Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Say Thanks, Eve

It occurred to me during my prayer time this morning that Eve would never have been tempted to take that apple if she hadn't felt she was missing out on something. And I know from my own life that when I feel I'm missing out, I'm not feeling grateful for what I already have. That's such a subtle thing--we can slip in and out of ingratitude thousands of times a day. When I am aware of all the huge, continuous, and wonderful (and little, sporadic, and quiet) blessings I receive each day, I don't yearn for fruit that's not mine. I'm happy; I'm content. I love my life, and I can't wait until the next time God strolls through the garden with me so I can share my joy and thanks.

May each of us, as we celebrate Thanksgiving in the U.S. or experience our days around the world, be fully aware and grateful for the truly uncountable gifts we are given on a daily basis. Happy Thanksgiving! I'm grateful for you, reader, that you read these thoughts that I post on this page.

:) Kathy

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Conversations and Spirit

Hi again. I've just posted the second set of interview questions for the book I'm researching on conversation. This set of questions relates to community, spirituality, and care of the earth. It should take less than 10 minutes to complete, and I deeply appreciate any comments or stories you'd like to share!

Here's the link: Conversations survey, part 2

Thanks very much for your help! :) k

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Want to be interviewed?

Hi! I'm beginning to research a new project on the dynamics and effects of conversation. I've created a simple survey--would you be willing to participate? It shouldn't take more than 5 minutes. All responses are confidential (I don't ask anything scary, anyway) and if I choose to quote you, I'll send you an e-mail message asking your permission first.

Here's the link, and thanks for helping!

Click here to take the Conversation survey

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Seed and Surround

It occurred to me this morning, as I was thinking about the big, orange-yellow cosmos that have replanted themselves in a new area of the flower bed, that for all the magic and wonder that a seed contains, it can't grow itself without an environment.

The seed contains all that miraculous oak-in-a-molecule amazement, but it will just sit there, on your desk, quiet and self-contained, and not growing, until you (or somebody, or nature) put it in the moist dirt and cover it safe and snug. The potential for life and growth, and maybe life itself, in some kind of coded, genetic possibility, exists in the seed, but it doesn't take on a sense of real life, growing and changing and pushing up through the soil, until it has an environment that supports it.

This thought is a new one for me, and really powerful. Maybe until we have a supportive environment, an environment that's condusive to our growth--physically, emotionally, spiritually--we are just coded for possibility but not able to manifest it. I see how this has been true for me--so many ideas, so many desires, so many hopes, but few realized the way I envisioned them, maybe because I didn't understand the missing ingredient: an environment supportive to their growth. I can see why the last few years of my life have been about creating a nurturing, honoring, peaceful space. I see how vital that is in a completely new way today. Thanks, God!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ruth = God with Us

I typed Emmanuel in something I was writing this morning and thought of that word's meaning, "God-with-us." A few minutes later, the story of Ruth and Naomi came to mind, and I thought "Ruth was God's way of being with Naomi." Isn't that a wonderful thought? It wasn't only Jesus who was Emmanuel, or God-with-us. It is each one of us, for someone else. Who is revealing God to you today? Who is lifting your spirits, encouraging you, comforting you, making you laugh, cooking you a meal? Sure, it's your friend, your spouse, your companion, your teacher. But it's also Someone Else: God is with you today, really with you, touching you through the loving acts of others in your life.

Friday, September 14, 2007

On the Road

This morning as I returned from taking Cameron to school I noticed something about myself-as-driver. When I drive, I will choose the road that has beautiful, overhanging trees over the four-lane fast-moving street with fewer traffic lights. I will let people in when I'm waiting in a line, because I hope it will start their day with a little grace. I listen to quiet classical music on the radio (sometimes to Cameron's dismay) because I like to ease into the day, preserving something of the sense of sacred peace that seems to bring in the dawn.

I don't drive slowly, but I don't drive aggressively, either. It's more of a mindfulness.

But not everybody starts the day like I do. Some people are late, some people are rushing, cutting in and out of traffic, honking, leaning forward, edging their front bumper as close to the guy in front as they possibly can. Other people drive 30 miles an hour in a 40 zone, forget to turn on their turn signals, and don't look for opportunities for turn-on-red.

