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Part 2: Giving My All

girl running

Welcome back!

Again, begin by placing both feet on the floor. Stretch your muscles and focus on your breathing.  
Breathe in confidence.
Breathe out jealousy.  
Breathe in joy.
Breathe out judgment.

Part one of this retreat helped you identify where you are spiritually and showed how to use the examen of consciousness.  Part two looks at openness to God and to going beyond yourself in using your gifts, in risking friendships, in giving your all.  Read one young woman’s experience.

Soaring
by Erica Dombro

When I run, I pray.  In the process of exerting myself, I put myself out there for God to take hold of.  God loves life and when I use my body or my talents to their full potential, I can feel that God loves me.  Each minute of a race is the product of a massive buildup.  In a race, I put everything on the line and use it all.

At the beginning.  On the blocks, my muscles strain for the sharp crack of the gun.  I chase the blurred forms of my competition, existing in my periphery.  Eyes focus on the path.  Pushing it all out on that final stretch.  One foot in front of the other, dragging my legs through the air.  Using what I was given to achieve that final destination.  That line that signals the end.

Every race is a gift.  Training for it.  Running it.  The result of it.  After, there is complete and utter emptiness.  Exhaustion.  I quake in the void, concentrating on breathing.  In and out.  In, out.  Hands on knees.  Limbs leaden and sinking, but quickly filling with air to bounce.  Vulnerable, reaching out to embrace those who supported me.  High fives.  Rain, running down my face.  Chills.  Something inside eases open and the nirvana comes.  Adrenalin, pumping, shoving in my head.  Quivering in the soar.

This extreme happiness and contentment can really only come from one place.  In joy and relief, I soak up my surroundings and enjoy them.  Even though I am working my flesh and blood, in that moment I realize that I am part of something bigger and more important than my life.  It is odd how living does this.  In these moments, I learn that I am loved and, in turn, learn to love.  Using what I was given and being genuinely happy is just as true as saying an Our Father.

This story is from SPIRIT magazine for teens.


We human beings have evolved out of stardust, starting out as bacteria, blossoming into a colorful biosphere, evolving spines and feet and brains, becoming conscious and capable of choice and praise.  We have within us a deep longing to transcend ourselves.  Often we experience that desire in using our gifts and performing to the best of our ability.  Sometimes we feel pressure to perform and achieve.  We work for good grades, first place in sports or science or musical competitions.  We work to bring a student body or neighborhood together in a project.  This longing to go beyond ourselves and be part of something bigger opens us to God, the holy Mystery in which we live.

Identify a crossroad experience in your life–a peak or valley. How did your experience change your understanding of God in your life?

Ask yourself: What experiences do I have of going beyond myself?

In what areas of my life am I giving my best effort?  Where can I give more?

Commitment

Choose a gift to use.  Make a plan to pour out to the best of your ability and go beyond where you have gone before.

Prayer

Constant, creative God
You pour out your love unconditionally.
I don’t have to earn your love.
Love is your gift.  
Being is your gift.
Because I am made in your image
I can’t stop wanting
to be the best person I can be
and pour out my energies and love
in your world.

Thank you for making me and loving me to the utmost.

Turn to Part 3: Family



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