July-August 2019 (Vol. XXXII, No. 7)

Dear Friends ~ This past weekend we led an intergenerational retreat called "Children of the Earth." One activity was a story or guided meditation about an imaginary hike through the woods to a grove of gnarly oaks, tall poplars, and aromatic pines. At the base of each tree was a backpack with someone's name on it. Wild ones gave earthly gifts to add to the backpacks. Chickadee gave a seed to remind the children of their inner resourcefulness, bear gave mud tracks to remind them of strength and courage to defend those they love, owl a feather to remind them to be attentive to the mysterious wonders of the night. We all need a "backpack" of resources to help us on our path. Contemplation and action, pastoral care and prophetic witness, spirituality and service —we all need both so that the inner wisdom that sustains us and keeps us going ensures that the outer work comes from the heart and is done with love.

The stream of life that runs through the world

The same stream of life that runs through the world runs through my veins night and day and dances in rhythmic measure. It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the Earth into the numberless blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of flowers.

~ Rabindranath Tagore
The Heart of God: Prayers of Rabindranath Tagore
By Herbert F. Vetter, Rabindranath Tagore

The dream of my life

The dream of my life
Is to lie down by a slow river
And stare at the light in the trees —
To learn something by being nothing
A little while but the rich
Lens of attention.

~ Mary Oliver

If we fall in love with creation

If we fall in love with creation deeper and deeper, we will respond to its endangerment with passion.
~ Hildegard of Bingen

An ecological spirituality

An ecological spirituality needs to be built on three premises: the transience of selves, the living interdependency of all things, and the value of the personal in communion. Many spiritual traditions have emphasized the need to "let go of ego" but in ways that diminished the value of the person, undercutting particularly those, like women, who scarcely have been allowed individuated personhood at all. We need to "let go of the ego" in a different sense. We are called to affirm the integrity of our personal center of being, in mutuality with the personal centers of all other beings across species and, at the same time, accept the transience of these personal selves.

~from GAIA AND GOD by Rosemary Radford Ruether

Overdosed on data and underfed on the mysterious

We are overdosed on data and underfed on the mysterious. Our brains inflate while our souls wither. Constant interference by interpreting and explaining can distance us from life itself. God woos us into the wildness of unknowing where we are tempted by deeper senses.

~ from ALL THE DAYS OF MY LIFE, by Marv and Nancy Hiles

Compassion is not a luxury

We live in a time when science is validating what humans have known throughout the ages: that compassion is not a luxury; it is a necessity for our well-being, resilience, and survival.

~ Roshi Joan Halifax as quoted in EVERYDAY GRATITUDE

I seem a small child playing on a beach

I know not how others see me, but to myself I seem a small child playing on a beach, delighted at the discovery of a shiny stone or shell, while an entire ocean of Truth lay undiscovered before my eyes.

~ Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton
By James Gleick

All the small and lovely truths of life

"First, my child," said Old Turtle, "remember that there are truths all around us, and within us. They twinkle in the night sky and bloom upon the earth. They fall upon us every day, silent as the snow and gentle as the rain. The people, clutching their one truth, forget that it is a part of all the small and lovely truths of life."

~ from OLD TURTLE AND THE BROKEN TRUTH by Douglas Wood

Strong trust in self and life even in the face of evidence to the contrary

Faith is strong trust in self and life even in the face of evidence to the contrary. Like belief, it consists more in love than knowledge, or perhaps it is just that love takes precedence. It is intuitive. It is a power of the soul, not of the mind alone and based on the most subtle of perception. It is born and nurtured in the area of the third eye, the open heart, and the sensitivity of an ear tuned to mystery.

~ from THE SOUL'S RELIGION by Thomas Moore

Be kind, and wild, and disciplined, and absolutely generous

Call out to the whole divine night for what you love. What you stand for. Earn your name. Be kind, and wild, and disciplined, and absolutely generous.

