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On the lookout.

Just a quick note this week. . . Although we can never fully know the impact our work as contemplatives on the wisdom path has in our lives and in the world, we can be on the lookout for the ways it is manifesting tangibly. Not only must we receive the spiritual substances, virtues and fruit [mercy, trust, courage, forgiveness, humility, faith, hope, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, perseverance, gentleness, self-control, etc.] from beyond and bestow them in this world, we must come under their influence as well. We too must relax, soften, yield, enliven, cohere, and grow under their sway. How are you noticing your life alchemizing under their influence? How are others noticing the way you are showing up in the world under their sway? With Love, Heather


Here the Readings from this week's pauses: “There is almost a sensual longing for communion with others who have a large vision. The immense fulfillment of the friendship between those engaged in furthering the evolution of consciousness has a quality impossible to describe.” — Pierre Teilhard de Chardin ‘A Small Green Island’ by Rumi, trans. Coleman Barks There is a small green island where one white cow lives alone, a meadow of an island. The cow grazes until nightfall, full and fat, but during the night she panics and grows as thing as a single hair. What shall I eat tomorrow? There is nothing left. By dawn the grass has grown up again, waist-high. The cow starts eating and by dark the meadow is clipped short. She is full of strength and energy, but she panics in the dark as before and grows abnormally thin overnight. The cow does this over and over, and this is all she does. She never thinks, The meadow has never failed to grow back. Why should I be afraid every night that it won't. The cow is the bodily soul. The island field is the world where that grows lean with fear and fat with blessing, lean and fat. White cow, don't make yourself miserable. with what's to come, or not to come. 'The Invitation' by Oriah Mountain Dreamer It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing. It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love for your dream for the adventure of being alive. It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon... I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain. I want to know if you can sit with pain mine or your own without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it. I want to know if you can be with joy mine or your own if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful to be realistic to remember the limitations of being human. It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy. I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence. I want to know if you can live with failure yours and mine and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, "Yes." It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children. It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back. It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments. “Every year, across the Atlantic Ocean, a prestigious procession of siliceous shells or frustules belonging to dead and ancient freshwater diatoms, whipped up by fierce Saharan winds in North Africa, travels westward from the Bodélé Depression (considered the driest and dustiest place on earth) to the Americas. This ghostly river of dust – visible from space – curls around the planet like a brown sequined pashmina shawl stretched across a glowing blue orb, eventually depositing its nutrient-rich contents in the hungry Amazon rainforest. The stunning implication of this planetary exercise isn’t lost on climate scientists and atmospheric chemists who study this yearly ritual closely: without this migrant sea of precious dust spilling from the shores of Africa, from the dead womb of the carcass of the once mighty Lake Mega Chad, the Amazon – a leaching system characterized by the constancy of heavy rainfall that washes away nutrient-rich soil – cannot supply the planet with oxygen. These silicon coffins play an enormous role in the world’s photosynthesis, shaping our lives whether we notice or not. Coming to think about this delicate (and largely invisible) work takes one’s breath away: we cannot breathe without the prolific generativity of the dead. Perhaps no other planet-wide vocation strikes such an immaculate balance between loss and generosity, between desolation and abundance, and between death and life. This is the stuff of worship. It would seem then that even death has an afterlife, and that even desolation is not completely itself all by itself in a processual, relational world. Boundaries migrate; essences flail and become threadbare in the fierce kino-political winds of movement; continents break and spill into each other, carried by counterhegemonic forces that mock neat borders and stable identities. Home is always bleeding, losing its way. Everything embarks. Everything ‘besides’ itself. That things tear open, fall apart, fade away, and fall to the ground might come across as a tale of absolute despair. Let the beautiful dance of cross-continental dust remind us that nothing is itself all by itself.” — Bayo Akomalafe “Origin is not time-bound, nor space-bound, but is the originator or source of all that is time and space bound. ‘We might say it is sheer presence,’ . . .’the itself,’ or ‘that’ which pervades or ‘shines through’ everything.” — Jeremy Johnson, Seeing Through the World


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