This morning the SUV behind me honked when I didn't turn right fast enough at a red light. With irritation, I wondered why she would want to start anybody else's day like that. What kind of morning had she already had? On the way home, I noticed that although sometimes it can be annoying to be stuck behind someone who is not in a hurry (especially when I'm almost late for a meeting or a class), I would much rather be behind someone slow than be pushed by someone in back of me. As I thought about that, I realized how much I really don't like to be pushed--in traffic, in life, or in faith.

That might be fertile ground for reflection--which is more jangling for you, a slow driver in front or a pushy driver behind?

It could be something to do while you're waiting in traffic later today. And in the meantime, hold on to the idea God's harmony. Maybe we'll all have a smooth-driving afternoon. :)

Monday, September 10, 2007

An early-morning secret

Shhhhhhh.... The crickets are still singing their night songs. The morning glories haven't opened yet. The birds haven't appeared at the feeder for their breakfast.

But God is already busy. Just a few moments ago, as I was taking Cameron to school in the pre-dawn darkness, this thought occurred to me: "Everything that happens today is for my blessing." Every single thing. Nothing left out. Everything.

The person who pulls in front of you in traffic. The red light you tried to miss. The lukewarm coffee. The smiles of your coworker. The frowns of your coworkers. Everything.

Remember, as your morning glories open and the day picks up its pace in your own life, that every single thing that occurs today is for your blessing. And what blesses one, blesses all. How different would our day be if we could remember that? Let's talk this evening and compare notes about this wonderful day that God has made.

"This is the day the Lord has made...I will rejoice and be glad in it." :)

Friday, August 31, 2007


I received this story from this morning and just loved it. I can identify! See what you think:

    Once upon a time, a tiny frog fell into a giant bowl of cream. Unable to get out, the little fella kept kicking, kicking, kicking until finally the cream turned to butter, and he was able to jump to safety.

    This is us. We are the frog. We can either give up hope when faced with impossible challenges, or we can kick, kick, kick until the curses turn to blessings. Rest assured, our Creator wants us to survive our battles, conquer our demons, and no matter how dark life may be, there is always Light at the end of the tunnel. Our challenge is to maintain our certainty and to continue fighting the good fight.

    Keep kicking today. Know that there is a solution to whatever it is that threatens to overwhelm you.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Little Moments of Redemption

Forgiveness often does come unexpectedly and hidden inside tiny things--a breath of fresh air, a sense of lightness in a tense relationship, a smile after a long period of frowning, someone letting you in in traffic, a person telling you to go ahead in the checkout line, a lucky break, the benefit of the doubt. Along those lines, I want to pass along this poem that arrived in my Inbox in today's Writer's Almanac:

"Forgiveness" by Terence Winch, from Boy Drinkers. © Hanging Loose Press, 2007.


    Father Cahir kept us holy.
    He smoked cigars in the confessional.
    He had a distracted air about him,
    as though he wasn't sure what
    he was supposed to do next.

    I don't remember what he taught.
    History, probably. It was his
    liberal attitude as a confessor
    that made him a legend.

    No matter what you confessed to,
    he always barked out the same penance:
    "Three Hail Marys and a Good Act
    of Contrition. Next!" So we tested
    this leniency, confessing
    to rape, murder, burglary.

    Cahir paid no attention.
    He knew we were a bunch
    of high school punks.
    Puffing his cigar,
    he'd issue his standard
    penance and absolve all sins,
    real or imagined,
    with godlike aloofness,
    his vast indifference to
    or total acceptance of the darkness
    within the human soul
    exactly how I hope the deity
    regards us. Take forgiveness
    any way you can get it.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Nourishing Resource

For some time now, I've been a subscriber to the Ocean of Dharma quote of the week. (You can sign up by clicking here.) The one I received yesterday was especially powerful. Here it is, in its entirety (thanks to Carolyn Gimiam for the permission to post this quote):


    Discursive thought might be compared to the blood circulation which constantly feeds the muscles of our system, the emotions. Thoughts link and sustain the emotions so that, as we go about our daily lives, we experience an ongoing flow of mental gossip punctuated by more colorful and intense bursts of emotion. The thoughts and emotions express our basic attitudes toward and ways of relating to the world and form an environment, fantasy realms in which we live....In order to work with these realms, we must begin to view situations in a more panoramic way, which is vipashyana or insight meditation. We must become aware not only of the precise details of an activity, but also of the situation as a whole....We begin to see the pattern of our fantasies rather than being immersed in them. We discover that we need not struggle with our projections, that the wall that separates us from them is our own creation.

