Find a myth, fairy tale, folktale, or other story from one of the cultures of your ancestors. Often you can find things easily by doing an online search at least as a starting place.

Once you find a story, spend some time reading it through to see if there is any resonance or dissonance or both within you. Pay attention especially to any sections, phrases, or words that shimmer for you. This means that it somehow calls to you and invites you to linger. Perhaps the story crafts an image that resonates deeply or stirs a memory.

Take this passage – I suggest you limit it to three to four sentences at most – and pray the ancient practice of lectio divina, or sacred readings, with it.

Allow a few moments to center yourself and bring yourself fully present. Bring your awareness down to your heart center, and invite in an open-hearted perspective, letting go of the need to think and figure things out.

Begin by reading through the passage you have selected at least twice slowly. As you read, listen for a word or phrase that shimmers forth for you, catches your attention, or calls to you in some way. Let this phrase echo in your heart or even repeat it gently aloud to hear the sound of it.

Then let the word or phrase unfold in your imagination, paying attention to images, feelings, and memories that arise and making space for whatever wants to come. Welcome in what your prayer brings to you.

Listen for the invitation you are hearing being offered to you in the word or phrase, and in the memories, feelings, and images of this prayer, with a text from your own lineage. Notice if there is a summons to some kind of new awareness or action. Allow time to hear between the thoughts as well. This isn’t always a summons to some kind of doing but often an invitation into a different way of being. We are often called to change our perspective and how we interact with others rather than merely adding another thing to our to-do list.

Close your time by resting for a few minutes into the silence. Then spend some time journaling what you noticed or discovered.

Christine Valters Paintner in The Love of Thousands