Echoes Across Millennia

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Purpose is the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s needs. ~Frederick Buechner

Today, I complete my hospice volunteer visits. During several, I offer Reiki to those I visit. At such moments, I silently enter presence. This presence wisely knows all about allowing Life and Death. It is our beginning, much of our journey, and central to our end. So, it is in this presence my needs and my gladness meet the patient’s needs and gladness. Something in the experience ‘echoes across millennia’ in a primordial, authentic, heartful spirit.

Yesterday, I was teaching fourth graders about Aesop’s Fables through reading and group discussion. Eventually, we pondered how this fellow who lived so long ago knew the truth about us here today. We appreciated how accurate his ‘moral of the story’ seemed throughout the many fables we shared with each other.

And so it is that the particulars of the times may be different, but the sameness of human experience ‘echoes across millennia’. Human beings struggle with differences, grieve, strive for openness, yearn to belong to something greater than the self, and long to contribute. This remains our steadfast hope for unity with the other; and our great confidence in love through and with each other ~ grounded in our mutual Be-ing.

This is my heart’s prayer as I begin this day of visits to hospice patients:

May Wisdom be in my hands and in my conscious working

May Wisdom be in my body and in my open heart

May Your Spirit be with me all the time giving me strength, wisdom and holiness.

Listening to the Family of Nature

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  It is the province of knowledge to speak and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.                                   ~ Oliver Wendall Holmes

Nature presents herself as a charming cantor inviting all who have ears to listen and enter the sacred space of worship always present around us in creation. Recently, I listened to the Exeter river that runs behind my house for half an hour. I heard birds, cars in the distance and wind in the trees and the sudden movement of woodland critters. The longer I sat there, the more things I could hear. The river flowing as it traversed rocks or fallen trees; burbling water against the edges of the riverbed shore; and rushing of air as it passed me; the trees creaking as they moved with the wind. The experience was calming and refreshing. I felt renewed as I rested in the sacred rhythms of the river. I feel my spirit flowing en tandem with the water.

I began to notice that I felt more aware, more peaceful and present. I also noticed that the ability to connect with what I heard and experienced intensified as I closed my eyes to just listen and didn’t rely on sight at all. The inward sensation becomes a feeling of resonance with what I hear; a sense of communication between the river’s sounds and myself. The flow, burble, rush sound happy and content to me and convey a powerful sense of aliveness or ‘life’. Also with my eyes shut I felt together with what I heard whereas with my eyes open I felt more separate or a part.

One day a week my now eight-month old grandson joins me for the day. Together, we take walks, garden and otherwise enjoy being outside together. I take great delight in noticing how sensitively he expresses his awareness of creation. His stillness in the face of it all, his attraction to certain sounds or views, all generate a sense of our primordial/familial belonging to the natural world. I hope and pray that our days in nature will nurture his unique G*d seed and inspire him to care for his world as for himself.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting / over and over announcing your place in the family of things.   ~ Mary Oliver

 

Timeless Treasure

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Losing Athena, my 12 and half year old German Shepherd, last week provokes memories of other losses of loved ones as is the way of loss. As I contemplate and mourn, I also re-mem-ber the consolations of those who have gone before as I let go of her and Athena joins them.

Having lost both of my parents in the last seven years, I fully recognize their deaths as connected to my own spirit’s deepening. I knew this at the moment they each died, and in countless moments with them that are relived, re-entered and experienced anew since then. Both, as I was and they were in that ‘real time’ experience; and, as I am now and they are now in that ‘imaginal/liminal’ experience – beyond time as it were. This spiraling, evolving sense of each other’s presence is our mutual awakened and aware love. It exists as it were beyond death.

Love’s gifts open my heart’s capacity and infuse new value in past treasures. It is as if these moments themselves spiral beyond the realm of time as I know it, lending an enduring, cosmic sense of kinship and belonging. A kinship and belonging that begins with us and expands well beyond us yet, through us, toward the universe and all of creation. And so it is that our time together emerges as timeless treasure.

