This e-course was written and first presented in July 2020, when the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was still rising. Much of the content is fitted to the circumstances of people during a pandemic. If you should be fortunate enough to come across the course after this pandemic has passed, you will still find much that's of substantial value concerning life in challenging times.
Early in 2020, the whole world changed. Called by the COVID-19 pandemic out of a world we knew, we landed in “Time Out of Ordinary Time.” Everything was radically different; yet we didn’t even have a name for this universally shared human experience.
Some people regarded it as a kind of holiday; others felt robbed of a certain authority or dominion they had (or imagined they had) over a world that responded properly to their rightful desires. Many couples, families, and communities found, under the jagged layers of corrosive uncertainty, painful cracks in the foundations of relationships they believed were good and whole.
Without an explicit, shared tradition of stepping away from Ordinary Time, many people feel lost. We are people who like to know what is going to happen. We are not fond of uncertainty. As a culture we have no name, no tradition, no practices, tools, or rituals for living outside the familiar comforts of what we know.
We are blessed by those many spiritual traditions which have long recognized both the existence of and the need for Time Out of Ordinary Time. The Greeks, for example, have not only Chronos — time measured by the progression of minutes, hours, and days — but also Kairos, a time of ripening into a particular readiness. Jewish people practice Sabbath, one day out of seven intentionally lived Outside Ordinary Time. Muslims practice Ramadan, a month of fasting in which Muslims everywhere focus their minds and hearts on Allah, and less on the daily concerns of what to eat, and when, and how.
This e-course acknowledges that we as a people have been shaken out of the Trance of the Familiar — a seductive state of being where we are both a little bit awake and a little bit asleep. In this new kind of time, we will use some traditional sabbath practices and rituals to nourish and comfort us. We will also experience how we can dream together a new, different, kinder, gentler, and more beautiful world, one we can — and must — redefine as we step forward into a more nourishing, honest, and fruitful life in Ordinary Time.
In 12 sessions that can be scheduled at a pace that you choose, this e-course includes:
- Wayne Muller's reflections on the challenges and opportunities offered by this pandemic and what we want to bring from it into the world-we-wish-to-create;
- Suggestions for spiritual practices that sustain, nourish, and delight;
- An invitation to keep a journal in which you record your reflections.
Wayne Muller is an executive leadership mentor, therapist, minister, community advocate, consultant, public speaker, and bestselling author of several books. He has worked with people suffering abuse, alcoholism, poverty, illness, and loss. He consults with numerous community organizations, educational institutions, and healthcare corporations. He is the Co-Founder of Nuns and Nones, a cross-generational movement of Catholic Sisters and millennial activists, and founder of Bread for the Journey — a network of ordinary people who engage in grassroots, neighborhood philanthropy through micro-grants. You can learn more about him on his Living Spiritual Teacher profile.
Let us practice together to turn pandemic-time into a ripening time.
(4 CEHs for Chaplains available.)
(choose your own start date and frequency)