Kind Promise: I will consecrate this moment.

Photo taken by the Hubble telescope, courtesy of NASA. What an odd duck of a word: consecration. Not something I would expect to run into in my online, 21st century world. Yet there is, smiling back at me from my 2013 list of kind promises.

It evolved from last year’s promises to “be tender with weaknesses” and “share strengths.” During those two months, I had a hard time identifying what was weakness and what was strength to the point where I threw up my hands and declared it all a holy mess. Hence: consecration.

The definition that struck me today was: “a solemn commitment of your life or your time to some cherished purpose.” The word comes from the Latin “from” and “sacred.” I immediately think of desecration, which seems far more common these days, where we are removing things from their sacred purposes.

A little bit of reading reminds me that, traditionally, part of consecration is to be aware of what a tiny bit of the whole I am. (The word “prostrate” keeps coming up in traditional prayers of consecration.) One of my favorite personal growth conundrums is that I want to live into my greatness and my tininess. Thinking I am better or more important than other people is a bad thing and so is thinking I am worse and insignificant. I am simultaneously wonderful and weeny.

How do I move into a month of consecration? Not everything is holy, though I would venture to say that bits of everything are holy. I find great beauty and grace in the entirety of the universe—collections of atoms moving according to scientific laws. Even on days when I can’t conceive of a consciousness behind it all, beauty = holy for me.

I am inviting myself into a solemn commitment to notice beauty, to notice connections and wholeness, to take my rightful place in the pattern.

When I was a kid, I had a book called You Can Write Chinese. (Hey, it’s still available!) I remember the page that showed the ideograms for big and small and a man stretching so big and collapsing so small that his body shape matched the shape of the ideograms.

big-small Ideograms

[Calligraphy courtesy of]

That is the task to which I call myself this month: noticing that beauty surrounds me and that I am so big and so small a part of it.