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Posts tagged ‘Contemplation’

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

Claim the Sky

“A free bird leaps on the back of the wind and floats downstream till the current ends and dips his wing in the orange sun rays and dares to claim the sky.” – Maya Angelou, Caged Bird

“In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.” – Alice Walker

Church is not a place to go or not go once a week for an hour to check the attendance box and return to “normal” life. We are the church, not a building. Individually and collectively, we make up the church. What we believe in, what altars we kneel at, who we become if we dare to take the journey within and venture out.

We put ceilings up to limit God, circumstances, other people, self to be comfortable, safe and certain. We want to know the ending, but the ending is being written each new day in choices, thoughts, actions and inactions.

Our willingness to expand and open without fear of losing our sense of security and stability is the dance, the balance beam, the inflection point that pulls us into this moment, this day, aware of the mystery and entering it without full knowing but trusting it will unfold as it should.

“There is nothing but mystery in the world, how it hides behind the fabric of our poor, browbeat days, shining brightly, and we don’t even know it. — Sue Monk Kidd

Regret’s only purpose is to change our behavior and actions. Carrying it further slows and stalls the journey forward. When we stop circling the same mountains looking for new terrain, we can venture off trail cutting new paths to new mountains.

Life is a series of interwoven journeys, moments to savor and memories in the making. Be present, feel the ground under your feet, expand your lungs with a deep breath.  Grasp the immensity and breadth of all that is before you and most importantly in you.

Allow the mystery to unfold and be revealed in quiet reflection and inquiry. Feel the pull of gravity. Follow the compass of intuition. Trust the soul’s compass. Ask the questions. Listen for the answers. There is no ceiling, just sky. Claim the sky.

“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.” —Henry David Thoreau

Ice Out

“First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination.” – Napoleon Hill

“The tree
That wanted to be
A beautiful book
It would die
If that’s what it took…” – Butterfly Boucher

Thin ice remains on the shore as the middle gives way to open, cold, deep water. The transformation from winter to spring almost complete. As winter and spring dance, transitioning who leads, a mix of cold and warm, dry and wet will bring us into April. The rain softens and greens the grass. Spring is certain. Winter returning in eight months is certain as well. The dance continues, steps in sync, choregraphed by the Author of Life.

Seasons, cycles, transitions, change are certain. Transformation, growth and transcendence are a choice, a decision. We can remain on the surface, on thin ice, in the hardness of winter or give way to spring, to dance, to deep waters.

The journey is not to foreign lands beyond but within to unfold, unwind and peal the layers to reveal our authentic self. It calls for letting go, dying to old self, releasing what was to be on its own to fully embrace what is while anticipating the fruit that comes with time, sun and rain. Take the journey.

“Well everything’s
Full of dreams for one thing…
And everything’s
Full of dreams for reasons…
And everything’s
Full of dreams for one thing…
So keep dreaming” – Butterfly Boucher

Daily Gifts

“Roses do not bloom hurriedly; for beauty, like any masterpiece, takes time to blossom.”
― Matshona Dhliwayo

“Small minds are concerned with the extraordinary, great minds with the ordinary.” – Blaise Pascal

A wave
A breeze
A floating leave

A blooming flower
A spring shower
A sunrise and set

A smile
A laugh
A hug

In music
In art
In nature

Simple
Soft
Subtle

Ordinary
Miracles
Daily

Find
Be found
Embrace

“Miracles happen everyday, change your perception of what a miracle is and you’ll see them all around you.” – Jon Bon Jovi

Self + Heart, Sacred Space

“I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted.” – Jack Kerouac

“For one moment, try to not to get to a place. To not busy your mind + self with things to achieve, or decorate your walls. For one moment, try, to arrive with nothing in your pockets, no shoes on your feet, with only your body, + breath to rely.” – Sarah Blondin

We think we have infinite time with finite choices. Flip it. We have finite time with infinite choices. No more yesterdays, only today to grasp, embrace, honor and to set the stage for tomorrow. This moment alone, the fullness, all the colors and awareness of its depth.

