Food for the Soul

5/13/2020

Hello again, my Friends,

Let’s play, dance, and sing. Let’s imagine things and be creative. Last Sunday was Mothers’ Day. What a perfect day to celebrate creativity. I hope you all had a beautiful day. I encourage you to linger a little longer in the emotions, dreams, and happiness of that day.

A PRAYER   –   A PRACTICE   –   A POEM

A PRAYER

Psalm of Solitude (Excerpt) by Nicola Slee: Praying like a Woman

May my solitude be fruitful,
like a tree which is planted by streams of water,
whose branches yield their fruit in due season,
and whose leaves do not wither.
May my solitude be fruitful.

 May my solitude be prayerful,
like a well whose depths cannot be fathomed
which offers its clear and thirst-quenching waters
to those who will search in her darkness.
May my solitude be prayerful.

 May my solitude be spacious
like a broad place into which you lead me,
where my spirit exults and my body rejoices,
where I may dance alone and in the company of others.
May my solitude be spacious.

 May my solitude be joyful
and sing out its singular witness,
like birdsong at dawn and day’s ending,
which is pure, spontaneous and lovely,
filled with the gratitude of all creation
for the simplicity of living and the glory of being alive.
May my solitude be joyful.

A PRACTICE

Mothers’ Day has come and gone; most of us are still observing solitary confinement or at least social distancing; and I thought we needed something uplifting to break the monotony. Did you laugh, dance, and sing on Mothers’ Day? Did you talk on the phone or via zoom with those you mothered at some point in life? Or did they call you and had some loving words of gratitude for you? I hope the words still ring in your heart.

My suggestion for practice today is extremely simple, but daring in a way: Pick yourself up, choose your favorite music and dance by yourself throughout the whole house; let your body inspire you, anything goes, free style, crazy style, slow style; whatever feels good, follow your internal rhythm. Then sing from the heart, with full voice, your favorite song, your heart’s melody. When you are tired out, laugh about yourself as loud as you can. You want more? Now take a deep breath, sit down, and journal about your experience, the truth without holding back.

A POEM

The following poem is by the Sufi poet Hafiz. His given name was Shams-ud-din Muhammad. Hafiz was born and lived in the city of Shiraz, Persia (c. 1320-1389). Sufism is usually regarded as a form of Islamic mysticism. This poem is taken from the anthology The Gift: Poems by Hafiz, The Great Sufi Master, translation by Daniel Ladinsky.

Stop Calling Me a Pregnant Woman

 My Master once entered a phase
That whenever I would see him
He would say,

“Hafiz,
How did you ever become a pregnant woman?”

And I would reply,

“Dear Attar,
You must be speaking the truth,
But all of what you say is a mystery to me.”

Many months passed by in his blessed company.
But one day I lost my patience
Upon hearing that odd refrain
And blurted out,

“Stop calling me a pregnant woman!”

And Attar replied,
“Someday, my sweet Hafiz,
All the nonsense in your brain will dry up
Like a stagnant pool of water
Beneath the sun,

Though if you want to know the Truth
I can so clearly see that God has made love with you
And the whole universe is germinating
Inside your belly

And wonderful words,
Such enlightening words
Will take birth from you

And be cradled against thousands
Of hearts.”

 

5/6/2020

Dear Friends,

Are you feeling the weight of our current times? Is your patience running out? Maybe you are yearning to return to a normal life, a yearning for the good old days. However, the more I think about that the more I am convinced that we are onto something new. I feel like God is holding us in a liminal space, an in-between place in which we are still discerning how to move forward.

 

A PRAYER   –   A PRACTICE   –   A POEM

A PRAYER

Prayer during a Pandemic

Loving God, Holy One,
Your desire is for our wholeness and
well-being.

We hold in tenderness and prayer
the collective suffering of our
world at this time.

We grieve precious lives lost and
vulnerable lives threatened.

We ache for ourselves and our
neighbors, standing before an
uncertain future.

We pray: may love, not fear, go viral.

Inspire our leaders to discern and
choose wisely, aligned with the
common good.
Help us to practice social distancing
and reveal to us new and creative
ways to come together in spirit
and in solidarity.
Call us to profound trust in your
faithful presence,
You, the God who does not abandon,
You, the Holy One,
breathing within us,
breathing among us,
breathing around us
in our beautiful yet
wounded world.

