devotional reading. We are currently in Year Two with the Season of Pentecost. The new planner begins in Year Three with Advent on Dec. 1, 2019.
Though your day may ask more of you, naming your top three priorities gives the day shape. What are the most important projects or tasks to get done today? Write them down, then check the boxes when they’re done. Resist the urge to add more upon completion; instead rest, knowing your day was well spent.
Identifying a cue for each priority helps you plan your days with more intentionality. Will you begin working on that priority at a specific time of day? After you receive certain information? Name what will serve as the catalyst for beginning your work on each specific priority.
REST | REWARD
The alternating rhythm of work followed by rest or reward further trains us toward the practice of Sabbath and keeps our work sustainable. Name what you will do as a rest or reward for completing a given priority.
JOURNAL or TO-DO LIST
This lined section of the daily page can be used for journaling, a to-do list, or writing out a Scripture passage. It was designed for flexibility.
Use this section to note the day’s appointments or to record how you spent your time.
Use this space to make notes, keep track of habits, doodle, draw, or be reminded of the importance of incorporating “white space” into your life.
Another note about rests and rewards...
We encourage you to name, each day, what you will do as a rest or reward for completing your given priorities and also to keep a running list of ways you can incorporate this rhythm of rest and reward into your daily life. A “rest” option grounds and revitalizes you. A “reward” gives you something to anticipate upon the completion of a priority.
We have an idea bank ready and waiting for you in the back of your planner! Add in your ideas and as you try them out; notice which ones truly restore you and bring you joy.
Give it a try for free
Sacred Ordinary Days exists to create tools, curate resources, and help the church connect for the purpose of holistic and rich Christian spiritual formation. Our tools are rooted in ancient practices and rhythms, but translated with a clean aesthetic and accessible language. Ultimately, we believe that helping people grow in Christ-likeness will build the Church and, in turn, the Kingdom. The building blocks are sacred, ordinary days.
Jenn Giles Kemper is the founder and the heart behind Sacred Ordinary Days. A Contemplative Entrepreneur, her passion for business and entrepreneurship, mixed with her heart for ministry and spiritual direction culminated to create Sacred Ordinary Days. Jenn is a lover of color, hospitality, sunshine, shared meals and shared life. She loves connecting about cultivating deep faith, a family, a business, and a home.