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There are many metaphors for spiritual transformation: birthing, unfolding, awakening to name just a few.  I love the image of waking ourselves up from the ways we have been asleep to our callings and to the nature of the world.  Milton at Don’t Eat Alone posted a wonderful poem by Antonio Machado who writes:

Beyond living and dreaming
there is something more important:
waking up.

Milton describes Machado as a “poetic alarm clock calling us to awake, look, and listen.” I was reminded of one of Michael Meade’s lectures I was listening to in which he asked, why do we insist on alarming ourselves first thing in the morning?  I was struck by this image of people across the globe setting alarms to wake up in the morning and the subtle shock to our system that must be day after day.  I am blessed on most days to be able to sleep until my body needs to wake. Meade says on the retreats he leads, he uses music and song to wake up the participants.  I like Milton’s image of poetry as our wake-up call.  More of Machado:

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that a spring was breaking
out in my heart.
I said: Along which secret aqueduct,
Oh water, are you coming to me,
water of a new life
that I have never drunk?

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that a fiery sun was giving
light inside my heart.
It was fiery because I felt
warmth as from a hearth,
and sun because it gave light
and brought tears to my eyes.

Last night as I slept,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that it was God I had
here inside my heart.

In the invitation of Advent to prepare for the birth of God into the world, we are invited to awaken to the possibilities deep within us: to discover again streams and honey, fire and the Holy One.

What are you awakening to in your life?  What secret gifts are hidden deep in your heart?

-Christine Valters Paintner

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3 Responses

  1. Blessing on your awakening Lisa! I lov ethe honey image as well, so sweet and hopeful.

    Hi Bette, music seems a much more soothing way to awaken. I am eager to see more of your woodcuts!

  2. I’m going to change my alarm setting from buzzer to peacefull music. My mind and body are tired of waking ubruptly. Streams of honey sound yummy!

    Hopefully soon, my secret gifts will no longer be hidden, but will emerge into new, exciting, and sacred images in woodblock!

  3. I wish I knew. It’s on the tip of my soul, like a forgotten but almost remembered name. I am impatient at times. Like a child before Christmas, I try to imagine what God has awaiting me. Alas, it is hidden deep. So, I wait.

    I love the imagery of the bees making honey from the failures. Wonderful. That is grace.