Week 3 Day 6: Life in Christ is Holistic

Week 3: My Relationship with Self
Workbook Exercise: My Own Self

Watch: Week 3 Day 6: Life in Christ Is Holistic
How might your mind and body need to be nurtured?
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Transcript of Video:

It is often the case when any of us are attempting to form or to grow or to realize anew a Rule of Life that there may be a temptation to think only in “spiritual” terms. And this would be very wrong because the truth of it is that a life in Christ is holistic. It is body, mind and spirit being integrated and brought into one by God’s love. There is nothing about us – in our physical desires, our physical enjoyment, the creativity or those things which stimulate our minds and imaginations – that does not belong as a part of a Rule of Life. To be named perhaps: What are your pastimes? What are your hobbies? What are your ways of finding exercise? What are your ways of finding relationship with others? It might be – as one of my directeees at one time incorporated into a Rule of life – English country dancing. It was to use the body, not to do difficult exercise, but to express joy in the company of others. It is to be whole.

Another aspect might be in some way or another to make music, or to go away entirely from pursuits that have anything to do with “religion” and immerse oneself in art or in the sciences. All of these aspects are part of our maintaining our health and creativity. We must let the heart open up and imagine these things. Make affirmations rather than prescriptions in our Rule of Life. Live wholly in God’s love – that is the way to bring body, mind and spirit into life through a Rule of Life.

– Br. Jonathan Maury


  1. David Damon on September 25, 2021 at 07:27

    One of my favorite pastimes is taking walks with my wife. Most every day we will take a 3 – 5 mile walk through a nearby state park or around our town. This is a great time to share what’s going on in our lives and to reflect on the day God has provided us. I also enjoy playing golf – and in particular practicing golf at the driving range and working on improving my ability. I’ve found that not keeping score when I play golf helps me enjoy the round much more. The third routine in my physical life is yoga and stretching exercises. I’ve been doing these for about 10-15 years now, and they’ve become increasingly important as part of the self-care of my body (particularly my lower back). One line in this message really struck me: “make affirmations rather than prescriptions on our Rule of Life.” That was brilliant – and really will help me frame the way I go about assembling my Rule. Thank you Brother Jonathan for that insight.

  2. Kathy Duchesne on June 19, 2020 at 17:31

    I need to focus more on what brings me joy rather than what I THINK I should do. Affirmations about what I can see and smell and feel and hear and do (like I did a while ago sitting on my porch) is a way to grow closer to God. With this COVID 19 I miss touching/hugging people, but living alone has its plusses when it comes to being still and focusing on God/nature/love/what’s REALLY important!

  3. Stan Lewis on February 27, 2017 at 10:20

    My mind and body can be nurtured by involving myself in activities that result in positive feelings. Sometimes physical exercise feels like a chore to me. Finding something that brings me joy is a better way to nurture my body.

    • Chioma Nwaogu on January 23, 2021 at 13:10

      Nurturing my mind would imply that I make avenues possible to recreate and renew my thought and meditations daily and always, to let in fresh and oily -smooth matters dominate me, as I live life. I work out and do some yoga and love to listen to music and interacting generally help me enliven my self for good.

  4. Jaan Sass on October 9, 2016 at 20:18

    I guess it depends on what state I am in. There are days when listening to Christian folk alternative music clears my head. Praying the hours is another way that helps me focus. Computers and reading also help me to relax and find some peace. Working helping others also helps me to connect to myself. Otherwise my selfishness and vices want to take over and become caustic blocking God’s love and grace to act in my life.

  5. Alan Rollins on March 6, 2016 at 19:12

    My body needs to be nurtured by taking better care of it: eating healthier foods (and fewer foods), begin to take walks, so I can take hikes in the woods and mountains again, allow myself to age naturally, and not worry so much about “looks”. My mind needs to be nurtured by returning to my books. I have a collection of books fiction and non-fiction, that I have either started and never finished, or haven’t started at all. I haven’t been watching nearly as much TV as I have in the past; only a few favorite shows. Also, as I’ve mentioned before, having a good conversation with another (not necessarily small talk) can really turn a relatively shy, and reclusive person, out from his/her “self”, and reconnect with the world.

  6. a city monk on March 2, 2016 at 11:34

    “to express joy, in the company of others….”

    what a fresh entrance into body mind spirit…

    “to express joy, in the company of others…” let me sit with that a while…

  7. NA on February 29, 2016 at 11:59

    “Make affirmations rather than prescriptions.” Perfect. I have come to see that my past way of doing things has been to somehow turn everything, even my hobbies, into a form of work. Rather than enjoying my life, I spent most of my energy simply getting done what I could and feeling badly about what had to be let go.

