Spiritual sustenance, naturally.

Posts tagged ‘New Year’

Snow, the Studio, Resolutions

Yesterday I visited my studio, which is in a remodeled carriage barn behind our home. There was fresh snow on the ground. It was lovely.

Snowy slope behind the studio

Snowy slope behind the studio

I was dashing out there to get some supplies I needed for a small project I am working on in the house, but I stopped to take the above photo with my phone. In the past few years I have spent little time working in the studio, though I very much want to. Over time, supplies have accumulated there: piles everywhere, half-finished projects are on tables, in baskets, tucked away on shelves. I have been “away” for years, with only occasional visits. The place is in terrible disarray.

During 2016, as I was healing from major surgery, I would sometimes visit the studio for short visits to sort and organize. I even made a few simple gifts for people. I am again able to use my sewing machine without discomfort, and now that I’m on fewer meds, my hands shake less when I work. I have hope for more time in the studio in 2017, but first I would need to make the space workable again. That will take sustained effort.

So, a fine New Year’s resolution would be to do just that. Then why have I been hesitant to make a resolution to finally get the studio in working order? Some days I feel that reclaiming the studio is what I really want to focus on in the new year; I know doing it would feed my soul and make it possible for me to concentrate on my creativity once again. And yet on other days I think there are probably better ways to spend my time. When will I return to ministry work? Should I spend time catching up with my family and friends, after being focused on regaining my health for so long? Or how about our country’s political situation; should my focus be on the environment? I am tugged in many directions.

Somehow being out there yesterday with the fresh snow all around made it seem like a new beginning is in order. Thinking about it now, I realize that beginning again in the studio has the potential to encompass some of the other strands of my life. I used to use the space not just as a studio, but as a place to offer spiritual direction, and also to have workshops for small groups. I used to do projects with my grandchildren there. The space provided sanctuary not just for artwork, but for ministry, friends and family. In it I worked on nature- and environment-themed projects. It really is all of a piece. Through the process of writing about this, I have returned to the New Year’s resolution to put my studio in order, and begin again.

Below is a 2011 photo from part of the studio, neat and spacious. Something to which I can aspire!

Offspringing into the New Year

Two “children” were able to join us for the holidays, son and youngest daughter. Gratitude fills my heart for them, my eldest daughter, my two granddaughters, and my husband.

Happy New Year, from my family to yours!

Up-Close and Natural

Because we are part of the natural world, our earthly story can offer us inspiration, healing, a sense of peace and balance, or a profound feeling of belonging. What is happening now outside your window? As I look out, I see that once again a soft blanket of white covers the ground and rooftops. The new snow clings to the tree branches, creating a fairyland in the ravine behind my house. Once again, the world has been reborn.

Today I will take a walk and look for messages. These messages may take the form of a sharp cold scent on the breeze; the sound of some water trickling beneath the snow; bird calls; animal tracks in the snow; the soft kiss of snowflakes on my face; the winter light, with its gray, blue, and sepia shadows; the shape of the bare tree branches against the white sky. My walk will be different from any other time, and though the place may be familiar, it will be new.

To dive even deeper, I may take out my loupe, a lens that goes with me everywhere, nestled in its tiny, wine-colored pouch. It allows me to see a world that is usually hidden from our everyday eyes. Through the loupe, a tiny area becomes an entire world from an insect’s point of view, evoking images, memories, and inspiring art and poetry.

We will do this together, looking for messages, exploring the outer world up close, seeing what that experience evokes in our inner worlds. The listing with the date and time for this gathering will appear on the Services / Gatherings page of this blog.

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.


The new year seems like an appropriate time for sharing with the wider world SWS’s spiritual practices, images, and other musings and information.  Spirituality is about our human spirit, our experience of those things (and not-things) within us and around us which open us to new possibilities: interconnection, love, compassion, forgiveness, and creativity in our lives. As the new year unfolds, watch this blog for posts about nature, spirituality, awakening, peace, and finding one’s way in our fast-paced, ever-changing world. Welcome to my personal explorations on Sanctuary Without Walls!