Spiritual sustenance, naturally.

Archive for August, 2010

Sense of the Sacred ~ Please help me spread the word!

Only by understanding the Universe as a vast, holistic system and Earth as a unit within it can we help restore balance to that unit.

Only by placing Earth and its ecosystems – about which we now understand so much – at the centre of all our thinking can we avert ecological disaster .

Only by bringing our thinking back into balance with feeling, intuition and awareness and by grounding ourselves in a sense of the sacred in all things can we achieve a new level of consciousness.

Thus says the website of the book GreenSpirit: Path to a new Consciousness. In a couple of weeks the author, Marian Van Eyk McCain, will be speaking about this book upstairs in the Community Room at the Real Food Co-op in Chatham. (Please note that the Co-op is not open for business on Sundays.) I’m very happy that Marian will be here, and I’d like you all to meet her. She is also author of the book Elderwoman: Reap the Wisdom – Feel the Power – Embrace the Joy, which ties in with Growing Older, Growing Wiser: Becoming an Elderwoman, a seven-part series beginning in Chatham on September 14th.

Please help me spread the message about her talk at the Co-op on September 12, 2 PM. Thanks!

Here is a poster with the details:

GreenSpirit Poster

afternoon with a soul mate

Today my friend Gail stopped by on her way traveling from West Hartford, CT to Syracuse, NY. Reconnecting with old friends is heartwarming. We told each other stories about our lives and caught up. With such a soul friend, even though time had passed, it was as though we had seen each other yesterday; the conversation was immediate, free, deep, and easy.

In our past, we shared raising and home-educating our children; we found we embraced similar spiritual interests; we were both involved in creative pursuits  involving textiles, and we’ve shared the joys and challenges of life.

Gail reminded me that, no matter the time and distance between friends, we are never far apart. For this I am grateful.

At the end of our visit, we enjoyed a Japanese meal together. All in all, it was a very satisfying day.

GreenSpirit: Marian Speaks! September 12, 2010

News Flash for Sept. 12, 2010! Marian Van Eyk McCain, editor of and contributor to GreenSpirit: Path to a New Consciousness, will be in Chatham, NY on Sunday, September 12. 2010, 2 PM, to speak about the book and about living simply, at The Real Food Network Co-op, upstairs in the Community Room, 15 Church Street, Chatham, NY. (Please note that the Co-op is not open for business on Sundays.)

Marian and her husband live simply in Devon, England. She limits her air travel for environmental reasons, so we are fortunate to have her with us. Please join us on September 12th!

GreenSpirit Poster

This event is sponsored by Sanctuary Without Walls.

Wild Flowers

After several days in the woods with more than a dozen women, I’m slowly adjusting to the indoor world. The rooms seem cramped and stuffy, but I suppose that shouldn’t be surprising, after living outdoors for a few days.

There were many memorable moments. One of my favorites was watching a huge flock of hundreds of birds encircling the clearing in which I was sitting ( a little freaky, in that it reminded me of the Hitchcock movie). They were silent except for the sound of their wings.

The photos show the back of the stone fireplace, where some flat surfaces provided spaces for small “altars” to be created by the women present.

On one evening, we lay on our backs near the coals of the fire and watched for meteors. There were many, but one was absolutely spectacular as it streaked across the sky, leaving a long trail which looked almost double. Later that night I took the rain-fly off my tent so I could continue to watch the stars through the night.

On the last evening, a friend and I created a “dusk walk,” a liminal experience on the paths in the woods, which were lit with candles. The experience left me with the desire to create more outdoor magical experiences for others.

I’m already dreaming about next year’s Wild Flowers event. It is sponsored each summer by the organization Wellspring Haven.

To Stay or Go ~ Spiritual Communities & Community Ministry

Brace yourselves; here comes the C-word and the J-word, not to mention the R-word.

Popular author Anne Rice has “quit” Christianity. On her Facebook page last week she wrote:

“Today I quit being a Christian. I’m out…I remain committed to Christ as always, but not to being ‘Christian’ or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to ‘belong’ to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.”

And this morning in my inbox I discovered a stunning response in the form of an article in Salon magazine, from Lily Burana, who has chosen to stay and fight. She wrote:

“Religion can be freighted with heartache, disappointment, uncomfortable adjustment and the dreary slog through the vale of tears. But I believe we can fashion the pieces of a broken heart into a new shape of belief. I’d rather endure the contortions of worship than suffer the bone-dry refuge of refusal or a spiritual life half-lived.”

Here’s the link to the article.

Some time ago, with the blessing of The Center for Progressive Christianity, I created a Facebook page, wanting to spread the word about this group’s work and resources. If you are one of those, like me, hanging in there with Christianity, you may wish to check it out. This month’s articles at www.tcpc.org are about Anne Rice’s decision, people who consider themselves SBNR (spiritual but not religious), the new atheists, interfaith – innerfaith, and more.

As an infant, I was baptized in the Universalist Church (in the 1960s it merged with the Unitarian Church, to form Unitarian Universalism). Although I trained as a UU minister, I am not firmly planted in a UU church, nor am I a free-floating follower of Jesus, but rather someone with more than one spiritual home. This is distasteful (bordering on heretical) to many people calling themselves Christians, but my religious experience is not a “spiritual life half-lived;” it is expansive and broad, as well as deeply rooted. I like to think it’s the way Jesus lived, breaking bread with all kinds of people, while intimately knowing his Source. Community is important to me; if I cannot find it, I gather with others and  help it grow. And I see this happening all around me. Community ministry. Yup. That’s what I do.

Registration Brochures at last!

On the sanctuarywithoutwalls events blog you will find a post which includes the registration brochures for events which will be facilitated by my friend Phoebe and me:

Growing Older, Growing Wiser: Becoming an Elderwoman ~ For women 55 and older, on the second Tuesday of each month, September 14, 2010  –  March 8, 2011  ~ 7-9 PM

To download the registration brochure with all the details, click on the following link:

Elderwoman registration brochure

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After being away and entertaining guests, I’ve had many little details to attend to here. It feels great to make these available, at last! Check out the events site for details and other happenings.

Summer Gatherings

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After spending a week at a science and religion conference with more than 100 people,

IRAS on Star Island 2010

I came home to my husband’s college reunion at our home, with about twenty of his college friends, some of whom he hadn’t seen for forty years.

Photo by Art Nager

This morning I was on a radio show about the upcoming series for women Growing Older, Growing Wiser: Becoming an Elderwoman –

and now I’m planning for the annual campout of Wellspring Haven.

Photo by Sharon Lips

The weekend after that, I’ll be attending a college reunion of my own.

Reunion, Callicoon 2009

It’s been an intense summer of gathering in communities of diverse people. And it will continue into September, when I’ll be attending a Céile Dé gathering.

So much richness, and so little time to blog about it!