Category: Ritual/Prayer


 

Lately, my spiritual peer mentoring group and I have been discussing how our concept or image of God has changed as we have gotten older. Most of us have originally come from traditional religious roots but over the course of our lives and especially in our eldering years, many of us have come to a point of questioning all that was programmed into us by church, family or state.

This of course is not true for everybody who are comforted by the same images for a lifetime. But in my particular world I guess we are a circle of quiet rabble rousers.. some might also, fearing our quest for fresh images of the Divine, call us heretics!

But that is only the name given to seekers and those who question, by others for whom there is only one TRUE story, tradition or concept of how we got here, why we are here, who in the Divine World made it all happen and who is listening when we are called to prayer. To think that no one is listening is to all of us, a heart-rending if not dreadful thought. But we pray anyway because we are “called to prayer” and love the invitation, but sometimes our prayer starts “Here I am… and to Whom it May Concern …. ” because Patriarchal concepts of the Masculine Divine do not fit with our lived spiritual experience any more.

It would certainly be easier and more comforting if we KNEW for sure who was listening,  or if we were not bothered by just speaking the traditional prayers addressing the Heavenly Power(s) by rote. But alas, we are in between what was and what might be, these Prayers that include the words, “what if?” and “maybe”.

For myself, I have found that talking in prayer to the Saints (who once had a human experience) inspires me, and even more personally, also praying to my Angels ie My Guardian Angel, and my Library Angel  (who might be one and the same), they  who constantly bring the Light of Guidance or Protection or hints of what I need to investigate next for my best unfolding and Destiny. I know when it happens that they have heard  because if those mysterious synchronicities that make me smile, if not laugh out loud catching me by surprise on the almost immediate heals of my prayers or beseeching. My Angels though engaged in serious work, ever have a playful sense of humor in their high Service with me.

I have also found comfort especially in sad times to image the Angels weeping with us in times of personal or communal grief. And there is much for which to grieve right now in our society.

Several years ago there was something going round the internet… an experience of sending a team of Angels to each other…the “story” was that there was a special team of Angels going to the homes of those they were sent to and would stay for seven days. We who were hosting were to set up an altar with white candles and fresh white flowers before and during their (invisible) stay. Our prayers during that time would be carried heavenwords in a special way.

It was a lovely experience for those who participated in this little spiritual ritual.. Perhaps the key word is “Maybe” but whether or not the Angels were actually in our homes for those seven days,  our personal vibration was lifted higher, WE  were changed and inspired to be like kindly Angels to those around us and in our own environments for the betterment of all.

If that team of heavenly spirits, the Traveling Angels, are still on the move I wish that they would be sent to me once again for these are challenging times.

For those of us who in these times are uncertain as to who is actually listening when we send our “thoughts and prayers” outward and upwards , I sense that the Angels MAY be (Maybe) eternally present to companion us and deliver our lamentations where they need to go.

And I am going with that!

This poem by Mary Oliver just most recently and  rather serendipitously “appeared in my life …(did one of the Angels send this for my awareness while I question who is listening to my prayers?)

  The World I Live In

I have refused to live

locked in the ordinary house of reasons and proofs.

The world I live in and believe in

is wider than that. And anyways,

what’s wrong with Maybe? 

You wouldn’t believe what once

or twice I have seen. I’ll just

tell you this:

only if there are angels in your head, will you

ever, possibly, see one.

                                                       ( my ballerina grandaughter )

 

 

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A walk at the beach, especially when the heart is heavy and sad, is never a disappointment. There are ALWAYS surprises and messages there for us when we have been cracked open emotionally and in pleading prayer have asked for guidance or a sign of hope that no matter what the issue, in time we will be able to move through the challenge.

We are in a very unsettled time here in the US as we experience the coming apart of our society politically, socially and most recently in the past week, another mass shooting of innocents with a weapon whose sole purpose is to kill as many as possible as fast as possible. Our American psyche has been battered this past year- and- a- half as we come face to face on a daily basis by internal corruption in high places and immoral and self-serving so-called leadership. But THIS issue now of mass killings over and over again has thrust us into a national and personal mixed cauldron of grief and rage as the people fight against a powerful gun lobby that is also determined to fight to the death to protect their own agenda and  profits.

