Reflections

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Creativity and Community

I am currently co-writing a book with Sister Lucy of St. Placid Priory, on the ancient prayer practice of lectio divina for Paulist Press.  The deadline for the completed manuscript is November and the publication date will be spring of 2008 – yes indeed, the publishing wheels turn slolwy. This process has been a gift to me.  I get to write about a topic I love — cultivating the contemplative life through a particular practice.  I have a writing partner who has wonderful research and notes, and we have fruitful conversations before each chapter about how to shape it.  Writing can

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Expressive Arts Resources

The other day I wrote about the field of the expressive arts and how discovering this resource has really augmented my work in integrating spirituality and the arts.  Here are some books I would recommend: Spirituality and Art Therapy, edited by Mimi Farrelly-Hansen This book has chapters written by different expressive arts practitioners from various religious and spiritual perspectives.  Each chapter explores the connections between a particular spiritual tradition and work in the expressive arts.  Some chapters are stronger than others, especially good are “Prayer, Sacraments, Grace,” “Pilgrimage: Celtic Spirituality Revisited,” and “Nature: Art Therapy in Partnership with the Earth.” Foundations of

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Expressive Arts

Neither of my parents were religious people, but they did instill in me an aesthetic appreciation through regular visits to museums and cathedrals and listening to great classical music.  My aesthetic sense was cultivated long before my spiritual sense, of course, now I realize that my spirituality was being shaped through my love of beauty.  So when I did make a formal commitment to a faith tradition, the two things that captivated me were the aesthetic and justice dimensions.  While working at a Catholic high school in Sacramento as a religion teacher and campus minister in 1994, part of my

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Journey Into the Beating Heart of the World

I have been feeling very introspective lately, probably the result of having some sort of virus with a rash and fever that caused me to retreat to my bed for the last four days (the prescription-strength Benadryl helped that along quite a bit!)  Or maybe it is because summer is waning, and while I am probably one of the few folks in Seattle who actually tires of sunny weather all the time (I adore cool rainy days and curling up by a fire with a book), summer also means lots of time with my husband who is on break from teaching.  Early

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Join the Cosmic Dance

“What is serious to human beings is often trivial in the sight of God. What in God might appear to us as ‘play’ is perhaps what God takes most seriously. God plays…in the garden of creation, and, if we could let go of our obsessions with what we think is the meaning of it all, we might be able to hear God’s call and follow God in God’s mysterious, cosmic dance. “We do not have to go very far to catch echoes of that dancing. When we are alone on a starlit night; when by chance we see the migrating

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Articles on Beauty and Creativity

I just updated my website to include the text of two articles I wrote which you might find interesting: Responding to Beauty’s Call: The Shape of an Aesthetic Spirituality published in the October 2005 issue of The Way, an international journal of contemporary Christian spirituality published by the British Jesuits. Creativity as Christian Spiritual Practice: Foundations and Explorations for Ministry, published in the 2006 issue of the Journal of Supervision and Training in Ministry. Also, coming in the September issue of Presence: Journal of Spiritual Directors International is an article on Using the Arts in Spiritual Direction and Discernment.

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Clever Hands

My husband and I took a little pilgrimage up to Vancouver earlier this week to visit the Vancouver Art Gallery, where they have an exhibit called Raven Travelling: Two Centuries of Haida Art.  When we moved up here to Seattle three years ago we quickly fell in love with Pacific Northwest Native American (or First Nations, as they are called in Canada) art.  The Haida are especially extraordinary artists as this exhibit demonstrates.  The Haida people live on an archipelago in Northwest British Columbia called Haida Gwaii (Or Queen Charlotte Islands as Canada still officially calls them), a place I

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Celebrating the Friendship of Women

I adore my husband and know I am blessed to count him as my closest friend.  Even with that gift in my life, I hunger for the friendship and support of other women. My dear friend Michelle lives in Vancouver now and with me in Seattle, we have to be intentional about spending time together and nurturing our friendship. We met almost three years ago at a church young-adult Christmas party that we were both just about to leave. Somehow we got onto the subjects of Walter Brueggemann, Denise Levertov, and Mary Oliver within the first few minutes of our conversation

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Becoming Fire

A story from the desert fathers: Abba Lot came to Abba Joseph and said: Father, according as I am able, I keep my little rule, and my little fast, my prayer, meditation and contemplative silence; and, according as I am able, I strive to cleanse my heart of thoughts: now what more should I do? The elder rose up in reply and stretched out his hands to heaven, and his fingers became like ten lamps of fire. He said: Why not become fire? Someday, after we have mastered the winds, the waves and gravity, we shall harness for God energies

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The Art of Savoring

The art of savoring is at the heart of the sacred art of living.  Savor this lovely reflection by Rose Marie Berger and may you be inspired to savor these days of summer. . . (from the July issue of Sojourners, an amazing progressive Christian magazine focused on peace and justice): I’ve had the joy of visiting a small Christian community in California where—amidst the hustle and flow of daily life—everything stops 10 minutes short of sunset. Gathering in the small yard between houses, with celebratory drinks in hand, all faces turn west toward the coastal foothills to savor the setting sun. Depending on

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