~ Martin Shaw

You cannot be freed without these virtues

Every enlightened person on the earth,
everyone who's been liberated has had these virtues.
You cannot be freed without them.
The first one is compassion.
The second one is humility.
And the third one is service.

~ from SILENCE OF THE HEART by Robert Adams

God is in me as the sun is in the color and fragrance of a flower

I believe that God is in me as the sun is in the color and fragrance of a flower — the Light in my darkness, the Voice in my silence.

~ Helen Keller

May your life be like a wildflower

May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day.

~ Native American proverb

What lies within us

What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Annotated Emerson
By Ralph Waldo Emerson

June 2019 (Vol. XXXII, No. 6)

Dear Friends ~ The world aches with a heart-wrenching longing for hope, for healing, for belonging, for a life-sustaining future. The most pressing moral and spiritual question of the age is—what is our relationship to the earth and how do we set it right again. What is it that needs to be done? If what we have learned from culture and its economic and political systems is a hierarchical worldview that elevates the human species above all others, that markets the insatiable use of natural resources for the sake of a more convenient, easy, comfortable lifestyle (for the privileged few anyway), that values growth and profit above all else; then we shall have to unlearn the arrogance of human preeminence, call for the cherishing of earthly gifts to be shared by all, and choose to value life—all life—over short-sighted 'progress". What will it take to turn the tide of human folly?

Another great tide is beginning to rise

Even as seas rise against shores, another great tide is beginning to rise— a tide of outrage against the pillage of the planet, a tide of commitment to justice and human rights, a swelling affirmation of moral responsibility to the future and to Earth's fullness of life.

~ from GREAT TIDE RISING: TOWARDS CLARITY AND MORAL COURAGE IN A TIME OF PLANETARY CHANGE by Kathleen Moore

All part of the same fabric

What was extraordinary was that I saw clearly, indisputably, finally, that the child, the grass, the trees, the sky above were all woven of the same material, were all part of the same fabric, which was the fabric of which the universe is made, and that this fabric lived. As pointed contrast, the cement sidewalk lay ugly and dead, a scar in the picture; except for it, the whole scene was transcendent with beauty, the colors had an intensity, a purity not present in "real" life, and the vision was imbued with a feeling of the perfect peace and oneness and benevolence of the universe.

~ from THE PERFECTION OF THE MORNING by Sharon Butala

Grasps little

He who grabs much, grasps little.

~ Mexican proverb from EARTH CARE: WORLD FOLKTALES TO TALK ABOUT by Margaret Read MacDonald

No life is alone

The word blessing evokes a sense of warmth and protection; it suggests that no life is alone or unreachable. Each life is clothed in raiment of spirit that secretly links it to everything else.

~ from TO BLESS THE SPACE BETWEEN US by John O'Donohue

To call these things sacred

To call these things sacred is to say that they have a value beyond their usefulness for human ends, that they themselves become the standard by which our acts, our economics, our laws, and our purposes must be judged. No one has the right to appropriate them or profit from them at the expense of others. Any government that fails to protect them forfeits its legitimacy.

All people, all living things, are part of the earth life, and so are sacred. No one of us stands higher or lower than any other. Only justice can assure balance: only ecological balance can sustain freedom. Only in freedom can that fifth sacred thing we call spirit flourish in its full diversity.

~ from THE FIFTH SACRED THING by Starhawk

The welfare of one living being depends on that of another

Through greater intimacy with the natural world, we begin to appreciate its complexity and gain a clearer understanding of the relationship between the rains, the soul, and the plants, the animals and the trees, and how the welfare of one living being depends on that of another.

~ from SACRED WATER by Nathaniel Altman

My father always told me that plants and flowers have souls

My father always told me that plants and flowers have souls. How else could wise King Solomon have spoken to them? He wouldn't have had much conversation with them if they hadn't had souls! We have to respect all growing things even if we do not understand their ways.

~ from THE ILLUMINATED SOUL by Aryeh Lev Stollman
The Illuminated Soul
By Aryeh Lev Stollman
Syndicate content