Stop whatever you are doing and devote your full attention to being still or slowing down. If it helps, close your eyes. Become conscious of your breath breathing itself. Follow one complete inhale-exhale cycle with your attention. Bring your awareness to the present moment, and allow yourself to soften into it. No matter where you are, make an effort to tune into the vastness around you. Picture yourself somewhere with the ability to see far and wide around you. Be at peace and fall in love with what you feel…

Look at your life from a distance that offers you perspective and helps you feel the truth of the fact that, no matter what, we are not in control of everything that happens in our lives. Sometimes we get too lost in the details to remember to notice the big picture. Though it is said that “God is in the details,” faith is often something we experience when we step back and allow ourselves to be dwarfed by awe.

Allow yourself to cultivate a sense of awe. Become aware of your place on the long continuum of ancestry. Feel the largeness of the global family and our small but pivotal place in it. Think of yourself as a citizen of the cosmos. Feel connected in a vast network of time and space.

Now, let yourself notice how much of our lives we take actions and spend moments which have no guarantees. This “not knowing” can occur to us in many different ways – from moment to moment on a continuum from disconcerting to deeply comforting. Strengthening our musculature to embrace mystery is a powerful way to deepen peace and gratefulness in our lives. Sometimes simply affirming how intimate we already are with various forms of mystery can liberate us from feelings of fear and a need to control life.

Go: Allow yourself to ponder: What are the things that you do every day which require that you act from faith? Br. David says that faith is “courageous trust.” Where does life ask that you regularly live from “courageous trust?” How are you routinely investing in possibilities you cannot see, touch, or even understand? When does finding peace require that you “let go to not know?” Reflect on these questions in your journal.

Our sense of faith in life is nourished each and every time we take a risk or invest in something for which no particular result is promised, and we smile – inside and out. Do something that it takes courageous trust to do – and watch your “musculature for the mystery” and awareness of awe get more robust:

  • Commit an anonymous act of kindness or service. Expect nothing back. Truly. Smile inside. Do it more often.
  • Do something you have been afraid to do – safely. Survive it. Feel faith filling up.
  • Love someone really generously – beyond measuring. Forget 50-50. Be your own balance.
  • Plant seeds. Water them regularly – just a bit. Keep them warm. Be amazed.
  • Get yourself somewhere where you feel small – dwarfed by awe. Feel how faith gets bigger when we can let go of a bit of control. Feel your own dawn.

Kristi Nelson

Kristi Nelson

About the author

Kristi Nelson is Executive Director of A Network for Grateful Living and the author of Wake Up Grateful: The Transformative Practice of Taking Nothing for Granted. Her life’s work in the non-profit sector has focused on leading, inspiring, and strengthening organizations committed to progressive social and spiritual change. Being a long-time stage IV cancer survivor moves her every day to support others in living and loving with great fullness of heart. Learn more about Kristi here.