A hope that can never be taken away

In the practice of conscious love you begin to discover...a hope that is related not to outcome but to a wellspring... a source of strength that wells up from deep within you independent of all outcomes... It is a hope that can never be taken away from you because it is love itself working in you, conferring the strength to stay present...
~ Cynthia Bourgeault, in LOVE IS STRONGER THAN DEATH

I am left only with hope

So in the end I am left only with hope.
I hope the nights are transformative.
I hope every dawn brings deeper love,
for each of us individually and for
the world as a whole. I hope that
John of the Cross was right when
he said the intellect is transformed
into faith, and the will into love
and the memory into – hope.
~ Gerald May in THE DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL

A future not our own

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view. The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision...This is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, know that they hold future promise...We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities...We are prophets of a future not our own.

~ John Cardinal Dearden, homily written by Fr. Ken Untener

Hope is an embrace

Hope locates itself in the premises that we don't know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act...Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable.

~ Rebecca Solnit in HOPE IN THE DARK

This deeper level of hope

...If we can stay in touch with ourselves, if we can find the connection to our deeper selves, we can find this deeper level of hope that truly should be called imagination...in the depths of each person there is a greater self and a core imagination that is truly the source of one's life.
~ Michael Meade in LIVING MYTH podcast, Episode 167, "The Second Level of Hope"

To reject false hope

Is it possible to see the future as dark and darkening further; to reject false hope and desperate pseudo-optimism without collapsing into despair?...if you don't feel despair, in times like these, you are not fully alive. But there has to be something beyond despair, too; or rather, something that accompanies it, like a companion on the road....I am going to pick up [my scythe] and go and find some grass to mow. I am going to cut great swaths of it...I am going to walk ahead, following the ground... I am going to breathe the still-clean air and listen to the still-singing birds and reflect on the fact that the earth is older and harder than the machine that is eating it—that it is indeed more resilient than fragile—and that change comes quickly when it comes, and that knowledge is not the same as wisdom.
~ Paul Kingsnorth in DARK ECOLOGY, Orion Magazine

The hope that truth may be of use

It is because I reject lies and running away that I am accused of pessimism; but this rejection implies hope—the hope that truth may be of use.
~ Simone Beauvoir in ALL SAID AND DONE

An orientation of the spirit

Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Either we have hope within or we don't; it is a dimension of the soul not essentially dependent on some particular observation of the world or estimate of the situation. It is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart; it transcends the world that is immediately experienced and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons.
~ Vaclav Havel in SHARE INTERNATIONAL #3, Vol. 25

Hope is what sits by a window

Hope is what sits by a window and waits for one more dawn, despite the fact that there is not one ounce of proof in tonight's black, black sky that it can possibly come.
~ Joan Chittister in SCARRED BY STRUGGLE, TRANSFORMED BY HOPE

Active hope

Active hope is a practice...It is something we do rather than have. Since active hope doesn't require our optimism, we can apply it even in areas where we feel hopeless. The guiding impetus is intention; we choose what we aim to bring about, act for, or express.
~ Joanna Macy in ACTIVE HOPE

Hope and Love

Hope is the hardest love we carry.

~ Jane Hirshfield in THE LIVES OF THE HEART, "Hope and Love"

Psalm 137

Hide not from Love, O friends,
sink not into the sea of despair,
the mire of hatred.
Awaken, O my heart, that I drown not
in fear!
Too long have I sailed where'ere
the winds have blown!
Drop anchor!

~ Nan Merrill in PSALMS FOR PRAYING Psalm 137

April 2020 (Vol. XXXIII, No. 4)

Dear Friends ~ Spring has arrived in all its glory. As I walk the labyrinth at Still Point, the Friends of Silence retreat house where Nan Merrill's library lives, I'm reminded time and again that "This is Holy Ground," both secretly and brazenly transforming itself in all seasons. Winter was mild in West Virginia with crocuses up early by the front step. March brought hints of the transformation to come. Shadowed by the dark clouds of Corona Virus spreading through the world, daffodils bloomed in profusion down by the pond and at the woods' edge.

The renaissance being celebrated

...Open my eyes to the moments of resurrection that surround me every day. There is always something rising, opening to new life, budding and blossoming, forgiving and transforming. Teach me to live awake that I may recognize the renaissance being celebrated in my midst at every moment. Make me a disciple of joy. Amen.
~ Macrina Wiederkehr in THE FLOWING GRACE OF NOW

Resurrection

Stump dead with rot, sprouts
Single moss spore, emerald green
Resurrection sings.