    From "The Bodhisattva Path," in CUTTING THROUGH SPIRITUAL MATERIALISM, pages 168 to 169.

    All material by Chogyam Trungpa is copyright Diana J. Mukpo and used by permission.

I've been working with ideas about the power of thought and the fuel of emotion for a while now, and this quote makes some connections for me that feel profound. I hope it's helpful to you, too. :)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Great Bumper Sticker

This afternoon when I picked Cameron up from school, I saw an SUV with this bumper sticker.
Awesome. Here's the link, in case you want to get one. :)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Behind the News

It's funny how one idea builds on another. Perhaps partly because of the change of my language and perspective from "poor" to "blessed" (see yesterday's post) and also in light of the "look behind the fear" idea (click here to read that post), today I am listening to the news differently. By listening in this way, I know what to pray for, what to affirm. Let me give you an example.

People (myself included) will go on and on about the negativity in our news. Turn on a news show in the evenings and you fill your family room with stories of defaulted loans, property taxes, abandoned children, war, joblessness, violence. Turn on the radio and you hear about struggles--battles, injustices, exploitation, dishonesty--all over the world. In recent months, I have intentionally filtered the input I allow from the constantly droning (and ratings-seeking) news channels.

But today it occurred to me to look behind the news. What makes news, news? Why are we talking about all these various (and often awful) things? Something interesting occurred to me. It comes clear when you look at what the story points to.

The story about an abandoned baby is really about the loving way we want to care for our children. It's news because our natural sense of caring tenderly for the smallest among us was violated.

Push through the story about the war and you find our desire for peace. It's news because real lives are being impacted and lost, and we care about those lives.

Look beyond the story about the corrupt CEO and you see that we have a built-in expectation of integrity. It's news because we expect people in power to be trustworthy and truly care for those they lead.

Move into the story of the trapped miners and find your belief that none of us is ever lost, separated, or beyond the reach of God.

Stories about global warming aren't about our abuses of the planet--they are about how much we love the earth and each other, present and future.

Behind each story, if you look, you will see the perfect value it is lifting up. Which values are being violated? Love, connection, harmony, peace, integrity, responsibility? Which stories do you turn away from the quickest? Chances are they point to something you can't reconcile within yourself, because you are a living example otherwise.

It's at that point, I think, that we need to pray. When you feel sick about a news story, don't look away--look behind it to the value that seems to be under attack. Affirm that the value is really there--otherwise, you wouldn't feel the hurt, outrage, anger, frustration. The value is there within you, and you can use it to bring light to the world. When there appears to be hate, look through it and affirm love. When there seems to be exploitation, see that integrity is there or you wouldn't feel the way you do. When you are frustrated by dishonesty or game playing, remember that you are feeling your own natural draw toward truth.

And who knows? Maybe with this kind of news watching, ratings would actually go up, and eventually there would be less news to report!

[Added note] One clarification, though--I'm not saying that the people, places, and circumstances that are the subject of the news stories don't need our prayers, because they do. We want healing, wholeness, peace, comfort for all who need it. But by putting our conscious attention on the value behind the story, we can help make it more visible. And thus "poor" becomes "blessed."

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Shaping Power of Language

I have always had a tender heart for animals. As a child, I cried when I left wooly worms behind on the path, I cried when I watched Lassie (my mother would try to keep me from watching it and then hear me sobbing from under the desk in the living room as Lassie waved her paw at the end of the show), I agonized over leaving my stuffed animals when I went to a friend's house for a sleepover.

Okay, you guessed it. I was an odd child.

But the other day, 40-some years later, I had a little epiphany about it. I looked outside and thought, "Poor flowers--look how hot it is and how much they need a drink." Later, I thought, "Poor birds--they need fresh water in the bird bath."

