About celia

I write because I love the windows created by words. I write as a way to think, to share, to connect. I write to test ideas and to clear my mind. I write in response to the small "i am" that echoes the greater "I AM."

To fix … or to bless

morning 2.jpg

Too often I start my day
With a list of things to do …
Or to do better.

I wake to ‘the first day
Of the rest of my life,’
And immediately try to remake it
In the shadow of yesterday’s errors.

I thrum my soul
With guilt or regret
For what was done poorly
Or not done at all.

I look to the future
But the windows are coated
With a film
Of leftover shoulds.

Guilt, you know,
Is really a poor motivator,
Though it is often the whip
Of first resort.

What if,
Instead of trying to fix,
I could learn to bless?

What if I could learn
To focus on the beauty,
Rather than the flaws?

What if I could wake
With a heart that is grateful
And hopeful
And full of blessing?

Now, there’s an idea.
Maybe I should fix that flaw …
Maybe I should add ‘gratitude’
To my list of things to do better.

AAAUGH! Another should!
But it makes me chuckle
And that might just be enough
To break the spell.

Satan is the Hebrew word
For ‘the accuser.’
True for me.

Today, at least,
I leave his curse behind.
And enter this day
With the blessing of beauty.

And I am grateful.

morning.jpg

[photo is by James Walsh per cc 2.0]

the turning

morning light.jpg

When I remember
To give you the first fruits of my morning,
When I turn my mind, my heart,
First to your call,
Silencing the pull of other voices,
That is when my heart finds home.

Why, then, do I neglect this turning?

Who knows?
Who needs to know?
These questions just delay the turning.

It’s not about fixing me.
It’s about finding you.

So … I tilt my head,
I tilt my heart,
To listen.

And there you are.
I hear what I cannot quite hear.
I know what I cannot really know.
I find, despite my fears,
That I do believe in you.

I believe just enough to cuddle my soul
Within your whisper.
I believe just enough to breathe with you.

In and out,
We exchange the thread of life.
In and out,
You cleanse my heart of dread,
And seed my hope.

And so these three arrive with my turning
Faith, hope, and love.
Your love, of course, is what evokes my own.
And mine must follow, once I turn and see.

Good morning, Holy One.
Thank you.

[photo by Susanne Nilsson per cc 2.0]

the ugly narcissus

narcissus.jpg

How long have I looked into this pool,
Watching that image for change
Hoping it would grow a bit brighter,
A bit more worthy?

How long has my hand been stayed
Just above the water
Wanting, desperately, to fix the faults
Within the image floating there?

How long?

Isn’t it time to let the ugly be
To look away from the wrongs that seem so glaring
To live, rather than to be frozen with regret
To move away from the pool into the day?

I’ll never fix that face
Nor find perfection there.
I’ll never even modify the expression on that face
By looking in the water.

The trap is not the beauty or the lack thereof
But the fixation on the image
And the fantasy that perfection
Is the necessary first step toward acceptance.

But … what is that?
A movement other than my own within the pool
A hand upon my shoulder
A face besides my own looks up at me.

The look within those eyes
As they gaze on my reflection
Seem filled with tears of love.
They drop into the pool and blur the vision there.

The spell is broken.
Narcissus turns and is wrapped in an embrace so full
That all preoccupation is lost in deepest consolation.

[image by cea + per cc 2.0]

your story

prayer.jpg

Oh Holy One,
I turn my heart to you.
I tune my ears,
Seeking the frequency of your heart.
I close my eyes,
So I might see beyond distractions.

This moment of turning
Turns the world.
Until, at last, I glimpse a different story.
It is a story more true than
The one that shouts to me from the TV,
Working to stir my fears.

Your whispered presence
Tells a deeper story.
Not about distance,
Not about disease,
Not about death.

Your story holds a secret melody
That sings of hope,
Of healing, and of resurrection.
You placed yourself within the struggle
To bear, with us, its pain and loss
And walk us through to promise.

Slowly I begin to understand.
Stories are life incarnate:
Life held at a distance,
So that I might better see.

The stories I listen to,
The stories I tell,
Shape me.

So, help me hear your story
The one you speak within my heart
The one that holds the world with love
The one that makes me one with you.

Oh Holy One,
Help me to pray.
Help me to hear your voice amid the storm.
Help me to walk with confidence upon the waves,
Looking only on your face.

Teach me, again, your story.

 

[photo by Via Tsuji per cc 2.0]

Wisdom

wise eyes.jpg

Wisdom is anchored in love.

You cannot really see anything
Until you risk loving it,
Until you can see its inner self –
And God, herself, deeper still.

For deep within all,
Is the ALL that called it into being;
And calls it still, to bring it to its essence,
Just as I am called and refined
In and through deep love.

