The way the trees empty themselves of leaves,
let drop their ponderous fruit,
the way the turtle abandons the sun-warmed log,
the way even the late-blooming aster
succumbs to the power of frost— Continue reading “What Else (Autumn Meditation) …”
Something stirred from deep within. I felt it knocking, begging to be acknowledged and released. I could not put a name to it, but something felt awakened after a long period of dormancy. In truth, this gnawing sensation had been building for more than a year, but on the levee that day, I grappled with this powerful presence at work in me. I had no words for the hunger that was asking me for more. All I could do was attempt to be still and acknowledge its existence. Continue reading “Desert Day 41: Be Still, My Restless Soul …”
Their words and names echo through the centuries and fall on our ears with the haunting, foreign ring of oriental temple bells: Abba Anthony, Amma Syncletica, Abba Marcarius, Abba Poemen. Yet these fathers and mothers of the deserts of Egypt, Palestine, and Syria are our own Christian spiritual forebears. Continue reading “Desert Day 10: Desert Listening …”
Most of the things we need to be most fully alive never come in busyness. They grow in rest.
— Mark Buchanan from The Holy Wild
Sometimes I have loved the peacefulness of an ordinary Sunday. It is like standing in a newly planted garden after a warm rain. You can feel the silent and invisible life. Continue reading “A Day of Rest …”
And I can feel it, how when a new week starts to run after me, the goodness and mercy of God isn’t just following after me placidly. The goodness and mercy of God pursues after me passionately. It’s what I keep thinking, picking up lost legos, errant books — like how my mama used to dash off the front porch and run down the lane after me, waving about whatever book I forgot for school — and who else is behind a forgetful, rat-race world but the chasing God? Continue reading “God Is So Bent On Blessing, He Chases …”
The kind of fast drawing me this season isn’t leaving behind of treats like chocolate or other pleasures. This season I am being invited to fast from things like “ego-grasping” and noticing when I so desperately want to be in control, and then yielding myself to a greater wisdom than my own.
I am called to fast from being strong and always trying to hold it all together, and instead embrace the profound grace that comes through my vulnerability and tenderness, to allow a great softening this season.
I am called to fast from anxiety and the endless torrent of thoughts which rise up in my mind to paralyze me with fear of the future, and enter into the radical trust in the abundance at the heart of things, rather than scarcity. Continue reading “A Different Kind of Fast …”
… When we rush from thing to thing, never pausing, never allowing space, we see only what we expect to find. We see to grasp at the information we need. We see the stereotypes embedded in our minds. We miss the opportunity to see beyond what we want. We walk by a thousand ordinary revelations every day in our busyness and preoccupation.
We move through our lives, often at such speed, that our perception of time becomes contorted. We begin to believe that life is about rushing as fast as we can, about getting as much done as possible. We are essentially skating across life’s surface, exhausted and disoriented. Continue reading “Seeing the World Anew …”
The little hawk leaned sideways and, tilted, rode the wind. Its eye at this distance looked like green glass; its feet were the color of butter. Speed obvious-ly, was joy. But then, so was the sudden, slow circle it carved into the slightly silvery air, and the squaring of its shoulders, and the pulling into itself the long, sharp-edge wings, and the fall into the grass where it tussled a moment, like a bundle of brown leaves, and then, again, lifted itself into the air, that butter-color clenched in order to hold a small a small, still body, and it flew off as my mind sang out oh all that loose, blue rink of sky, where does it go to, and why?
— Mary Oliver (“The Real Prayers Are Not the Words, But the Attention that Comes First”) from New and Selected Poems, Vol. 2 Continue reading “Rush and Pressure of Modern Life …”
Listening is a personal pilgrimage that takes time and a willingness to lean into life. With each trouble that stalls us and each wonder that lifts us, we’re asked to put down our conclusions and feel and think anew. Unpredictable as life itself, the practice of listening is one of the most mysterious, luminous and challenging art forms on earth. Each of us is by turns a novice and a master—until the next difficulty or joy undoes us.
Continue reading “Listening Is A Personal Pilgrimage …”