And then I became curious about the language I was using in my head. Where did that "poor" come from? Why do I feel bad for everything, concerned for its welfare, sure that it is suffering in some way from the natural elements? Maybe the flowers are simply a bit too warm--just like we get--in the late afternoon sun? Perhaps the birds are on their way to a little lake somewhere else, not dependent on the bird bath in my backyard as their only source of fresh water.

What would happen to my language, my feelings, and my expectations of the world (and God's provision for it) if I stopped putting that word "Poor..." in front of everything? What if I substituted the word "Blessed" instead?

"Look at that blessed little to fly with other birds, alive on this gorgeous day, able to sing and bring joy to others!"

"Wow, what blessed flowers. How did they get so tall? And what radiant faces they have, especially in the morning and evening, in the cooler part of the day. (And aren't they lucky to have me to care for them? And aren't I lucky to have them to bring such beauty to my day?)"

I am going to become more aware of my use of the word "poor." What in God's creation can be poor? How can we be cut off from God's abundance? Whether we--in this moment, and then this one, and then this one--are the receiving or the giving heart, we are all part of God's ever-present harmony. I wonder whether we can make more blessing visible in this world if we look out through eyes trained to see the good that's already here.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Whole Gratitude

This morning I woke up thinking about gratitude. Like a gazillion other people, I watched The Secret, and interesting bits of the video bubble up at different times. Today the thought was about what one of the men said about gratitude--he wakes up every morning, and as he brushes his teeth, he goes through all the things he's grateful for. He made sure to say that it's not just some mental list; he really feels the feeling of gratitude.

This morning as I got out of bed, I went through the things I'm grateful for--a peaceful beautiful morning, new thick carpet (nice!), a good night's sleep, a loving family, work I enjoy, a beautiful home, health...

And then it occurred to me that I was making a mental list. I was trying to bring to mind everything I could that I was grateful for. I probably could have come up with a thousand different things. But I wasn't feeling it, I was thinking it. A mental list. An intellectual exercise. Suddenly I had an image of my prayers getting no higher than the ceiling.

Okay, I thought. The list is fine. But how about feeling gratitude for those things too? I imagined the first few things on the list, and asked for a little help in feeling a whole sense of gratitude. Instantly, I felt a wonderful sense of warmth and openness spreading through me--especially my chest and stomach. A kind of deep relaxing. I think I was experiencing something close to real, whole gratitude--not just a mental image of things I am grateful for.

It's a profound difference. Maybe you already know about it. But I'm so glad to have a way to say thank you with my whole self!

So, thank you for reading this. And when I say "Thank you," I mean "T-h-a-n-k y-o-u" in the wholest possible way. :)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Always There

This morning at 6:00am I was out driving through thick fog to take my son to his job at a local golf course. As I drove through the gray mist, a litany of regretful thoughts came to mind--past behaviors and choices I'd rather forget. Quickly realizing I didn't want to fill my head with those kinds of thoughts, I began thinking of God--God's love, God's reality, God's belief in us. Instantly my thoughts changed. I was surprised that instead of just seeing a mental door closing on those thoughts, in my mind's eye I saw them transform as light was added to the picture. That light was God. Suddenly I realized that God was there in all those moments, loving me.

I've heard that God sees only good in us--He is too pure to see evil (see Habakkuk 1:13.) It makes me wonder, does God still see us as walking in the Garden with Him? He made clothes for us when he realized our error (such a sad, tender moment in Genesis 3:21), and we seem to have "moved out" into a separate existence, pouring ourselves into our lives, our choices, our involvements, our interests. But maybe we're still really--in Spirit--in the Garden, walking and talking with Him, enjoying His companionship.

I have a real world analogy. I have two teenage sons and they enjoy playing their favorite video games together. When they are playing, they are totally absorbed in the game. I can come and go from the room and they may or may not notice. While they are playing, they make choices, create worlds, fight evil, or try to master a challenge. I don't really understand the games, even though I can watch them play whenever I want to. I'm just back here, loving them, making sure they have what they need. Whatever they do in the game, it doesn't affect how I love them, know them, and see them.