    I can see now that this was because great fears were controlling my life, specifically the fear of not having enough money to live on after my husband lost his job in 2008 and we embarked on self-employment. I wanted to use any talent I had to help us survive, which led to turning even hobbies into work. I started seeing whatever I did only in terms of whether it could make some money to pay the next bill.

    Needless to say, that fear based living is unsustainable. It’ll kill ya.

    So now a new way, a new Rule needs to be learned and followed.

    The seemingly small perspective shift from prescription based living to affirmation based living is just the ticket. Rather than finding ways to make even the enjoyable seem like work, I will embrace my more natural tendency to affirm life and creativity. Instead of a long list of Have To’s, I will embrace my life as Get To’s. Not everything will be enjoyable, but the perspective of it as an opportunity to affirm and learn rather than a bitter pill to choke down will help greatly!

  8. Debbie on February 29, 2016 at 10:44

    Give hugs often.

  9. susan zimmerman on February 28, 2016 at 20:05

    …at age sixty five i should be doing the nurturing no more deference

    …no opportunities no growth

    …the leftist male leadership have it all nailed down and they dont care if a woman is lost…cant wait to stand before God

  10. Debbie McMahon on February 28, 2016 at 07:03

    I began watching my calories and diet in early December, and the weight loss has enabled me to be more active. I am fortunate that my dogs keep me active. This particular season of my life has been conductive to having the time and motivation to take care of my body.

  11. Stan on February 27, 2016 at 21:43

    I hate to sound like a broken record, but … listening to music is very mentally and spiritually rejuvenating for me, and walking nurtures my body, as well as mind and soul. …. particularly when I’m alone. That’s not to say that I don’t like to share these things with close friends and loved ones … I just meditate better when I’m solo. Just sit down by yourself, close your eyes, and surround yourself with the music of Hammock, or Robert Fripp, or Vangelis, and try to keep your mind and soul at bay …

    Now to add one more thing that is very important to my mental and spiritual well-being. Motorcycling. Not only does it release your mind and soul from stress and worry, it’s also a good upper body workout wrestling with that 800 pound beast. But it’s the spiritual warmth that you get out there. An unexplainable infusion of joy and happiness, a complete experience of the love for life. I call it the Church of the Open Road.

  12. gwedhen nicholas on February 27, 2016 at 18:36

    My body and mind need me to go for walks. Last Summer and Fall I was walking everyday. Over the Winter I haven’t been. I need to start it again. I can tell the difference between how I feel now, and how I felt then.

  13. Donald Sutton III on February 27, 2016 at 15:18

    For me personally I feel that my body and mind is the most nurtured when I am at church and serving in the church. Church leaves my feeling relaxed and happy I feel like that is where I belong.

  14. Kristi on February 27, 2016 at 06:46

    There are many things I enjoy doing that nurture my mind and body. I love exercise in several forms but running is the main one for me. It brings me peace somehow & helps me detach from stress & worry. I love reading, music in most forms, cooking, movies and any outdoor activities that bring me in touch with the beauty of nature. Long walks, hikes & mountain climbing bring me joy!!
    All these things help me center myself & feel like a whole person.

  15. Martha Hunter on February 26, 2016 at 20:21

    Yoga, cook,walk, rest, read, color,

  16. Eugene Wright on February 26, 2016 at 20:15

    My mind and body might be nurtured by exercising regularly. I intend to start by walking and then doing some exercise within the gym in my complex. Presently, I listen to music of all types and genre except rock & roll. I go to parties where I get to dance and I participate in Social and philanthropical organizations.

  17. Carol Ward on February 26, 2016 at 17:52

    Winter is the most difficult time to feel like I’m getting enough exercise. I do my routine each morning & feel the better for it but getting into the garden is a rare weekend ‘event’. But, the blossoms show me that spring is here – daffodils, crocus & daphne do not lie – so I’ll soon be out every morning after a shorter stretching routine. I listen to jazz every day & classical music with dinner. Music has always been a regular part of my life from my earliest memory but I no longer play either piano or clarinet. Occasionally, I watch TV but only for a couple favorite programs. I find it very hard to just sit in front of the tube! My greatest escape, reading, has finally come back to me. Several years ago when my back began to disintegrate, I found it nearly impossible to sit & concentrate on anything. I’ve missed reading so much but I simply could neither sit very long or follow the story line. This last Christmas, I asked for & was given several books & finally, I’m doing what I used to do – reading three or four at a time & loving every minute of being able to to do so. What a wonderful gift! I’d mourned losing my ability to read a novel or a non fiction & it has been given back to me. It was so unexpected that I’m even more thankful for it because I never, never thought I’d get it back. This winter I bought half a cord of wood & my husband & I have had a wonderful time with out books in front of the fire. These have been enriching times together, quiet & happy.