A walk at the beach..with its wide and far horizon and the freshness of wind and consolation of the ever rocking ebb and flow of the tide…cannot solve the situation itself, but it can offer a break in the turbulence of emotion in difficult times, soothing our chaotic feelings and helping us to restore some sort of internal balance as we move through very uncertain and dangerous events requiring new decisions.

But as I said previously, when asking for heartfelt guidance and consolation in difficult times, we always receive an answer if we are aware.

And so for now,  a surprise message of guidance on a walk along the edge where the land meets the sea …the extra surprise when a message of compassion and hope was left in the sand as well… a gifted “communique” from the Universe.  Although created by human hands, the message left for all who might pass by ( even though I took it very personally as if  it were left for me) took on the energy of the Angelic. Which sometimes we humans are for each other, usually unaware that we have been so divinely commissioned.

SOMEone had been by before me …maybe it WAS an actual angel (?)…taking the time to craft this castle of peace. Maybe it was a prayer or meditation experience for them, maybe it was that plus a loving message for others as well to be still and Centered and not lose hope as WE lobby for a society of PEACE, not violence or war.

share Peace Castle COPY(3)

Who knows how long this had remained whole and intact there in the sand before the tide would in time come in and wash it away. As I continued my walk and then sat higher up near the  dues behind this little peace castle,  I watched several other people and couples come by, stopping to look down with surprise at this message. They each and all paused and gazed quietly as if at some holy relic in church, pondering for some long seconds before moving on.

It was comforting to see that no one maliciously attempted to kick or destroy it, but moved on ahead in their walk, leaving this creation to eventually dissolve into the Great Mother She-Sea naturally. In Peace.

There is deepest gratitude to whatever Human (or Angel) left this message.

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

 

 

 

As part of my own personal spiritual practice, I am inspired to try to follow the Benedictine and monastic way of pausing with mindfullness or prayer several times throughout the day or night when I am able. The “Book of Hours” can be formal if in the monastery, and yet can be more informal guided “out here  in the world” by a good resource book.

That book for me is “Music of Silence: a Sacred Journey Through the Hours of the Day” by Benedictine Brother David Stendl-Rast which has beautiful essays on each of the hours and their meaning and application for peace and gracious living. There are two mid-morning “hours” for pause and reflection that are very inspiring for whatever are our busy times engaged in worldly tasks. These hours are Prime and Terce.

The theme of Prime at its simplest is about the assignment of and preparation for “work” each day and how to realize that our work  should have meaning and is to be about loving service. We and our work is needed…or should be. As Brother David writes ” This world was given to us to work on” and indeed there are many things that need to be done for the good of all.

The theme of the hour Terce following a little later before noon, is like a little spiritual coffee break during which we pause to reflect on and send our work out beyond as blessing and well wishing to all who might receive our the fruit of our labors.

It is these two particular holy hours that I thought of the morning at brought my daughter to catch a train back to the  big city for work after her week-long  family visit on the coast.

A bit sleepy so early in the morning, we were nevertheless given the lovely  opportunity for a special little just-us mother-daughter visit while waiting on the platform for the train to arrive.

There IS something wonderfully exciting waiting for a train and seeing it approaching from a pin-point distance to the roar and silvery speed as it  arrives with squeeling brakes and shaking platform.

That morning with  mumma/daughter goodbye hugs and once-again promises that I would get on that train sometime in the future to come visit when I had more confidence with my vision, the train finally stopped in front of us and the doors popped open.

There, welcoming oncoming travelers, was this handsome Conductor with the biggest smile of the morning, holding the door open and waving people in as to a party.

THIS was a man happy with his work, obviously loving his on-the-move job and the gift of his service to one and all and I thought to myself  “He has the PERFECT spirit of these early hours of the morning ‘Prime and Terce’!”.

He  was not a monk, but a proud and crisply uniformed agent of hospitality, welcoming and good cheer whose blessing and generosity assured the travelers that the ride would be  pleasurable and the destination assured. I knew then that a trip to visit my daughter and family in the big city would happen even before my vision was stable.  I want this man to be the Conductor welcoming me on board when I travel there and..

THIS is the train I want to ride!

Let’s GO!

 

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the years when each of my daughters and I get together we tend to visit, when not shopping for a special family dinner, beautiful places like gardens, museums, or nature places like the woods or the sea.