Do you think God feels that way about us, as we go about our daily lives? We follow our interests, create challenges, manifest beauty, struggle, live. Perhaps God, instead of focusing on the game we play, is simple shining love, life, truth, wholeness, and beauty on and through us in every moment. Right there, behind that easy chair. Right now, beside you on the couch. This instant, inside the whisper of that thought that just flashed through your mind.

Enjoy your day today, knowing that God's Light looks over your shoulder and out through your eyes, loving you, trusting you, believing the best about you. When things get stressful or challenging, remember that you have an immediate and continual pass back into the Garden, if you're willing to put down that game controller for even the slightest instant. :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Think Beauty

Good News Associates, an independent nonprofit ministry organization that supports people in non-traditional ministry roles, published this thoughtful article on beauty in its current newsletter. It's worth printing and rereading. And maybe a week long beauty meditation? Who's in? :)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Free in Spirit

What do you think those early days in the Garden were like, hanging around in paradise, having everything you needed to live joyfully, abundantly, peacefully? You had a companion to explore with, to cuddle with, to name things with. Together you enjoyed each day to its fullest point of bliss. And of course at some point each day, the most loving presence in the universe would come to personally walk, talk, and laugh with you.

What more could you want?

That's what I think of when I envision true freedom--freedom of the spirit, freedom from judgment, labels, restrictions, shoulds. The spirit still walks and talks and laughs with God. The spirit still enjoys the music of true communion. The spirit knows nothing about any casting out, covering up, or blaming of serpents.

Enjoy your gardening today! :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Footholds of the Past

This morning in Indiana there is so much moisture in the air that a kind of mystical haze surrounds everything. After almost two weeks of bright, white heat, the soft, muffled morning feels like what I imagine it must be to discover an oasis, somewhere far out in a desert on the other side of the world.

I noticed a couple of days ago that one of the clematis vines that winds its way along the front porch had gone brown. This morning I decided to clip it back to give the green vines more room to grow. But when I took my shears out and started looking for a clean place to cut, I noticed that the other vines were curling their tiny green tendrils around it, using it as a foundation from which to reach a little higher. I tried snipping a few small places, thinking if I cut in a strategic place, the whole vine would just come out with a gentle tug. After a few attempts, I realized that wasn't happening. The old vine had become part of the growing of the living vine. The structure was real. The investment was forever. The old and the new were twined together inseparably.

I looked at that vine and saw in myself my own tendency to want to weed out the "bad stuff"--the mistakes, the errors, the plain old-fashioned bad choices I'd made in my life. I'd just as soon clip them back and put them in the compost bin, where they can become food for better things. But it does ring true that all the experiences we have, however we name them, serve as a foundation for our current life, whether they have sap flowing through their veins or not. They become a foundation we lean on, maybe unknowingly, as we reach higher. We might not want to make those same choices or have more experiences like those again, and it's probably worth considering why the vine went brown (so perhaps we can avoid making the same mistake in the future), but seeing the value of it all wrapped up together like that was comforting to me this morning.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Something to Give

I've been working with the idea of abundance for a long time. My own financial situation, as a self-employed writer, has fluxuated over the years. Sometimes things felt stable and secure, sometimes not. Whether my barns were full or empty, though, I did learn in a very real way that God was there throughout, trustworthy, faithful, helping.

Here in Indiana everything went from the brown of winter to vibrant green spring almost in a single day. I marveled at the green green grass and the full leaves on the trees--it all happened so suddenly! Surely this is God's abundance at work, I thought. I prayed to understand that sense of constant, instant, always available supply so that I could know once and for all my financial needs were met in God--no two ways about it. I really wanted that certainty.

A little while ago I read this article over on The author talks about how he felt when he lost his job and couldn't get any traction. He struggled with fear and was stretching a pot of soup to last a whole week so he wouldn't go hungry. When his thinking began to change, it all started with the thought, "I have something to give." That's a powerful thought when you feel yourself being backed further and further into a corner. Giving has been a part of my life for a long time, but when I'm being really honest with myself I know that my giving had a lot to do with getting. I gave money to the church because God said to and I was afraid not to! I gave extra effort for my clients because I hoped they would want to work with me again. I always went the extra mile, did more than was asked, was as good as possible--but the effort came from fear (lack) in the hopes that it would earn the love, care, and supply God already provides simply because that's God's nature! I didn't realize that last part, and I didn't know I was giving to get.

