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Wielding and force.

We are continuing to explore working with the four different postures, drawing on the work of Cynthia Bourgeault, which Jesus and Mary Magdalene exemplified in their lives. We are learning to occupy these same postures in our bodies (movement center), emotional landscape and attitudes (feeling center), and thought patterns (intellectual center) throughout Eastertide. To review, the first posture we talked about is the posture of being grounded and rooted in our two realities: In the reality of our ordinary being existence, our planetary body in the reality of our divine/kingdom of heaven/imaginal being existence, our second body. The second, the posture of standing firm in our center, not bending in the face of the shadow (in ourselves, our blood or spiritual ancestral lineage, and in the collective) and struggle. The third posture is the posture of wielding a spiritual fruit or substance, bringing it forth as a force for ourselves and for another as Mary Magdalene did. She did not just look to receive from and have her needs met by Jesus as his follower and disciple, but also saw what was needed and brought it forth from within and beyond. Spiritual fruit or substances which include courage, faith, hope, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, self-control, perseverance, forgiveness, gratitude, trust, etc. She did this again and again throughout the passion drama beginning with her courageous loving act of anointing Jesus' feet. She was able to remain and to wield presence and tenacious, kind, fierce love. In The Meaning of Mary Magdalene, Cynthia points out that every time Mary Magdalene enters the picture, she brings forth the forces of forgiveness, tenderness, gentleness and longing (p.159). When many of Jesus’ friends and followers betrayed him, overcome by their valid instincts for survival, Mary Magdalene did not. She remained standing vigil, wielding courage and strength, and offering her presence as a force throughout the entire week. And because of this, despite what has often been portrayed, Jesus did not die alone. In The Wisdom Jesus, Cynthia says, “it is important to remind ourselves that Jesus did not actually die alone. Though this fact is never mentioned in the Holy Week liturgies of the West, all four gospels make perfectly explicit that Mary Magdalene was there by the cross throughout the entire crucifixion and for the burial as well. It is entirely possible that she never left the site, or at best left it only briefly, to return in short order with her two fellow Marys’ and the burial ointments on Easter morning. What the other disciples could not manage, she offered effortlessly: an unbroken witness to the power of love itself holding all things together” (p.119). Mary Magdalene also had to stand firm in her center and not bend in the midst of one of the greatest struggles of her life—watching Jesus be crucified right in front of her. Although one can never fully be prepared for something like what she experienced, it is important to remember that she had done her inner preparatory work. She, like Jesus, had faced her and her ancestral shadow. Cynthia points out how Jean-Yves Leloup suggests in his commentary that the fact that seven demons were cast out of her means she had done her psychological work (p.14). She had tamed her ‘inner beasts’ and confronted the passions within her that enchained her as a human being to the powers of this world. The arising from this work was “not only psychological wholeness, but the capacity to see. Her clear heart is her intimate channel to the fullness beyond time” (p.68). She had learned to be sturdy as a tower that would not topple over. From that place she was able to remain, offering love and witness, holding Jesus’ “tether like falcon in falconer as he descends into the underworld. The sheer tenacity of her presence is not a result of ordinary human Courage, or even the detached equanimity of one who has attained to his level of mastery. It is an active substituted love, as instant by instant she gives herself that he might be well. . . so that he might travel freely to accomplish the cosmic task he has been given to do” (The Meaning of Mary Magdalene, p.154). As we step into this posture with Mary Magdalene, we can open to the possibility of doing the same. Pause and reflect, as Cynthia has often suggested, on what it might mean for you to “wield” these substances rather than merely “receive” them. . . to bring them as forces rather than as a reaction to life or looking to life to draw them out of you. . . even when there is no external confirmation that they are warranted. How could this impact your life? What new imaginative possibilities might this open up? With Great Love, Heather


