This is the third in our series of emails called “How I Monk.” In this series we will be highlighting + celebrating members of the Monk Manual community as they’ve meaningfully applied our tools and resources to find peaceful being and purposeful doing in their everyday lives. If you’d like to be featured in a future “How I Monk,” share your information with us here… #HowIMonk
Name: Wesley Farrow
Occupation: President of Christians in Commerce & WorkLight Ministries
Where are you based: Minneapolis, MN, USA
Advice for Monk Manual Users: Keep the Monk Manual in a place where you’ll find feeling energized and at your best. Don’t force yourself to do it. Find ways to engage peacefully and meaningfully with the process. If that means you just look at the cover for a while before you start using it consistently, that’s ok! It’s meant to work for you, not the other way around.
A bit about who you are and and how you spend your days:
When I’m not staying busy as President of Christians in Commerce & WorkLight ministries, I love spending time with my 5 year old daughter and her menagerie of pets. Our adventures are more abundant than ever as we blend families with my terrific partner and her two sons. We live in Minnesota and belong to a wonderful church that welcomes people to know Jesus through worship, love, and community.
In my spare time I volunteer on the boards of the Michigan Rugby Foundation, Saint Paul Neighborhood Network, and Minnesota Department of Human Services’ Cultural and Ethnic Communities Leadership Council.
Having moved to Minnesota from Southern California, I must admit I’m still getting used to the severity of weather here. In the summer I’m up early to enjoy a morning meditation and out late to watch the sunset with loved ones. But in the winter I’m still searching for a favorite activity other than travel to warmer places. At any time of the year you can find me reading books on applied theology, watching YouTube videos about geopolitics, enjoying philosophical banter with friends, sharing life in a small group, or seeking to learn from people with whom I disagree.
What originally drew you to the Monk Manual?
Ever since I was a little kid I’ve loved to learn and stay curious about life. It’s such a fascinating mystery to wake up every day as a highly organized collection of energy and matter that happens to also be self aware and spiritually alive. I admire the wisdom of monastics who study God on the silence of a mountaintop, but I’ve never felt a calling to leave the hills and valleys of life in this busy world. The Monk Manual showed up in my life as support to integrate deep spiritual truths with the challenges of day-to-day living. It’s since become part of my lifelong practice and passion.
Are there any personal best practices, or personalizations, you’ve applied to your Monk Manual practice?
Give yourself grace. It’s ok if one day looks more complete than another. It’s ok if you miss a day. It’s ok if sometimes you write in the margin. It’s ok if sometimes what you write looks messy or sounds silly when you re-read it. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.
At home I grow food for our family and the local pollinators, I plan, shop for and cook our meals, I coach my daughter’s soccer team, and do all the usual chores (except laundry! Shout out to my exceptional laundry-doing husband). And as a family, we try to get properly outside as much as possible: backpacking, skiing, hiking, or just spending the day together working in the garden.
How has your life changed since using the Monk Manual?
It just so happens my use of the Monk Manual coincides with massive change in my life. Since using it I’ve built a career in ministry, established a home in Minnesota, became involved in a wonderful church, and met the woman of my dreams. Hallelujah!
When you were first getting started, what was of the Monk Manual did you struggled with most?
When I first picked up the Monk Manual my enthusiasm was off the charts. But soon thereafter I found myself struggling with meeting my own expectations to maintain that enthusiasm. Thank God the Monk Manual has grace built into its design. Even if I missed an entry or had more energy one day than another, the Monk Manual retained its function as a core support to life’s journey.
Do you have a favorite prompt or section?
I’m a big fan of the opportunity to select themes. At first I didn’t get it. But once I built the habit of selecting themes it started to click. I found my reflection on daily experiences to have more context and deeper meaning.
If you’d like to be featured in a future “How I Monk,” share your information with us here.