– Sisters of IHM, Scranton, PA

A PRACTICE

Everything in our universe is in a constant state of flux. That means we move from one state through liminality to a new state. This requires leaving familiar things behind, detaching from the old ways in order to bring about the new . The separation may be painful and inflict suffering. Yet to be human is to be creative: co-creative with God. After leaving things behind we then move into a liminal space where we remain until the needed creative energy takes hold of us and propels us to a new place. This liminal place is where the metamorphosis occurs. Metamorphosis at its own speed, it will occur when the time is right; but we can create the environment for it to occur: letting go of all pre-conceptions, just letting go, allowing time and space for just being.

Try this exercise:

Quiet your mind by whatever means is familiar to you. Silence, along with attention to your breathing, is always a good, simple choice. As you do so, try to empty your mind of the concerns that weigh on you. Watch them, let them go by, and let yourself become detached from them. Do the same with thoughts, ideas, and plans. Let your mind become as empty as it can, without straining. Turn your attention now toward the future. As you sit quietly, you may want to open your hands, turning the palms upward, remaining in silence. The open palms indicate your acceptance. Whatever will come, you will receive it. Whatever happens tomorrow, there you will look to find God’s presence. “Seek God’s face always,” says the psalmist. Always, in whatever happens.

— Arthur Green in Ehyeh: A Kabbalah for Tomorrow

A POEM

Let it Go   by Danna Faulds

Let go of the ways you thought life would unfold;
the holding of plans or dreams or expectations – Let it all go.
Save your strength to swim with the tide.
The choice to fight what is here before you now
will only result in struggle, fear and desperate attempts to flee
from the very energy you long for. Let it go.

Let it all go and flow with the grace
that washes through your days
whether you receive it gently
or with all your quills raised to defend against invaders.
Take this on faith: the mind may never find
the explanations that it seeks,
but you will move forward nonetheless.

Let go, and the wave’s crest
will carry you to unknown shores,
beyond your wildest dreams or destinations.
Let it all go and find the place of rest
and peace, and certain
transformation.

04/29/2020

Dear Friends,

As I was recently walking in a forest near my house I saw this bare dead tree in front of me (see photo above). Its main branches had made a structure that conjured up in me the word ‘portal.’ What if I stepped through it, where would it lead, what would it do to me? Was it magic? Stepping through portals can be very transformational. How is our current COVID-19 situation transforming our society? Do I see a transformation in myself? I invite you to step through the portal and take a seat at the table of God’s abundance.

A PRAYER   –   A PRACTICE   –   A POEM

A PRAYER

God of surprises
Infuse me with your wild wonder
Sustain me in the daily practice
Of opening my heart to grace.
Expand my imagination to see
More widely than before.
Open my heart to experience
Compassion beyond my dreams,
Call me to begin again and again.

A PRACTICE

Growing in the Wilderness (From Daily Meditations by Richard Rohr)

If the desert is a place of renewal, transformation, and freedom, and if the heat and isolation served as a nurturing incubator for monastic movements, one wonders if a desert experience is necessary to reclaim this legacy? —(Barbara Holmes: Joy Unspeakable: Contemplative Practice of the Black Church) 

Life in the desert is not easy. It does not offer moderate temperatures to please the human desire for comfort nor abundant water to quench inevitable thirst. The caves that offer shelter likely don’t provide a soft place to lay tired bodies. And yet, the desert abbas and ammas sought out these conditions, believing they would find new and abundant life—even where life seemed impossible. We invite you to take a few breaths and to slowly and contemplatively read this passage from Howard Thurman’s Meditations of the Heart, in which he describes an encounter in another kind of mountain wilderness.

