Monday, April 14, 2014

Practicing Gratitude...

I had the opportunity to host the Labyrinth at the church I pastor.  It was a beautiful experience to watch how the Labyrinth ministered to those who stepped upon it.  I watched each walker sink deeper in the Heart of God, experience healing, learn about the landscape of their own heart.  What a blessing that was!!!
At the end of the night, I felt invited to offer the Labyrinth gratitude for the gift it had given to those who walked.  I took off my shoes, lit my Sage and began to smudge.  Soft contemplative music was playing.  I found myself following the energy of the Labyrinth — moving, then dancing — engaging with my body, soul and spirit in this expression of deep gratitude!!

Peace, harmony, love filled the wholeness of who I am.

As I offered my gift of gratitude, the Labyrinth offered me Love, Peace, Harmony, Dance, Joy!!!

I am humbled…

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Learning to walk in the darkness...

This week, while on retreat, I happened to be out after dark wandering the Land, sitting with a prayer.  I received an inner invitation to walk the Labyrinth.  The Labyrinth is a stone outdoor Labyrinth in the shadow of Grandmother Tree — a beautiful ancient weeping Beech tree. The night was clear.  I could see all the stars. The Moon was a sliver of a Moon, a few days after New Moon — gorgeous.
I walked over to the Labyrinth and stepped onto the path.  Two steps in I realized that I could not tell which was the path I should be on.  This has never happened to me.  The Labyrinth is ONE path that twists and turns until you get to the Center.  The problem was that in the darkness I could not differentiate between the twists and turns.  I could only see the shapes of the stones changing to show me a curve was coming up.
As I walked on, I had to stay completely present in the moment.  I could not think one step ahead.  I could not think one step behind.  If I did, I lost the path.  Total presence was necessary.
This is a small Labyrinth.  During the day the turns feel so close together.  In the dark they feel so far apart.  At one point, during one section, I began to wonder if I had missed the turn.  I stopped and looked back.  I had not.  A few steps ahead was the turn.  Wow, darkness obscures distance!
As i walked, I learned to discern the twists by the shapes of the stones.  I learned to trust my intuition, my inner guidance.  I learned to have faith that I was on the right path.  I learned to have confidence in myself with each step I took in the darkness.
Yet, what sweet joy it was to arrive at the Center!  I stood and breathed and realized one thing:  I just learned to walk in darkness!!
The walk back out from the Center was so different.  I noticed the pine branches, pine needles, Deer droppings, pine cones that were scattered on the Labyrinth.  I had missed them when I walked inward.  I had missed my companions as I concentrated so hard on the path before me.  Now I saw them and I rejoiced that they were present with mien my darkness.
This moment, this walk; it has changed me; transformed me; cracked me wide open in ways I am still waking to.  That is what darkness does.  It strips us of anything that is not essential and leaves us in the arms of the Sacred!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Mini Sabbath: Greeting Spring

Crocus after the rain

Mindful by Mary Oliver
Glory of the Snow
Every day
I see or hear
that more or less
kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle
in the haystack
of light.
It was what I was born for -
to look, to listen,
to lose myself
inside this soft world -
to instruct myself
over and over
in joy,
and acclamation.
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,
the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant -
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,
the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help
but grow wise
with such teachings
as these -
the untrimmable light
of the world,
the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?

 I invite you to take a few minutes and walk amongst the beauty of Spring.  

Allow these newbies to 'kill you with delight.'  

 Lose yourself inside their soft world.  

Allow their joy and acclamation to fill your Soul.

Accept the Blessings of Spring!!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Prayer Practice: Walking the Labyrinth

The Labyrinth seems to be speaking to me again.  From time to time, I spend intense time on the labyrinth.  It comes into my life for short periods of time to teach me something about my heart.

You see, for me, the labyrinth is all about the journey to the center of my being — deep into my heart.  It is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path that leads to a Center and then back out again.  For me that Center is my heart — the Sacred — it is all the same.

Each time I step onto the Labyrinth, I am changed.  My pace slows with each step.  My anxiety falls away.  I trust the path that is before me.  I know it will take me to one destination — my Heart and the Sacred.  

Two weeks ago, I stepped on the Labyrinth and had a totally different experience.  I began to walk it like I usually do.  I know the path by heart now.  I step onto it and begin to wind my way toward the center.

But then something I was not prepared for happened.  The Labyrinth asked me to turn away from the Center.  I freaked out.  Inside me was screaming, “Why am I turning away from the Center?  How am I supposed to get to the Center if I turn away?”

I know the path.  I know some twists ask you to turn away from the Center and others bring you toward the Center.  It is part of the journey.  Sometimes we have to release our attachments, walk away from unfreedoms so we can move to the Center of our being toward Spirit.

I have never experienced this on the Labyrinth before.  Once I caught my breathe, I allowed this new prayer to be my journey.  What unfreedom do I need to release, to walk away from so I can move freely to the Center?  Each turn away brought that same panic all the way to the Center.

I am still sitting with this experience, weeks later.  It was powerful.

That is why I walk the Labyrinth.  It has powerful ways of awakening me in my spiritual journey.  It transforms me each time I step onto it.  It teaches me wholly — body, mind, spirit.

There is a reason this ancient path continues to be walked.  I invite you to find a Labyrinth and experience its healing and transformative power.

Have a good walk!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Lessons from a pine cone...

This week I went on my monthly retreat.  It has just finished raining and I was walking the Land visiting all my Tree friends.  As I greeted my friend Scots Pine, I noticed that all her pine cones had closed up!  Last time I was there they were wide open.  Now, they were shut tight.  Nothing could get in.  And they were speaking to me; calling to me.

I reached down and picked one up holding it in my hands, seeing how, all closed up, everything inside was safe.

I carried it with me the rest of the walk and brought it back to my room.  Overnight, it opened wide open!  As the pine cone dried out, it opened up to reveal its inner beauty, to allow its seeds freedom to grow.

It had closed up in the storm!  Now that the storm was gone, the pine cone opened back up.

And there is a Grace given to me by my Land.  It is okay, and necessary, to protect my heart, to close it in the storms of life.  When the sun comes out, when I am in places of safety and Sacred Love, the invitation is to unwind and open anew, allowing my seeds of Love freedom to grow and manifest.

May it be so.