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Category: Monastic Spirituality


Welcome to ‘Abbey of the Arts’

I spent some of my time away over Christmas reflecting on the year ahead and what direction I want to take some of my creative work.  I am not much into goal-setting, because my spiritual path tends to be much more organic, focused on listening to what is emerging and unfolding in me in a particular moment and trying to honor that impulse.  In many ways this practice is a balance to my own natural tendency to live in the future and always imagine what is next.  I do value big visions, as long as part of my plans are to make

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Standing in Place

There is a lot weighing on my heart this week, a conflict with a dear friend continues, one of my fellow oblates is in the end stages of pancreatic cancer, and my mother-in-law’s Alzheimer’s is slowly worsening. I feel so very tender. I received a couple of wonderful emails from readers who shared with me how much it meant to them that I wrote my post last week about feeling all too human and needing to let what I wrote be enough.  I was touched by reflecting on the gift we offer each other in our shared vulnerability and permission to be

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The Gifts of Greenness

Rain has been drizzling and dousing and pouring in fits and starts these last several days here in Seattle. As winter draws nearer I witness the subtle slow waves of velvety moss that spread up tree trunks and across sidewalks. I heard a saying on NPR, that in the Northwest if moss isn’t growing on your North side, you are moving too fast. I shared this once with the driver of an airport shuttle as we made our way through blankets of thick rain. “You can tell an outsider made that up,” he responded, “because around here moss grows on all

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Lectio Divina Unleashed: Part Four (Music)

To find the previous entries on lectio divina with scripture, poetry, and icons, just click on the “lectio divina” tab under the title. To the Trinity be praise! God is music, God is life that nurtures every creature in its kind. Our God is the song of the angel throng and the splendor of the secret ways hid from all humankind, But God our life is the life of all. -Hildegard of Bingen, Antiphon for the Trinity Hildegard believed that music was an essential part of her community’s formation. In fact, at the end of her life she was in

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I live my life in widening circles. . .

I live my life in widening circles that reach out across the world. I may not complete this last one but I give myself to it. I circle around God, around the primordial tower. I’ve been circling for thousands of years and I still don’t know: am I a falcon, a storm, or a great song? -Ranier Maria Rilke Round and Round the earth is turning Turning always round to morning And from morning round to night. -Song Lyrics (source unknown) The rain I am in is not like the rain of the cities. It fills the woods with an

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Lectio Divina Unleashed: Part Three (Icons)

“For the invisible things of God since the creation of the world are made visible through images.”                      (John of Damascus, On Holy Images) The beautiful icon above is by iconographer Heather Williams Durka who lives in Olympia.  You can find her website here.  Heather offers icon workshops and has affordable reproductions of her wonderful images available for purchase.  She also has some great reflections on the role of icons in Orthodox tradition. There are many wonderful books available on praying with icons. The tradition of gazing upon icons as a window to God is an ancient one.  Lectio divina

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Lectio Divina Unleashed: Part Two (Poetry)

“People turn to poems for some kind of illumination, for revelations that help them to survive.” -Denise Levertov, “Poetry, Prophecy and Survival” Poetry is language illuminated.  When we read poetry we are reading the same words we use for prose, but because of the compactness of images and the poet’s way of pointing us deeper than what we expect to see, poetry has the potential to reveal the sacred to us in new ways.  Much of scripture is written in poetic form, making use of metaphor, rhythm, meter, sound, and image to help us grasp an awareness of God.  Praying

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