Will you see it or will you let it pass you by on the way to somewhere else?

Will you be a spectator or participant?

Will you accept or reject?

Depart for a moment from the minefield of your racing thoughts. Breathe deeply. Fill your lungs. Release and let the pressure dissipate. Awaken all senses to this moment. Let your thoughts go, pausing to bring you back to equilibrium, to center.

Make your life sacred by immersing yourself in moments, suspended in mid-air of possibility, anchored in light. Do not leave this place until you embrace gratitude and feel the magnitude and immensity of being held by God. A holy, reverent reckoning and unexplainable ease.

When you arrive, you have just found grace. Hold onto it long enough to remember that it is always present. Let it soak into your being. It is not reserved for others. It is a gift for all. Given freely. No counting, no comparing, no scorekeeping. A river that flows softly on the surface and powerfully in the current beneath, it remains. A force to be reckoned with when it is recognized.

Suspend and detach from your thoughts, assumptions, judgments, worry, regret and fear to make space for love, forgiveness, joy, trust, gratitude, wonder and awe woven in the sacred ordinary. Take your hands off the wheel of the bike and steer from your core – heart, soul, spirit. Releasing from the mechanics and transactions to the magic and miracle of ordinary days.

“Scale mountains. Revel at the moon. Kneel at the foot of ancient trunks. Seek wisdom. Find kinship + holy teachers. Offer love to both, sour + soft living things. Roll precious stones in your palm. Carry clost to you, the quill of an owl. Burn the threads of flagrant grasses. Do what brings you closest to feeling the weight of goodness pressing up against you. But the most noble thing you can ever do is come to be a student of your own Self + heart.” – Sarah Blondin

Come, Sit for a While

“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

“Anybody can observe the Sabbath, but making it holy surely takes the rest of the week.” – Alice Walker

For so long
Day after day
Running fast and furious
Checking the box
New list, new boxes
Task after task
Problem solved, another takes its place
Transactional living

For who?
For what?
Why?
To What end?
Ask the questions
Inventory what stays and what must go and then release it

Money
Power
Ego
Legacy
Expectations and assumptions
Quantity over quality
Examine how time is being spent or given

On sabbath, God’s day, He calls us to rest as He did after 6 days creating the world
The Author of Life, asks us to pause
To ask the questions, to listen, to pull off the racetrack to rest, nothing to check off, no problem to solve, to just be so we can carry Sunday into the week

God chases us as we chase everything and everyone but Him
Patiently, lovingly, mercifully, gracefully, generously
He chases, calls and waits for us to see Him in the threads of ordinary moments, always present, whispering, “Come, sit for a while”

You have earned your rest
There is nowhere to go
Nowhere to be than right now
On a bench, taking in the depth and beauty of this very moment
Sunday was created to linger, to laugh, to lounge, to live so the rest of the week makes sense and is lived on purpose, gratefully and with intent, not accidentally

Right here, right now.
Come, sit for a while.

“If you keep the Sabbath, you start to see creation not as somewhere to get away from your ordinary life, but a place to frame an attentiveness to your life.” – Eugene H. Peterson

Emanate Calm

“Remain calm, serene, always in command of yourself. You will then find out how easy it is to get along.” – Paramahansa Yogananda

“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” – Saint Francis de Sales

Create space each morning to reconnect and take hold of yourself so you can enter the world anchored, quiet and calm. When we focus on our sphere of influence – our thoughts, actions, reactions – with measured response, we invite others into peace and calm.

Each of us can be apart of a worldwide movement to INCITE PEACE! Hold up your signs, go out into your world and respond with kindness, thoughtful discourse, active listening and sincere inquiry to understand rather than be understood.

More dialogue. Less monologue. Let’s take the world back with civility, diversity of thought, generosity, humor and a sense of wonder.

The first step to healing is fostering and nurturing calm within and emanating it without. Peace! Be still.

