Beginning Anew

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Life always begins again. 
The Angel of Earth embraces the seed
And gives unto it Life. 
The kiss of the Angel of Water
Awakens the seed. 
The warmth of the Angel of Sun
Makes the seed grow. 
The little plant bends in the breeze–
The Angel of Air makes it grow strong. 
The little plant is holy. 
It bathes in the Lifestream
Of Eternal Order.

~ from Thanksgiving Psalms of the Dead Sea Scrolls

Holy One, help us to trust that you are present to us in the midst of our ordinary lives as clearly as we are present with one another.  Give us grace that we may yield always to your Presence which resides within us and recognize that we are bound to your Presence which is beyond us.  May we be vulnerable together, move gently onward together, and in the midst of our journeys, share the healing that only comes from letting go and letting You make all things new again. May embracing your Love support and transform us into a source of your healing in the hurting world. May we remember this love today and always. May we live this love today and always!

The Place Where I Am

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~ The things that are very alive ~ love, intelligence, faith ~ don’t keep till tomorrow; they are for now. ~

This weekend I will celebrate another birthday – glory be! Through my work as a chaplain and spiritual midwife, I deeply appreciate the gift of a birthday in this life. And so it is that I am awake to how true the wisdom of my opening thought is and still, struggle to live that way.

Yesterday, I was with a middle age man who is developmentally disabled. He has been shy in our initial visits still, he never forgets a story I share with him or any details of my life. He loves to ask me a question as we begin visiting that reveals all that he retained from our previous visit. He is at once innocent and vulnerable yet at the same time, accepting, resolute and in that way, quite strong. He patiently waits for his end to arrive. It is a gift to know him and to give witness to his life as an instantiation of Divine Presence even as it is a microcosm of the universal human story.

I sincerely hope and trust that my loving and compassionate presence is a comfort to this patient and to all the others I visit – endless human stories. And I hope and trust that my life might evolve to be my prayer as I spend my “talents” (in a New Testament sense) in the moment I am in – the now.

I promise myself that I will enjoy every minute of the day that is given me to live. – Thich Nhat Hanh

Encouragement

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In a Thousand Forms
               by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

English version by John White
Original Language German


You may hide yourself in a thousand forms,
Still, All-beloved, I recognize you;
You may cover yourself in magic mists,
All-present, I can always tell that it is you.

I discover you as well, All-beautifully-growing,
In the cypress’s pure young surge,
In the stream’s fresh, living rush,
All-enchanting, I know you well.

When rising jets of water unfurl,
All-playful, how glad I am to see you;
When clouds form and transform themselves,
All-manifold, I discern you in them.

In the blossoming tapestry that covers the meadow,
I see your All-colorful, starry beauty;
When ivies reach their thousand arms around,
I meet you, All-embracing.

When morning lights the mountain range
I greet you there too, All-brightening,
Then, as the sky grows round above me,
All-heart-expanding, it is you I inhale.

What, with out and inner senses, I know,
I know only through you, All-teaching;
When I name Allah’s hundred names,
A name, with each name, re-echoes for you.

May these words encourage you on your way as you bring this divine loving presence into the world today through your precious being!

A Prayer for Fallow Time

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In the silence of our hearts let us give thanks for the gift of this day and pray for the life of the world…

Come, Holy Spirit, fire of life. Guide us into this hallow time where we hush the superficial and allow the beneath to speak. Still our minds and invite a deeper knowing to emerge. Help us to be as unseeded soil resting and reclaiming our inner nutrients. Grant us the space to cultivate patience and attend to the inner life as we prepare for the unknown ahead. Bless us as we gather in all the goodness and light with full hearts, and openness to what the shadows say to us. May we have light to see where we need to go, and your divine grace and guidance to do so. Oh You of many names, look into our hearts and see our longing for peace ~ watch over us!

The blessings of heaven – the blessings of earth – the blessings of sea and of sky on those we love this day and on every human family the gifts of heaven – the gifts of earth and the gifts of sea and sky.

What Does Enough Feel Like?

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In my work as a Health Care Chaplain and a Spiritual Midwife, my role is to spiritually companion others on their life journey. I work with people who are seeking a closer relationship to the God of their understanding at all different stages of the life journey, including those who are suffering and those who are dying. One of the personal challenges of the work is responding to what is. Sometimes, I am right where I am needed, just when i am needed. Other times, I am not working the day someone I have companioned dies. As a result, i spend a bit of personal energy on appreciating what enough is and living into two truths: people are able to die without me – everything they require is within them and; people want my loving presence at times when I am unable to provide it. The result of this for me is that I pause often in the course of a day to ponder if what I am about to offer to another is enough.