“It was above the timber line. The steady march of the forest had stopped as if some invisible barrier had been erected beyond which no trees dared move in a single file. Beyond was barrenness, sheer rocks, snow patches and strong untrammeled winds. Here and there were short tufts of evergreen bushes that had somehow managed to survive despite the severe pressures under which they had to live. They were not lush, they lacked the kind of grace of the vegetation below the timber line, but they were alive and hardy. Upon close investigation, however, it was found that these were not ordinary shrubs. The formation of the needles, etc., was identical with that of the trees further down; as a matter of fact, they looked like branches of the other trees. When one actually examined them, the astounding revelation was that they were branches. For, hugging the ground, following the shape of the terrain, were trees that could not grow upright, following the pattern of their kind. Instead, they were growing as vines grow along the ground, and what seemed to be patches of stunted shrubs were rows of branches of growing, developing trees. What must have been the torturous frustration and the stubborn battle that had finally resulted in this strange phenomenon! It is as if the tree had said, “I am destined to reach for the skies and embrace in my arms the wind, the rain, the snow and the sun, singing my song of joy to all the heavens. But this I cannot do. I have taken root beyond the timber line, and yet I do not want to die; I must not die. I shall make a careful survey of my situation and work out a method, a way of life, that will yield growth and development for me despite the contradictions under which I must eke out my days. In the end I may not look like the other trees, I may not be what all that is within me cries out to be. But I will not give up. I will use to the full every resource in me and about me to answer life with life. In so doing I shall affirm that this is the kind of universe that sustains, upon demand, the life that is in it.”

I wonder if I dare to act even as the tree acts. I wonder! I wonder! Do you?

A POEM

Watch for new revelations as the Veil
begins to fade away,
like clouds penetrated by rays
of brilliant sunshine.
Much will be revealed that has long
been hidden in mystery;
Prepare the way for Awakening!
Be not afraid to yield to the Unknown,
to become vulnerable and pliant:
the Beloved will lead you to new life.
Trust the Holy Process, enjoy the Mystery!
Like Pentecost of old, wondrous changes
are even now emerging,
calling each of us to attune to the
music, to join the Song.
Spend time in sacred space and listen.
Out of the Silence you may hear
your invitation:
Come to the Dance!
Lumen Christi…Holy Wisdom.

From Lumen Christi…Holy Wisdom. Journey to Awakening, NanC. Merrill 2002

04/22/2020

Dear Friends,

Our nature is loving awareness. In the midst of fighting COVID-19 we have a reminder that today is Earth Day. Let us bring today and in the following days our loving awareness to the trees that live with us and around us. Trees are the most successful forms of life. Trees provide us with oxygen and the rainforests are referred to as the lungs of the planet. It is time to honor the trees. The lungs of humanity and the lungs of the planet need healing and support. It is time to go within and discover our true nature as pure loving awareness.

 

A PRAYER   –   A PRACTICE   –   A POEM

 

A PRAYER

Canticle to the Sun by St. Francis of Assisi

Most High, all powerful, good Lord,
Yours are the praises, the glory, the honor, and all blessing.

To You alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no man is worthy to mention Your name.

Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and you give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
in heaven you formed them clear and precious and beautiful.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
and through the air, cloudy and serene,
and every kind of weather through which
You give sustenance to Your creatures.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water,
which is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom you light the night and he is beautiful
and playful and robust and strong.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Mother Earth,
who sustains us and governs us and who produces
varied fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Praised be You, my Lord,
through those who give pardon for Your love,
and bear infirmity and tribulation.

Blessed are those who endure in peace
for by You, Most High, they shall be crowned.

Praised be You, my Lord,
through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whom no living man can escape.

Woe to those who die in mortal sin.
Blessed are those whom death will
find in Your most holy will,
for the second death shall do them no harm.

Praise and bless my Lord,
and give Him thanks
and serve Him with great humility.[3]

 

A PRACTICE

A Practice for Singing to the Trees

In honor of Earth Day I encourage you to join people everywhere in this practice of singing to the trees, developed by Beautiful Painted Arrow for The House of Mica Peace Chamber. I will give you here a summary of the five steps involved. If you prefer to see the full practice with video here is a link that will take you to it  https://mailchi.mp/nycap/global-practice-singing-to-the-trees-loving-awareness.

Honoring: Begin by looking at an individual tree. Give thanks to the tree for all it provides that you can easily see – beauty, shade, fruit, nuts, home for the birds. Give thanks for all that trees give you that you cannot see, especially oxygen, which is essential to supporting life. Bow to the tree as a divine manifestation of Spirit, or God, or the Ultimate.

Sing to the Tree: Open your heart and begin singing to the tree. Include in your singing the Tiwa sound for tree – Pee Wheh Neh. Initially, be aware of the apparent separateness between you, the sound of your voice and the tree. Open your heart more and more and allow the tree to sing through you, to feed oxygen to you, to support your well-being. Honor the greatness of the tree and the greatness of the heart – Pee Wheh Neh.

