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Category: Family Systems


Embraced by the Divine Mother

After writing this post yesterday morning about honoring the anniversary of my mother’s death I stepped into the day releasing expectations of what the hours ahead would hold and opened myself to how my mother might whisper to me across worlds.  I arrived at my yoga class ten minutes early as is my habit to settle into a few moments of silence to begin this sacred time of entering the body’s wisdom.  As I moved into the room there was an ethereal woman’s voice singing.  Another student asked the teacher what music this was.  “Hymns to the Divine Mother” she replied. I smiled and let the rise

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I practice yoga at a beautiful place, it is a non-profit studio in Seattle thoroughly committed to making yoga accessible for everyone.  They do amazing work bringing yoga to persons dying of AIDS, to veterans and refugees, to persons with disabilities.  They also are wonderful at integrating yoga philosophy into their regular classes.  Each month has a specific theme and instructors talk a bit about it at the start of class and then weave it throughout our practice together.  I find that the principles of yoga consistently deepen my practice of Christian contemplative and monastic spirituality, opening new doors for me into the

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Unexpected Bliss

Christine at Blisschick invited me to reflect on a moment of “unexpected bliss” for her series this week. Stop by to read my reflections on the way language can express the “curves of (our) longing” . . . lovely for me to re-read these words I wrote before my trip as I sit now in Vienna.  Tomorrow I head to Ireland for the final third of my pilgrimage triptych and won’t have much computer access while there, so more stories and photos when I return home in just over a week.

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Embracing the Night

The darkness embraces everything, It lets me imagine a great presence stirring beside me. I believe in the night. -Rainer Maria Rilke in Book of Hours I write to you from the beautiful city of Vienna. I am in the middle of an amazing time of pilgrimage and journeying to the heart of myself. After many months of hard work writing and writing, I am now taking time to be and receive the gifts that move in me in response to the landscapes I am visiting. My first week was spent in Rome for the World Congress of Benedictine Oblates.

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Mothers and Grandmothers

“And so our mothers and grandmothers have, more often than not anonymously, handed on the creative spark, the seed of the flower they themselves never hoped to see—or like a sealed letter they could not plainly read.” -Alice Walker, from In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens Last week I shared an encounter which made me wistful for my mother (pictured at right as a young girl). It was her birthday last week and I still miss her terribly six years after her death.  I have come to embrace this ache as a beautiful sign of how much I loved her,

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What Came to Me

What Came to Me I took the last dusty piece of china out of the barrel. It was your gravy boat, with a hard, brown drop of gravy still on the porcelain lip. I grieved for you then as I never had before. -Jane Kenyon The photo is of me as a young girl sitting on my father’s shoulder.  I have shared some of my journey with him here before — his layers of addiction, his inability to offer unconditional love, his narrowness of vision.  This is a part of my inheritance that I continue to name and own.  His grief and despair

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What Endures

Today is the fifth anniversary of my mother’s death. My time away on retreat the last few days was a time of ritual and remembering.  I will post more about the retreat itself in the next couple of days. Thank you for all of your beautiful blessings in comments and emails. Last night after I returned home we went to a friend’s house for Sukkot.  It is a 7-day festival that comes after the Jewish high holy days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and during it, celebrants build sukkahs or tents and live in them as a remembrance of the Israelites time of wandering.  As my rabbi friend reflected, it

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