Wednesday, September 30, 2009

big deal!

"Learn to meet
whatever arises
with curiosity and
not make it such a
big deal."

–Pema Chodron

When something is happening to someone else
it just doesn't seem to be that big of a deal, does it?
So what makes it such a big deal if it's happening to us?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

enveloped by grief

Yesterday started out like any other weekday. I went about my usual morning routine before heading out the door for work. On Mondays I swing by Star Video to pick up whatever film I'm using for a specific segment of class. This week's choice was Smoke Signals (which happens to be on my top 10 best movie list).

After the first break I started the film & took a seat in the back of the classroom to work on papers. While watching the familiar scenes & listening to the laughter of my students I became acutely aware of something on the screen that I had previously not sensed on such a personal level. I had forgotten that one of the major themes in this jewel was loss of relationship with fathers. Mine died eight months ago. Suddenly it felt like he died yesterday...the sky fell down on me.

By the time the credits rolled I was a complete puddle and nothing says "awkward" like the teacher sobbing in the back of the room as someone turns the lights back on. There was that moment of tension in which people were fumbling for Kleenex, and I was trying to find enough of my voice to be able to put some words together.

Teachers are supposed to look like they are in control, correct? But my rawness became a window through which we could all feel the breeze of loss - I talked, they listened, and they talked and I listened and it affirmed what we already knew - We are all connected by our woundedness.

Grief can be an intriguing guest at times - I just wish she would call first before popping in.

(I have no idea who the artist is, but this is a great illustration of what it felt like yesterday - as if the sky had engulfed my head like a large blanket)

Monday, September 28, 2009

wisdom must be practiced

"Wisdom is not gained by
knowing what is right.
Wisdom is gained by practicing
what is right, and noticing what happens when that practice succeeds
and when it fails."

Barbara Brown Taylor,
An Altar in the World, p. 14

This amazing artwork "Akoma Sankofa" is from here. The artist is Julie Jalil & she writes that "Akoma Sankofa takes its name from West African Adinkra Wisdom symbols. The word "akoma" symbolizes patience and tolerance, while "sankofa" symbolizes learning from the past. Those two words seemed to sum up the calm wisdom emanating from the figure."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

worth remembering

"You are not the
center of the universe.
What a blessing.
Go pay attention
to someone else."

-C. Green

Friday, September 25, 2009

mind clutter

"More important than learning how to recall things
is finding ways to forget things that are cluttering the mind.”

– Eric Butterworth
photo by Chet Phillips
the more I study this art the more I see.
what is coming in to land?
what would I desire to see fly away?
and what has decided to stay to build a nest?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

living your wounds through

"You have been wounded
in many ways.
The more you open yourself
to being healed,
the more you will discover
how deep your wounds are...
The great challenge is
living your wounds through
instead of thinking them through...
Your heart is greater than
your wounds."

Henri Nouwen - "The Inner Voice of Love"

photo from here

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

whose fault?

"The journey to happiness
involves finding the courage
to go down into ourselves

and take responsibility
for what's there:
all of it."

Monday, September 21, 2009

that magic moment

"Every day, God gives us, as well as the sun,
a moment when it is possible to change anything
that is causing us unhappiness.
The magic moment
is the moment when a "yes" or a "no"
can change our whole existence.
Every day, we try to pretend
that we do not see that moment,
that it does not exist,
that today is the same as yesterday
and that tomorrow will be the same too.
However, anyone who pays close attention
to his day will discover the magic moment.
It might be hidden in the instant
that we put the key in the door in the morning,
in the moment of silence after supper,
in the thousand and one things
that appear to us to be the same.
This moment exists,
a moment in which all the strength of the stars
flows through us
and allows us to perform miracles."

Paul Coelho
(By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

ever wondered?

so how many dogs
get to enjoy the contents
of a doggie bag?

from Haiku for Dog Lovers, p.81

Thursday, September 17, 2009


It's hard to believe I've posted that many comments and quotes but that is what the Blogger stats tell me. I started this blog at my sister Rebecca's suggestion a couple of years ago. It's been a wonderful part of my day to hit "send" on words and images that hopefully bring some encouragement.