In the article, the writer talks about discovering what he already had to give--ways in which he could give out of his own abundance. You may not have a lot of money, or time, or special talent. But you already have abundance somewhere in your life. The world needs your gifts. Your family needs your gifts. God needs your gifts. What do you have to give to the world? It may be something simple, like appreciation of beauty or your time and attention. But whatever you have to give, you can be sure that it fits perfectly a need that someone else has.

Because I love these kinds of object lessons, I sat down with my journal and wrote "I have something to give" at the top. Then I began to list all the things that occurred to me as things I can give from my own abundance. And you know what? "Money" didn't appear until #24 on the list! This really made me feel good about what I have to offer the world from the abundance that exists within me right now.

Try it--you'll be amazed! And then drop me a note and share some of your abundance of insight. :)

Friday, May 18, 2007


I loved this describes the very real, flesh-and-blood way I think salvation works on this planet. See God in someone today, no matter what their words and actions show you, and you will be participating in the on-going sacred movement of saving grace!

Poem: "Mrs. Kirkorian" by Sharon Olds, from Strike Sparks: Selected Poems, 1980-2002. © Alfred A Knopf, 2004. From Writer's Almanac.

Mrs. Kirkorian

She saved me. When I arrived in 6th grade,
a known criminal, the new teacher
asked me to stay after school the first day, she said
I've heard about you. She was a tall woman,
with a deep crevice between her breasts,
and a large, calm nose. She said,
This is a special library pass.
As soon as you finish your hour's work

that hour's work that took ten minutes
and then the devil glanced into the room
and found me empty, a house standing open—
you can go to the library. Every hour
I'd zip through the work in a dash and slip out of my
seat as if out of God's side and sail
down to the library, solo through the empty
powerful halls, flash my pass
and stroll over to the dictionary
to look up the most interesting word
I knew, spank, dipping two fingers
into the jar of library paste to
suck that tart mucilage as I
came to the page with the cocker spaniel's
silks curling up like the fine steam of the body.
After spank, and breast, I'd move on
to Abe Lincoln and Helen Keller,
safe in their goodness till the bell, thanks
to Mrs. Kirkorian, amiable giantess
with the kind eyes. When she asked me to write
a play, and direct it, and it was a flop, and I
hid in the coat-closet, she brought me a candy-cane
as you lay a peppermint on the tongue, and the worm
will come up out of the bowel to get it.
And so I was emptied of Lucifer
and filled with school glue and eros and
Amelia Earhart, saved by Mrs. Kirkorian.
And who had saved Mrs. Kirkorian?
When the Turks came across Armenia, who
slid her into the belly of a quilt, who
locked her in a chest, who mailed her to America?
And that one, who saved her, and that one—
who saved her, to save the one
who saved Mrs. Kirkorian, who was
standing there on the sill of 6th grade, a
wide-hipped angel, smokey hair
standing up weightless all around her head?
I end up owing my soul to so many,
to the Armenian nation, one more soul someone
jammed behind a stove, drove
deep into a crack in a wall,
shoved under a bed. I would wake
up, in the morning, under my bed—not
knowing how I had got there—and lie
in the dusk, the dustballs beside my face
round and ashen, shining slightly
with the eerie comfort of what is neither good nor evil.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Beyond Fear

This morning I grabbed a little notebook out of my desk drawer so I could make a list, and I found this written on the top page:
    Look behind the fear and you'll find a dream.

I must have seen this before--and thought it before--because it's in my handwriting. But this morning it hit me with all the import of a major epiphany.

Look behind the fear and you'll find a dream.

I tried this out with some of the fears I'm struggling with right now. My work has been shifting--a couple of big projects are finishing up and I'm not completely sure what's coming. What's the fear? Financial instability. What's the dream? Financial freedom--the freedom to create from a sense of complete, secure joy.

That's a pretty good dream, I thought.