Acknowledge One-ness: Allow the practice to deepen and shift. Know that the tree is within you. As you breathe, experience the inverted tree where your mouth is the bottom of the trunk of the tree. Each breath awakens a very lovely tree whose trunk is your throat and whose branches extend to your lungs and chest. Experience the light of the tree opening and healing all of the breathing passages of your lungs. Experience its vibrancy and the light of well-being spreading through your chest area and across your whole body, just as the branches and leaves of a tree spread into the clear blue sky. When you are filled with healing light and peace, focus on the beautiful clear blue sky.

Let the Mind Disappear into Silence: As you focus on the clear blue sky, let the mind disappear and enter the silent experience of being ONE with all creation. See yourself in all beings and all beings in yourself. Experience yourself as the unified field of consciousness that is indivisible, always and everywhere. Know that there is only loving awareness, without beginning, without end.

Accept the perfection that is right in front of you: After a time, come back to awareness of the body. Filled with light and peace, give thanks for this moment and all that is present. Embrace what is in front of you without grasping and without aversion, it is all a gift from God. Know that you are exactly where you need to be. Your presence is a gift. You are connected with all beings. You are loved. You are loving. You are love itself.  

 

A POEM

Ancient Language
by Hannah Stephenson

If you stand at the edge of the forest
and stare into it
every tree at the edge will blow a little extra
oxygen toward you

It has been proven
Leaves have admitted it

The pines I have known
have been especially candid

One said
that all breath in this world
is roped together

that breathing is
the most ancient language

04/15/2020

Dear Friends,

Alleluia! Christ is risen! During this time we celebrate new life, rebirth, resurrection. It behooves us to distance ourselves once in a while from the fear, anxiety and turbulence caused by COVID-19, if only for a minute at the time, and concentrate on God’s unstoppable energy that will move us forward. One minute today, one tomorrow, and so on. Let us dwell for a moment on welcoming newness.

 

A PRAYER   –   A PRACTICE   –   A POEM

 

A PRAYER

Reveal Yourself

Almighty and ever living God,
You are beyond the grasp of our highest thought,
But within the reach of our frailest trust;
Come in the beauty of the morning’s light and
Reveal Yourself to us.
Enrich us out of the heritage of seers and scholars and saints
Into whose faith and labors we have entered.
And quicken us to new insights for our time;
That we may be possessors of the truth of many
Yesterdays, partakers of your thoughts for today,
And creators with you of a better tomorrow;
Through Jesus Christ, the Lord of the ages.

Henry Sloane Coffin

 

 A PRACTICE

The Power of Observation – The Present Moment

I invite you today, or any day, to take a break from your daily routine and take a walk in nature; this could be a forest, a park, a beach, or simply your backyard. Not all State and City Parks are closed. My personal preferred place is either Roosevelt Forest (in Stratford) or Sherwood Island State Park (in Westport). Find a path and walk slowly and leisurely. Breathe in deeply, and breathe out letting everything go. Smell the air as it fills your lungs, feel yourself relaxing as you let go. Now begin to observe your surroundings. Notice all forms of new life sprouting up and out: the tiny little plant in the fissure of a rock; the rebirth of a familiar plant; the unfurling of leaves at the end of a tree branch; the new growth on an evergreen; the rivulet of water finding its way – maybe a new way – towards a bigger body of water; do you notice the gentle gurgling of the water’s flow? Do you see a bird’s nest tucked among the branches of a tree? Listen to the crunch of old leaves underfoot, and the wind singing in the top of the still mostly-bare trees against a vast blue sky. Any flowers yet? There is so much new life going on, it is hard to know where to look first.

This exercise of being in the present moment and observing what is in nature, is sufficient in itself. However, one could expand it and start observing what is happening in oneself. Where do I see my own new growth – physical, mental, or spiritual? What can I do to foment this growth? Do I see a transformation happening? Do I welcome it and help it along? How does my creative energy seek expression? Is my capacity for love and compassion growing?

For all the discoveries made through this exercise let us give thanks.

 

A POEM

For a New Beginning by John O’Donohue

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness grow inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the grey promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plentitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not clear
You can trust the promise of the opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

4/8/2020

 

Dear Friends,

As we remember this week Jesus’ pilgrimage to Golgotha, we join him in our own pilgrimage through this virus-riddled world. And we have questions, and we have pain and sadness, and fears, and yearning for better times. I have no answers, but I encourage you to be open-minded and trust the Divine Spirit.

