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Draw A Circle

Updated: May 13, 2021

I am continuing in my practice of “interviewing” readers of this blog who have a spiritual practice to share. Pease let me know if you have a spiritual practice or idea that you would like to share!

Please meet my friend, Linnea Nelson, who is a UU. You can see her website here: She is currently the executive director of the program UU Wellspring and is the author of Spiritual Practice Play Book for Families and the upcoming Skinner House Books anthology tentatively titled, Beyond Welcome: Building Communities of Love. Linnea has developed a monthly practice of thinking about how she wants to spend her time. At the beginning of each month, she draws a circle in her journal and she makes portions depicting how she wants to spend her time. She puts in her regular commitments and then adds only a few topics with the intention of finding more room in her life to focus on the big things. The circle keeps her from adding too many “Big Things,” which would keep her from taking time with what is sacred and important.

I love this idea! You could make it into a visual journal entry by adding colors and getting all fancy – or you can take it as a simple task to help you think about and keep track of how you want to spend your time and how you actually are spending it. Some of the things Linnea has put priority on and entered into her monthly circles are her work as the UU Wellspring Executive Director, a conference, draft stage of a book or a book or two to read, classes and specific spiritual work such as exploring shadow.

It seems to me like a way of holding yourself accountable for the big picture things that you tend to say or hope you’ll do “someday.” Linnea adds a few specific goals, but the circle is really a big picture way of choosing how to use her time. Sometimes this means rearranging or cutting out some other activities. Life is always a balancing act is it not? Sometimes we need to say NO to one thing in order to say YES to what actually feeds our spirit.

Here is a poem for you by Naomi Shihab Nye that is vaguely ab out this issue of knowing what we want;

Missing the Boat

It is not so much that the boat passed and you failed to notice it. It is more like the boat stopping directly outside your bedroom window, the captain blowing the signal-horn, the band playing a rousing march.

The boat shouted, waving bright flags, its silver hull blinding in the sunlight.

But you had this idea you were going by train.

You kept checking the time-table, digging for tracks.

And the boat got tired of you, so tired it pulled up the anchor and raised the ramp.

The boat bobbed into the distance, shrinking like a toy— at which point you probably realized you had always loved the sea.

~Naomi shihab Nye

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1 Comment

May 02, 2021

Great idea from Linnea Nelson. Thank you both for sharing it. And I love Nye's poem. It made me laugh for a minute, followed by big tears.

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