~ Mary Ann Welter, "Resurrection"

Held

We carried our grief
to the ocean's edge,
sat quiet in the sand;
the sorrow softened
as the waves washed
over them and the
brilliance of the
morning sun upon
the shimmering waters
filled our hearts
with wonder.

~ Rob Soley, "Held" from MOVING DAY

It's time to make some new threads

Women are spinners and weavers; we are the ones who spin the threads and weave them into meaning and pattern. Like silkworms, we create those threads out of our own substance, pulling the strong, fine fibers out of our own hearts and wombs. It's time to make some new threads; time to strengthen the frayed wild edges of our own being and then weave ourselves back into the fabric of our culture. Once we knew the patterns for weaving the world; we can piece them together again...we can remake the world. This is what women do. This is our work.
~ Sharon Blackie in IF WOMEN ROSE ROOTED

A blessing is a form of grace

A blessing is a form of grace; it is invisible. Grace is the permanent climate of divine kindness. There are no limits to it... For one who believes in it, a blessing can signal the start of a journey of transformation. It belongs to the same realm as the inner life— its effect becomes only indirectly visible in the changed quality of one's experience. Where before gravity and deadness had prevailed, there is now a new sense of animation and lightness. Where there was grief, a new sense of presence comes alive. In the wall of blindness a window of vision opens.
~ John O'Donohue,"To Retrieve the Lost Art of Blessing," in TO BLESS THE SPACE BETWEEN US

Practice Resurrection

So, friends, every day do something that won't compute...Give your approval to all you cannot understand...Ask the questions that have no answers. Put your faith in two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years...Laugh. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts...Practice resurrection.
~ Wendell Berry, excerpt from "Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front"

May spring come to us

May we today be touched by grace, fascinated and moved by your creation, energized by the power of new growth at work in your world.
May we move beyond viewing this life only through a frame, but touch it and be touched by it, know it and be known by it, love it and be loved by it.
May our bodies, our minds, our spirits, learn a new rhythm paced by the rhythmic pulse of the whole created order.
May spring come to us, be in us, and recreate life in us...

~ from the "Chinook Psalter" in Earth Prayers, ed. by Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amido

Rise Up in the Morning

Rise up in the early morning when the sun
shines in the east.
Rise up and see the sun as she shines in the earth,
She sheds her kindness on the earth in such splendor.
...Rise, bless the morning...
Your light shall shine...brighter than the sun...
Keep this light shining in your hearts, spirits of earth.

~ by Janet Hurlow "Rise Up in the Morning" from PSALMS FROM THE HILLS OF WEST VIRGINIA with Matthew Fox

Fred Taylor

A Voice not daunted by "You Can't do that!"
A voice lighting fires for children
Whose spark of hope
Is fast sputtering out
A voice that saw the gift in each
And opened the door to winds of change
That ignited the dormant creative possibilities in each
And gave them the vision, power and will to transform
The world.
~ Nancy Van Scoyoc, "Fred Taylor"

In Memoriam

In Memoriam
Fred Taylor
May 23, 1932-November 23, 2019

Fred was the President of the Friends of Silence Board and a founding partner of Still Point Mountain Retreat after his retirement as Executive Director of For Love of Children, a nonprofit organization focused on the needs of at risk children in Washington, D.C.

FLOC's Outdoor program has been an active participant and steward on the Rolling Ridge Conservancy property in West Virginia. Friends of Silence is housed at Still Point and Rolling Ridge. All of us who knew and worked with Fred miss his kindness and his warm way of offering critical insight and practical training in the formation and care of organizations seeking to do good work in the world.

Both "For Love of Children" and "Friends of Silence" are accepting donations in memory of Fred.

March 2020 (Vol. XXXIII, No. 3)

Dear Friends ~ The year after my first child was born could have been called A Crash Course in the Contemplative Life. Overnight my daily landscape shifted from the external and the social, to the internal and the domestic. My driving need for productivity and efficiency made no sense in a newborn's routine. I faced rhythmic but unscheduled days with swaths of quiet time. A part of me panicked without the markers of purpose and meaning I had always used to define myself, but the new pulse of our home and the simple yet powerful needs of my baby created a steady familiarity with silence.

God has made a home in us

God who loves us knows us. We long to be known, not only from the outside but from within. We feel that if others knew us as we really are, with our hopes, dreams and struggles to be whole, they would have a compassionate and tolerant love for us. Conversely, were we to live for an hour within the mind of another, even that of a social outcast, we would come away humbled and more understanding. We cannot know people from within, only from without and with difficulty despite our love. Not so with God. The Spirit of God has been poured out on us. God has made a home in us.

~ by Sean Caulfield in THE GOD OF ORDINARY PEOPLE
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