One year when spending a day in Newport RI looking at possible venues for her upcoming wedding, my daughter Melissa and I added to our together-field trip, a stop at St. George’s “Chapel” (cathedral!).

Walking through this magnificent church, through the main chapel, side chapels and the arched walkways, we were captivated by the colors and shifting quality of light through the gorgeous stained glass windows and stone openings.

share St.Georges ed two Melissa Light (2)

I found this photo from those many years ago, taken back then with a small unsophisticated point- and- shoot camera but it still evokes the stunning feeling of meeting the Numinous in the play of holy light all around us. Sharing that experience in the church and in our time together still warms me and fills me with a sense of gratitude and the sacred that shows itself in so many ways wherever we are.

This morning on FB this beautiful post…one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen on that  social media  site…popped up and called that experience back into my memory and my heart.

I hope it fills you with the same sense of awe as it does for me.

Light and Color…Luminous and Numinous.

The Celtic Poet Priest John O’Donohue has said that we need to have new names and concepts for “God”. One of his favorites is “The Divine Artist”.

Surely the masterful beauty of Light and Color is primary on the painter’s pallet of the Divine.

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

 

I am on FB/social media daily and interact with a number of creative people who are free-spirited and artsy: craftspersons, lovers of music and dance, writers, poets, painters,photographers,animal lovers,  yoga teachers…. and political activists in this chaotic time of challenging social priorities.

However recently this past year, showing up in my feedback stream are a number of posts (or comments) by persons of fundamentalist religious beliefs who are ardent about particular issues that they feel are dangerous, sinful, against God’s will or threatening to their biblical or dogmatic faith teachings. These passionate concerns include issues around pro-choice vs pro-life legislation, transgenderism, gay relationships, emerging women’s voices with access to public power for change, to name a few.  Let me say that altho we may differ vastly on what we think about these issues, both they and I have a common right to think what we will.

Debate that can often lead to arguments as to who holds the “Truth” are common although I try not to engage in that way, beyond stating what feels right to me…for me. What I ardently resist is the attempted legal imposition of fundamentalist  belief systems upon the rights of others to choose for themselves how to live a sane and hopefully moral life.

And I do not hold that there is only one valid spiritual path that is the one true faith for all and that that one path is a cure for all of societies ills.

As the prophetic priestly Matthew Fox often says of the world’s spiritual Wisdom traditions :  “One River, Many Wells”.

I teach a variety of courses at a local University and one of them, a course I describe as “a retreat in an academic setting” focuses on three words (plus one) from a poem by the Celtic poet John O’Donohue.  The three words are Silence, Stillness, and Solitude. I added the “plus one” as Simplicity. These words are practices that help us to discern a deep ability to access a personal  spiritual conscience leading to right and just decision making personally and in society.

A meditative exercise we do to demonstrate open-ness and respect for the many ways of finding a healthy inner guidance system without judgementalism born of fundamentalist hubris is the artistic creation of our Soul Mandalas.

Each person receives a black and white image of a complex mandala design. Everyone receives the exact same image (ONE RIVER). In quiet meditation to soft music, everyone colors this image. At the end of the exercise we display our creations and are awed at the diversity (MANY WELLS) and all and each one is beautiful, whole and unique. Yet the original pattern is identical. Each of us, given free will (and a set of colored markers) must personally create a life, a spiritual path, a Voice for what we stand for without demanding that everyone else believe as we do or denigrating others for standing up for justice from another angle. We each color in our mandalas without demanding that they are colored in the same way.

Often then a challenge comes back such as “well is MURDER a valid life choice, or GREED or LYING or Terrorism? And should we accept those? ”  Common sense and decency can answer that one. The issue here is about intolerance of diversity in how people make life choices that lead them to whom they were meant to be in the Creator’s plan for service and inspiration for others.

It is vital in today’s complex society filled with so many forceful “opinions”,  judgments and and sometimes “righteous” religious hubris, to craft honorable discernment through personal spiritual work and the humble practices of Silence, Stillness, Periodic Solitude, and Simplicity.

And it is also vital to keep the image of these multi-colored mandalas in our imagination and the wise teaching of One River, Many Wells.

