Today is the last Sunday in the season of Epiphany in the Christian tradition before we head into the season of Lent beginning Wednesday. I am currently in the Arizona desert amongst the saguaro cacti for a wisdom school (Thank you Henry, Peggy and Angela for facilitating the pauses in my absence!). I am so incredibly struck by the strength, stability, resilience, and sturdiness of these magnificent tree-like plants living in such an extreme climate. Despite their narrow bases they withstand great winds. I have learned that they have one deep tap root that extends down into the earth more than two feet while the rest of their roots radiate out as far from the plant as it is tall but are only 4-6 inches deep. Together these roots tether this large cactus to the earth. Inside they have a circle of what resembles very strong bones (like spines or ribs) and in fact when they die, these wooden bones are used to build fences and roofs. They obtain moisture during the rainy season to sustain themselves during the dry seasons. And they provide homes for many birds and critters who rely on them for shelter and safety.
When I look at the mountain sides covered in these majestic saguaro, I recognize that they stand as a large community revealing what it looks like to stand as they do with strength, stability, resilience, sturdiness, and dignity. They show us how to rely on that which is below and that which is above to tether and nourish ourselves. They model through their very nature how to offer the beauty of their presence and care to others. We have these same capacities. These saguaros can help us remember this and learn to embody them more fully.
Let's stand like they do and be a source of good in the midst of all that is going on in the world and especially in Russia and the Ukraine
In Conscious Love,
Here most of the Readings from this week's pauses:
In Centering Prayer you merely practice and practice the core kenotic motion: “let go, make space, unclench”—thought by thought by thought.”
— Cynthia Bourgeault
In this moment, I can come home.
I come home to my body, my heart, my inner wisdom, my unknowing.
I come home to Life breathing me, beyond all comprehension and understanding.
I come home to the infinite Love that connects, sustains, and upholds.
I come home to Presence without seeking or judgment, without hidden agendas or to do lists.
I come home to enoughness, slowness, gentleness.
I come home to what is
To what is in this moment.
To all of this
I Come Home.
— Joslyn Walker
What does it mean to care for your soul? Care of the soul is the constant practice of bringing loving attention to the problems, conflicts, and longings of our lives. Emotional suffering is something to be attended to, not split off from. We can learn to read our life as a story, rather than as a clinical case. Moreover, if the story we have been telling ourselves is a melodrama or tragedy, we need to rewrite the story. Every human life, when seen from the perspective of the unrelenting Divine Mercy, is the story of grace unfolding. Love is revealing itself in the precise details of each human life, if only we do not impose the script of self-pity, bitterness, and fearfulness. The soul is where the divine attributes of God may be awakened from their latent state to be integrated into our character. These qualities are the soul's natural inheritance from the Divine. It is through communion with the Divine that the soul takes on the spiritual attributes of kindness, generosity, courage, forgiveness, patience, and freedom.”
― Kabir Edmund Helminski
“In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world, the world of renunciation and supposed holiness… This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud… I have the immense joy of being man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.”
– Thomas Merton