Wisdom is seeing with God’s eyes.

[photo by Johnny Silvercloud per cc 2.0]

 

helping me hold on

bluebonnets

joy in my flower bed

 

some quotations from those I admire:

valarie kaur.jpg“I believe this is a time to love without limit. This is a time to see no stranger. In doing so, we gather information for the kind of world we want, where no one is uninsured or disposable, where our policies and public institutions protect all of us. 

And if panic or grief or rage seizes you suddenly, it’s okay. It means you are alive to what is happening. The work is to breathe through it. It becomes a dance – to panic, then return to wisdom; to retreat then find the courage to show up with love anyway. 

I spend all day in fear. But tonight, I got quiet enough to hear the wise woman in me, and she said, “Breathe, my love. Like any long labor, we are going to take this one breath at a time.” “                                            Valarie Kaur   [photo from Flickr per cc 2.0]

 

richard rohr 2.jpg“Right now I’m trying to take in psychologically, spiritually, and personally, what is God trying to say?   When I use that phrase, I’m not saying that God causes suffering to teach us good things. But God does use everything, and if God wanted us to experience global solidarity, I can’t think of a better way.  We are in the midst of a highly teachable moment.”    Richard Rohr   [photo from Flickr per cc 2.0]

 

a future salad in my garden

a future salad in my garden

 

“… As we struggle with our new circumstances and wonder what “normal” will be in the future, it’s comforting to be reminded that there’s familiarity all around us and within us.

Joe KayNature is doing its long-anticipated, seasonal thing. People are still showing kindness and love, if from a distance.

It’s a reminder that we, like God, are in the business of constantly weaving together the old and the new into something that will be filled with grace in its own ways.

And it will be very good. Challenging? For sure! But also good.”   Joe Kay [from his blog, with permission]

 

Brian McLaren 2.jpgBrian McLaren offers some great wisdom on how to pray in the midst of crisis, posted as a daily meditation through the Center for Action and Contemplation, here.   [photo from Flickr per cc 2.0]

 

All this … and a mysterious gift of hope, given, shared, welcomed.

 

the list

the list.jpg

So, it looks like I am going to have to come up with
some new excuses for procrastination.

My ‘to do’ list has been altered by the need to stay home.

And now, I am beginning to see,
That the list is not all that has been altered.
The ‘needs’ behind the list have changed, as well.
Some have changed by circumstance,
And some by a dawning realization
That they were really not so urgent to begin with.

So, rather than berate myself,
I am taking a deep breath
And making a different list.

I ask myself,
What stories do I want to be able to tell,
When this is all over?

The new list starts there.
And maybe its a ‘to be’ list
Rather than a ‘to do’ list:
To be the grace I hope to see in the world.
To hold to hope so others can hold on, as well.
To offer kindness, even from a distance.
To let myself be held in the arms of God
Even when other embraces are the virtual kind.

Even in this moment, we look for evidence of love.
That is the story we must tell,
That is the story we must echo with our actions, this day.
That is the story I hold to be most deeply true.

[photo by john.schultz per cc 2.0]

I need a different story

 

held .jpg

You would think all this time at home
Would bring a stillness,
An opportunity to breathe,
A chance to sit and think.

But, as I am now aware,
That takes a disciplined intentionality.
The rat-a-tat-tat of news coverage
Pounds at my soul.

I am not automatically quiet,
Even at times like these.
I must decide to turn my mind, my heart,
Away from insistent distraction.

Yet (take a deep breath)
You are here. Even here.
Your touch can spread peace, rather than fear.
There is no quarantine that can keep you away.

And so, I close my eyes.
I lean my head back, ever so slightly.
I imagine your arms around me.
I can feel your love anoint my soul.

And in your embrace,
I let my prayer become an ointment for the earth.
I see, in my mind’s eye, your hovering hope.
I relax my grip upon control and give it all to you.

The trial of this time,
The real suffering that ensues,
The anger and accusation that rise too easily,
Are not the only story.

You tell a different story,
One that even death cannot destroy.
And somehow I will let myself believe that your story
Is the one that will prove true.

[photo by Roger Ahlbrand per cc 2.0]

Rising

sunrise.jpg

That red ribbon on the horizon
Is a sign of your coming.
Already you are rising to the day.
Already your hope comes.
Already the arms of the trees reach for you.
Already my heart yearns,

And you come.

You will come to me each morning
Tiptoeing over the curve of the earth
Smiling in the ever-increasing light
Until, one day,
My eyes will be closed to the sunrise.
That day,
I will be be tiptoeing over the curve of eternity
Into your arms.

[photo by kingkubby per cc 2.0]