Lucid

“When you are an aware being, you no longer become completely immersed in the events around you. Instead, you remain inwardly aware that you are the one who is experiencing both the events and the corresponding thoughts and emotions. When a thought is created in this state of awareness, instead of getting lost in it, you remain aware that you are the one who is thinking the thought. You are lucid.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.” – John Burroughs

Become an observer. When too close, take a step back. When lost in the fog, focus on the next ten feet. Be present, in rapt awareness of your thoughts, energy and intentions. We are steeped in plenty of external ongoing turmoil. Unrest is rooted within. Return to yourself, quiet your thoughts to gain clarity and lucidity. We change the world by first changing ourself. When feeling lost, scarcity, cynicism, untether your soul to see possibility and light in the moment. No past. No future. Just the depth of a moment.

“You can wear yourself out struggling with the experience of a single event, or even a single thought or emotion. And you know that all too well. Eventually you’ll see that this resistance is a tremendous waste of energy. The fact is, you’re generally using your will to resist one of two things that which has already happened or that which hasn’t happened yet. You are sitting inside resisting impressions from the past or thoughts about the future. Think of how much energy is wasted resisting what has already happened. Since the event has already passed, you are actually struggling with yourself, not with the event. In addition, contemplate how much energy is wasted resisting what might happen. Since most of the things you think might happen never do, you are just throwing your energy way. How you deal with your energy flow has a major effect on your life.” – Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul

The Light of Spirit

“Solitude sharpens awareness of small pleasures otherwise lost.” – Kevin Patterson

“Once we’re awake, the struggle is often whether we live in the world of things while glimpsing the light of Spirit or in the light of Spirit while moving through the world of things. It is a practice just to be aware of which is driving us.” – Mark Nepo, Finding Inner Courage

In Minnesota, we take winter seriously. After we accept its inevitable return with a few complaints on the temperature adjustment and icy roads, we proceed to make the most of it by going out into it. I started snowshoeing this year and back at cross country skiing as well. Out in nature, in movement, breathing crisp fresh air. At the local golf course, they groom the trails as well as make snow for a small hill for snowboarding, skiing and sledding. They keep making snow all season to keep the hill in good shape.

When we accept that the only way to the other side of winter or other challenges is straight through it, we can embrace a lightness of Spirit, an ease in being. Each season offers unique gifts. There’s a quietude and solace in winter, preparation time, reflection.

Choose to move through the world awake, aware and grateful. The Spirit is all around and within each one of us ready to be held and to hold.

“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” – Saint Francis de Sales

Opposite, Dichotomy, Pattern and Connection

“Life is a great tapestry. The individual is only an insignificant thread in an immense and miraculous pattern.” – Albert Einstein

“I believe we create our own lives. And we create it by our thinking, feeling patterns in our belief system. I think we’re all born with this huge canvas in front of us and the paintbrushes and the paint, and we choose what to put on this canvas.” – Louise L. Hay

In our effort to prove our rightness and others’ wrongness, we diminish the complexity and depth of the world and our place in it. While it may provide temporary comfort, we miss the rich essence of living fully by both observing and participating, listening before speaking, conversation rather than pontification.

Life is filled with dichotomy and opposite as well as pattern and connection. When we put down our ego, listen and open our eyes, we find that we share the road on this journey, with no one right about everything. In the blending, depth and connection, there are patterns, insights and answers that have been present waiting to be discovered through thoughtful, quiet inquiry.

A meaningful and content life emerges when we ask, “what am I to learn?” and “how can I give rather than take?”

While I may not agree with others, I can still maintain my principles and beliefs without diminishing them in the process. I can even go so far as being kind and generous, especially to those I don’t agree with.

We need to both insulate the noise that distracts us and absorb the rhythms to create music. When we are too close, we need to pull back. When we are too far, we need to move in. From simple to complex and back to simple again. Going deep, then rising to the surface.

Be open to seeing patterns and connections amidst the dichotomy and opposites. There is far more beauty than we account for as we count the wrong things. Be willing to learn and as a result, grow and change.

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