Spiritual sustenance, naturally.

Posts tagged ‘Connections’

Creative Interchange

Recently I enjoyed an inspiring meeting with a friend whom I met through our mutual involvement with the Women’s Interfaith Institute in the Berkshires. We had reconnected at a recent WII event, so it was a pleasure to have some time with her today.

What happened when we spoke was an experience of what theologian Henry Nelson Wieman might call creative interchange: “whatever it is in human life and experience that transforms us in ways that we cannot transform ourselves.” That was one way, a naturalistic way, that Wieman expressed what he understood God to be.

As my friend and I shared our thoughts, challenges, hopes, with one another, letting down our guard, opening our hearts, we found ourselves drawn to a level of conversation in which we both sensed an expansiveness, a freedom, a growing energy. It was collaboration at its best, at its most “holy.”Already some fruits are ripening from that exchange.

That’s what I love most about bringing people together in groups for learning, sharing, and perhaps even transformation. Wherever two or more are gathered in the name of holy creativity, amazing things can happen.

Like a wave from the ocean

You did not come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here. – Alan Watts


A tip of the hat to GreenSpirit for bringing this quote to my attention in its newsletter. Alan Watts introduced me to meditation practice when I was a teen in the 1960’s. In one form or another, I’ve practiced it ever since.

Fire and Spirit

After officiating at a beautiful wedding on this gorgeous Spring day, I added a “Fire and Spirit” post to Temple of the Cosmos. Check it out!

A breath of fresh air!

What a beautiful day today! It feels like the beginning of a different life. Over this very busy weekend I’ve entered a new phase:

My mother came home from the nursing home this weekend. Now we are adjusting and seeing how she does at home. After spending so much time in an institutional setting with her, it is a huge relief to me that she can be at home again with her beloved cat.

Photo of Mini by Sharon Lips.

And work continues on the barn. It is finally coming together! Now that my mother is home I hope the unpacking will move faster.

The garden is bursting with green on this beautiful, breezy day. Here is Lady’s Mantle from my herb garden.

Lady's Mantle, May 2010

And wood is drying for the Sanctuary Without Walls fire circle.

Next gathering is on June 20th. Save the date!

Firewood

The Green Man Archetype

We should not be seeking the Garden, it is not lost. It is we who are lost. It is we who are alienated from the Garden of which we are a part, which is around us and within us now, and always has been.

Green Man

So says Billy, one of the many Green Men present at the Convention I am attending this weekend. I apologize that his photo, above, is not more clear; the light was low.

Brian Froud said that a first step in reconnecting with the spirit of nature is to acknowledge that it is possible. Before “taking things” from nature, we should seek permission. Communication, he said, is possible and necessary, and there are no “rules” about how to do it; it is individual and intuitive process.

At the end of the Green Man Panel, Brian was made an honorary member of the Blessed Order of the Greenman (BOG).

Blessed Order of the Greenman induction ceremony

Other members on the Green Man panel included Celtic scholar John Matthews, folklorist Steve Winick, artists Wendy and Brian Froud, and BOG founder Shane Odom.

So far (it’s not over yet) attending this event has been a colorful, inspiring, and thought-provoking experience. There have been many other workshops, gatherings, and events here. More posts will follow as time allows – it’s a busy time!

At Home, Spiritually

This evening I attended an ecumenical Lenten service, as I did last week at this time. Area churches plan these services for each Wednesday evening of the Lenten season, with area ministers preaching on a given theme at one another’s churches. Soup and sandwiches are offered before each service, creating a time to connect with people from other religious communities.

Beyond my general fascination with religion and spirituality, I particularly enjoy these Lenten services because, of all the Christian services of the year, those offered during Lent are likely to get us thinking counter-culturally  about how we live our lives, about what is really important and foundational, and especially about what we need to release to be able to live more freely, deeply, and in touch with the source of life.

Metaphorically, I’ve been looking to my own backyard, to new spring plant life in particular, to feel my way into the new life that is promised at this time of year. Thus my previous post here was about clearing away winter debris so that new life (snow drops, crocuses, daffodils) can appear. I tend to think metaphorically about these things, seeking out the debris that clutters my life, and finding ways to clear it so that I can be more creative, more forgiving, more loving. This time of year offers me a chance to consciously do that.¬† Certainly the pre-Easter season is in anticipation of the new life that followers of Jesus find at this special time of year, when his risen spirit is recognized as being within us and among us. I understand resurrection, too, as metaphorical, akin to the cycles of life in nature.

I can’t help it. I was not raised as a literalist.

The church of my upbringing was Universalist (before the merger with Unitarians in the early 1960’s). In the sanctuary of my childhood one could see not only a Christian cross, but visual symbols for Buddhism, Judaism, Taoism, and more. Our services were Christian in form, but far-reaching in content. That which is learned in childhood is close to the bone.

As I listened to the music and the message this evening in the little Congregational Church I hold dear, I thought about the astonishingly diverse and beautiful ways we each find meaning and purpose in our lives. As we left the church, in the west the last oranges of sunset hid behind the hills. In the blue-black sky, a gorgeous sliver of a moon lay on her back looking up at the stars, while Venus twinkled on the horizon below her. I am grateful that there are many places I can feel at home spiritually. Within and without walls.

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.