Reflections

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The Solace of Ancient Things

My husband and I are on vacation in Kauai, an island formed from lava rising out of the sea over 5 million years ago. We drove up to Waimea Canyon, a gorge that was called the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” by Mark Twain. As you gaze onto the walls of red rock you can see the layers of volcanic activity over those millions of years. Standing there in the presence of this ancient grandness evokes in me tremendous awe and humility. We also get to watch giant green sea turtles swimming in the bay outside of our condo window,

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Is your soul starving?

“If we were to abuse our children, Social Services would show up at our doors. If we were to abuse our pets, the Humane Society would come to take us away. But there is no Creativity Patrol or Soul Police to intervene if we insist on starving our own souls.” (Women Who Run With Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, 318) What are the things that most deeply nourish your soul? Do you allow yourself to indulge in this soul nourishment daily? If not, why not? What kind of citation would the Creativity Police write for you?

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Splendor Above 30,000 Feet

Yesterday we flew from Seattle to Kauai for a few days of relaxation.  I will continue to write, as well as swim with turtles, eat pineapple, and bask in the beauty! 

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Contemplative Living as Justice-Making

“The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence.”(Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, Thomas Merton) I first read this quote several years ago in, of all places, a Yoga Journal article on the practice of ahimsa, or nonviolence. It blew me away because I had never before even considered that the busyness

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eternal beauty, suffocated by mystery…

I offer you this beautiful reflection by Ron Cole on the beauty of Creation:  I think it makes a huge difference when you come out of your home in the morning, whether you believe on the one hand you're stepping into inert space, which is endless, or whether you're stepping into something that is animate and alive. And I really believe that landscape is alive. I think that one of the amazing things about humans is the way that we have usurped the notion of consciousness in almost an imperialistic way for ourselves. We in a sense have separated ourselves from creation.

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Ancestral Longings

Last Friday night I was with my women ministers’ circle, a wonderful place of support in my life.  Our theme for the evening was sharing about our foremothers and telling stories about the women who came before us and showing pictures if we had them.  It stirred in me several levels of revelation about the role of ancestral longings in my life. My maternal grandmother Faith was sadly a joyless and bitter woman.  She died when I was 24 with my grandfather by her side, tending to all of her needs as pancreatic cancer ate away at her body.  I

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Apprentice to Beauty

The phrase “apprentice to beauty” keeps coming up in my prayers and journaling time.  I think that captures, at the very heart, this call to which I keep responding.  Whether as writer, artist, spiritual director, teacher, dream-tender, wife, or friend, in crafting the art of my life I seek the wisdom and guidance of the Great Beauty of the world that beats through the heart of God.  Beauty calls to us, wakes us out of our routine, surprises us, holds us in the present moment, fills us with awe, immerses us in the world of the senses, bridges us to

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Sign and Witness

One of my favorite quotes comes from Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet:  “There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question

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Rule of Life

When I first began my doctoral studies in Christian spirituality I had no real fondness for monasticism, I didn’t really get it at the time.  Despite having always had a very contemplative nature, I did not understand how monastics make a difference in the world. It was while studying for my history exam that I started to think otherwise.  I first fell in love with Hildegard of Bingen.  How could I resist falling for a woman who was abbess, artist, musician, writer, poet, theologian, mystic, preacher, spiritual director, healer, and visionary (not necessarily in that order)?  Oh, and she challenged

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