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Archive for the ‘Life as Prayer’ Category

Unfolding

Words to tuck in your heart…

“Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.
Awake your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.”

John O’Donohue

 

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As Annie Dillard says,

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

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I choose to spend mine lately seeking beauty, with the lens in the tangible world and in the in the middle of heart-filled encounters with friends in the more intangible world of sacred listening.  And when I saw this little gem it resonated deeply.

Become Beauty

 

Since delving deeply into photography I have discovered that beauty is so much more abundant than I ever realized. We are taught that beauty fits into a certain mold, reminded by advertisements, and our culture in subtle and overt ways that beauty is this rigid, definable thing… and yet, our souls know differently.

Seek beauty, let it become you.

 

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I found this little gem of a poem on Heather Plett’s website on the page Connecting With the Sacred.   Part prayer, part invitation it spoke to me and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Every time I stumble across Mary Oliver’s poetry it is like connecting with the Sacred for me, it causes me to sit up straight, allows light to flood into my being and it invites me to breathe deeply knowing this moment is enough.

Her poetry is simple observation, combined with deep wisdom and an expanse of stillness that fills me up every time.

Praying

It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

~ Mary Oliver ~

 

My prayer for you today:

May you seek what fills you.

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Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed. ~Mary Oliver

(thanks to Amy from the Messy Middle for that gem from Mary Oliver)

My prayer for you today…

Wherever you may be, may you trust in the little moments of grace that sustain us,

may you take a moment to soak in all of the beauty that surrounds you,

may you seek beauty in the midst of your life,

and may you stand where ever you are and receive the blessing that awaits you.

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Phase of rest…

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Keeping Sabbath…

They have been popping up everywhere lately…
reminders of how important rest, silence, solitude, prayer, meditation, movement, and reverence are…

A few weeks ago the sermon was on the idea of Sabbath, keeping the Sabbath, what it means to rest, what it means to allow God to renew you.

And this passage has been just behind my consciousness since I read it more than two weeks ago.

“The heart is a leisurely muscle. It differs from all other muscles. How many push-ups an you make before the muscles in your arms and stomach get so tired that you have to stop? But your heart muscle goes on working for as long as you live. It does not get tired, because there is a phase of rest built into every single heartbeat. Our physical heart works leisurely. And when we speak of the heart in a wider sense, the idea that life-giving leisure lies at the very center is implied. Never to lose sight of that central place of leisure in our life would keep us youthful. Seen in this light, leisure is not a privilege but a virtue. Leisure is not the privilege of a few who can afford to take time, but the virtue of all who are willing to give time to what takes time- to give as much time as a task rightly takes.”

Brother David Stiendl-Rast
Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer

Lately I have found myself seeking ways to bring the Sabbath feeling into every day. To find balance in my life that can be maintained long-term, a balance that allows the ebb and flow of life, and doesn’t leave me exhausted.

After spending the past two years in a program to become a Spiritual Director I have been thinking a lot about the ideas of Sabbath, of nourishment, of how to let the Sacred fill and renew me. Although it was an intense program there were these moments of rest that were built in that kept us nourished and filled through the time. I remember listening to the schedule of weekends and looking at the reading list and being a bit dismayed because I was already feeling torn and overwhelmed by my commitments, and the director nodded reassuringly and smiled as she read my mind “Although it sounds like a lot you will leave feeling more rested and filled.” Honestly I didn’t believe her at the time, but two years later I am in awe of how true that was.

And now that the program has ended one of my intentions is to begin to learn how to do that for myself in new and more meaningful ways. There is rest, and there is deep rest. And to learn what is deeply restful is an integral part of self-care.

So as you begin a new week may you find time for a “phase of rest”, may you take the feeling of Sabbath into your week and may you find the renewal you seek.

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There are always themes that tend to emerge when I pay attention.

Right now it has been the significance of small kindnesses, the need, both physical and emotional of so many that is so evident at every turn,  AND the flipside, of the ability of all of us to meet those needs at various times and in various spaces and how so often when it is right it takes so little effort.  Also, this idea that I am called to meet those that I can, but also to trust that others will step in as well, and to learn to discern when, where and how to step in, to fix, to let things be, to release.

In paying attention I have been reminded of many things:

I have been reminded that not every problem is mine to solve,

I have been reminded that I have a lot more to give than I realize,

I have been reminded that kindness- no matter how large or small- can transform moments, individuals and lives,

I have been reminded of the power of presence,

I have been reminded of the gift of being present,

I have been reminded that I am much happier when I pay attention to where my joy, my love, my kindness overflows and giving from that space,

I have been reminded that I need to include myself in the grace and kindness I offer.

In this interview, Krista Tippett from On Being interviews Nadia Bolz-Weber: Seeing the Underside and Seeing God:  Tattoos, Tradition, and Grace .  Pastor Bolz-Weber talks about the idea that we are here to be a community to one another, that we are here to help carry the burdens for each other, and to offer grace.

“And so it’s like this thing like I don’t think faith is given in sufficient quantity to individuals necessarily. I think it’s given in sufficient quantity to communities. The same with that whole thing like God will not give you more than you can bear. I don’t think God will give you more than a community can bear. And we’ve individualized this thing of faith so much.”

And ever since hearing this interview I have had many things from it that I have been pondering and playing with.  One is how many times I have been taking on things that are not my own, letting the heaviness weigh me down and missing out on being present for those who are here in front of me who I am called to be there for.  I have been missing the grace that is present in so many ways.   And secondly, the freedom that is granted when we can rely on each other to help shoulder the burden.

Currently one of the families that I love and cherish is going through a difficult time, and seeing the community rally around them, seeing the love that is shared, the prayers that have been sent, the ways that they have been held has only reminded me that we are that community.  We are here to offer grace, to offer love, their burden is too much to carry alone, but together, together we will walk through it.

That word,

GRACE

has been showing up in my reading, my conversations, my thoughts and prayers a lot lately.

So I am paying attention.

Grace, the power of it, the spaciousness in it, the lightness of it.  It is something that has been fun to play with, to continue to ponder.

And so I ask you.  What have you been paying attention to lately?

 

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So much beauty
“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.”
There is no way that I could repay all of the kindness, the gestures and outpouring of love and compassion that I have been offered as I walk, run, stumble and leap with joy on this journey of life, particularly since losing my brother… and these words resonate deeply.  And perhaps that is enough.  And yet to continue to seek out ways that I can pass along that gift- that gift of being seen, of being heard, of being loved so deeply- but remembering that my gratitude alone is enough.
 
 
These past few years have reminded me of how connected we are, how vulnerable and just how strong.  But the one thing I know is that we all benefit from the little kindnesses that we offer every day. This quote reminds me to stop keeping score but instead try to make my life an outpouring of gratitude, to continue to show up and when it is all said and done with every fiber of my being simply say thank you.  And to know that is enough.
 
 

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