OLLI Class photo

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

OLLI peace

 

 

 

 

Garden June Sacred

Being a Taurus Sun Earthkeeper person, I have always had gardens where I live. The cycle of the seasons in a 4-climate region has captivated me since childhood…each turn full of magic, myth and mystery.

Growing up in an inner city in the northeast USA, I was not exposed to posh gardens in the concrete environment even though I lived in an apartment building on Ash Grove Place which still had a genteel air leftover from earlier times when the neighborhood was lined with ash trees before cars. The plants that came through the cracks and between the buildings in ally-ways were the wild things…dandelions, poke, yellow dock, plantains and the flowers of grasses. Of course back then, I didn’t know their names but I was called to them because they were green growing living things tucked in and around the hardness and grey of city asphalt.

There were two “garden” situations however that served our city spirits. One was the chain-link fence bordering the back parking lot behind our apartment building. In spring and summer, the tall fence was covered by the climbing vines of morning glories. The blue flowers were a never-ending delight…the tight spirals of the buds before opening, which we would pick, blowing at their now- tiny opening at the base .. and out they would flare into full flower by the power of our own mini-godlike breath. Picking the full flower itself , we would also suck at the small opening at the base of it, pulled from the vine, to taste a delightful delicate sweetness,  coming to understand what the bees were collecting while visiting its center!

The second garden was for viewing only through the openings in the chain link fence to the back lot of the next-door neighbor. A German immigrant with a thick accent, he was a crabby terrible tempered territorial old man who yelled loudly and threatened any and all kids who might attempt to climb over the fence to receive a ball gone astray in the air, landing in his green sanctuary. But he was an amazing gardener and it was like peering into the Garden of Eden or a guarded oasis in the middle of the hood between buildings. As an adult, I now understand his fierce and protective personality preserving the peace and order of his sacred garden from a pack of potentially disruptive and invasive neighborhood kids….

My own gardens from marriage, parenthood, divorce, partnership and singledom on have varied. My first planting was of Lamb’s Ears (stachys officinalis) which first captivated me in a re-created colonial apothecaries’ garden at Mystic Seaport in Mystic, CT when I was age 21. The gardens that  followed throughout my life started with herbs and their charming and healing mystique, and later, flowers and vegetables. Always always green around me.  

Veggie Garden

( One of my earlier gardens )

Several years ago, serious vision problems with early cataracts began to develop and it became impossible for me to see in sunlight and also to just see clearly at all. For the past three years, that, plus a couple of stressful, attention-stealing life situations blocked the ability to garden. I thought that was okay. But there was a flatness in my spirit as a result…unrecognizable to others…but known to my own self. A loss of some sort of energy and meaning. A loss of “veriditas”.

Now, with much excitement and gratitude, my eyesight has been restored through surgeries,  and with the renewal of vision, I could not let another year go by without tending the “Green”.  Three years of not taking care of the yarden turned it into wildness except for the front. This year, I invested in Grow Boxes, not having the time or energy to tame field and woodland and in planting them and situating them in my yard,  I realized that in not gardening the last three years, I had lost some part of SOUL….my own “Greening Spirit/Veriditas”… by not participating in the cycle of the seasons in person and not tending the plants. But now! My Soul has come back home to both the inner and outer gardens!

Garden rainy

A week or so ago, as I walked through the front border to the road, I stubbed my toe on an exposed corner of a flat rock buried under moss and matted grass. I bent over to scrape away dirt and plant matter to find a garden plaque that my partner David had placed in my new herb garden almost 20 years ago when we moved in. I had at that time also been teaching a nine-month internship in folkloric herbalism, natural foods and earth spirituality, called “The Sacred Garden”.

Garden June Sacred

How synchronistic was its surprise emergence from “under” to welcome my SOUL back home as I became a “gardener” once again.

They are BACK! My garden, My Soul !

Veriditas! from  Christine, the Greening Spirit

IMG_7728

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JOURNAL ENTRY

March 28, 2017 – Tuesday

The world of ” the news” is too much with me and for sure “the world’s way” is not my way these days. The intentional  chosen silence and stillness of the “Inner Monastery” is my sanity and my saving right now.

