The longest journeys don't begin with "a single step." They start with a deep pain that's full of Grace. Without such pain, we can limp along for years in a situation that is not quite bad enough to force our departure. That's a soul-withering position, my friends. Sometimes the best way to serve others is to honor yourself and your needs. No one can pour from an empty vessel. I've had a lifelong tendency to celebrate long-suffering endurance and to find a way to "make it work," … [Read more...] about The Grace of an Exodus Experience
Gratitude transcends the boundaries of religion, and sitting down for a meal invites me to pause in thanksgiving. After years of using my grandmother's faithful words, "Bless this food to our bodies and our bodies to Thy service," I'm ready for a new blessing. Giving Thanks Thank You for this food, and for the health and skill* to prepare it. Thank You for blessings today, seen and unseen, noticed and unnoticed. Teach me to see like You see. Teach me to love like You love. Please teach … [Read more...] about A New Blessing
When she fell down the cafeteria stairs, textbooks and papers flying, I watched from a chair on the first floor. Would someone help her? I scribbled some notes as she got up and walked around the corner. A few minutes later, we repeated the process. My partner in this experiment for our social psychology class had a love for drama and a talent for staging realistic slip-and-falls. We were studying altruism – the contexts in which people are likely to be helpful (or not). Tip from the class: … [Read more...] about I am not the Messiah.
December's Winter Solstice marked the longest night of the year. The ending before the beginning. The darkness before the widening light. All around us, Nature shares the wisdom of emptiness, dormancy and surrender. Trees empty their branches of leaves. They channel their strength inward, and they let go. To be empty is to be open. To be empty is to be full of possibility. Waiting for birth. Harvest has finished, whether you mark this week as the birth of Jesus or the historic celebration … [Read more...] about Empty
I often act like what author Parker Palmer might call a "functional atheist," I wrote in my October newsletter. (My measure of love for a book is reading it again and again, and Parker Palmer's Let Your Life Speak feels new each time because I am different.) Humans have many names for God, including a nameless but benevolent force at work in the Universe. Spiritual paths such as Buddhism, with its concept of non-doing, recognize a larger-than-us Doer. For me, God is more than a force of … [Read more...] about ‘Functional Atheism’ at Work
When 2020 started going sideways, I rediscovered some notes from a 2019 seminar. "Chaos is the earth re-ordering itself," our teacher, a Catholic nun, said at Springbank Retreat Center in Kingstree, S.C. When change comes on such a large scale, she told us, the question is whether we will open to change ourselves or "re-entrench." I continue to ponder her words whenever I feel myself digging in and clutching at life as it was instead of opening to what is (aka reality). Wisdom is written … [Read more...] about Two Nuns, Chaos and a Plague