The universe only pretends to be made of matter. Secretly, it is made of love.

 – Daniel Pinchbeck

 

The Twelfth of Never

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Mother’s Day came and went in a lovely, loving haze as our 12 ½ year old German Shepherd died the very next day. I was held in a field of loving appreciation by my husband, son and daughter on mother’s day, and again as our dog died in our collective embrace.

A few days later, I visited my mom’s grave and created a small Mary garden for her with a peony – her favorite flower – as the centerpiece that a small Mary figurine holds. It was a sweet way to companion and be present to mom.

My spiritual direction training has taken me into the mystery of ‘conscious love’ and I find myself dwelling more and more in love’s mystery. A beautiful place to be still and know the ground of all being.

Serendipitously, one of my mom’s favorite Johnny Mathis tunes happened to play this week. I found myself remembering a time long ago in late summer when she and I were in her room and she was listening to the song appreciatively. Every time I hear the song, I think of her and that deeply connected moment. And now, the song enters into my heart as a spiraling wave of conscious love. Suddenly, the lyrics are about her love for me, my love for her, and the love of all the people who fill my life. So creatively, imaginal (ly) it becomes a divine love song too. A divine energy exchange piercing realms.

The song unfolds as follows and here is a link to Johnny Mathis singing it:

You ask how much I need you, must I explain? 

I need you, oh my darling, like roses need rain.

You ask how long I’ll love you; I’ll tell you true:

Until the twelfth of never, I’ll still be loving you.

Hold me close, never let me go.

Hold me close, melt my heart like April snow.

I’ll love you till the bluebells forget to bloom;

I’ll love you till the clover has lost its perfume.

I’ll love you till the poets run out of rhyme,

Until the twelfth of never and that’s a long, long time.

Hold me close, never let me go.

Hold me close, melt my heart like April snow.

I’ll love you till the bluebells forget to bloom;

I’ll love you till the clover has lost its perfume.

I’ll love you till the poets run out of rhyme,

Until the twelfth of never and that’s a long, long time.

Until the twelfth of never and that’s a long, long time.

 

 

Worlds Within Worlds

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Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a visionary Jesuit priest, suggests: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience”. I have just returned from a Wisdom Way Of Knowing School Workshop/Retreat. This Christian exploration of the heart center as our place of unified knowing and understanding finds its roots in the ancient tradition of Sophia Wisdom. As I have come to understand it, ancient wisdom unveils creation as a limitless number of intertwining, ‘inter-living’ worlds within worlds. As limited beings, we have compound, determinate, and ephemeral encounters with an eternal and endless ‘unitary essence’. These moments are integral to the perpetual, cosmic unfolding of unitary essence. David Pratt describes it as: “…ultimate reality is pure, homogeneous consciousness-substance in never-ending motion.”

My work and these studies provide me with much deepening on my journey as I slowly integrate what is presented to me with how I enter the learning experience through my own heart’s way of knowing. Lately, my sense of worlds within worlds, or imaginal realms expands with my own awareness. My knowing flows through a strong inner compass that allows me to sift through the nuggets of my learning/experience for gold. And, more important, an evolving, empathic and loving appreciation that all that glitters is not in fact gold. I hold all of these things lightly and await an inner alignment of my heart, body and mind centers. These are becoming my true source for recognizing truth and seeing my path in life. As I allow this spirit to work in me, serendipitous and connected encounters attract and propel me onward in my life. I accept these as gifts, part of my own spiritual fecundity and spiraling presence as I awaken to be fully alive.

So, for me these workshops and retreats become an inherent piece of seeing more wholly/ holy worlds within worlds. I am deeply glad to know these people and places – these thin places where I see vaguely the imaginal realms. I carry it all within me. I see the capaciousness of the be-ings I journey with more clearly as we learn from the past, live for the present and strive for the future. And I wholeheartedly enter the sacredness of each today as the holy benefactor of every tomorrow. My source, my returning helps me to know that love is the key to compassion, empathy and being fully alive.

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt within the heart.”  Helen Keller