The Tree That Survived The Winter …

The tree awakened earlier than usual one morning and stretched her arms toward the horizon as if to invite the early rays of dawn into her world. She shivered with delight, wiggling her roots in the muddy earth, which had only recently yielded its frozen hardness.

She sensed something was different. Her roots seemed to be extending further and more firmly into the soil. Her arms seemed to embrace more of the world, not with the timid gestures of a sapling afraid of tangling with the wind, but with the freedom of knowing that the wind could not topple her. Continue reading “The Tree That Survived The Winter …”

Desert Day 18: The Opposite of Addiction Is Connection …

To be lonely is to feel unwanted and unloved, and therefore unloveable. Loneliness is a taste of death. No wonder some people who are desperately lonely lose themselves in mental illness or violence to forget the inner pain.
― Jean Vanier from Becoming Human

Continue reading “Desert Day 18: The Opposite of Addiction Is Connection …”

In Difficult Times …

Consoling God,
be a source of serenity for me
when struggles and difficulties
threaten to overwhelm me.

God of hope,
assure me of your unconditional love
when I doubt myself
or question the worth of my life. Continue reading “In Difficult Times …”

Depression and The Spiritual Journey …

This experience called “depression” is isolating to a greater extent than I imagined could be survivable, but I realize that this incredibly isolating experience ultimately reconnected me with the human community in a deeper, wider, and richer way.
— Parker J. Palmer from Darkness Before Dawn: Redefining the Journey Through Depression

The Mystery of Depression

Learn to embrace mystery

Twice, in my forties, I spent endless months in the snake pit of the soul. Hour by hour, day by day, I wrestled with the desire to die, sometimes so feeble in my resistance that I “practiced” ways of doing myself in. I could feel nothing except the burden of my own life and the exhaustion, the apparent futility, of trying to sustain it. I understand why some depressed people kill themselves: They need the rest. But I do not understand why others are able to find new life in the midst of a living death, though I am one of them. I can tell you what I did to survive, and eventually to thrive— but I cannot tell you why I was able to do those things before it was too late. Continue reading “Depression and The Spiritual Journey …”

If We Are Willing To Sit Quietly And Wait For A While …

The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them.
— Thomas Merton from No Man Is an Island

Without new ground rules, we will revert to the norms implicit in any culture that tell us how we are supposed to talk to each other. In our culture, these include politeness, a ban on inquiring into things that are “none of your business,” and a willingness to give the other the benefit of the doubt. In academic settings, these conventional rules are overlaid with another set that encourage competition: we should question each other’s claims, think oppositionally about what we are hearing, and be ready with a quick response. Continue reading “If We Are Willing To Sit Quietly And Wait For A While …”