In Chapter 2: Rules: The Way in L.L. Barkat's book God in the Yard: Spiritual practice for the rest of us L.L. explores the phrase: "Whose job is it to make sure we don't fall into nothing?" In her observation of back yard cardinals in her small space, L.L. witnesses the baby cardinal learn how to fly:
"I've heard it said that when it's time for baby birds to fly, their no-nonsense mamas knock them out of the nest. Maybe some fledgling somewhere must put up with such heavy-handed (or beaked?) techniques. But I recently learned from an avian specialist that for most baby birds it comes to a matter of internal readiness. Feathers grow long, muscles grow strong, bodies plump up, and it's time. The baby walks out ready to try her wings. Sometimes she makes her way, branch by branch, down to the ground. Or she might dive like an Olympic hopeful, gliding a bit if she's lucky, or enduring a crash landing if the breeze doesn't quite go her way." ~L.L. Barkat "God in the Yard" p. 13
In her quest to discover spiritual disciplines not "by the book", L.L. is struck by a friend's comment: "Many Christians around the world hear God and it's not through reading the Bible."
Which begs the question: "What is the best way to "hear God"?" L.L. seems to discover, through her own "spiritual discipline" of sitting outside in the same place every day for a year, (a discipline in itself) that there are ways beyond the "tried and true" disciplines of solitude, silence, prayer, meditation, study, service and sacrifice.
For me, there is freedom within those disciplines. What it looks like for another may be different for me. I find that in my dailiness as a mother, that I can experience all of those spiritual disciplines in my common, ordinary life without resorting to a cloistered life. It does take intentional living to do that, and perhaps in the end, that is the spiritual discipline in itself: intentionality.
"In the end, this is the most hopeful thing any of us can say about spiritual transformation: I cannot transform myself, or anyone else for that matter. What I can do is create the conditions in which spiritual transformation can take place..."
~Ruth Haley Barton