Another big week.


This is another big week. Tomorrow is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Wednesday is Inauguration Day. There is such a strong need to stay steady and steward our Beings that we might offer - others, the world, the Divine - more than we take. As we continue our contemplative practices, we must make a bridge to action and bring our inner stillness and silence into the way we show up in life. I realize saying ‘we’ can be problematic in the sense that ‘we’ are not homogenous. Yes, ‘we’ are all One and ‘we’ are differentiated individuals with unique identities, characteristics, and experiences. It is both.

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” Leaning into Epiphany and the gifts of wisdom available to us will support us in creating and then stepping onto that bridge toward discerned action. Building this bridge toward action will also be different for each person.

Some of us may have already been building that bridge and are now invited to vulnerably and humbly take another step on the other side. Others may be more comfortable with action than with contemplation, to which Thomas Merton’s words are helpful. "If you attempt to act and do for others or for the world without deepening your own self-understanding, freedom, integrity and capacity to love, you will not have anything to give others.”

Wherever you are, lean into gentleness and warm heartedness and ride the edge without judging yourself or trying to get yourself to be capable of more than you are. Just be. Just do the next thing.

May you be anchored.

May you be surrendered.

May you be connected.

May you be free.

May you trust the invincibility of your own heart.

With love,

Heather

Here are a some of the readings from the ‘collective contemplative pauses’ this week:

'The Year as a House: A Blessing'

Think of the year

as a house:

door flung wide

in welcome,

threshold swept

and waiting,

a graced spaciousness

opening and offering itself

to you.

Let it be blessed

in every room.

Let it be hallowed

in every corner.

Let every nook

be a refuge

and every object

set to holy use.

Let it be here

that safety will rest.

Let it be here

that health will make its home.

Let it be here

that peace will show its face.

Let it be here

that love will find its way.

Here

let the weary come

let the aching come

let the lost come

let the sorrowing come.

Here

let them find their rest

and let them find their soothing

and let them find their place

and let them find their delight.

And may it be

in this house of a year

that the seasons will spin in beauty,

and may it be

in these turning days

that time will spiral with joy.

And may it be

that its rooms will fill

with ordinary grace

and light spill from every window

to welcome the stranger home.

— Jan Richardson

We love the moment in a seeming stillness,

the breath in the body of the loved one sleeping,

the highest leaves in the silent wood,

a great migration in the sky above:

the waters of the earth, the blood in the body,

the first, soft, stir in the silence beneath a strident

voice, the internal hands of our mind,

always searching for touch, thoughts seeking other

thoughts, seeking other minds, the great arrival

of form through all our hidden themes.

And this breath, in this body, able,

just for a moment to give and to take,

to ask and be told, to find and be found,

to bless and be blessed, to hold and be held.

We are all a sun-lit moment come from

a long darkness, what moves us always

comes from what is hidden, what seems

to be said so suddenly has lived

in the body for a long, long time.

Our life like a breath, then, a give

and a take, a bridge, a central movement,

between singing a separate self

and learning to be selfless.

— David Whyte

“Continue your daily practice of Centering Prayer, paying particular attention to its foundational teaching on handling thoughts during prayer time. A thought, in Centering Prayer language, is anything that pulls your attention to a focal point, i.e., that replaces silence with ‘content.’ The instruction in Centering Prayer is to let all thoughts go, regardless of the nature of their content. It’s the configuration of your attention that’s at stake, not the content of ‘the message.’

This is always a difficult hurdle for novice practitioners to get by... It is only by training your mind to stay gathered in silence — not grabbing for content — that you can eventually come to experience the silence as having its own shape and substantiality. In its usual subject/object configuration the mind will never meet silence as a “something.’”

— Cynthia Bourgeault

'Cocoon’

Do not expect cocooning

To be easy.

It is not a time of rest

But of rebirth.

They used to think

That the Caterpillar

Merely slept there,

Awaiting the wonder of wings.

This is not true.

To cocoon means

The breaking down of self,

Of letting go of all

that may be considered

Caterpillar.

Yielding to the chrysalis call.

Dropping all that is old identity,

All that is desire,

All that is hungry,

All that is eating, eating, eating,

Endlessly.

When the moment comes, called

To go to the cool dark underleaf, underlog place,

To spin the silk of silent self,

The Caterpillar dissolves,

Touches the point of nothingness

Of being;

Become now

Neither Caterpillar

Nor Butterfly

Become simply, potential,

Until new form is found,