“God of simplicity and grace, help us get back to basics…”

The SALT project’s Lenten reflection on Matisse this week focuses on basic black, the color that the artist uses to outline the simplest shapes, with clarity. It pairs the color with the gospel story of the Woman at the Well, providing, across many boundary lines, some basic simple needs, with clarity.

This has prompted me to reflect this Lent on what are my basic spiritual practices every day in this season, things without which my sacred journey will be impoverished:

I start my day with my intention to care for those I love, feeding my dog early in the morning when we both awaken. Neither my spirit. nor Max’s, is disembodied. My body provides the platform for the way the Spirit will meet me, and from which I can be of use. Jesus needed water, the woman needed a face to face encounter. The Spirit journey is lodged in the body.

I connect in prayer and love with my wider world through social media and checking in with hopes to affirm, comfort, celebrate and weep with those given to me to love. I practice being a member of community.

I take up various quotidian tasks in front of me in kitchen, bathroom and living area, mindful that these are offerings of caring, of grace. of love.

I read widely–both the sketches of the news of the day, but also sacred text and writers who challenge and teach me, push me more toward the Presence of the Holy One. This is a practice I share with my husband, and we marvel, roll our eyes, shake our heads and celebrate with the discoveries that we make about the people and places of the world, creation, the way that differences give us a new perspectives on a reality much wider than we have ever known for all our years of education and wisdom.

I aspire each day to stretch, either physically or socially, to make sure that I am using my being to move, touch, interact with a bigger purpose. So I have at the ready my piano, my labyrinth, my stationary bike, my phone, my computer, my checkbook, hoping to use what I have to connect what I am called to be and to do.

I keep a journal of gratefulness, reminding myself of the goodness of the Holy One and the world in which I live.

At the end of the day I make the transition to sleep with a mindfulness exercise that helps me attend to breathing and coming into the rest God has promised.

The fashion industry has long told us that we need to have basic black dress in our wardrobes, the fundamental need for every occasion. So I need the basic charcoal black practices for my life of Spirit, represented in my black dog and the simple straight forward practices of each day, the basics I need.