It is certainly true that the sense of not being enough for the situations one encounters in health care chaplaincy and spiritual direction work is not mine alone. Indeed, when I step into this particular vulnerability and share it with others, they resonate profoundly with my struggle. Just today, my day off, some patients have died. And here I am wondering if I offered enough, should have offered more…. And so it begins…this journey into the inner work of letting go of expectations and opening to what is with humility. Learning to trust that whether or not I see it, things are as they are meant to be as part of a larger story than me and this particular other. I offer prayers and I practice letting God work. And I pray, as I do prior to every visit, that I might get myself ‘out of the way’ and leave space for Spirit ~ May this be enough.

For me, for now, this is the barometer of what enough feels like.

Coping With What Is

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I find myself encountering lots of ongoing change and it invites a stronger flexibility in living with what is.  Whether it is the change in the healthcare field in this time of COVID, or the personal changes involved in living into these shifts.  In order to cope with what is,  I am learning that somedays have to be days of mourning and allowing the feelings of loss or the longings for what isn’t.

At the heart of this is my total awareness of how little control I have and the spiritual practice of accepting what I cannot change and surrendering to a higher power or Godde to feel my way forward.

So I pause, and reach inward for that loving presence and merciful embrace that holds me and sustains me encouraging me to say yes to life and open to the new, knowing Godde is in the new!

Silent God            by Edwina Gateley

This is my prayer—That, though I may not see,I be aware Of the Silent God Who stands by me. That, though I may not feel, I be aware Of the Mighty Love Which doggedly follows me. That, though I may not respond, I be aware That God—my Silent, mighty Loving God, Waits each day. Quietly, hopefully, persistently. Waits each day and through each night For me.  For me—alone.

And so I follow my heart’s path deeper into this journey and I pause to grieve my losses and open to opportunities as I rely increasingly on the Godde of my understanding for support.

 

Growing Awareness

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Awareness to me is an endless spiral, ever widening and expanding in an eternal way, drawing me forward.  I am in awe of all I am unaware of in me, in others, in the world. This fills my heart with wonder and invites curiosity. And so, I look at each of you and my patients and acknowledge all that I am unaware of about you and ponder all that you are unaware of about me. This is humbling and stirs in me an abiding interest in the deeper values of belonging and be-friending others to collaborate more meaningfully as human be-ings in an ever changing world. It motivates me to liberate myself and others  by relinquishing unjust power as it comes to me at the expense of others, in favor of a beloved community and a unitive world perspective.

Love Makes Us Whole

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When I live in the joy of right relationship with Love as my divine source, it works in me, through me, and with me letting my heart and my passion overrule my ego and analytical mind. It accepts and allows all my imperfection. I come as I am. This frees me to connect with others, inspires creativity, agility in life’s challenging moments, a fluid sense of my being, and courage in my very vulnerability.  Give me the grace to accept your love and to love others as you love me.  May we all love each other into the wholeness of being with the very breath of kindness.

May Peace Find You

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In silence learn to give of  yourself, forgive others, live with gratitude. Then you need not seek inner peace: Peace will find you!      ~ Nan Merrill

This is the path of peace for me. Through daily contemplation I slowly notice myself changing, being at peace. Things that previously ran like monkeys or rats round my mind are more easily discarded. Forgiveness and gratitude expand. I am able to be in the midst of upset or chaos with an other and not feel compelled to fix it. Above all, I release my well ingrained habit of beating myself up for my imperfection. I am learning ( slowly ) to come as I am, allow space for others too as well, and be fully human. And there is deep peace in this kind of presence.

Offering Your Compassionate Self

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The story of the humming bird is about this huge forest being consumed by a fire. All the animals in the forest come out and are transfixed as they watch the forest burning and they feel overwhelmed and very powerless, except for this little humming bird. It says, “I am going to do something about this fire.” So it flies to the nearest stream, picks up a drop of water and puts it on the fire, goes up and down, up and down, up and down, as fast as it can.

In the meantime, all the other animals, much bigger ones like the elephant with its big trunk which could bring much more water, are standing there helpless. They say to humming bird, “What do you think you can do? You are too little, this fire is so big. Your wings are so little and your beak is so small, you can only bring a small drop of water at a time.”

But as they continued to discourage him, he turns to them without wasting any time and tells them, “I am doing the best I can.”

That to me is what all of us should do. We should always do like the humming bird. I may feel insignificant, but I certainly don’t want to be like the animals watching as the planet goes down the drain. I will be a humming bird. I will do the best I can.

~Wangaari  Mathai

Oh, the comfort – the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person – having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.

~ Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

May you be graced to be this comfort offering this breath of kindness as you ‘qualitatively’ offer your compassionate self in service of the whole ‘beloved community’ we all long to feel included in.