life

May 2019 (Vol. XXXII, No. 5)

Dear Friends ~ To everything there is a season— a time to work and a time to play, a time to strive and a time to rest, a time to set one's "eyes on the prize" and a time to pause and notice the wildflowers and others along the way. In our culture, achievement and productivity are valued as the benchmarks of success. If the answer to the question, "What do you do?" cannot be summed up in a job title or a listing of accomplishments, you are left feeling somehow hollow or having been dismissed as insignificant. Yet one can be just as negligent or distracted or untransformed in the busyness of work as in mundane pursuits or the ordinary activities of daily life. If the magic of music lies partly in the silent spaces between notes, the gift of grace may lie in the Sabbath moments between long hours of work and activity.

While the music was being played

We thought of life by analogy with a journey, with a pilgrimage,
which had a serious purpose at that end,
and the thing was to get to that thing at that end.

Success, or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after you're dead.
But we missed the point the whole way along.
It was a musical thing, and you were supposed to sing or to
dance while the music was being played.
~ Alan Watts
The Way of Zen
By Alan W. Watts

The sacred is not in heaven or far away

The sacred is not in heaven or far away. It is all around us, and small human rituals can connect us to its presence.
~ Alma Luz Villanueva
Gracias: New Poems
By Alma Luz Villanueva

God is playful

Too easily are we inclined to imagine that God created this world for a purpose. We are so caught up in purpose that we would feel more comfortable if God shared our preoccupation with work. But God plays. The birds in a single tree are sufficient proof that God did not set out with a divine no-nonsense attitude to make a creature that would perfectly achieve the purpose of a bird. What could that purpose be I wonder? There are titmice, juncos, and chickadees; woodpeckers, gold finches, starlings and crows. The only bird God never created is the no-nonsense bird. As we open our eyes and hearts to God's creation, we quickly perceive that God is playful, a God of leisure.
~ from GRATEFULNESS, THE HEART OF PRAYER by Br. David Steindl-Rast

Living with attention

Each age has its own task...Our hermitage is the act of living with attention in the midst of things: amid the rhythms of work, and love, the bath with the child, the endlessly growing paperwork, the ever-present likelihood of war, the necessity for taking action to help the world. For us, a good spiritual life is permeable and robust. It faces things squarely, knowing the smallest moments are all we have, and that even the smallest moment is full of happiness.
~ from THE LIGHT INSIDE THE DARK by John Tarrant

Holy Leisure

In our culture we are trained to be doers and makers, not dreamers and seers. So I make an appeal for "holy leisure," a leisure that makes us more human. Holy leisure involves contemplation...the personal pursuit of meaning. Leisure allows for the contemplation that will bring meaning and energy to our lives and room within ourselves for holy reading, gentle awareness, and deep reflection.
~ Keith Snow

Elected silence

Elected silence, sing to me
and beat upon my whorled ear,
pipe me to pastures still and be
the music I care to hear.
~ Gerald Manley Hopkins

Singleness of heart

I sense Lizzie's presence beckoning me away from the only socially acceptable addiction of our time: workaholism. She asks me to stop and look at what I am doing, at why I am so busy, at who I am and what it is that keeps me so mindlessly driven and competitive. It is not hard work that she questions, for she knows all too well the value of labor, but she invites me into awareness and honest self-scrutiny. Perhaps it is because I have chosen to live with a divided heart that the idolatry of being busy has claimed me. Perhaps it is Lizzie's faithful attention to what matters most – her focused, un-fussy attentiveness – that makes me think of her as I ponder the meaning of singleness of heart.
~ Elizabeth J. Canham in "Grandmother Wisdom," Weavings, Mar/Apr, 2003

Trust ourselves to the hidden

Hard work and drawing up plans are helpful, but not always. We do not build our souls as much as we find them along the way. We discover them by accident as much as by intention. There is a time to take our lives in hand, but there is also a time to take our hands off our lives, and to leave what seems apparent and trust ourselves to the hidden.

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