Spiritual sustenance, naturally.

Archive for the ‘Transition’ Category

Variable Spring

First the snowdrops and a couple of crocuses appeared.


Then more snow.


Now the snow has melted, and the flowers have reemerged.



And there are more to come.


Wondrous Words

In the past few days, I felt out of sorts, as if my life no longer “fit” properly. In my experience, when I feel that discomfort – like a hermit crab that’s outgrown its borrowed shell, or a snake on the verge of molting – it is uncomfortable, constricting, dark and tight.

There was nothing to do but wait for whatever was wanting to come forth. I found myself wistfully remembering the spaciousness in which I usually live, wondering where it went. Waiting. Knowing that I’ve been through this experience before. Being a compassionate witness to my own tight, small predicament, without being overwhelmed by it. Not trying to think my way out of it.

And this morning, a reminder came that opened me to the world again. It was another natural wonder, this time in the form of written words from another person. The words were not addressed specifically to me, but to “readers” in general, yet they flew straight to my heart. Such is the dance we weave with one another, unpredictable, surprising, amazing grace.

Sometimes when other people share their deepest thoughts and feelings, they can lead our hearts to open. When we are warmed by the touch of others, we find ourselves shedding the thick blanket of self-stories in which we have wrapped ourselves. By simply reading the words of another struggling, growing person, my window on the world was thrown open. Heart-strings stretched, the door swung out upon on its hinges; I could step through it. Are there any words that can adequately describe these liminal threshold experiences?

In addition to reminding me that I am not alone, this morning’s communication revealed to me that we are fractals of one another, beautiful patterns within patterns, recognizing ourselves in one another.

The shell, the too-tight skin is left behind. “We are called again and again to come forth from our tombs.” Alleluia! And it’s not even Easter yet.


A number of years ago I attended  a gathering with Jean Houston. She talked about the special social responsibility of people over fifty years of age, because elders have a life-time of experience and have “access to the depths.”

What depths are these? I think of the Underworld, understood in many ways by different cultures. In myth, the Underworld, or Otherworld, is sometimes a place one travels not just after death, but during life. It is very dangerous, and sometimes beautiful. Time has a different quality there; many years can pass in the outside world while one is entranced and / or challenged in the Otherworld. If one is able to return to this life again, it is with a gift or gifts, which are to be shared with others.

As people who have experienced the depths of life, those over fifty who approach life consciously can see the larger picture. We have visited the Underworlds of life, and returned after those experiences of profound loss and grief, the “innering” work of depression, or deep pain; we have explored the Otherworlds of enchantment, beauty, grace and joy.  As pilgrims returning from the depths, we can bring forward new ways of being in our world, new possibilities.

Many systems are in transition now: planetary, political, personal. Think of the “transition” phase of giving birth: the time when you want to call the whole thing off because it is all too difficult and overwhelming. That phase arrives just before the final stage of birthing, the breakthrough, when we push new life into the world. This can be the birth of ideas, creativity, and action. The elder years present a time for a different kind of birthing.

Accessing the depths requires inner space, a cultivation of imagination, and a small community in which to share, nurture, and celebrate the process of integrating our Underworldly and Otherworldly life experiences. You may already belong to a circle of friends which serves this growing-edge purpose.  Elder-wisdom. It’s a powerful time to be coming of age, drawing strength and knowledge from our depths, moving into the wisdom stage of our lives, and sharing those gifts.

The Year of the Barn

In seeking an indoor space for meetings, as well as a space to do my textile artwork, we have been working on the upper story of the old carriage barn. After replacing the roof, the first task was to clear out decades of accumulated stuff.

Next, we found that the sill had rotted, though the foundation was fine. So the sill and some of the siding were replaced, at the back of the barn:

And at both sides:

Windows were replaced in the lowest level of the back (the horse stalls), and added to the front and back of the barn on the top level.

Two windows, one at each end, will be added to the side walls on the top floor. The interior staircase is in place, and now insulation, electrical and interior walls are in process. When the indoor work is done, and the weather is warm enough, we’ll scrape, paint, and beautify.

Meanwhile, going through a lifetime of /stuff/ has been intense.  It has called for a life retrospective, which is appropriate, difficult, and liberating. “Let It Go” has been my mantra.

This is The Year of the Barn.

The Possible

Here, on the first day of the New Year, I cannot help but think of possibilities.  For me, setting up this SWW blog is a way of exploring one stream of possibility in the year ahead.  I will be adding information here about events, as well as adding more books to the book list page. Your suggestions for books that reflect an Earth- or Cosmos-oriented perspective on life, art, and spirituality would be most welcome.

Back to the “sense of the possible” that arises for us at a time of new beginnings such as the New Year.  From what source springs this sense of possibility?  There are many ways to approach this – through psychology, biology, consciousness studies, religion, etc.  Speaking of the cosmos, Brian Swimme refers to the “all-nourishing abyss” from which all possibility and newness in the universe arises. In her book Awakening Universe, Emerging Personhood, Mary Conrow Coelho expresses it like this:

“But it is a fact that now, in the context of the new universe story, we are becoming aware of the power for transformation grounded in the inexhaustible fecundity at the root of reality in every region of the universe in this present moment.” (p.378)

A theist might say, “With God, all things are possible.”

Whatever the source, I know that at this time, if I open myself to possibility, it changes the way I see my life in such a way that I can recognize within myself the sacred potential with which each of us is endowed, whether we see that endowment as a gift of God or a gift of the Universe’s holy process of emergence. This process is enhanced by engaging with others who are also examining the possibilities which the new year may bring for them. I hope you have a friend (or friends) with whom you can share your own hopes and dreams, along with plans for their outer creative expression.

Happy New Year!

Blue Moon

Today, the last day of 2009, is a Blue Moon. Two full moons in one month – do you feel the pull of this blue moon in your body as it tugs on the Earth’s waters? What will well up in you at this turning time?

Today I gaze in and back at the past year, one of many ups and downs, chaos showing me my weakness and my strength, and I feel the tug. This is Janus’s time, a threshold time between past and future.

Today, as I stand on this cusp, I feel my drowsy roots begin to tingle with the hidden knowledge of  the growing light. I draw up winter sustenance, grateful for the warmth that family-friend-fires offer. Possibilities abound; I sense them tugging below my awareness. Blue moonstruck! May we be wise, loving, and strong as we dance the ebb and flow of the New Year.