The South Wedge Abbey Project (SWAP) is our attempt to create a simple, practice-based program of daily formation and growth. Call it our version of a “spiritual CrossFit.” Our goal is to pursue the first and greatest commandment – “love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength.” By growing in mind, strength and soul, we hope to create deeper, more holistic spiritual health – rendering us a heart capable of loving God, and of serving our neighbors.
Learn more and follow along at SWAP’s microblog, swabbey.tumblr.com.
+The Daily Practices Journal
Participants commit to a 90-day period of daily practice, which can be tracked using our SWAP Daily Practices Journal. Each day includes a brief order of Matins (morning prayer) and Compline (Evening Prayer) which can be done in about 5 minutes each. Participants are placed in small groups for support and accountability. The focus in SWAP is not on emotion or on perfection – its on consistent practice that we hope will help each participant progress from where they are at, to where they hope to go.
+Work of the Heart – The Daily “Workouts”
In addition, SWAP participants will be given an optional “WOD – Workout of the Day,” focusing on one of three areas:
-MIND: Our goal here is Gospel Mindfulness – what St. Paul called “prayer without ceasing.” Mind exercises will range from meditation and lectio divina on the weekly Gospel, to a variety of contemplative disciplines (centering prayer, walking meditation, praying with icons, etc). Our goal here is spiritual sobriety and, ultimately, SERENITY.
-STRENGTH: Our goal here is to achieve Gospel Discipline – bringing our appetites and desires and our physical selves into harmony with our thought-filled mental selves. Strength exercises will range from simple fasts (give up snacks for a day) and day-long fasts, as well as focusing on simply physical exercises, prioritizing sleep, etc. Our goal here is to achieve BALANCE.
-SOUL: Soul is the expression of the Mind-Body union in relationship with others. Our goal here is to achieve Gospel Prowess – skill in applying the disciplines we’ve pursued. Soul exercises will be both personal and relational – ranging from acts of creativity (journaling, creating art, etc) to relationship-building activities – having 1-1 conversations with fellow participants, gathering with your group and others for active listening and reflection, etc. Our goal here is, like the quality, to achieve PROWESS – knowledge and skill applied at the right time in the right way.
We hope that by “working out” these various dimensions of the heart, we will achieve both serenity and balance within, enabling us to love God with our whole being, while also making ourselves more available and more helpful in relationship with our fellow human beings. In this sense, the pursuit of “holiness” is not the goal – it is the path and the tool by which we receive the true gift – more intimate relationships with God and other human beings.
A sample week’s workouts might look as follows:
–Monday – Mind – Spend 5 minutes today reading and meditating on the Gospel for the coming Sunday
–Tuesday – Strength – Prioritize getting 8 hours of sleep tonight – arrange your day accordingly; fast from screen time for an hour before sleeping
–Wednesday – Soul – Send a text to your group – share one thing you’re grateful for, and one area you could use prayer for assistance
-Thursday – Mind – Spend 10 minutes today in walking meditation – meditate on a line from Sunday’s Gospel that has stuck with you while you walk
-Friday – Strength – Fast from snacking today – eat only at meals and drink only water
–Saturday – Soul – get together with a member of your group for an intentional 1-1 conversation; if you can’t meet face-to-face, use Skype or call on the phone
–Sunday – Sabbath – rest from practices – attend your place of worship if applicable
Individuals can join SWAP at any time. You do not need to be a member of the Mission to participate in SWAP – in fact, we encourage practitioners of any spiritual tradition to join us in this discipline. We especially hope that cross-pollination with other traditions will help us develop a greater variety of practices and hone our own program to be more helpful for all involved. See current session details here.
If interested, contact Rev Matthew Martin Nickoloff at email@example.com or 585-746-3048, or Lay Missioner Kate Crane at firstname.lastname@example.org