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Category: Spirituality


Celtic Spirituality and the Spiral Way ~ A Love Note from Your Online Abbess

Dearest monks and artists, On my first trip to Ireland in 2007 with my husband John, I read Thomas Cahill’s now-classic book How the Irish Saved Civilization, in which he describes the essential role of the Irish monks and their work on illuminating manuscripts during the Dark Ages. I was captivated especially by the idea that Ireland was outside the Roman Empire and a form of Christianity developed early on that was more indigenous and localized. Because Christianity was introduced into Ireland without violence, it also preserved older traditions and practices of the pagan culture and the Druids. Eventually, Irish

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Abbey Bookshelf: An Altar in the World (on belief and practice)

“Welcome to your own priesthood, practiced at the altar of your own life.” (xvii) “Christianity ‘is not a set of beliefs or doctrines one believes in order to be a Christian, but rather Christianity is to have one’s body shaped, one’s habits determined, in such a way that the worship of God is unavoidable.’ (quote from Stanley Hauerwas) In our embodied life together, the words of our doctrines take on flesh.  If one of our orthodox beliefs has no corporeal value, if we cannot come up with a single consequence it has for our embodied life together, then there is

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“In your light. . .”

In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest, where no one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art. -Rumi Monday night I went to the cemetery to meet my friend and writing/teaching partner Betsey Beckman who has created a video of her Mary Magdalene storydance (will be available early 2010).  She had asked me to come film some still shots of her for the cover. I absolutely love cemeteries and am used to having strange and serendipitidous encounters there.  As we finished shooting,

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As expected I am learning much from my yoga practice this week.  Showing up each morning and creating space to listen to my body has been powerful on many levels.  In the class we have learned a balanced series of poses that we repeat each day and now move through them at our own pace in silence . The instructor gently moves through the room adjusting us and offering encouragement and suggestions for interior noticings. We begin our time each day with attention to breath and the reminder that the slow, deep breath is the foundational element of our practice with the poses layered

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Notice What’s True

I want to unfold. I do not want to remain folded up anywhere, because wherever I am still folded, I am untrue. -Rainer Maria Rilke I am currently participating in a two-week yoga intensive at a studio near my house.  Monday through Friday for two weeks I arrive for my 8:30 class to commit to another day of my practice and see what I discover.  We are moving through the same sequence of poses each day to deepen our attention to what is happening.  Yesterday as we began with some quiet breathing, the teacher asked us to “notice what’s true” for us

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Lifelines and Deadlines

I am in the midst of a pretty intense time of creative laboring and as I have told my friends I feel like the time has come to give birth and I am having triplets!  The first creation was the intensive class I taught last week on Contemporary Expressions of Monastic Spirituality with a wonderful group of students who were a gift to journey with through our days of prayer, study, and discussion.  Their papers are due today so I will be making some time this week to be present to their personal explorations of the material and get the

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Summertime Slowness

It’s summertime which means an invitation to indulge in some of summer’s pleasures.  Despite the fact that I have been hard at work writing a second book and preparing to teach, I still take breaks for some of summer’s finer gifts.  Let’s celebrate slowness.  Some things that should be done s-l-o-w-l-y: Taking a long swim in the open water, feeling the stretch of your muscles. Eating fresh sweet berries and juicy peaches. Cooking a meal with complete loving attention to each chop, sprinkle, and stir. Napping in a patch of sunlight. Hiking deep in the emerald woods. Listening to the rhythms

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