 

A PRAYER   –   A PRACTICE   –   A POEM

A PRAYER

Only as a child am I awake

and able to trust

that after every fear and every night

I will behold you again.

 

However often I get lost,

however far my thinking strays,

I know you will be here, right here,

time trembling around you.

 

To me it is as if I were at once

infant, boy, man and more.

I feel that only as it circles

is abundance found.

 

I thank you, deep power

that works me every more lightly

in ways I can’t make out.

The day’s labor grows simple now,

and like a holy face

held in my dark hands.

 

(Rainer Maria Rilke, Book of Hours)

 

 

 A PRACTICE

I offer you today a spiritual practice developed by Mary Mrozowski during the 20th century. The Welcoming Prayer is a method of consenting to God’s presence and action in our physical and emotional reactions to events and situations in daily life. It helps to dismantle the emotional programs of the false-self system and to heal the wounds of a lifetime by addressing them where they are stored – in the body. The Welcoming Prayer is for emotions and feelings, not what triggered them. Focus on the particular emotion or feeling that comes up (anger, fear, rage, sadness) and try to identify where in your body you are feeling this. Then gently accept and welcome this emotion into yourself by slowly praying the following:

Welcome, welcome, welcome.
I welcome everything that comes to me today
because I know it’s for my healing.
I welcome all thoughts, feelings, emotions, persons,
situations, and conditions.
I let go of my desire for power and control.
I let go of my desire for affection, esteem,
approval and pleasure.
I let go of my desire for survival and security.
I let go of my desire to change any situation,
condition, person or myself.
I open to the love and presence of God and
God’s action within.

 

A POEM

On Pain

By Kahlil Gibran

 

And a woman spoke, saying, Tell us of Pain.

And he said:

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses

your understanding.

Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its

heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.

And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily

miracles of your life, your pain would not seem

less wondrous than your joy;

And you would accept the seasons of your heart,

even as you have always accepted the seasons

that pass over your fields.

And you would watch with serenity through the

winters of your grief.

 

Much of your pain is self-chosen.

It is the bitter potion by which the physician within

you heals your sick self.

Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy

in silence and tranquility:

For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by

the tender hand of the Unseen,

And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has

been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has

moistened with His own sacred tears.

4/1/2020

Dear Friends,

“Taste and see that life is good.” You must think: she is nuts! Living in the current corona virus infused world is hard, and I would like to help you to let go, to disconnect for a moment. I invite you to be open to experiencing the beauty and goodness that is all around us.

A PRAYER   –   A PRACTICE   –   A POEM

A PRAYER

Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord;
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Angels of the Lord, bless the Lord;
You heavens, bless the Lord;
All you waters above the heavens, bless the Lord.
All you hosts of the Lord; bless the Lord.
Sun and moon, bless the Lord;
Stars of heaven, bless the Lord.
Every shower and dew, bless the Lord;
All you winds, bless the Lord.
Fire and heat, bless the Lord;
Cold and chill, bless the Lord.
Dew and rain, bless the Lord;
Frost and cold, bless the Lord.
Ice and snow, bless the Lord;
Nights and days, bless the Lord.
Light and darkness bless the Lord;
Lightning and clouds, bless the Lord.
Let the earth bless the Lord;
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Mountains and hills, bless the Lord
everything growing from the earth, bless the Lord.
You springs, bless the Lord;
Seas and rivers, bless the Lord.
You dolphins and all water creatures, bless the Lord;
All you birds of the air, bless the Lord.
All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord;
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
……………..

Let us bless the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost;
Let us praise and exalt God above all forever.
Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven;
Praiseworthy and glorious forever.