Another fear that's jangling around in the back of my head and using up energy is that I won't be able to really get Starlight Books off the ground. What's the dream? A thriving, family-based children's publishing company that specializes in top-quality books that that promote tender love and care of the earth and all beings in it. We will bless and be blessed by everyone who works with us and create the kind of books that become family favorites through the generations.

That's a really good dream, I thought.

Take a look at one of your fears today. What is the dream that is behind it? Safety, love and companionship, radiant health, financial freedom? The dream is where you want to put your energy, so once you see that dream, hold on to it and affirm it. And know that I'm out here, doing it too.

And where two or three are gathered, you know... :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

For Every Mother's Heart

For every mother's heart, dear God, bring peace and certainty of Your care,
In every father's hands, O Lord, place a healing vision and the will to see it through,
In every child's spirit, precious Father, preserve the innocent expectation of joy
and the knowing beyond knowing
that You are here
that You meet us tenderly in our broken places
that You are the source of all Good
and that as your children,
that Good is ours to claim.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

One-Word Prayers

Last week I wrote about finding an article tucked away in my great-grandmother's book that offered a series of readings for whatever might be troubling you. I ordered Henry Drummond's The Greatest Thing in the World and read it last weekend. It's really wonderful. Clear. Loving. Uplifting.

Always true to my student nature , I took notes and made lists and worked with all the ideas. But a sweet little inspiration keeps swirling around my head. And it's that instead of intellectualizing everything (which I am prone to do), to breathe the life of the offering in and exhale it out. So here's a list of simple, beautiful, elegant, life-packed one-word prayers, inspired by Henry's book. Choose the one you need today, and breathe it in whenever you need it--in traffic, in the checkout line, when the neighbor's dog won't stop barking, when you're out of sorts. Breathe it in and really feel it, and then let yourself exhale, feeling your connection with All That Is. :)

  • Patience.

  • Kindness.

  • Generosity.

  • Humility.

  • Courtesy.

  • Unselfishness.

  • Guilelessness.

  • Sincerity.

  • Wednesday, April 04, 2007

    Ageless Wisdom

    Just a few minutes ago I was looking for something in a box on the top of my office shelf, and I found an unexpected blessing: books of my great-grandmother's, from the early 1900s. Tucked inside a frayed and tattered 1908 copy of Mary Baker-Eddy's Science & Health, I found this article clipping:

      "Business Woman" Has a Cure for Every Ill
      To The Star: If you have the blues, read the twenty-seventh Psalm.
      If your pocketbook is empty, read the thirty-seventh Psalm.
      If people seem unkind, read the fifteenth chapter of John.
      If you are discouraged about your work, read the one hundred twenty-sixth Psalm.
      If you are all out of sorts, read the twelfth chapter of Hebrews.
      If you cannot have your own way in everything, keep silent and read the third chapter of James.
      If you are losing confidence in men, read the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians. Sir Henry Drummond's "The Greatest Thing in the World" was taken from this chapter, and if "Experience" will read this little book in connection with her Bible I am sure it will change her whole life as it did mine. She will find it a heart mender.


    Thanks, Grandma Roos. You listened to your heart and clipped this out 90+ years ago, and it blessed me (and us) today. :) k

    Wednesday, February 28, 2007

    Manifesting Abundance

    I awoke this morning thinking about the way in which God creates. He didn't sweat and struggle, push and labor. He simply spoke, "Let there be..." (A wonderful woman writer whose name escapes me now once said, "Whenever we say, 'Let there be...." something happens.")

    I thought about how much I sweat and struggle, push and labor, in order to bring something about. I think the only reason it is hard for me is that I believe it will be, has to be, hard. It was there in my definition of How Life Works.

    But as I drove Cameron to school this morning, I was very aware of all the colors around me. I had a thought: These colors are always present. The light reflecting off the objects that appear to have color really contains all the hues available in the universe. Wow.

    Then the classical station I listen to began playing Aaron Copeland's "Hoedown" (you might recognize this as the amazing, high-energy melody from the 'What's for Dinner?' commercial a few years back). I thought, What an amazing piece of music! The notes are already present, and the composer lifted them up, selecting and arranging them and bringing them to our consciousness. That was another Wow moment.

