Days of Shalom
You are invited to share in the daily reflections I've prepared for my friends who will be leading, directing and learning at an English Camp in Polička, Czech Republic next week. These reflections are a little different than devotions. They are more like a time for self reflection and group reflection, doing the spiritual work on our journey towards wholeness. My sister, Jacque, who is the trip leader, program director, and whatever they need her to be, gave me a few requests for these group meetings, and we decided to call them Daily Shalom. Maybe you know the song, "Shalom, my friend"? We have sung that almost every year of the camp stretching over two decades. It matches with the word, "Ahoj", in Czech, since that means hello or goodbye, friend. But the Hebrew word means so much more.
Like many Hebrew words, “shalom” can be used to express several different meanings. “Shalom, my friends,” can be offered as a greeting. “Till we meet again, Shalom,” can be offered as a parting blessing. The actual word shalom means peace or wholeness. This peace includes a mental and physical wellbeing, and both of these combined contribute to the completeness of wholeness. As we care for one another, we must first seek care for ourselves--mentally, physically and spiritually. These Shalom gatherings will seek to further the peace in your heart, mind and body throughout this week or whenever you choose to use them.
Each day will feature a moment of stillness, so first a few notes:
What do I do in a moment of stillness? Basically, take 5 breaths and allow your thoughts to settle. Physiologically, this helps your brain and body calm down to respond to your surroundings or become more aware of your body, heart and mind. Our moments of stillness this week will be a practice of preparation, so that you can return to the stillness and calm whenever you need it.
Each entry has a different breathing technique. You don’t have to do it, but they are there for you to try or use if you need something to focus your attention.
Don’t try to block out your thoughts. It is best to allow them to rise, acknowledge them and let them settle like a wave of the sea.
May you find wholeness, may you find happiness, and may you find peace.
Your friend and prayer partner, Kati
Rev. Kati (Salmons) Collins
P.S. The post schedule will follow the camp. So, the opening Evening Shalom will post on our Saturday morning, then each day of the week(M-F) you will have a morning reflection with an extra post on Wednesday evening. The final Group Shalom will be posted one week from Saturday.
P.P.S. The picture above shows arrows in a common forest which shows the direction of different hiking trails. These Czech hiking trails reach back about 140 years for tourists, Czech and foreigners, but the tradition of the trails goes back even further. These hiking trails have also provided a kind of escape from the stress of every day life for locals and even fugitives, like Toulovec. May these reflections also provide a sense of escape, renewal and stress-reliever for you. Join us on this journey!