Yesterday a book I had ordered arrived in the mail: “Seven Sacred Pauses: Living Mindfully Through the Hours of the Day” by Benedictine nun, Macrina Wiederkehr. I cannot fully express the delight and joy that has enveloped me as I entered the pages of this exquisite guide to prayers and reflections praying the hours of the day. This book, and “The Artist’s Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul through Monastic Wisdom” by Christine Valters Paintner are, and are to be, the prayer books that guide my life on a daily basis. It is with a deep sense of wonder and joy that these books have found me.

The Hours of the Day are little monastic pauses from Dark to Light to Dark again…a mindfullness of the messages inherent in the turning of the wheel of each day and night, never ceasing. I have always known this, and have lived it out in special ways and also known when I have NOT. This is a marvelous and soothing “coming home” to a path I wandered off of in tending to pressing matters these past couple of years.

This morning of course is the prayer of LAUDS at the waking up, the coming of sunrise. Except these days I often wake up with a sadness that either I cannot name or that has many names. And this morning as I read the new inspiration and prayers in Macrina’s book of reflection, I found myself inspired but also very groggy, wanting nothing more than to settle back into bed and snuggle under the covers listening to the silence before the light.

Macrina waxes poetic over the coming of sunrise and the light. You can tell it is her favorite hour of the day. However, this morning outside it is white and grey, not golden, as we are enveloped in fog and mist and the actually sunrise was and is not discernable. It is of course no longer dark, but light….not bright, casting legnthy and moving shadows, but soft and muted and a little echo-y. I give myself liberty to languish quietly into the comfort of couch and covers with my cup of coffee, in silence, and watching the path and leafless woods outside. This is the best I can do today this morning, aware of the new day to unfold, but feeling very lazy, so staying close to “what is” in the moment, I offer gratefulness and praise for the opportunity in my life right now to BE lazy and indolent in this early morning today.

I have a question about the landscape here however. We have so many trees…but where are the birds? Where is the chirping and trilling and sounds of life among the trees? I am used to the sounds of birds sometimes at 4 am in the wee hours back at my former home, my little cottage. It is now 9:02 am and I hear very faintly in the distance on this property, a soft occasional chirping…but not right here outside my apartment. Why not? Why not here?

I am asking this question of the Angels in charge of the birds.

“Perhaps the birds are also lazy this morning as well. Patience…”

Perhaps all is just as it should be. 

Now at last: Good Morning, World!

from Christine, The Greening Spirit

 

Dappled Light (2)

 

Perhaps it is because astrologically I am more of a Moon and Water person with Cancer Rising and Moon in Pisces that I shy away from the intensity of direct bright sunlight,the glory of summer for those who love to frolic underneath its radiant heat and blinding shine. My Taurus Sun loves the gardens, vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers, but MY (earthbound) Taurus with the addition of a water Moon and Rising Sign,  is cooler and more moist, and garden tending at the morning and evening hours is preferred over sweating it out at high noon.

The same for me is “beach time” which practically never finds me basking in the beach chair under the hottest most direct radiance of the day, but almost always at the slanted light hours of early morning or late afternoon until sunset. If I must be out during the onslaught of the BRIGHT, sunglasses (BIG ONES) and hats (BIG ONES) soften the blow of squinched eyes half shut and blindness that is white and not dark.

MOI Beach

I find that it is often hard to see in bright light and also to take photographs that reveal depth and complexity, scenes and subjects often flattened out and drained of color. If seen more clearly, the direct intensity of light leaves nothing to the imagination, everything revealed, no secrets to uncover.

Dappled Light Four (2)

For me, dappled light and slanted light is where Mystery resides and I am in love with mystery and the interplay between what is seen and what is unseen both of which are always “there”.  (I must admit that lounging about with a big hat and dark sunglasses presents an air of “mystery” but again, the mystery is about what is semi-hidden and unseen even in bright sunlight. The mystery resides in the shadows).