    The two activities that allow me to pause & think or muse about life, God, relationships, etc are gardening & reading. They both provide long periods of solitude & quiet which allows for my thoughts to stray to other pursuits & other issues. I find these doubly rewarding for this reason.

  18. Roderick McDowell on February 26, 2016 at 17:09

    I thought the statement that a rule of life should be affirmative rather prescriptive to be very wise. During Lent I have often tried to do something that expanded my relationship with God and others.

  19. Margaret on February 26, 2016 at 14:40

    I nurture my physical body through regular exercise including yoga stretch, spin, weights and walking usually with friends. My creative self is nurtured through my watercolors and singing in my church choir.,I need to cultivate times for rest for body and mind, spending that time with God

  20. Mryka on February 26, 2016 at 11:54

    Two opposite ways of becoming more aware: both are good for some people, just have to decide which. Some want to get in there and do things and set up exercise or arts or intellectual activities. Others (like me) want to have unstructured time to pay attention to all sorts of things without having a time commitment, a goal. I love to read serious books in depth and just take random ideas from them and play with them in light of my own life experience and that of others. I don;t want to convince anybody of anything or develop a philosophy or write. I like to play music and do it when needed for groups but I don’t want to perform. Maybe I’m more cut out to be a hippie or a hermit – with good libraries!

    • Stan on February 27, 2016 at 21:25

      I think that people who are hermits by choice are underrated. They are generally thoughtful, spiritual, mentally balanced, and happy. Perhaps it’s because they live by their own rules. But really … when you rely completely on yourself to get by, your success only proves that you understand God’s rules.

  21. Russell on February 26, 2016 at 11:54

    With a regular practice of exercise and the willingness to be creative with hands and voice, I have a good base for nurture. I might add more repose to the way I nurture my body, more sleep or stillness. Stillness would absolutely help nurture my mind, which is way too active most of the time. The restlessness of my thoughts wears me out, I can feel the exhaustion almost every afternoon. In that long stretch between the lunch break and the dinner hour, I feel energy ebbing, and it’s not low blood sugar. I’m tired from wrestling mentally with projects, relationships, demons. For my body, I would include in my rule to walk more. I spent hours weekly walking a couple of years ago as I prepared for a pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago. I recall the wonderful feeling of forward motion and the clarity of mind of immersing myself in the outdoors. I could benefit greatly if my rule included walking and stillness to nurture my body and mind.

  22. Rhode on February 26, 2016 at 09:46

    My hubby and I just purchased ukelele! and are gleefull in our attempts ro learn to play. I have pounded tennis balls in teams or in singles with joy. I love Golf. It is patience and religion disguised as a ball. Zumba, Pilates, running, gardening, sailing, art etc I have been rich with opportunities to live a balanced and ‘full’ life. In the midst of plenty, I found myself poor and naked. I am here because I long for the holy, the Other, righteousness. I do love my active life. But, I want so much to sit at the Masters feet like Mary. I yearn to be passionate and zealous for Jesus and the Kingdom. I long for my garden to feed the hungry. I get the reason for this excercise…But, I am in a pivotal place in my life where I finally desire the meaty things of God. Forgive me if this reads as if I want to be a martyr or crusader. Far from it. But, my personal rule of life needs to change as this world is ‘too dangerous for anything but truth, too small for anything but love’ to quote W. Coffin. My prayer of ‘What now Lord? is to be able and willing too ‘risk all’ and follow Him.

  23. Michael on February 26, 2016 at 09:43

    I like to write, but because I have not been publish, I feel like I have failed and consequently suck much of the . It is joy out of the situation. Sabotaging my own efforts is habitual and hard to break. Writing about it may help.

  24. Bobbi on February 26, 2016 at 09:22

    My mind is so full, too full. Right now I don’t need another project or intellectual pursuit. I feel nurturing when I walk, breathing into my being God’s world. As I read the responses, I am hearing, “Music, music, what about music.”

  25. Paul on February 26, 2016 at 09:21

    Readings like this leave me sad and guilty for the ways I do not nurture my mind and body; though I refuse to give life to those feelings, they are there. I ask God to grant me the freedom and joy to pick just one activity to enlarge my mind and nurture my body. This Rule of Life is just what I need to place these issues front and center in my life before it is too late.

    • Michael on February 26, 2016 at 09:40

      Paul, Don’t wasting worrying about not doing, it drags you down. Grab Now and make something of it

  26. Suzanne on February 26, 2016 at 09:05

    I am who I am and God said that was good at the time of creation. Only the world can undermine that and attempts to do so with quick weight loss programs or hair replacement programs or whatever it is at the moment. In God I find balance for my life and complete joy. God and I enjoy singing. We enjoy gardening. We enjoy knitting. We enjoy being still, especially with our dogs next to us. We enjoy cooking and we enjoy eating. We enjoy conversation with neighbors and friends. We enjoy nature and being enveloped in it. Seeing God’s gifts through his eyes are so much more pure and tender. I am his beloved and he is mine.

