Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Spirit of Life: An Adult Program on Unitarian Universalist Spirituality

Activity 2: Sacred in the Everyday

Part of Spirit of Life

Activity time: 35 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Paper for drawing or writing
  • Drawing and writing implements, such as pencils, color pencils, markers, crayons
  • Bell
  • Clock, watch, or timer that shows seconds
  • An assortment of everyday objects, at least twice as many as you have participants in your group. These objects may include car keys, eyeglasses, a needle and thread, a cell phone, garden tools, salt and pepper shakers, note pads, a child's toy, a guitar pick, a puzzle piece, playing cards, a sponge, a remote control device, a book, a file folder, pencils or pens, a lunch box, a watch, a grocery list, a "to do" list, a newspaper, an envelope, a screwdriver, diapers, matches, a cooking utensil, an eating utensil, a lipstick, a hairbrush, deodorant, a candle, a toothbrush, a coffee cup, matches, napkins, duct tape, a bar of soap, postage stamps, a laptop computer, a PDA, a phone book, a flashlight, a mirror, a dog leash, scissors, earrings, a corkscrew, a calculator, a hammer, a pacifier, socks, or a pair of shoes
  • A cloth large enough to cover the objects until you begin the activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Set out writing and drawing materials convenient to the space where you will lead this activity.
  • Make sure participants will have seats at tables for writing or drawing.
  • Collect an assortment of your own and borrowed everyday objects. Make sure you have enough different objects-at least two different objects for every one participant in your group. Omit from your collection items which are fragile or valuable.
  • Place the collection of everyday objects on a table in the center of your meeting space and cover the collection with a cloth.

Description of Activity

Introduce the activity with these or similar words:

The hymn "Spirit of Life" asks that the spirit move in the hand. Throughout a typical day, what kinds of things move through our hands?

Invite a few responses, then uncover the collection of everyday objects.

Invite participants to come forward and select one of the everyday objects, saying:

Choose an object because you feel moved to select it. It can be something you use frequently or something you don't use at all.

Invite participants to return to their seats and hold in their hands the object they have chosen. Explain that they will have a time for meditation on the object, guided by three questions you will read aloud:

  • What does the object remind you of from your own experience? It might call to mind something everyday and mundane, or it might call to mind a peak or a turning point in your life. Whatever it calls to mind, hold it in your thoughts.

Pause for a minute or so. Then ask participants to silently reflect on this question:

  • Thinking creatively, how does the object you are holding relate to your spirituality?

After allowing a couple of minutes for silent reflection, ask,

  • How might you say the Spirit of Life "moves in your hand" in relationship to the object?

Allow another minute or two for silent reflection. Transition to a time of sharing by sounding the bell.

Invite participants to integrate their reflection experiences with these or similar discussion questions:

  • What drew you to select the object you chose?
  • What sort of reflections did it evoke for you?
  • Was it easy or difficult to name a way that the object relates to your spirituality?
  • As you go about the more mundane or stressful tasks of your days, is it easy or difficult for you to feel spiritually engaged?

Conclude the activity by sharing these or similar words about the purpose of this reflection:

Reflecting on these everyday objects can help us get in touch with how we feel and live our spirituality in the everyday-not just at the times we're worshipping or meditating or traveling through beautiful country, but how we feel and live our spirituality during the workday, while we do chores or errands, when we wait in line, or when we listen to music while being kept on hold during a phone call.

Including All Participants

If some participants are not able to move to the table to explore and choose from the collection of everyday objects, bring an assortment of at least ten objects to them and invite them to select one.