Trees Vespers (2)

I also admit that sun is fun and that minus the relentless and blinding glare, there is always beauty to be revealed in every hour of the day… Let the fire people..Aries, Leo and Sagittarius… revel and activate themselves and play games and adventures under the intense bright light and heat of summer days…and we will meet instead and party together during the waxing and waning hours of the sun, or around the dancing flames of the firepit in the middle of the darkness. I will weed the garden, and pick my flowers and herbs in softer, cooler light…

Thank goodness there are 24 hours in each day…and something of preferred light and shadow for everyone…

 

BrightFrom Christine, the Greening Spirit

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Healing Magic (2) ed

Some of us cannot be defined by a singular spiritual path but instead, draw from  the richness of a variety of traditions to inspire and nourish the diverse complexities of soul within and around us. For example, for the past several weeks I have been incorporating the Benedictine cycle of the Hours of the Day and Night, pausing to notate the energies and themes of Vigils  ( Deepest Night/ The Great Silence/Knowing the Truth)…Lauds (Sunrise/Praise and Celebration)…Terce and Prime (Mid-Morning/Work and the Art of Blessing)…Sext (Noon/Praying for Peace)…None (Mid-Afternoon/Nothing Lasts Forever)…Vespers (Evening/Coming Home and Community)…and Compline (Bedtime/Early Night/Asking for Good Dreams/Entering the Great Silence),  returning again through Deepest night, to Sunrise. Another day! Another gifted opportunity in which to create something new!

This pausing and mindfulness of the blessings and tasks of these hours has deepened  my appreciation and love of the cyclical nature of each twenty-four hour day from dark to light and back to dark again and connected me to the monastic rooms of my own soulful “Interior Castle”.

Living this way, although coming from a religious tradition, is really quite “magical” as spiritual practice, connecting me to the Great Mystery of Life and he rhythms of the earth and heavens that are felt and experienced rather than just described in words or print. In truth, the best of the mystical traditions, free of dogma, have never lost their connection to the Earth, nature and “the great Round” of the seasons, the moon, and the year.

Yesterday, my Library Angel “ACE”, through the agency of a soul-sister, handed me another book that is also a rich reminder of a path of soul that is ever a part of my own journey through life. All the way from “monk” to “green witch”… beloved traditions that each in their own ways have never lost the spirituality, and practices of the Earth, Cycles and Seasons of Celebration and Transformation.

Sitting on the front deck, feet up, un-apologeticley spending the afternoon reading “Healing Magic-A Green Witch Handbook” by Robin Rose Bennett and drinking fresh lemon balm and lemon verbena tea from the garden…. (the “Hours” of my reading being between mid-afternoon (None) to earliest evening (Vespers)… I once again reveled in herb lore, moon lore, tree lore, chakras and medicine wheels, the tarot wisdom, women’s sacred cycles and rituals and wise-women traditions.

Is there conflict between the monastic path of awareness and the green witch path? Not within me, as they each dance, blend and honor celebration, silence, prayer, ritual, presence, communication, intuition, gratitude and praise, beauty, and periodic chosen solitude to be one-on-one with the good and virtuous inner Voices of the “invisible” world…angels, ancestors, guides and God.

Is there conflict between the monastic path of earth-centeredness and the green witch path and the relationships with the healing plants/herbs of field, forest and gardens? I think not, remembering the wise women of the villages and the brother monks in the monastery gardens who all were keepers of the secret powers of lemon balm and lemon verbena tea!

lemon balm tea (2)

And so:

“Healing Magic is rooted in the earth. It’s basis and foundation is the realization of immanence, which is the recognition that the Great Mystery that gives life to the earth and he universe is within the earth as well as transcendent. It (God-Goddess-All-That-Is) exists within us and within the land–every tree, every animal, every pebble and every so-called inanimate object”  ~Robin Rose Bennett (Healing Magic: a Green Witch Guidebook)

 

“There is a secret place. A radiant sanctuary. As real as your own kitchen. More real than that. Constructed of the purest elements. Overflowing with the ten thousand beautiful things. Worlds within worlds. Forests, rivers. Velvet coverlets thrown over featherbeds, fountains bubbling beneath a canopy of stars. Bountiful forests, universal libraries. A wine cellar offering an intox cation so sweet you will never be sober again. A clarity so complete you will never again forget. This magnificent refuge is inside you. Enter. Shatter the darkness that shrouds the doorway… Believe the incredible truth that the Beloved has chosen for his dwelling place the core of your own being because that is the single most beautiful place in all of creation. ~ St. Theresa of Avila (The Interior Castle)

May Magic and Holy Blessings Be Yours!  (one and the same,,,)

Pearls GardeningFrom Christine, The Greening Spirit

 

 

 

Monk Endrts (2)

