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Posts tagged ‘Contemplation’

Being Human

“God is the place where I do not remember the rest.” – Joseph Joubert

A BLESSING FOR BEING HUMAN

“Blessed are we, living in this small space, in these bodies we now inhabit, within the walls of circumstance, in these short years and finite strength, and with these eyes that see only so far. We are fragile, contingent beings.

Yet blessed are we, recognizing that it is our limits as well as our gifts that can shape the natural contours of what is possible, that guide us to what is ours to do.

Blessed are we when it is not our greatness that speaks, but our littleness. For it is our vulnerability that is the truest thing about us, the place where mutual connection is possible, where competition ends and community begins.

And oh how blessed are we in our fragility and dependence and brokenness, knowing that You, O God, hold all things together. There is no cure for being human…but for each other, we are all good medicine.” – Kate Bowler

May you be blessed today and each day with awareness and gratitude for the gift of being human and the grace of God in the midst of all of it.

Receptive

“Great thoughts come from the heart.” – Luc de Clapiers

Take a break from swirling thoughts and think with your heart today.
Filter through empathy, connection and acceptance.
Lay down the chains of opinion and assumption long enough to allow fresh thoughts in.
Build, expand and grow.
Be receptive, moved, transformed.
See what is right in front of you only visible through the heart.

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Forest and Trees

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”― John Muir

“In our mediocrity and distraction, we forget that we are privileged to live in a wondrous universe.”— John O’Donohue

When you cannot see the forest for the trees, step back and observe the forest, the entire picture, the full journey. Uncover the narrative you’ve come to believe. Fiction or nonfiction? When too close to opinions, assumption and criticism, step back and find the connection between self and others. We are more alike than different. Humans, carrying stories that confine and constrict, trying to figure out the ending and missing the journey in the process. Joy can exist separate from circumstances and is rooted in gratitude.

Find the sacred in this day, found within. Be gentle and others. Kindness and peace to you today and each day that follows. Enter the sanctuary of the trees to be brought back to the fundamental and holiness of living daily. Clarity found in quiet. Ease found in pause. Gratitude found in seeing both the forest and the trees.

“Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured…

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.

When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.” – Herman Hess, Bäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte

“You should belong first in your own interiority.”— John O’Donohue

Write Your Story

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”― Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Tend to the narratives you tell yourself, what you’ve come to believe.
Is it familiar, flat and stale?
Does it serve your growth, healing, transformation?
Unlearn, relearn, learn.
Choose a different story line.
Change the arc.
Expansion over contraction.
Knowing in the unknowing.
Depth and dimension.
Salt and light.
Becoming through unbecoming.
Listen, write, rewrite.
The first draft is never the final draft.
Edit and hone.
Keep writing your story each day.

“What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.” – Colette

Still Points

“I drank the silence of God from a spring in the woods.” – Georg Trakl

“At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.”― T.S. Eliot

Stand still in body, mind and spirit
From the hustle and hurry of somewhere else
Allow ease in from quiet reflection
To the awareness that somewhere, some day is now
Pause long enough to see blessings already present
If gifts available in this moment are unseen, how will you ever recognize more?
Depth rather than shallow width
Stop counting and start receiving what is
Abundance beyond measure
Separate your being from circumstances so as not to be bound by them
Let gratitude, awareness and attention be your guide
Go from doing to accepting, to acknowledging, to praise
Receive, accept, absorb
Close your eyes, create still points and simply say “thank you”

“So Joseph stored up the grain in such abundance-like the sand of the sea-that he stopped measuring it; it was beyond measure.”-Genesis 41:49

Deliberately

“Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.”― Khalil Gibran

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms…”― Henry David Thoreau

Shed the chaos
Tune out the noise
Narrow to go deeper
Plant seeds
Prune dead branches
Transcend the nonessential
Define your essential
Go there
Live deliberately.

“Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.”― Greg Mckeown, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Same New

“Beauty itself is but the sensible image of the Infinite.” – Francis Bacon

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Viktor E. Frankl

The space between stimulus and response
See the same in a new way
Take a different route
Tilt your head to see a different angle
Pause

Detach from the old
Draw outside the lines
Throw away the box you put yourself in
Throw away the box others put you in
Wide open spaces

Venture out beyond old stories, thoughts, opinions, assumptions
Make the unknown, known
Do not settle for familiarity, complacency, and certainty over fruition and growth
We are built for more, called to better, capable for hard
Density over volume
Imperfect wholeness and completion

Energy, creativity and light
Do not play small
Listen, look, receive, release
Make the same new
Always choose to bloom

“You have to color outside the lines once in a while if you want to make your life a masterpiece.” – Einstein

Inside Larger than Outside

“…I heard an architect say that a contemplative building is not one built for meditating, though meditation may take place there, but more a building where the inside is larger than the outside. It made me realize that anything that does this, that makes the inside larger than the outside, leads us to our core. And breathing there gives us peace.” – Mark Nepo, Finding Inner Courage

May you love yourself enough to travel within to make your inside larger than the outside.
May you love others enough to invite them to the same journey.
May you find peace, joy and light in this very day.

Accept the invitation. Take the trip daily.

“It is a constant challenge to find our center, our core, and to stay there long enough to uncover our capacities. Both require a steady movement inward.” – Mark Nepo, Finding Inner Courage

 

Cathedral

“May your heart be an altar, from which the bright flame of unending thanksgiving ascends to heaven.” – Mary Euphrasia Pelletier

“A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

What’s in front of you right now?
Where will you put your energy and effort today?
What altars are you kneeling at?
What fruit will you bear?
Do you see a pile of rocks or the makings of a cathedral?

Each day we make choices, actively or passively. Decisions that direct our path. What we take in, what we cast out, what we make of the material present and available within.

Make a hard stop. Take a deep breath. Look around. Then proceed. Choose your direction on the path that serves your becoming, expanding and unfolding. Finish the cathedral, rock by rock.

Grace. Gratitude. Great works.

“Keep alive within you and bring under wise control that courage which makes you long to undertake great works, which others might consider it folly to attempt.” – Mary Euphrasia Pelletier

Liberation

“we are souls who have met for a purpose on this mysterious journey; that each of us is here for the other, and all that is required is to strip down to the marrow and to be present. To look into each other’s eyes and to search beyond the identity of victim and helper, sick one and well one, weak one and strong one—to look deeper and to find the dignified soul of each being, and to stand in solidarity as a fellow human who is striving to be free. This is how all of us can try to be with each other, every day—wherever we go and whatever disparities may exist between us.”— Marrow: A Love Story by Elizabeth Lesser

Last night, I finished Elizabeth Lesser’s’ book Marrow: A Love Story. The past weeks, I’ve scattered several quotes from the book throughout posts. It’s been the right book at the right time for me.

We have cues, clues, signs and directions right in front of us waiting to be seen and heard. Look and listen. Be bold and enter that quiet space within to hear that still small voice, your inner knowing, your intuition, your soul, your GPS, your True North. Beyond rules, assumptions, judgment, ego, offense, irritations, neatly-packaged narratives, the past and the future, there’s an open field ready to be explored, revealed and discovered.

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.”― Rumi

Daily rituals and practices that pull us into that wide open field include meditation (Insight Timer makes it so easy to break old thought patterns and create new ones!), Morning Pages (Julia Cameron’s recipe that works wonders and fosters creativity and clarity), gratitude (count your blessings and gifts, take inventory) and movement (get out in nature, spin up a stretching class on YouTube, get your blood pumping). All doable and worth the effort.

“We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand – out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.” – Romans 5:2

Try one new thing today. Expand, engage, participate in the unfolding of your life. Repeat tomorrow, the next and the next. Wide open spaces.

“The goal of meditation is liberation. Liberation from the stormy weather occurring between our skull bones. Liberation from the war within. We meditate to become comfortable with whatever is going on in any moment. To engage with reality on its own terms.”— Marrow: A Love Story by Elizabeth Lesser

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