Sacred Practice: The Power of a Touchstone

Every day is like taking a short trip–we have places to go and things to do. So, no wonder we can get lost at times during our day–and even ask ourselves:  What am I doing? Where am I going next? In many ways, we have to establish our own guidebook for daily living. One practice that can help us to stay on track or, if we’ve wandered off course, to get back on track is using a touchstone to anchor us. Creating a few phrases or mantras that can help us, can be extremely powerful.


  • Begin your day with a phrase that connects you with your awareness of the sacred. For example, when I wake up I try to always say: Dear God, thank you for the sleep and the rest that I have received. May I love you today in all that I do, all that I think, and all that I feel. I actually began this practice at the height of my insomnia, as a tool to anchor me after a difficult night. So this isn’t all about feeling good, it’s about focusing attention on what is hopeful and meaningful.
  • You might like to use a brief line or two from a prayer or poem that you like:
    • Lord, Make me an Instrument of Your Peace; or Peace.
    • All is Well and All Shall Be Well. 
    • Or, you can simply wake up and say: Thank You for this new Day. 
  • Write your phrase down and keep it in a visible place–near your bed, on your dresser, on your bathroom mirror. You might not remember to say the phrase until lunchtime, and that’s just fine. The more you repeat the practice, the more of a habit it will become.
  • Another good time to create a touchstone in your day could be when you get to work, after you exercise, or before dinner. I always sit quietly with my students and take three deep breaths before we start library time. And after I swim, as I’m packing my towel and things, I always say: I am thankful for the time, health, and motivation to swim. All is gift, and may I give from what I have received.
  • Another good time to use a touchstone in the day is when you sit down for dinner. I always say: For this food we are about to receive, I am truly grateful. 
  • Find organic places in your day to insert your anchor phrases. Find a phrase that feels honest–don’t say what you think you should say.
  • To get you started, try repeating a phrase right now. Here are some suggested ones:
    • May I give from what I have received.
    • May I be a loving presence in the world today.  
    • I am thankful for this day.
  • Now, take a moment and write down a few phrases or prayers that have meaning for you.