Making Lasting Change | 3 of 5

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On Christmas day we got a phone call that abruptly halted our holiday plans.

Before the call, we were eagerly awaiting the arrival of four family members we had not seen in two years. We were extremely disappointed when we had to cancel (once again) because of a potential exposure to COVID.

At first I was furious at the person closest to me (my husband) for seeing someone outside our home so close to the holidays. Then, I just sunk into deep sadness. What a drag to spend the holiday this way! I sat, brokenhearted, in the spare bedroom our visiting family was supposed to be sleeping for the next four nights.

But then I picked up a book that had been in my pile for a long time, The Whole Language: The Power of Extravagant Tenderness, by Jesuit priest Gregory Boyle.

Before I’d even finished the introduction, I’d adopted a new mindset: I’d view the next few days as a silent retreat instead of a prison for my unhappiness.

This new reframing was prompted by the words of Boyle, who said we are all seeking a wider frame in which to view things: “Allow the extravagant tenderness of God to wash over us. Permit the lavishing of such love to surround and fill us, and then go into the world.”

For the next five days, I let the extravagant love of God wash over me. I read, napped, meditated, journaled…and then napped some more. And I made new discoveries during this unexpected retreat:

First, I noticed how exhausted I was and how healing it was to have no responsibilities (and to nap during the middle of the day).

Secondly, I noticed that when I slowed my mind down and quieted my thinking, new life arrived in my heart and soul.

Second Breath is all about re-framing reality in order to let God’s extravagant tenderness wash over us. Through spiritual practice, we learn to relate to whatever happens with a curious mind, a tender heart, and a rested and strong body.


This week’s featured practice is part 3 of our 5-part series titled Making Lasting Change. You are invited to shift from your habitual ways of reacting to responding with love to whatever arises. Jesus called this our capacity for “newness of life.”

You can find the “Making Lasting Change” Series Spotlight at the bottom of the Second Breath app home screen.


(To try out this week’s Featured Practice, visit the Second Breath app on your iPhone or on your Android and find the “Practice of the Week” on the home screen.) 

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