As I scrolled through everything I've sent since 2007 I wanted to find a favorite - but it's difficult to choose just one. If you go by my Feedjit, (which tells me where people are coming from and what they are looking for) the most popular post searched for is The Prayer of St. Brendan, followed by Prayer for a Best Friend. In that same vein, the post I find myself returning to most often is also about prayer. It's a 2002 newspaper article that Rebecca sent me back in June of last year - of a wise one-year-old girl, named Anna Maria who every day would walk out to her garden to have an animated wee chat with Mary . It is true that children see things that we have lost sight of, and that they are here to show us how to see again.

Jesus told his disciples to let the little ones come unto Him. I hope that in some way these posts have drawn us, God's beloved children, into a more intimate encounter with all that is Divine mystery - just like Anna Maria.

Thank you for all the encouraging words you send my way.



Wednesday, September 16, 2009

deep reflection

Did you ever wonder
the person in the puddle
is real,
and you're just a
of him?

~Calvin and Hobbes

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Look under your feet!

"No one longs for what he or she already has, and yet the accumulated insight of those wise about the spiritual life suggests that the reason so many of us cannot see the red X that marks the spot is because we are standing on it. The treasure we seek requires no lengthy expedition, no expensive equipment, no superior aptitude or special company. All we lack is the willingness to imagine that we already have everything we need. The only thing missing is our consent to be where we are."

Barbara Brown Taylor,
An Altar in the World,
copyright, 2009 pp. xiv, xx

Monday, September 14, 2009

Prayer for Autumn Days

I was driving through Port Gamble a few days ago and saw the first red leaves - the first sign of the change of seasons. Everything changes - nothing remains the same. I want to go with that much more than I do. The seasons are good teachers.

Prayer for Autumn Days
God of the seasons, there is a time for everything; there is a time for dying and a time for rising. We need courage to enter into the transformation process.

God of autumn, the trees are saying goodbye to their green, letting go of what has been. We, too, have our moments of surrender, with all their insecurity and risk. Help us to let go when we need to do so.

God of fallen leaves lying in colored patterns on the ground, our lives have their own patterns. As we see the patterns of our own growth, may we learn from them.

God of misty days and harvest moon nights, there is always the dimension of mystery and wonder in our lives. We always need to recognize your power-filled presence. May we gain strength from this.

God of harvest wagons and fields of ripened grain, many gifts of growth lie within the season of our surrender. We must wait for harvest in faith and hope.
Grant us patience when we do not see the blessings.

God of geese going south for another season, your wisdom enables us to know what needs to be left behind and what needs to be carried into the future.
We yearn for insight and vision.

God of flowers touched with frost and windows wearing white designs, may your love keep our hearts from growing cold in the empty seasons.

God of life, you believe in us, you enrich us, you entrust us with the freedom to choose life. For all this, we are grateful.

By: Sr. Joyce Rupp, OSM
photo by Tom Ringold

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday Morning

What life looks like in the Diocese of Western North Carolina.

Give peace, O Lord, in all the world;
For only in you can we live in safety.
Lord, keep this nation under your care;
And guide us in the way of justice and truth.
Let your way be known upon earth;
Your saving health among all nations.
Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten;
Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.
Create in us clean hearts, O God;
And sustain us by your Holy Spirit.

photo and prayer are from today's Daily Office.
i found the photo to be quite breathtaking

Saturday, September 12, 2009

changing perspectives

Once in a while
it really hits people
that they don’t have to experience the world
in the way they have been told to.
– Alan Keightley

Friday, September 11, 2009


A Prayer for Reconciliation

Gracious God,
ruling the earth and its people

not by terror but in love;
we worship you.

We confess that too often
our words hurt others
and our deeds are selfish;
forgive us.

In this time of uncertainty and fear,
help us to love our enemies
and do good to those who hate us,
in the name of Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Miracle of Change

"All things change
when we do."

Kukei, The Zen Poems

photo from here

but do we believe that?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Saint Fred Rogers

When my grandchildren watch television at my house there are a myriad of channels for them to choose from - most of which are smart mouthed animated characters and/or situation comedies geared towards pre-teens - most of which are drivel. We need models of kindness and gentleness and love for our children/grandchildren. Are you aware of any?

