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Category: Grief


My Heart Feels Lean ~ A Love Note from Your Online Abbess

Dear monks, artists, and pilgrims,  On Friday, December 15th we are pleased to welcome Wisdom Council member and long-time forum facilitator Melissa Layer to lead us in the mini-retreat My Heart Feels Lean: Behold the Darkness, Cradle the Light. This will be a sanctuary space to be met with tenderness in these days of Advent and holy gestation. Read on for Melissa’s reflection on the grace of conscious grieving. December dusk falls early in Port Townsend on the wild Olympic Peninsula in Washington, where I live.  This liminal time calls me to wander in forest and field and on beaches where powerful king

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The River of Grief and the Well of Love (a love note)

To receive this love note from your online Abbess direct to your email in-box each week subscribe here: “So don’t be frightened, dear friend, if a sadness confronts you larger than any you have ever known, casting its shadow over all you do. You must think that something is happening within you, and remember that life has not forgotten you; it holds you in its hand and will not let you fall. Why would you want to exclude from your life any uneasiness, any pain, any depression, since you don’t know what work they are accomplishing within you?” —Rainer Maria

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Go in peace, you are loved

Go in peace, you are loved, you are loved Go in peace, you are loved Go with God, you are loved, you are loved Go with God, you are loved The God who wove you in the dark the one whose rough hands made your heart had you in mind before the dawn of time The one who gazed with gentle eyes at all the colors of your life– Before the threads were dyed, the artist saw your life (chorus) Back at the house you started from your God has left the porch light on however late the hour, you’ll

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Responding with Compassion

Like you, I have been sitting with the devastating events in Japan, wondering how to respond.  We live in times when the global nature of problems and the twenty-four hour coverage regularly overwhelm us.  Then we move to a place of numbness and helplessness.  I have been bringing this to my times of silent prayer and allowing myself to feel the enormity of grief and to listen for the ways I am called to live in a world filled with sorrow.  Being a monk in the world means opening our hearts to the pain of living and to create a

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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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Let it Be Winter Still

I wrote this poem in my journal on Sunday and discovered this morning that a former student died suddenly yesterday. I offer this here in honor of Rob and for all those who are grieving for a multitude of losses: ___________________________________________ *** Let it Be Winter Still Let it be winter a while longer, Let darkness be my closest companion cradling me in her inky velvet shawl. Let the owl cry softly from his place among the long aching branches, under the bone-white face of the moon. Let my heart break for the dead in Haiti, buried under collapsed stone

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