Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Walking the Labyrinth

Every morning I go out to the labyrinth to pray and meditate. On the way in I recite what has become our family's pledge. There are 8 points to it. The first speaks of reconnecting to the land and establishing a sense of place that is bigger than one's self, encompassing this place and the whole of the universe.

The next point reflects the spiraling lineage through which that oneness becomes Oneness, as the individual connects to a family, community, nation, world and cosmos, always seeking to live for a higher purpose.

To accomplish this, the third point speaks of being able to see all people and all things as one's relation. All of creation is a teacher, and what is being taught is true ownership - finding the essence of these aspects in our selves and in others.

Being responsible for contributing to a world based on freedom, peace, unity and happiness is the fourth point, while the fifth speaks of standing on the shoulders of our ancestors and passing on our inheritance and our legacy to others, as life moves beyond this moment and expands.

The sixth point speaks of using our gifts to enrich the community, embodying our thoughts and feelings so that the blessing can be shared. This action then becomes “rooted” in our culture, as we strive to recreate a culture of heart and oneness centered on love.

Lastly, our family's pledge speaks of the Great Turning - that the time to act is now. Remember past hurts and failures only in order to learn from them and move beyond them. It is most important then to let them go, to release the past. Releasing opens the door to a new future, and liberating ourselves from the burden helps us take that step through the door into a new life.

With that I arrive at the center and place the offering I have found along the way. Sometimes the offering comes with a reminder to keep going, sometimes with a reminder that the path through darkness does indeed lead to a new day. Sometimes I am entreated to focus on a particular person or situation, or encouraged to keep up the work I've already started.

I always begin the journey outward with an intention for the day. Family and friends always join me on the way out as well. The labyrinth receives it all, offering back love, protection, encouragement and peace. And with that, I begin my day.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Fire . . . AND Ice

 Today, even the spider webs froze . . . along with the drops that yesterday’s spring-like thaw provoked. Yesterday I could hear the water seeping down the hillside. Today the ground is alive with the crinkle and crack of ice contracting and expanding.

There is a curious thing I’ve noticed about this global warming experience. It’s allowing us the opportunity to become more flexible and aware.

I gave a presentation the other day to a group of intelligent, enlightened women. With this kind of group I’ve learned I can either be intimidated or curious as to how spirit will use me. I invited them to share with me a Beginner’s Mind—for even I am surprised by what I say sometimes!

The thing that made an impression on me this time was the other side of our blocks. Or perhaps I should say the “in” side of the block. We have an experience that hurts us, shames us, angers us, causes us to freeze, and we tend to block off that experience creating a wall of emotion that we don’t want to feel because we believe it is not safe.

Here I am, on the “in” side of this wall, investing so much energy into keeping myself safe. I’ve used my energy to create, block by block, a separation between this experience and myself. I’ve used it as a sounding board for other incidents that I believe are similar—ones that could hurt me, or scare me, or anger me.

And the amazing thing about this wall is that I built it! I built it—with my energy. The bigger the wall, the stronger I Am. That truly is a gift—my gift. Then I realize that gifts are for giving. I’ve got this incredible strength and I’ve hidden it behind this wall of shame, or fear or anger. Instead of devoting this energy to the story that I can’t protect myself, I can give myself the gift of connection and support, and give others my gift of compassion and forgiveness.

Without the ice, though, sometimes it’s hard to see the beauty and the strength that is the reality of our true selves.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Fire of Transformation

I saw a burning bush today!

Ah, so that's how it was done, was my first thought. Then, so what is God's message to me today? Take my shoes off? no way; it's 7* out here with 6 inches of icy snow on the ground. No desert here.

Again, I am struck with the importance of awareness for being in the right place at the right time. The bush, the sun, the atmosphere, the season, the hour, my spiritual practice of walking the labyrinth, the woods that generously allowed a space for the labyrinth, my move to PA--I could go on! and, I still could have missed the burning bush.

Even in His loudest voice God's work is relational and in communion with creation. If we're not paying attention, even the miraculous is but a whisper of white noise in the busyness of our mind's chatter or our multi-tasking lives.

 What was God saying? To Moses, He was promising a land flowing with milk and honey. God even told Moses His name: I Am. I wasn't looking for a miracle so I went back inside to prepare for my client. She has had a series of misfortunes from back surgery to losing her job; from a growing awareness of the damage incest has done in her life to a loving husband who has had a life-threatening illness.

Asking for guidance I was told to share these feelings with the client:
I am in pain AND I am grateful
I am afraid AND I am grateful
I am in despair AND I am grateful
I am angry AND I am grateful
I am speaking out AND I am grateful
I am letting go AND I am grateful

I guess that burning bush had a message for me after all AND I am grateful.