Dearest monks and artists,
This excerpt “Slowing Down” is from our reflective art journal What is Blossoming Within You? Years ago, when the Abbey was based in Seattle, we used to produce several of these volumes full of color photos, quotes, and reflections. Since moving, the physical copies are no longer produced, however you can download a digital copy for free at this link>>
It takes time to see. Around us the world is exploding in a celebration of new life and we may miss much of it in our seriousness to get the important things of life done.
Lynn Ungar has a wonderful poem titled “Camas Lilies” in which she writes: “And you—what of your rushed and / useful life? Imagine setting it all down— / papers, plans, appointments, everything, / leaving only a note: “Gone to the fields / to be lovely. Be back when I’m through / with blooming.”
You might begin this journey of reflection on blossoming by writing yourself a note of permission to set aside all of your useful and important tasks for a while and go out to the fields — at least in your imagination — to allow some time for your own blooming.
What is the busyness in your life that gets in the way of being able to really see the blossoming spring forth around you, both within and without? Can you name the hurriedness and distraction? How often do moments of beauty go by unnoticed in your life?
Alice Walker offers us an invitation to notice the colors of the world as a way to give honor to God, the creator of such beauty. You might consider making it a practice to notice one particular color in the day ahead and every time you see it, inhale its beauty and exhale to release your gratitude for the vibrant world that sustains us moment by moment.
With great and growing love,
Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE
Photo © Christine Valters Paintner