Every Day a Holy Day
Every Day A Holy Day: Exercises, Experiments and Practices for Mindful Living by Barbara Haynes
Every Day a Holy Day is an excellent manual for the use of serious spiritual seekers who understand the importance of “being there” as a gateway to spiritual maturity and to the integration of spiritual experience in ordinary life.
Rather than add special activities into our life under the banner of spiritual practices, this book demonstrates how to effortlessly fold spirituality into life. It offers 121 exercises that can be done effortlessly and without being noticed, anywhere, anytime.
Every Day a Holy Day is not about having a peak experience, although these exercises can be a catalyst for this. Rather, it points us to a way to live our lives, to be one with our environment and the people with whom we relate. The book offers a lifetime of keys in the guise of exercises, experiments and practices to keep unlocking the doors and deepening our relationship to our heart's desire.
I first came across the idea of using exercises or experiments to open new perspectives on myself, the environment and my relationships with others when I encountered E.J. Gold's book Practical Work on Self in 1984. Mr. Gold offers exercises in his book that allowed me to gain a new understanding of myself.
I worked with each of the twenty-four exercises in Practical Work on Self and found the results revealing.
I had a most profound experience while doing the “Popcorn exercise”.
I was driving my car—a stick shift—and attempting to watch the movements of my body doing its job while keeping an eye on traffic. Suddenly “things” changed. Though traffic continued, it felt as if everything had gone into slow motion. I could see around the car in a way that would not normally have been possible—more like a sensing than a seeing. I drove another five or ten minutes in that state before I arrived home. When I left the car I had a definite feeling of having been cared for ever so gently by the car and I gave it a pat on the trunk in thanks. I walked through the house and finally sat down on the sofa where I enjoyed another half hour of heightened perceptions.
One Wednesday afternoon, about a year ago, as I was preparing dinner I had the thought: how easy it would be to keep the kitchen clean and exercise my attention if I remembered all the things and areas I had touched during meal preparation and made sure to clean them during clean up.
My Wednesday afternoon meal prep inspiration got me to thinking about the various little exercises, experiments and practices I have done over the years and the ones I currently do to strengthen my attention and presence. I decided to gather them together and share them.
At one time or another I have done all the exercises in this book. Some have become a part of my life while others I pick up and put down as the need arises. They have all come from personal experience personally experienced.
The exercises are not in a particular order. I encourage you to use them in whatever way works best for you. Opening the book and letting synchronicity take a hand in choosing which one you will do that day is a great way to approach the exercises. Keeping a journal can help you work with the experiences you have as you do the different exercises.
I hope you will find this book useful and that it will inspire you to find ways to make every day a holy day.
“I recommend Every Day a Holy Day without reservation to anybody who is yearning for a more spiritual life. The author provides simple exercises that can take any day beyond the ordinary and make it something magical. The book is extremely accessible, written with shocking clarity, and leads the reader deep into their own direct experience. What makes this book special is that it is completely practical and easy to apply. If you've struggled with finding the time for meditation, but are ready to get to work, try this book of mindfulness hacks. Every Day a Holy Day is without doubt the best and most practical book on mindful living. In fact, I'm certain this is among the most valuable spiritual books ever written.”
“Every Day A Holy Day is a small and potent collection of fun exercises that can lead to profound awareness. The author's personal experience with them comes through in the brevity and simplicity of the presentation. A book perfect for the nightstand or the office desk, your choice of the day's exercise will help bring more focus to your day without adding another task to your list. Having done many of these myself, I can attest to their good humor, their relevance to today's world, and ultimately to their effectiveness. Every Day a Holy Day is not a book to ‘get lost in’ but one in which to ‘get found out.’”
“Yes, this is a practical book of activities, so it does carry a certain amount of hesitation. I mean, who needs to add something else to do during their already busy day? The key for me is to feel experimental and playful with the exercises and to realize that they are invisible. You don't have to do or change anything … it's how you do what you are already in the midst of that you can experiment with.
“I open randomly and see the exercise ‘Thank You.’ To paraphrase this exercise, you open the feeling of gratitude for all of the automatic things that are helping you, making your life much easier, during the course of a day. Right now as I am doing this review I do this exercise for only five minutes and I realize a LOT. So many things of our lives are automatized. I hadn't really thought about it before … its incredible! It is a wonderful, simple yet powerful activity—and it is just one of over 100 eye-opening exercises presented in this lovely book. Thank you!”
“Don't be fooled.
“This is no ordinary book. This is a powerful Shamanic training manual. It trains the special attention in such gentle and deceptive ways that allow your spiritual body to get a thorough workout before your thinking mind knows what you're doing.
“The New Testament tells us that if we are not like children we can't enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Zen tells us to acquire Beginners Mind. Shamanic traditions tell us to develop our Second Attention. Nahualismo tells us to learn to ‘lose our form’ and ‘stop the world’.
“Well, that's all great. Ms. Haynes simply shows us HOW.
“Pick an exercise at random. The universe is at hand, ready made to facilitate it already.
“For mental speculations about the WHY, consult all other spiritual books. For a direct experience available to you, as you are, use this book.”
“Every Day a Holy Day is a book of exercises designed to help you live your daily life in a conscious way, heightening your perceptions and self-awareness.
“The exercises are grouped into related everyday activities such as working in the kitchen, entering a room, watching movies and so on. They feature simple clearly written steps with a joyful non-judgmental flavor.
“As with any spiritual practice, the exercises are simple while remembering to do them as a regular practice is harder to do. It is suggested that you start to incorporate those that have a particular resonance for you. As a hobby artist and musician I use ‘Season Change’, ‘Seeing’, ‘Instrument’ and ‘Same Room’ in my daily life. This is a natural fit with my daily art and guitar practice and enhances my skills in these areas.”
“If you get a chance to read this book, you will find that in our everyday life there are so many opportunities to have an experience that is not the ordinary type, but chances to find that there are ways to see things in a whole new way, and experience something more than what is usually considered just hum drum repetitions of the same things day after day. There is a way to see something new, a way to experience your own life in a much more vivid and enhanced perception. This book offers exercises that are not hard, but so easy, and yet, open a huge new way to see and feel life. I recommend this book highly, and hope that others can find out more about our ways of seeing new and finding magic, in the everyday things we must do daily, hidden avenues and ways to do.”