Small Things the Reflect Light

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A dear friend of mine and I were talking about the antidote to a toxic climate in this election. I’ve resolved to come up with one or two or more, much like the rriiiiipppping! sound of tearing off a prescription in a doctor’s office. My first prescription for myself was a poignant reading written by Richard Rohr on his “Center for Action and Contemplation” site.  My second one is this: small things that reflect light. What small things all around you are reflecting light today . . . including you?

Feel free to post a picture or description on this site- let’s share the love, and the light!

 

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An Earth Day Meditation from a Friend

I’ve seen my share of technicolor rainbows in recent months. Late last summer, I took a rainy hike up slippery rock to an Iron Age fort, Dun Aonghasa, on Inishmore, one of the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland. A slight break in the weather treated me and my traveling companions to a […]

via Rainbow Invitation — heartlandlistening

Commencing Countdown, Engines On

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Crone? Wise woman? Lady of the Middle Ages? Halfway between here and there? Elder?

What are your names for crossing the half-century mark? I think we can get creative here . . . She-who-is-content-with-who-She-is . . . Wabi-Sabi Woman . . . or Our Lady of Perpetual Creakings?

In Howard Rheingold’s book They Have a Word for It,  the Navajo word hozh’q means “the beauty of life, as seen and created by a person”. The author further explains: “Quick- think about your wealth. You probably thought about your bank balance, stock portfolio, real estate, or other economic measures. If you were to ask the same question of a Navajo, you might discover that your informant’s reaction is to count the number of songs he or she knows, especially the ones self-created. Which of these answers is the more sophisticated? To the Navajo, beauty is not only a way of looking at life, but is in itself a way to live.”

And so . . . Threshold-Crossing Lesson Number One: Beauty is not measurements and mirrors, “beauty is in itself a way to live”.

Agog in Summer

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photo courtesy of Rick Vander Kam

I woke up this morning agog. Alive in gratitude, openness, and grace (yes each beginning letter is part of that eye opening made-up acronym, though I don’t usually do that sort of thing). When you look up the word “agog”, the definition “very eager or curious to hear or see something” will appear. Almost as if the reader were “very eager or curious . . . to see something”.

When taken “seriously”, or rather, earnestly, what a way to start out the day! But what a curiously forgetful lotus-eating event happens the moment I wake up and find myself chained to the rowing benches of my usual mindset: “What do I have to do today . . . will I get it done in time . . . will it be good enough? That sounds tiring.” O.K. reverse. Back to the alarm, or the sun, or whatever woke me up.

“I wonder what will unfold today? What surprises? What delights? Of course, I’m good enough, but will I be able to remain awake enough to see what perks up or peeks open?” That’s better. Agog. Alive with Gratitude, Openness, and Grace. That’s what I wish to be. Maybe you do, too . . .

What does the Mandala of your soul look like?

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I am gazing at a picture of a beautiful mandala made entirely of stones. Each one is painted differently. Some with curly fronds, others with symmetrical floral knots, but all silhouettes of the natural world. The center is a lacy confection of white designs feathered onto a brown rock, reminiscent of gingerbread. I don’t usually think of mandalas this way. Rock and stone. Silhouettes and gingerbread. I usually see painted glowing swirls of geometrics, looking luminous and celestial on a shaving of paper or a sheet of canvas. But I look at this one and think, “why not?” What does the mandala of my soul look like? What illumination do the interiors create for me and others at this moment? Is it a gingerbread stone, bringing complexity and joy all at once to my own self, then fingering them out through gifts of awareness of beauty to those around me? Is mine a windy labyrinth where trust is illuminated only one footstep at a time, but you can hear the pulse and voice of birdsong over the twisting walls, radiating both toward and away from me? Is it a field of fallen leaves creating an overlapping pattern of both life and death, beginnings and endings, sugar maple red, and rich compost brown, delicately trailing paths of newness and rebirthing all around?

 

What is the mandala of your soul today?

Sun-honeyed milestones

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What makes certain moments in our lives, “momentous”? You know the ones- those sun-honeyed memories that seem to conjure up all sorts of good things in the stew of your soul. Deep, simmering, rich with multi-dimensional broth. They are not even necessarily “the big ones”: marriage, graduation, childbirth. Sometimes the times that reign large in our souls may appear smaller, even inconsequential to the rest of humanity.

I think the ingredients may be simple. From my own experience in the wilds of being a soulful human, the common denominators seem to be love, awakening, and beauty. I stare into past moments that I savor as milestones in my life, and ask myself, “was it the deep acceptance? the sincere and loving embrace of friendship? the way the sunlight was distilling gold onto the peeling eucalyptus trees? a new experience of myself? all of these?” And I say in reply, “yes, I think so.”

Milestones aren’t always fluted with royal icing or champagne glasses (although I like that, too!), but can be trimmed with a recognizable understanding from eye to eye, “a long loving look at the real” (that phrase courtesy of a good friend and fellow spiritual director), or the gift of pure presence from a fellow traveller, or from Nature Herself, in all of her constantly changing splendor.

What were some of the sun-honeyed milestones of your life?

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White Owl: a poetic song of thresholds

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I sit here in northern New Mexico, while standing on the lip of the end of the month of April, experiencing with you this month’s poetry of the human story, both tragic and triumphant. I reflect on these things while in this great land of red clay and shadow because I, myself have just crossed a threshold. The two year journey of my formal spiritual director’s training has come to an end, and I find myself joined into the larger journey of providing rich opportunities for the safe and the sacred- lovingly held spaces for people to mine the gems of their own souls. The threshold of new vocation or pathway is also a sacred “rite of passage”.  I’d like to share with you a portion of the lyrics from a Josh Garrells song, entitled “White Owl.” It is a song (and a poem) that has became dear to me as I have gingerly tiptoed across the many changes occurring presently in my own life.  Enjoy and dip into the imagination of the colors of this song and your own current threshold; “take the flame tonight.” For an even richer experience, check out the video as well:

White Owl
When the night comes,
and you don’t know which way to go
Through the shadowlands,
and forgotten paths,
you will find a road

Like an owl you must fly by moonlight with an open eye,
And use your instinct as a guide, to navigate the ways that lay before you,
You were born to, take the greatest flight

Like a serpent and a dove, you will have wisdom born of love
To carry visions from above into the places no man dares to follow
Every hollow in the dark of night
Waiting for the light
Take the flame tonight

Child the time has come for you to go
You will never be alone
Every dream that you have been shown
Will be like living stone
Building you into a home
A shelter from the storm

Like a messenger of peace, the beauty waits be released
Upon the sacred path you keep, leading deeper into the unveiling
As your sailing, across the great divide . . .

Be wrapped in the warmth of love and peace . . . .