December 2021 (Vol. XXXIV, No. 11)

Dear Friends ~ This is the season of wonder. Wonder is the doorway to so many things, among them joy, gratitude, and wisdom. How do we open the door of wonder in our lives?

Time to apprentice again
to my earliest teachers
of wonder and mystery

Time to walk again
in the dark forest
under a night star sky

Time to walk again
through the fallen leaves
under the black shadow of tree

No longer asking
Who I am

That I am is the biggest
mystery of all

A single red leaf
One night star —
Enough to explode in me

The world in cohesion

Contemplation is that activity which situates us in an open space from which we can observe and contribute to the course of the universe ... that activity that delights in the well-being of all beings, that maintains the world in cohesion.
~ Raimundo Panikkar in BLESSED SIMPLICITY

Wisdom in the first place

If you seek Wisdom in the first place, you will find that Wisdom is joyous. If you seek the joy of Wisdom in the first place, you will fall prey to illusions.
~ Valentin Tomberg in MEDITATIONS ON THE TAROT

In wonder

If you are searching, you must not stop until you find. When you find, however, you will become troubled. Your confusion will give way to wonder. In wonder you will reign over all things.
~ Gospel of Thomas, Logion 2

Creative love

The person who makes all cares into one care— the care for simply staying present— will be cared for by that presence which is creative love.

~ Kabir Helminski

Cushion for Your Head

Just sit there right now
Don't do a thing
Just rest
For your separation from God
Is the hardest work in this world
Let me bring you trays of food
And something that you like to drink
You can use my soft words
As a cushion for your head
~ Hafiz from "Cushion for Your Head" in THE GIFT

Stay with the hunger of the question

All those magical, predestined, and irreplaceable people and places are not really that, not really the answer. Rather, we have to stay with the hunger of the question and from its energy fill the space with our own choices, and then with the new things which will be called forth from us in the unexpected poverty and limitation in which our necessarily imperfect choices necessarily situate us.
~ Bruno Barnhart in SECOND SIMPLICITY

Fluent

I would love to live
like a river flows,
carried by the surprise
of its own unfolding.
~ John O'Donahue from "Fluent" in CONAMARA BLUES

Only Being is real

States aren't real. They come and go. Only Being is real.
~ Sunyata a.k.a. Alfred Sorensen, Danish mystic

The wellsprings of life

The wellsprings of life are bubbling up anew each moment. So when the angel is troubling the waters, it is no time to stand on the bank and recite past wonders.
~ Thomas Kelly in A TESTAMENT OF DEVOTION

Faith is a continual inner effort

Faith is a continual inner effort, a continual altering of the mind, of the habitual ways of thought, of the habitual ways of taking everything, of habitual reactions.
~ Maurice Nicoll in THE NEW MAN

There is no description of you

The first task, clearly, is to detach the sense of identity from the descriptions of yourself. This does not mean to find another description that would be the correct one. It means to realize there is no description of you.
~ Beatrice Bruteau in PRAYER AND IDENTITY

The precious wildness we seek

The soul is like a wild animal — tough, resilient, savvy, self-sufficient and yet exceedingly shy. If we want to see a wild animal, the last thing we should do is to go crashing through the woods, shouting for the creature to come out. But if we are willing to walk quietly into the woods and sit silently for an hour or two at the base of a tree, the creature we are waiting for may well emerge, and out of the corner of an eye we will catch a glimpse of the precious wildness we seek.
~ Parker J. Palmer in A HIDDEN WHOLENESS

The Place Where We Are Right

From the place where we are right
Flowers will never grow
In the spring.

The place where we are right
Is hard and trampled
Like a yard.

But doubts and loves
Dig up the world
Like a mole, a plow.

And a whisper will be heard in the place
Where the ruined
House once stood.
~ Yehuda Amichai from "The Place Where We Are Right" in A TOUCH OF GRACE

Art thou in the darkness?

Art thou in the darkness?
Mind it not, for if thou dost
it will feed thee more.
But stand still, and act not,
and wait in patience
till light arises out of darkness
and leads thee.
~ James Naylor

I know that I have life

I know that I have life
only insofar as I have love.

I have no love
except it come from Thee.

Help me please to carry
this candle against the wind.

~ Wendell Berry from "I know that I have life" in LEAVINGS

November 2021 (Vol. XXXIV, No. 10)

Dear Friends ~ Some yoga practices incorporate a simple movement sequence called a vinyasa that a person returns to at regular intervals during the yoga flow. Physically speaking, this repetition is a way to return to the breath, come back into balance, and refocus the mind amidst other movements. In daily life, with all its clutter and clatter, it can be helpful to have habits or movements of the soul that — like a vinyasa — cycle our attention back to the gifts that surround us.

In that spirit, each November (when many in the U.S. celebrate Thanksgiving) I keep a daily gratitude journal to remind myself to notice the smallest moments of delight or surprise that I might overlook in my normally distracted state. Once, during the autumn my son was three I wrote,

Clone of December 2021 (Vol. XXXIV, No. 11)

Dear Friends ~ This is the season of wonder. Wonder is the doorway to so many things, among them joy, gratitude, and wisdom. How do we open the door of wonder in our lives?

Time to apprentice again
to my earliest teachers
of wonder and mystery

Time to walk again
in the dark forest
under a night star sky

Time to walk again
through the fallen leaves
under the black shadow of tree

No longer asking
Who I am

That I am is the biggest
mystery of all

A single red leaf
One night star —
Enough to explode in me

Our own touch will bring blessing

The more alert we become to the blessings that flow into us from everything we touch, the more our own touch will bring blessing.
~ Br. David Stendl-Rast

That is enough

If the only prayer we say to God is "thank you," that is enough.
~ Meister Eckhart

To see the good in what you have been given

... prayer is not asking for what you think you want but asking to be changed in ways you can't imagine. To be made more grateful, more able to see the good in what you have been given instead of always grieving for what might have been.
~ Kathleen Norris in AMAZING GRACE

Gratitude begets gratitude

What fascinates me so much is that every time we decide to be grateful, it will be easier to see new things to be grateful for. Gratitude begets gratitude, just as love begets love.
~ Henri Nouwen in LIFE OF THE BELOVED

I love the dailiness

I have learned to quit speeding through life, always trying to do too many things too quickly, without taking the time to enjoy each day's doings. I think I always thought of real living as being high. I don't mean on drugs – I mean real living was falling in love, or when I got my first job, or when I was able to help somebody . . . In between the highs I was impatient — you know how it is — life seemed so Daily. Now I love the dailiness. I enjoy washing dishes, I enjoy cooking, I see my father's roses out the kitchen window. I like picking beans. I notice everything – birdsongs, the clouds, the sound of wind, the glory of sunshine after two weeks of rain. These are the things I took for granted before [cancer].
~ Olive Ann Burns quoted in MITTEN STRINGS FOR GOD by Katrina Kenison

That which does not satisfy

Why do you spend money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
~ Isaiah 55:2

Notes on the Below

Desire is a tricky thing, the boiling of the body's wants...
I've been the one who has craved and craved until I could not see
beyond my own greed. There's a whole nation of us.
To forgive myself, I point to the earth as witness.
... tell me,
what it is to be quiet, and yet still breathing...
...to honor this: the length of days. To speak to the core
that creates and swallows, to speak not always to what's
shouting, but to what's underneath asking for nothing...
~ Ada Limon from "Notes on the Below" in THE CARRYING
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