From a few of the Pauses : Sunday with Joy "The earliest Christians… experienced Jesus as present. alive, palpable, vibrantly connected; their experience was that the walls between the realms are paper thin and that our embodiment is no obstacle to the full and intimate participation in relationship with him here and now. The kingdom of heaven is not later, it is lighter: it exists right here, right beneath our noses, in a more subtle but expansive presence that is ours the moment we move beyond our egoically generated space-time continuum (what Jesus calls "the world") and directly encounter the Source. From this imaginal plane of reality, reality floods back into our own world and fills us with grace, presence, and creativity. Here we discover that God is not only for us, but with us." — Cynthia Bourgeault, The Meaning of Mary Magdalene, p. 217 Monday with Catherine I thank you God for most this amazing day; for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes (I who have died am alive again today, and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay great happening illimitably earth) how should tasting touching hearing seeing breathing any-–lifted from the no of all nothing—human merely being doubt unimaginable You? (now the ears of my ears awake and now the eyes of my eyes are opened) — e.e. cummings Tuesday with Catherine "Still" I said I will find what is lowly and put the roots of my identity down there: each day I'll wake up and find the lowly nearby, a handy focus and reminder, a ready measure of my significance, the voice by which I would be heard, the wills, the kinds of selfishness I could freely adopt as my own: but though I have looked everywhere, I can find nothing to give myself to: everything is magnificent with existence, is in surfeit of glory: nothing is diminished, nothing has been diminished for me: I said what is more lowly than the grass: ah, underneath, a ground-crust of dry-burnt moss: I looked at it closely and said this can be my habitat: but nestling in I found below the brown exterior green mechanisms beyond the intellect awaiting resurrection in rain: so I got up and ran saying there is nothing lowly in the universe: I found a beggar: he had stumps for legs: nobody was paying him any attention: everybody went on by: I nestled in and found his life: there, love shook his body like a devastation: I said though I have looked everywhere I can find nothing lowly in the universe: I whirled though transfigurations up and down, transfigurations of size and shape and place: at one sudden point came still, stood in wonder: moss, beggar, weed, tick, pine, self, magnificent with being! — A. R. Ammons, Collected Poems 1951-1971 Wednesday with Joy "The Resurrection Took Place in You" I hold a baton. If I touch it to your body, you will become conscious God is dancing within. A magnetic force will shift. Your vision will be so enhanced in every possible detail--the truth will be revealed. The Christ's resurrection took place in your soul. Are you ready for that awareness? Fasting might help remove the plug the outside world placed in your ear that obscures the divine voice. That will help lead you to all Knowing. You are the body lying in any shrine. So, a pilgrimage to your feet, my poems have made. I hold a baton existence carved. It wants to touch you. We should near. — Rumi Thursday with Ali Yeshua says... I am the light shining upon all things. I am the sum of everything, for everything has come forth from me, and towards me everything unfolds. Split a piece of wood, and there I am. Pick up a stone — Logion 77, Gospel of Thomas, trans Lynn Bauman Friday with Ali How surely gravity’s law,/ strong as an ocean current,/ takes hold of even the smallest thing/ and pulls it toward the heart of the world. Each thing—/each stone, blossom, child—/ is held in place. / Only we, in our arrogance,/ push out beyond what we each belong to/ for some empty freedom. If we surrendered/ to earth’s intelligence,/ we could rise up rooted, like trees. Instead we entangle ourselves/ in knots of our own making/ and struggle, lonely and confused. So, like children, we begin again/ to learn from the things/ because they are in God’s heart;/ they have never left him. — Rilke Saturday with Lacey "Remember" Remember the sky that you were born under, know each of the star’s stories. Remember the moon, know who she is. Remember the sun’s birth at dawn, that is the strongest point of time. Remember sundown and the giving away to night. Remember your birth, how your mother struggled to give you form and breath. You are evidence of her life, and her mother’s, and hers. Remember your father. He is your life, also. Remember the earth whose skin you are: red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth brown earth, we are earth. Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them, listen to them. They are alive poems. Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the origin of this universe. Remember you are all people and all people are you. Remember you are this universe and this universe is you. Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you. Remember language comes from this. Remember the dance language is, that life is. Remember. — Joy Harjo Sunday with Heather “Above all, tell them to practice an intimate presence to the beauty and wonder of the natural world through their intuitive awareness that recognizes the oneness of all life; tell them to stop and enlarge moments throughout their days to become aware of the mysteries and miracles of creation all around them—the movement of a squirrel, the sound of a bird, the pattern of a leaf, changing patterns of light, the sun, the rain, the starts, and dawn and sunset. Tell them we are not ourselves without everything and everyone else.” —Thomas Berry


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