off to the mountains

I’m off to the mountains.
My soul longs to absorb the colors of the wild;
To sit in the presence of the mountain
And let it sink its roots into my heart.

The touch of that deep quiet has faded
And needs to be renewed
So that I, too, might be renewed.
The attention of my soul is too easily distracted
By the flash and dazzle of the market
And the vitriol and terror of the news.

So, I will sink my feet into the numbing cold of a stream
And let my soul sigh before a columbine.
I will relish the quiet conversation of friends
Whose voices carry the whisper of the divine.
I will remember the solid grace of solitude
And the gift of mutual interdependence.

I am grateful to be able to make such a pilgrimage,
In the company of others whose hearts are open to its peace.
There are no guarantees on the mountain,
Except that it is there – deeply, powerfully there,
And its gifts of beauty and grandeur and challenge and grace
Play upon the wind and call me to its depths.

I’m off to the mountains to store up images of hope
To feed my soul and smooth the edges of my anger
And give me a bit of grace to share.
I go in hope and confidence that it still has gifts to share;
That my heart will still be open;
That its terrible beauty will do its work in me, again.

I’m off to the mountains.

[so … no posts for a bit.]

A L on liberty

Abraham Lincoln

The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name — liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names — liberty and tyranny.

— Abraham Lincoln

The tyranny of self, of course, leads to the tyranny of others.
When self rules – at least the self that wants it all –
There is no freedom.

Once again the mystery –
Giving is receiving.
An open hand liberates.

[photo by Thomas Hawk per cc 2.0]

a moment in time

a moment in time

For the gift of time,
The gift of timing
I give thanks.

 

For the moment, at least,
There is no hurry,
There is only now.

Somehow I must still my heart
To know,
To be

Somehow, I wake to you.
I feel the whisper of your embrace,
And long to know it deeply.

I come, though I know not how.
I release myself to you,
And gratefully receive you, in return.

I am a single stitch
That helps to hold creation
To the heart of Christ.

In this, in this –
I find my hope and purpose.
Somehow it makes a difference.

And I am glad.

Amen

[photo by Cara Louise Horne per cc 2.0]

dawning

seeing more

 

The chief thing that separates us from God is the thought that we are separated from Him. – Thomas Keating

 

As I wake to this new day,
As I yawn and rub my eyes and peer into the breaking dawn,
I begin to see the edges of things, coming clear.
And, today, there is a subtle shift in vision.
I begin to see the heart of things, as well.

Within the frame of morning,
I begin to see a shimmer of your presence.
I begin to imagine your smile upon the dawn,
Your fingers brushing the edges of the grass,
Your hope rising upon the horizon.

And it is here that I begin to know
That imagination is not mere fantasy
But the early sign of the gift of entrainment
The fruit of practice
The pattern behind the patterning.

Rote practice is not the key,
But a continual turning of the heart toward you,
The intention – not to do the work, but to be open to it –
Has begun its work in me.
And that is what dawns on me this morning.

I am so grateful.

[photo used with permission from Mike Bizeau’s beautiful blog – nature has no boss]

my true self

imprint of a leaf on water

My true self –
The self I long to meet

The one where I fit nicely in my own skin
And equally well in my community,
As if we are suited to one another

The one where goodness is not fake
But a natural expression of a maturing soul,
And where continuing growth is the sure future

The one where I can embrace the flawed reality
That is both where I live and who I am,
And still find peace and beauty … and firm hope

The one where I dare to join the dance
That is the world’s becoming,
The very echo and response to the Holy Three.

This is the self you call me to be.
This is the self I will become.
This is the dance of life.

[photo by Karl-Ludwig Poggemann per cc 2.0]

[thanks to Richard Rohr’s daily meditations]

thoughts on giving, thanks

coming into focusGiving thanks is part of a pervasive human activity: gift exchange.  …  So important is the pattern of give, receive, give back that some thinkers identify it as crucial for holding societies together. People who knit interconnections via gift exchanges create more stable communities than those whose only glue is external rules.

Ours is an age dominated by the contract not the gift.  Contracts are engaged only when specific mutual benefits can be identified.  Once the specified exchange is completed, the relationship ends.  The gift and gratitude context, by contrast, assumes asymmetry and continuation. – Raymond Boisvert

This brief reflection changed my (thanksgiving) day. That dance of grateful joy – giving, receiving, giving back – is a reflection of the Trinity that Richard Rohr is introducing to me. An understanding of ‘god’ as a solitary, all powerful, all complete, separate being is just not big enough to express the mystery of love. It takes the dance of Trinity to help me see. It takes the dance of relationship – of giving and receiving and giving again – the very heart of the Trinity – to help me understand.

[photo by Adam Baker per cc 2.0]

squirrel

 

squirrel in a cage
The best moments any of us have as human beings are those moments when for a little while it is possible to escape the squirrel cage of being me into the landscape of being us. – Frederick Buechner

 

I try for a moment every morning
To pry my attention away from the urgent
And focus on the eternal.

It is not easy.

Sometimes my distractions are discomfort:
A headache or a cold.
Sometimes it is the email, screaming in my inbox.

Or that damn list.

Sometimes it is just guilt:
The friend I should have called,
The closet where I’ve hidden what I should have cleaned.

They are all squirrels.

So, I try one or more of the methods I’ve been given –
I focus on my breath or close my eyes and smile
Or practice grateful reflection.

Each of those can help.

But what really makes the difference
Is when you sneak up beside me
And remind me

You are here.

That is when my soul can finally release its grasp upon the urgent
And fall into your sweet embrace.
That is the moment

I find myself, again.

[image filtered from photo by Chance Fry per cc 2.0]