"Thank you for seeing the light in me."
As these words came from Tamika's mouth
my anxious mind zoomed in on
They released the worry, fears, and concerns that distract.
I was present to her warm smile and relaxed brows.
My heart filled with gratitude for our
We'd only seen each other a handful of times
over many years. In each encounter,
I've always left feeling jubilant, giddy, with a sense of being
deeply seen, known, heard, and loved for
who I am
what I do.
I've tried to make my work support who I am.
So many parts of the job distract me from my truest purpose.
I get consumed by the "efficacy" metrics,
the numbers, traffic, sales conversions.
It is all of these that tend to keep me from being me,
a connector of dots of light.
I see light.
I see light in people
and in creatures.
When all the light escapes me
and I no longer occupy
what I want to be remembered for is
the light I saw in you.
I see your light.
My heart smiles with yours.
Nothing else I've done here
matters any more than that.
Why do I practice?
Why do I need trusted, well grounded teachers?
Because I am not fed by only viewing life through the lens of my ego.
Because the use of Sacred text to control, intimidate, and shame people kept me from the gifts of it for most of my life. Because teachers like Father Philip Chircop find the love and compassion in the text and guide me to not only hear my inner voice but to trust it.
I recently ran across this reflection from a reading of the passage Matthew 20; 1-6. Fr. Chircop was inspiring our class at the Spiritual Direction Institute at the Cenacle to remain lifelong learners. I had just met Rev. Dr. Matt Russell so his influence was strong in helping me connect with my vocation in the "deep river of Yes!"
I am glad I ran across this while preparing to lead a retreat. I share in case my teachers' wisdom can inspire you too.
Do not complain
Come to the present moment without
or inordinate attachment.
Do not miss the merciful gift that is present in;
When you wake, when you listen
when you come
they are here
as they are for every one.
Let me come to this way of service
without expectation, not seeking
favor or reward
but to learn with
and be an equal student with
others receiving the mercy
and flowing in the river of
grace and love.
It is no wonder the shadow gets so big when we aim so much light in one direction.
We each have a responsibility to shift this tide by turning the attention inward and the intention forward.
'be the change you want to see in the world' - Ghandi.
We must vote in November. But we must remember that we vote every moment of every day. The future is also dependent on how these decisions create the world we live in. We need to use our lights to guide ourselves, to see every one, not every 'other.'
Government can regulate less when we self-regulate more.
Those with less can have more when we release the myth of scarcity and hoard less.
Bridges are built when we stop seeing each as other.
What if the hero we seek is in us?
What if we are saved every time we accept a part of ourselves we don't want to face?
What if this force in us comes (back) alive when we recognize the force and see someone we don't yet know or understand?
There's no time to push the action of progress out in the future. We cannot afford to relieve our own burdens by putting all of the responsibility and blame on some figure's shoulders. It is time to march in these shoes, in our stories, toward one another.
What if we aimed our light on our own path? What if we find ourselves converging toward the light? Our shadows disappear.
In our human narrative we live a myth of independence, a myth of separate existence.
This myth falls away when we connect with our furry loved ones.
Through the power of love, they teach us that deep connection transcends the myth of separation of body, words, and beliefs.
We share mindful silence, deep presence, a non-verbal connection that brings us into their world.
Our deep connections are made in slow, mindful presence,
Their love pulls us into relationship
With gratitude for routines and expectations
With gratitude for surprises
They bring us deeply into a more loving relationship with them.
They bring us deeply into a more loving understanding of ourselves.
They teach us to love without words.
After they are gone, they teach us to love beyond physical form.
As we grieve, we find in silence both sadness and presence.
May our silence hold absence and presence.
May our sadness from the physical absence be broken with remembrance of how our sweet friends teach us to find presence in the silence. They teach us to transcend the myth of separation of body, words, and beliefs.
We pause to honor all they teach us without a word.
We honor their return to everything.
Return to the wave.
Return to the air.
Return to the earth.
Return to the stars.
Silence is not made of absence.
In silence we find the sustaining presence of love.
Not absence, but the presence of everything.
Deep peace of the running wave to you
Deep peace of the flowing air to you
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
Deep peace of the shining stars to you
Deep peace of sustaining love to you
Let us hold the presence of all of these in a moment of silence.
In their lasting love,
*Deep Peace prayer from the Iona Community
Written for the Memorial at Heights Women's Club Last Wishes National Pet Memorial Day 2016, "Because We Always Remember"