Spiritual Renewal in Times of Crisis

Patheos periodically offers a theoblogger challenge to respond to a question in 100 words or less.  I wasn’t able to respond in time to be included in their list, but offer my response here.  Stop by their website to see the other responses.  Here is the prompt:

Faced with an unexpected personal crisis, each of us is propelled on a unique journey through grief, without a clear road map or how-to instructions. With the recent release of the movie Eat, Pray, Love, about one woman’s spiritual quest after a bitter divorce, we’ve been thinking about the ways each of us seeks renewal, specifically in times of crisis. And while author Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey led her on an extended pilgrimage far from her home in NYC, we couldn’t help but wonder: How do you seek spiritual renewal when you can’t leave your family, your job, your mortgage payment?

When you can’t drop everything for a year-long spiritual pilgrimage, how/where do you seek spiritual renewal in times of personal crisis?

My response:

I felt in need of a great pilgrimage
so I sat still for three
days

and God came
to me.

-Kabir

Sit in your cell and your cell will teach you everything.

-Sayings of the Desert Mothers & Fathers

I love the horizon-broadening adventure of travel and the invitation of pilgrimage to go to unexplored places within me.  The purpose of these voyages, however, is always to return home again carrying the new insight back to everyday life.  The Desert Mothers and Fathers remind me that my monk’s cell – which is really a metaphor for the inner cell of my heart – is the place I am called to sit day after day and be present to the mystery of myself and of God I discover there.  What greater adventure is there than plunging into our own depths and uncovering what the mystics have told us for centuries – the heart of God beating within our own?  This is also a perilous journey, for I encounter my own shadow and resistance, my small and hurting places.  But when I kneel down at the altar before them and surrender into the arms of the Holy One, when I can sustain this inner gaze, these places are transformed into wisdom and grace.  Each moment I am called to awaken to this journey within.  No passport is necessary.

How about you dear reader?  How do you renew yourself spiritually when you can’t go away?

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Register for either Lectio Divina: The Sacred Art of Reading the World or Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Contemplative Practice by the end of the day on Sunday, September 12th and 50% of the profits will be donated to the National Wildlife Federation’s Gulf Oil Spill Restoration Fund

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