The “world” seems quite crazy right now, populated in the media by some very bizzare personalities, stories and situations presented and talked about all day long 24/7 . If one has the tv habit of watching, which I do NOT voluntarily have, the world presented to us is so disturbing, divisive and dangerous that one has limited choices for dealing with it ie  joining the fray with words and verbal combat, insuring a fractured angry heart, or the duck and cover response, insuring disaster and despair when it all goes down and one is left un-prepared to deal with new realities. A third choice is to be very very picky about information coming in from the outside, choosing wisely what informants we listen to, and taking time away from it all to listen from the inside-out.. listen to our own heart and intuition speaking the truth of sanity, peace, balance and love. It also is so important and healing to bring that inner-knowing of virtue back out in some form of creativity and self expression ( (writing, painting, poetry, music, gardening, cooking, STORYTELLING etc)  thus becoming an “Artist”..an Artist of Life, bringing beauty and mindful care to a chaotic world. YOUR world. 

A gem of a book recently came into my life by serendipity while I was deeply pondering these things. A timely toss from my Library Angel, “ACE”  (Angel- in -Charge of- My -Education), this treasure “The Artist’s Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom” by Christine Valters Paintner came into my possession as one of the many “winks” from the Universe when I am on the right track in my personal unfolding into who I am meant to be or what I am supposed to be doing.

In this beautifully written book, much of which sounds like it is out of my own journals, the author ties together the similarities of spirit of the archetypes and practices of both the Monk and the Artist. Following her lovely suggestions for both the practice of the the Lectio Divina and especially the Praying/Presence of the Hours of the Day, I started to incorporate the markings of time s during the day to re-collect myself back into a state of peace, awareness of “the NOW” and gratitude and blessing for exact place and moment I was in. 

Often in my life…VERY often..when committing myself to this inner state of  stillness, peace, presence and LISTENING I receive surprise messages from the Ethers, from “The Universe” that cheerlead  me  on, often making me laugh out loud in the playful way my direction is validated. And this experimentation with the archetypes of Monk/Artist was no exception.

With book in hand, I drove as I often do to a special retreat center on a little island off of the coast of Connecticut, where I photograph the gardens, walk by the sea, and enjoy the peace and music of wind and water, and the solidness of earth for several hours. I parked the car, and found a big rock upon which to perch reading through the section about the “Inner Monastery” accessed through silence, solitude and nature. When, who should appear right in front of me, strolling with a friend across the vast lawn towards the sea, but a MONK himself, in grey habit, rosary beads hooked on the knotted corded belt around his waist, and sandals on his feet.

This retreat center’s grounds are open to the public like a park, and I am there so often during the week when there are few people there and I almost have the place to myself. I can tell you that in all that time, though I have sometimes shared the gardens with couples, people walking their dogs, friends sitting on lawn chairs by the ocean quietly having lunch, or pray-ers on retreat walking slowly in meditation, I have NEVER had a MONK cross my path.

But it did happen that very day as I held the book about the Monk and Artist open on my lap and for sure I recognized that manifesting that monk at that very moment was a very merry communicaton from that who watches and guides my own journey..a “wink” from God, from my angels and/or chorus of ancestor guides.

Enders Sept 4

Lest you think that these validated moments into the Inner Monastery shelter us totally from dealing with the chaotic life-times we live in , I must admit the inconvenient truth that the Monk/Artist first steps back to center and remember the assignment he/she was “given” when coming here, and is then required to go back out and engage the “world” in truth-telling, vision and beauty..making an artful life and bringing hope and healing. In the monastic Rule of St. Benedict centuries ago, he writes of the backbone of this task.

     “Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way”.

I like that. And it frees me, gets me off the hook trying to explain the personal path that seems to wander in a different direction than the dominant culture and its consumeristic, militaristic, competitive prescriptions for “happiness” and fulfillment.

I feel okay if not delighted with this, and the “winks” that so playfully manifest all sorts of affirmations to ” keep on with it! “….

*** In another afternoon visit  to this place several weeks later,  I was walking down a path towards the gardens, when whom should appear walking this time down the spath TOWARDS me but this very  same monk! In our sudden  face to face encounter, we chatted and I found out his name…Brother Seamus…another surprise “wink from God”.

update Feb 2016 (2)From Christine, the Greening Spirit

***** DON”T BE SHY….SAY HI! *****

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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