(From Canticle of the Three Youths, Book of Daniel 3:26-90))

A PRACTICE

“Through the use of our senses today’s practice will help us to develop a deeper sense of awe about everything that is. Let us first quiet the mind by sitting peacefully, resting our hands on our lap, letting go of the thoughts and worries of the day. Try to feel your body. Direct your awareness to the different sensations of your body, moving slowly – one by one – through the different senses. Consciously feel the weight, position, and temperature of your body, smell the air, listen to the sounds around you. Slowly get up and start moving around, while intently taking in your surroundings through their colors, shapes, shadows, sounds and other details. Linger with each new sensation. Now focus on one single object that catches your attention.  If you are outdoors a flower, a leaf, a rock, even the bark of a tree would be perfect. Dwell on this object with all your senses. Take in every detail. Spend time with this object, and realize its beauty and perfection. Don’t rush this experience. Sit in awe of this object and of your own being. When you are ready, silently say: This is God’s being. Continue to repeat the phrase several times as a mantra until something happens inside, like a wave of joy, sense of astonishment, sudden insight, swell of appreciation, or shift in consciousness. This is God’s being. When you have experienced enough, return your attention to everyday consciousness. Do this as often as time and life’s circumstances allow.”

(Paraphrased from John C. Robinson: The Divine Human: The Final Transformation of Sacred Aging).

A POEM

Ode to a Lemon, by Pablo Neruda

Out of lemon flowers loosed on the moonlight,
love’s lashed and insatiable essences, sodden with fragrance,
the lemon tree’s yellow emerges,
the lemons move down from the tree’s planetarium
delicate merchandise!
The harbors are big with it –
bazaars for the light and the barbarous gold.
We open the halves of a miracle,
and a clotting of acids brims
into the starry divisions:
creation’s original juices,
irreducible,
changeless,
alive:
so the freshness lives on in a lemon,
in the sweet-smelling house of the rind,
the proportions, arcane and acerb.
Cutting the lemon the knife leaves a little cathedral:
alcoves unguessed by the eye that open acidulous glass to the light;
topazes riding the droplets, altars, aromatic facades.
So, while the hand holds the cut of the lemon,
half a word on a trencher,
the gold of the universe wells to the touch:
a cup yellow with miracles,
a breast and a nipple perfuming the earth;
a flashing made fruitage, the diminutive fire of a planet.

 

3/25/2020

Dear Friends,

In these anxiety-ridden times it is important that we practice self-care and self-compassion, that we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and humble, and that we increase in faith and love. May these small contributions nourish our souls.

A PRAYER   –   A PRACTICE   –   A POEM

A PRAYER 

Psalm 106 – Excerpt 2

Awaken us to the Oneness of all things,
To the beauty and truth of Unity.
May we become aware of the
interdependence of all things,
And come to know You in everything,
And all things in You.
For as we attune to your Presence within us,
we know not separation,
and joy becomes our dwelling place.

Nan Merrill, Psalms for Praying

A PRACTICE

Recognize your unity with others. As we are instructed on how to navigate our daily lives and minimize the risks to ourselves and others during the pandemic, one truth becomes clear: We are all in this together. What each of us does — and doesn’t do — can have an impact upon the spread of the virus. No matter what our own health situation is, we are connected with the familiar and the stranger, the strong and the vulnerable. This is what Belleruth Naparstek in Your Sixth Sense describes as a “place of empathic attunement. It’s about seeing the connections, the interlocking webs of energy among people and things, and residing as much as possible in that place of no separation.” At the end of each day, spend a few minutes in self-assessment, identifying those moments when you were reminded most forcefully of your connection with others.

Make a point of consciously imagining each person you meet as your own brother or sister — someone whose well-being, safety, health, and happiness you deeply care about. See how this changes your perspective and willingness to offer kindness and compassion. Also, notice how this changes the nature of the relationship.

— Donald Altman in The Mindfulness Code

 A POEM

 The Way It Is 

One morning you might wake up
To realize that the knot in your stomach
Had loosened itself and slipped away,
And that the pit of unfilled longing in your heart
Had gradually, and without your really noticing,
Been filled in – patched like a pothole, not quite
The same as it was, but good enough.

And in that moment it might occur to you
That your life, though not the way
You planned it, and maybe not even entirely
The way you wanted it, is nonetheless –
Persistently, abundantly, miraculously –
Exactly what it is.

Lynn Unger, in Poetry of Presence, Phillis Cole-Dai and Ruby R. Wilson, Editors

 

Stay healthy, safe, and centered, and may God’s blessings be always with you.

If you wish to talk to someone, don’t hesitate to call me (Lilian Revel – 203 858 1243) or e-mail me at: lrevel@trinitynewhaven.org or pastoralcare@trinitynewhaven.org.