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Inner Strength and Resilience

Over the past few weeks I have noticed another rise in existential angst and individual and collective nervous system activation with the rising intensity of current psychological, biological, and spiritual conditions. I continue to hear about personal situations in which this angst and activation manifests reactively and unobserved contributing to relational discord, disconnection, and fragmentation. This is why our spiritual practices and self stewardship continue to be so important. We need practices that support the healthy regulation of our nervous systems which does not mean remaining calm all of the time but rather flexibly awake to what is. Spiritual practices worth practicing form in us the strength to be present to what is actually happening in the here and now along with whatever emotions and sensations come with it. We all will experience difficulties and suffering due to life circumstances such as challenging requirements at work and home and losses of all kinds. As we cultivate inner strength and resilience rooted in the Sacred within, there is space for all human experience to be honored. We can allow the thoughts, emotions, and sensations that are present as we are present to our life as it is. As we work with our attention and access wisdom we are more able to let go of the thoughts, emotions, and sensations that are present when we are not present. When we are not present we are perseverating on past experiences or ruminating on future possibilities that are not happening to us right now. There are times to reflect on and learn from what has been as well as plan for the future but much of the time these become energy leaks and contribute to our unhelpful reactive manifestations. Our noticing them can allow the leaks to be invitations back into what is taking place in the current situations of life and the abundance of the Divine always surrounding us. Part of our work as humans on a wisdom path is to contribute to something more than discord, disconnection, and fragmentation…to engage the practices that help us to be present to what is and find a peace, love, and hope that surpasses all understanding in the midst of life’s storms. I invite you to find your practices, find times and places to practice, and find others to practice with. I am so grateful to those of you who practice with me in the collective contemplative pauses! May love, sorrow, and hope continue to meet you this week, Heather


Readings: "We have chosen lives that crowd our appointment books, fill our email boxes, and overload our answering machines, even as we long for a plainer way of living--one that will free us from the strain and activity of these times. The Spirit is speaking through the whirlwind of modern life, and if we listen quietly to the cool, calm Center within, there is an invitation to plain living awaiting us." “Neither activities nor possessions will ever be able to satisfy the spiritual longing radiating from our souls.” — Catherine Whitmire “Open your eyes to the flaming vision of the wonder of such a life. Begin where you are. Now. If you slip and stumble, don't spend too much time in anguished regrets and self-accusations but begin again. Don't grit your teeth and clench your fists and say, 'I will! I will!' Relax. Take hands off. Submit yourself to God. . . . Let life be willed through you." — Thomas Kelly "This book considers a type of contemplation that arises out of crisis. I am referring to a state of devastation brought on by ecological and natural causes, as well as injustice and the oppression of a group of people. These are not circumstances that invite or induce contemplation in its ordinary practice. Yet, Bayo Akomolafe suggests that during crisis, contemplative slowing is exactly what is needed. He writes that slowing down “seems like the wrong thing to do when there’s fire on the mountain [but] in ‘hurrying up’ all the time, we often lose sight of the abundance of resources that might help us meet today’s most challenging crises. We rush through into the same patterns we are used to. Of course, there isn’t a single way to respond to crisis; there is not universally correct way. However, the call to slow down works to bring us face to face with the invisible, the hidden, the unremarked, the yet-to-be resolved.” In the midst of devastating crises, we are asked to do the counterintuitive. When the times call for anxiety, flight, or fight, Akomolafe urges us to slow down, to allow for the possibility of contemplative refuge, respite, and renewal. To slow down and be still is to allow both the source of our troubles and options for recovery to emerge." — Barbara Holmes "For a day, just for one day, Talk about that which disturbs no one And bring some peace into your Beautiful eyes.” — Hafez "Don’t come alone” No need for me to tell you my Master's name. No need to show you my Savior's face. Just come a little nearer to my chest and you will catch fire. I know the world hurts. But there is a very safe place right here where this breath arises, this pulse is born, and the moon drinks all the light she needs from the bright stream of the heart’s silence. Rest here, friend. Don't be afraid. And don't come alone. Bring thousands with you. — Alfred K Lamotte


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