Time to take stock.


I hope that you had a meaningful Christmas amidst what was likely a loss of continuity in traditions and celebrations. I hope that you found moments of joy and delight and fun as well as creating space for God to be birthed in you afresh. Now we continue on into a new season, a new year.


In some ways this year has felt like a long one and in other ways it is difficult to believe it is already coming to a close. As the pandemic surges on, the impact reaches every one of us and none have rendered unscathed. There is both an ongoing heaviness and weariness alongside a hope and anticipation of what is to come. The end of the year is a natural time to ponder and reflect on what the past year has brought and to look ahead at what may be emerging. It is a rhythm that we can participate in that connects us to the whole. It is much more than a time to assess what has been and to create resolutions for the following year. It is a time to listen deep within. A time for noticing and this year it seems to be of particular importance to pause and take stock.


So much has changed and will not return to what was. There is no going back to ‘normal.’ Something new is unfolding and we can participate in that.

May your mind be open.

May your heart be wide.

May your body be at ease.

May you re-member yourself.

With love,

Heather

Here are a some of the readings from the 'pauses' this week:

"In the North we enter the darkest days, the longest evenings. For many these holidays are not bright with the Christal radiance of the newborn sun, but fraught with inward midnights.

Yet the mystics of all our wisdom traditions share one message about this fierce quiet onslaught of night. If we have the courage to embrace our darkest places, with absolutely no resistance, they deepen into the boundless. They soften like bruises and begin to seep a glowing. Grace chimes in our bell-hollows. Night herself becomes the path.

Hindu devotees called Krishna "the dark Lord." His beloved Radha only found him after her long night of yearning. The mystical path in Islam is patterned after Mohammad's "night journey" (Isra) which leads to his mystical ascent (Miraj). The New Testament tells us that Jesus did not become Christ by rising in status, but by emptying himself (Philippians 2). The Greek word is "kinosis," self-emptying.


Second Century Gnostic, Valentinus, wrote that: "The real Virgin Mother is mystical eternal silence." Medieval Christian contemplatives called God "the divine darkness." Dionysius the Areopagite, one of the least known but most important of them, said that the divine mysteries "are veiled in the dazzling obscurity of a secret Silence, outshining all brilliance with the intensity of their Darkness." Ruysbroeck, another of the great ones, wrote that "the unfathomable waylessness of God is so dark and wayless it encompasses within itself all ways."

As the Hebrew poet declares in Psalm 139, "Even the darkness is not dark to Thee... the light and the darkness are one." I dedicate these thoughts to all whose souls are in that luminous night. When the darkness is most intense, the stars come out."

— Fred LaMotte

'The Longest Night'

Now listen to your broken heart.

Fall into the wound and bathe

in the balm of midnight.

Don't follow a star.

Let your root find sap

in the blackest loam.

What are countless golden petals

or the fragrance of myrrh

compared to the yearning

of the shadow for its cause?

Birthless seeds are singing

beneath all that rises and falls.

When you are truly silent

you will hear them bursting

through the long good night,

until you are healed

by your loss.

— Fred LaMotte

'Basking in the Radiant Dark'

Whom should I turn to,

if not the One whose darkness

is darker than night,

the only one who keeps

vigil with no candle,

and is not afraid --

the Deep One, whose

being I trust ...

— Rilke


'The God We Hardly Knew'

No one can celebrate

a genuine Christmas

without being truly poor.

The self-sufficient, the proud,

those who, because they have

everything, look down on others,

those who have no need

even of God- for them there

will be no Christmas.

Only the poor, the hungry,

those who need someone

to come on their behalf,

will have that someone.

That someone is God.

Emmanuel. God-with-us.

Without poverty of spirit

there can be no abundance of God

— Óscar Romero


"Our wholeness is seen, known, and cherished. There is a fullness, a coherence, underlying all the seeming brokenness and randomness. Despair does not have the final word. On this festival day of Christmas, Jesus again steps forward as the symbol of that wholeness — not to deflect attention to himself, but rather to help us trust in this mysterious underlying coherence and allow it to work within us to bring us to fruition." — Cynthia Bourgeault

'Gravity is the Way'

Gravity is the way You dwell in this world

and in me, the way Love comes down

to us and will not let us go, ever,

no matter what

— Meister Eckhart

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