    What kind of day do we want to create today? Do we want joy, harmony, happiness, productivity, abundance? All those qualities are already here, within our grasp, in the air and ideas we swim in every day. We simply need to choose what we want, say "Let there be..." and give thanks like crazy as things begin to take shape.

    It's all already here! Thanks, God. You thought of Everything.

    Thursday, February 01, 2007

    Beautifully Said

    I ran across this quote from Karen Casey this morning and wanted to share it with you:

    Two persons love in one another the future good, which they aid one another to unfold.--Margaret Fuller

    We can see the potential for growth in friends we love, a reality that often lies hidden to them. Through our encouragement and our commitment to them, we can help them tackle the barriers to success. Likewise, we'll be helped. It's within the plan, ours and theirs, that we're traveling this road together.

    Sunday, January 28, 2007

    Dealing with Difficult People

    I discovered a helpful prayer this week when I found myself dreading interacting with someone who "pushed my buttons." I noticed that my thoughts were going along the lines of, "Oh, I wish I didn't have to deal with him/her...I would like to bypass this part of things altogether...I wish he/she wouldn't be so pushy!"

    When I realized that I was investing my thought energy in creating more of an obstacle with this person, I turned to God. My simple prayer was, "God, please teach me how you want me to relate to this person." And then I let it go.

    Wonder of wonders, the whole situation resolved so well we were happy and in tune with each other by week's end. No kidding! It was a simple, powerful, prayer--and it worked miraculously. :)

    Saturday, January 13, 2007

    We're All Alchemists

    Yesterday morning I heard an amazing story on NPR by Judy Woodruff, "Experiencing Other Faiths to Find One's Own." The story was about a 21-year-old college student who traveled around the globe to experience other peoples' faith traditions. The story is insightful and timely--and gives me so much hope for this generation! Here's a clip:

    "Siple calls herself a Christian pluralist, open to the possibility of the validity of other religious traditions.

    After her tour of Asia, she spent a week at the Taize monastery in France, a place that attracts young people from around the world. In a Taize service, there is chanting and reading from scripture. But there are also long moments where more than 1,000 young adults sit quietly together in silence — not being told what to do.

    "You do what you feel is right for your religious practice," Siple says. "I think that is what our generation is screaming for right now. People want not to be told what they should do, but to figure it out for themselves."

    It occurred to me as I listened to her sweet voice on the radio that we are each alchemists of our own souls; we each experience God in our own unique way. We take those experiences, mix them with understanding, questions, wonder, hope, doubt, and trust, and ultimately create something completely unique and wonderful that we give back to life, in our own words and our own way. What a miracle!

    Wednesday, January 10, 2007

    Rediscovering Taoism

    Years and years (and years) ago I read The Tao of Pooh and loved it. I realized that deep at heart, I do believe in a basic harmony at work in and through all creation. From that belief in harmony, many other beliefs spring--the belief in the inherent goodness of creation; the belief that our natural tendency is toward healing and growth (like flowers to the sun); the belief that calmness, quietness, and trust bring you to resolution much faster than struggle, resistance, and conflict.

    Although the formal study of Taoism (or Daoism) is an ancient practice with roots both in Confucianism and Buddhism (Confucianism was first), I don't believe it has to be inconsistent with a 21st century practice that involves the basis of Christianity as well. If Taoism is the basic harmony and intelligence in which all being and nonbeing exists, Christ consciousness--whether you welcome that in the person of the Christ or as a spirit of transcendent communion--is the essence that delivers man from himself, freeing him from the restrictive world he creates before he recognizes his oneness with all being. (See Jung and A Course in Miracles for more about that.) That Oneness, to me, is being in God--our wholeness, where all are in and noone and nothing is out. God also has a persona to me--a real being--but on some level that "knowing" I experience when I am in God's presence is more like someone speaking in your language so you understand they are there and they care about you. The reality of their being goes far, far beyond those few words they speak in your language and in your presence. But the effort is made and the message is received, and the presence of the Christ consciousness within stays with us always, helping us recognizing the harmony (Tao) when we can get quiet enough to let it arise.