Spiritual sustenance, naturally.

Posts tagged ‘Children’

A poem that says it all

Born innocent, one

– that’s I –

strives hard to become

an adult, no longer childish,


in one’s art, one’s love, one’s life . . .

Then discovers:

that no one ever

becomes an adult,

becomes either

delightfully childlike

or pitifully juvenile . . .


one’s art to be outside the art game

one’s faith outside the religious game

one’s love outside the sex game


one’s own little song

and dares to sing it

in all variations,

unsuited as it may be

for mass communication . . .

For perhaps

here and there

someone will hear it

and listen

and know

and say


From Art as a Way: A Return to the Spiritual Roots, Frederick Franck, New York: Crossroad, 1981


The term “spiritual,” like the word “love,” has been used in so many ways that it has almost lost its meaning (think, “I love your new car!”). But most of us have not given up on the word love; I’m not ready to give up on the word “spiritual.” But what does it mean? Some thoughts from a variety of sources/traditions:

Theologian Matthew Fox, in #11 of his 95 Theses says, “Religion is not necessary but spirituality is.”  And from #12 of his 95 Theses: “Spirituality is living life at a depth of newness and gratitude, courage and creativity, trust and letting go, compassion and justice.” A New Reformation: Creation Spirituality and the Transformation of Christianity, Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions, 2006

“…human beings have . . . a need to be valued, to be cared for, to be loved, to be recognized, and to feel that their life has some  meaning and purpose and is not just a means to someone else’s needs. We call these spiritual needs.” Michael Lerner, p.16, editorial, “Hostile Takeover: Theocracy in America,” Tikkun Vol. 21 No. 1

“Spirituality is an organic part of daily life, not something dispensed by a professional. True spirituality is liberation, not just from the delusions of reality but from the delusions of religion as well.” Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao: Daily Meditations, p. 20. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.

“I use it with a very basic connotation: the human search for meaning. All of us, all the time, operate out of a sense of being connected to an inner core of meaning.” (p.12)   “Spirituality is inherent to being human; religion is only one aspect of our unfolding spirituality.” (p. 13) Diarmuid O’Murchu, Quantum Theology, New York: Crossword Publishing, 1998

And about raising children:

“To be fully engaged members of the human society, [children] must be religiously literate. An important part of this literacy is the recognition that humans have a ‘spiritual’ dimension, broadly defined – a yearning for meaning and purpose, a connection to the rest of humanity and life on Earth, a sense of existential wonder and mystery.”  Roberta Nelson, “Even Secular Parents are Religious Educators,” p. 15, UU World, Fall 2007. The article was adapted from Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion, edited by Dale McGowan.

And finally, my simple take on it: “Spirituality is about our human spirit, our experience of that within us and around us which opens us to a larger view and new possibilities: interconnection, love, compassion, forgiveness, and creativity in our lives.” Katharine Houk, The Book of Belonging

Snowy Sanctuaries

Today many inches of light, fluffy snow softened my neighborhood, and the pale blue shadows on the drifts brought to mind the snow-houses of my childhood.

Memories. The tiny space inside the snow-house was round, and just big enough for one person.  The light which found its way through the thick snow walls was an ethereal blue. We had tunneled our way into a huge bank of snow to create the little snow-house, and I loved being inside it, having it all to myself. Sound inside was muffled in the womb-like space. I lay on my back, looking up at the blue-white curved, sparkly ceiling, and enjoyed protection from the winter wind. But most of all, the snow-house entranced me with its quiet beauty.

I have experienced many snow-houses in my life, as well as tree-houses, hiding places under bushes, among large, cave-like rocks, in fields of tall grass, under the trailing branches of a weeping willow, and just about any other place into which I could dig, crawl or climb. Children need special outdoor places, where they can feel safe and connected with our Earth. Special places can form the foundation for a deep and sacred appreciation of the natural world.

Adults, too, need such spaces. Last summer I removed some sturdy, thick grape vines which were strangling a maple tree behind my house, and bent and tied them to create an open-weave dome-shaped space. I would sit in that space at the edge of the ravine, and simply be. Deer, other animals and birds would visit me. I would find peace.

Wishing you many sanctuaries, with and without walls, summer and winter.