"At the center of the universe is a
loving heart that continues to beat
and that wants the best for every person.
Anything we can do to help foster
the intellect and spirit and emotional growth
of our fellow human beings, that is our job.
Those of us who have this particular vision
must continue against all odds.
Life is for service."

mister rogers neighborhood
- fred rogers - 1928-2003

Monday, September 7, 2009


“Showing compassion for ourselves
allows us to serve from
a full and grateful heart.”

–Rev. Jane E. Vennard,
Praying With Body and Soul

Labor Day Prayer

Creating God,
You made the heavens and the earth and your work was Good
and we praise you.
May we continue your good work through our own labor -
helping to create your kingdom on earth as in heaven.
We pray on this Labor Day for all those who work.
Whether in the school, the factory, the mines, the armed services,
the business office, government or on the farm,
may all workers carry themselves with honor,
know the respect of their managers,
be kept safe from harm,
and be well paid for hard work
so that they might provide for their family and loved ones.

God help us not to pit workers of one nation against those of another nation
so that one must suffer if another thrives.
Rather help us to create work in concert so that workers of all nations
might mutually prosper with decent wages for decent work.

Today we also pray for those who are unemployed or underemployed.
May they not become discouraged;
may they continue to find ways to learn and grow in their time out of work.
Help us as a nation to continue to provide
for those who are suffering from unemployment
so that they do not lose hearth and home.
May those out of work experience tangible evidence of our support
and may meaningful work come quickly.
May all the labors of our lives benefit your creation
so that we might be co-creators of your world
filled with peace and enough for all. Amen

Paul Raushenbush

Saturday, September 5, 2009

accept yourself

"You can deny your nature
only up to a point;
even your feelings for God
melt away.
Knowing God demands
not self-destruction."

- Juris Rubenis

Friday, September 4, 2009

Make it Work!

I'm a huge fan of Project Runway. I especially enjoy Tim Gunn's famous line "Make it Work" which he uses to encourage the designers as they frantically race the clock to complete their next design projects. This may be just the incentive an aspiring designer needs to hear - however, in the practice of Spiritual Direction the directive to "make it work" can only spell "disaster".

Sometimes people seek Spiritual Direction because they are stuck in their relationship with God. They want new tools, new prayers, and new insights that will somehow get them back on track or "make their relationship with God work". I suppose this comes from our consumerist-oriented society. We can buy just about anything we want & we want what's easy and what works for us. (i.e. Did you know that most people choose a church based on the accessibility of parking?) So why not apply those principles to our spiritual lives?

Because spiritual growth can be long, slow, and at times tedious. The Holy Spirit cannot be manipulated. There will be times of delight where the presence of God is palatable and times of darkness, where one feels as though they've drifted off alone to sea. These will be times of waiting. I'm in one at the moment. And I'm hearing a great amount of silence. This brings up feelings of anxiousness as my ego demands that I not only make a choice, but the RIGHT choice. And yet, these feelings of fear are a reminder that I'm living in my head again. Life is not found there but in the letting go of what I believe brings life (that would be control). I can't make my life "work" yet I have difficulty letting this idea go.

Spiritual growth is in no way linear. It's fluid, circular, and always in motion. Spiritual Direction is about relaxing into that way of thinking and being. It's a call into deeper relationship with the Divine and with one another. So if your spiritual life is not "working" for you perhaps it's time to let go of what you thought would bring you life and engage in the rich and nuanced adventure of what we are all called to - which is to love and love and love and love.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

boxed in

snitched from EK

wallow away

"The only purpose of guilt is to enable us to recognize the pitfalls of the present so that we can do better the next time, not to wallow in the past."

- from The Fine Art of Living
by Joan Chittister

One thing I saw in all the pictures I found of wallowing animals - utter delight! Look at that smile. To wallow means to roll oneself about in an ungainly manner like this pig - but it also means to take unrestrained pleasure or delight - like this pig. So why do we want to wallow in something like guilt?