Two years ago I was at a point in my life where I was losing focus and I needed something to ground me and keep me centered. I explored yoga, discovered meditation, and practiced breathing techniques. Then I discovered devotionals. Daily devotionals are books that provide a spiritual reading for each day of the calendar year.
Usually daily devotional literature is religiously themed, which I am not. However, I do have an open mind, so I started off with New Year New You by Joyce Meyer. Each day I read a page, I pondered and I wrote in my journal. I considered what message was being conveyed through the text. How do I interpret it? How does it work for me (for the good of mankind)?
It was a good starter. Each day was related to a bible verse, so I even went as far as looking up said verse in a little handheld bible that a friend gave me a couple years ago. I read it from cover to cover. I was pretty proud of myself for accomplishing a year-long task.
Then when it came to choose my next one for 2016, I found Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are by Shauna Niequist.
I enjoyed this one as well. The author shares daily stories and bible verses as well as personal recipes. She believes that “spiritual living happens not only when you read and pray, but also when you eat and gather with friends and family.”
And then this year, I’ve taken a bit of a departure with this one by choosing The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman. I discovered this book when I participated in a binge eating rehab group last year.
In fact, The Daily Stoic started out as a daily blog that you can (and probably should) subscribe to if you like motivational reading. If you’re like me and have no idea what stoicism is (other than the textbook definition of the word “stoic”), I highly recommend signing up for their 7-day intro into what stoicism is. It’s a great little crash course.
This book isn’t really a daily devotional in the traditional sense since it doesn’t repeat verses from the bible. Instead each calendar day features “a devotional of Stoic insights and exercises featuring all-new translations from the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the playwright Seneca, or the slave-turned-philosopher Epictetus.” In fact, maybe I’ll call this my “reflectional reading” rather than “daily devotional.” It’s a little more secular, ambivalent.
I love the philosophical perspective of The Daily Stoic. It’s different from the others and I think it speaks more to me than bible verses.
Friday Focus: Clarify Your Intentions
Early on in my career, I had a fantastic mentor that I met with once a month. When I had to lead a pretty sizeable project of implementing a project management system and process, one of the first lessons he taught me was to begin with the end in mind.
I never forgot that lesson. I recite that in my head to this day each time I’m trying to solve a problem, whether I’m at work or at home. This week, the topic that really stood out for me was called Clarify Your Intentions on January 5. This solidified the importance of that early lesson my mentor taught me and reminded me that everyone needs to have an intent, a purpose. Purpose guides our actions. Actions lead to meaningful success, which makes a life worth living.
Two years ago I lacked a purpose. That’s what set me on my journey. And here I am. While I don’t feel I’m quite there yet, I feel like I’m a few steps closer.
Will I ever find that one true purpose? I don’t know. Maybe I never will. But at least in the meantime, I’m enjoying the search.
Interested in what I’m reading?
Buy The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman from Amazon Today