  27. Robert on February 26, 2016 at 09:04

    I live waking. I walk at least twice a day for a total of 90 minutes to two hours. I took up cycling last summer and enjoy it immensely.

  28. Martha Hunter on February 26, 2016 at 09:01

    To be more spontaneous and creative.

  29. DP on February 26, 2016 at 08:49

    I like to take walks and play a little piano. I am learning to allow time and energy for these.

  30. Bettie on February 26, 2016 at 08:30

    I need to find a routine which includes nurturing activity! I retired to a very full satisfying life. But a year ago my children said it was time to move to my mother-in-law suite at their house far from my home of 50+ years. It is taking a long time to reestablish activities I enjoyed and which kept me healthy. Increased physical limitations prevent me from pursuing the active volunteer gardening I formerly did. I have a tendency to fritter my time away. Growing a rule is helping me to structure my time and its starting to work!

  31. William Spies on February 26, 2016 at 08:29

    listening to music, all types can for me open my mind, my heart and engerize my body. doing this while driving long distances helps as well while listening to music. walks in the forest to see and embrace nsture, listening to the song birds and frogs is uplifting as well.

    • Jeff Lowry on February 27, 2016 at 08:54

      Thank you for your comment about listening to the birds and frogs. After moving to a new location I find I rarely get to hear the tree frogs that were so common where I used to live.

    • Jeff Lowry on February 27, 2016 at 09:19

      I ENJOY this type of interactive study. First it allows those of us who live good distances from the monastery to get to view and hear the brothers. Also I enjoy reading the answers of those involved because it shows different ways of thinking and creative things people incorporate in to their Rule.

      Someone mentioned listening to birds and frogs. That reminded me how much I miss the song of tree frogs. They were plentiful where I used to live – just 2.4 miles away.

      As for me, I do walk my dog twice a day. I also usually get in two miles a day when there is not an evening meeting to attend of some sort or bad weather. I do have a treadmill. Yet I am bad about not making use of it. I would love to read more than I do. I miss singing. We had a choir at the church I attend. It was small. I sing baritone naturally but have a good high register. The choir had no tenor and a mezzo-soprano was singing that part before I came. I thought that was silly when I could sing tenor. So I became the tenor”section”. Slowly a year and a half ago
      people in the choir left for different reasons. Now only two of us who were in choir attend church. Thought about doing solos but the church is 35 miles away – so that makes practicing impractical.
      I have found other ministries with which to assist.

  32. Pam Dickey on February 26, 2016 at 07:28

    Without any musical experience, I learned how to play the Native American Flute. It is an instrument that just about anyone can learn to play. It is my musical prayer.

  33. Neil Ellis Orts on February 26, 2016 at 07:23

    Over the last couple of years, I’ve tried to find a dance class (preferably Modern) to join. It needs to be something my middle-aged body can still do, and also a class where I’m the old man among 20 year old women. I’ve found a class here and it was cancelled. Found another that met at a time that doesn’t work with my work schedule. So it goes.

    I miss dancing regularly as much for the mental stimulation as for the physical. And Modern dance relies so much on breath that it feels spiritual as well.

    I need to renew my search for such a physical activity.

    • Joan on February 26, 2016 at 12:00

      You might try and find a line dance class. I teach at a YMCA and have mostly seniors, but some “young” ones, also. There are all levels of line dancing from beginning to advanced. I find in my teaching that I touch the lives of many people by exercising their bodies and interacting socially. I thank God for the talent to teach.

  34. Betty on February 26, 2016 at 06:17

    My mind and body need to be nurtured by just loving myself for who I am… I need to walk walk walk walk walk. Thank you lord help me to come to love

  35. Jim V on February 26, 2016 at 06:03

    My body needs to be stretched and moved and not sitting all day. It needs to be exercised and expressed.
    My mind needs to be inspired by God’s word and the writings of inspired people. It also doesn’t need to be thinking and plotting all day but needs some quiet and beauty to listen and heal.

  36. Roderic Brawn on February 26, 2016 at 05:41

    I am a university educated music teacher. I supply taught in the public education system for a time, but now I am retired. I play my trumpet, cornet, and/or flugelhorn every day. I also sing in our church’s Senior choir. I have to practise every day. I love to practise. I also take time to walk about ten thousand steps every day. I need that exercise to keep my weight down, because I love to eat. Keeping my level of exercise sustainable, and my body healthy help me to be happy.

  37. Ferial Etherington on February 26, 2016 at 03:40

    Thank you Brother Jonathan. I delight in cycling, playing and singing music, theatre, cinema, walking …. that’s my rule of life (in all its fullness).

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