Sunday, September 21, 2008

Awareness: An Owner's Manual

I just created a new book called Awareness: An Owner's Manual that offers ideas and meditations on our personal awareness--one of the greatest gifts we have for increasing peace, harmony, and compassion in our lives and our world. Along with the flow of the text, I've included the voices of some of my favorite teachers (Rumi, Thomas Merton, Fred Rogers, Thich Nhat Hahn, Deepak Chopra, Pema Chodron, Douglas Steere, and more). It's available in print format or electronic download. Click here for a preview, and if you take a look, post a comment and let me know what you think! :)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Light, Shadow, and Reflection

The light bulb by the back door burned out yesterday, and when I took the dogs outside early this morning, while it was still dark, only the light on the back of the house illumined the backyard stretching to the woods. I stood with them in lighted area, looking up beyond the spotlight to Orion's Belt, listening to crickets. Gorgeous.

As we walked back to the house, we left the illumined area and stepped into the dark. I was very aware of that moment, leaving the light and entered the dark area. But then something unexpected happened; my eyes instantly adjusted and I saw a different light--the moon--lighting our way from behind. I saw clearly our shadows as we walked to the back door. I was amazed to find that it wasn't dark at all.

Now I'm sitting at my desk at work, and all is quiet (most people aren't in yet). I noticed as I turned into our parking lot that the sun was just beginning to come up. The windows of my office face east, but my desk faces west, and I thought how nice it would be to be able to really see the beautiful pink-and-orange sunrise. But right here, across the room from me, I see the sunrise reflected on the wall. Orange light frames the shape of the trees just outside my window. It's almost the same experience as seeing my own shadow by moonglow. Beautiful.

How wonderfully kind and loving is it of our God to always provide the light we need in every circumstance. Even when things seem dark; even when we think we might be missing out; even when we don't know where the light might come from or think we've lost it entirely, God's Light is shining on and for and in us, illumining the way, give us continual beauty, peace, and joy.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Prayer for Financial Stability

“Cast all your care upon Him; for He cares for you…” —1 Peter 5:7

The waves are rolling today, Lord, threatening to overturn our small boat. Storms are making landfall; financial markets are pitching and swaying. Those we have turned to for security and balance look like they are going under the waves. What can we do? To whom will we turn? You alone hold all creation, all thought, all truth in your hands. You are governing your entire creation perfectly, flawlessly, continually, in this very moment. Help us to see the balance and stability. Help us to hold to our knowledge of you as All Good, caring for us tenderly, as a mother cares for a child. Give us the strength of mind, the presence of soul, the calm of spirit, to turn to you in all things. And when we are too weak to turn on our own or too scared to open our eyes, help us to feel you here, God, with your arm around our shoulders and your Love lighting the path ahead.

Just for today, let’s take a deep breath, even as the world pitches and sways around us. With each inward breath, we can affirm that God is Good. With each exhale, we can release our fear for the future, unhelpful images of lack, and worries about security and health. As we exhale, we can set those ideas free to be dissolved in God’s goodness and care. God truly gives us what we need. As we breathe in the goodness of God, new light and reassurance will come to us. We know it’s true because God loves us with a perfect Love. Try it and see.

PS. Here’s an article I found helpful on this topic: Finding solid ground in a stormy economy [by Ned Odegaard, on]

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Simple Prayer

I read somewhere that our bodies are made new every seven years--our cells, muscles, and tissues have all regenerated themselves and been replaced in the preceding seven years. This means that physically we have all progressed, grown, and been made new since this heartbreaking and tragic day seven years ago. Old things have passed away, and new life has come to pass. Brokenness has begun to reveal new growth. Desolation and destruction have been seed--what have they produced in our lives, in our world?

I'm not sure how we can ever really heal from September 11, 2001, in the way we can never truly heal--as in return to the way things were before--the loss of a loved one, the shift of a life, the death of a dream. Today, sitting here at my desk, I feel such deep sadness for the families whose lives were changed forever on this day seven years ago. I still mourn for our country--for the loss of the perception of safety and the acts of anger and aggression that were borne of our pain. We move forward, limping and leaning on each other, unsure of what lies ahead and unable to make sense of what lies behind.

I do not know in any human way how we can heal from the pain caused by acts of desperation, but I do trust that God sees, loves, and holds all our thoughts, acts, experiences--our whole world--in a sense of harmony, peace, and goodness. Sometimes my limited view and understanding, and my struggle with the pain, make it hard to see goodness where such anguish still exists, but I know God has a truer view, the only real Big Picture, and that in God's time and in God's perfect way, comfort comes, healing spreads, new growth arises.

It's been seven years. Scientists say we are new in body. May God give us fresh eyes to see, know, feel, and live fully from a sense of newness in soul.

Peace and comfort today, wherever you find yourself, knowing you are safe in God's care.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Growing in tune with the seasons

Today I'm in a preparing-for-fall mood, feeling the coolness of the air, noticing the slight changing of the colors of the trees. Internally, there's a sense of nesting, which I particularly love. Each year September is an important month for me, a time of new beginnings and a celebration of all the inner growth from the previous year. I was thinking about arriving in September again, along with this idea of living in tune with the seasons, and I noticed that, for me, each month has a kind of correlation to the inner spiritual growth and learning that's happening for me through the year. I guess I am in tune with the seasons, more than I knew! Here's a kind of playful calendar for inner work that connects to the seasons of nature (at least in the part of the world where I live):

    September: Decide where in your inner and outer life you want to learn and grow next.
    October: Harvest the learning and growth you’ve done over the summer.
    November: Share your bounty with others and say thanks.
    December: Celebrate hope, vision, love, healing, new light, growing consciousness.
    January: Start fresh in a relationship, a project, or your understanding of yourself and relation to God.
    February: Practice unconditional love toward all beings—whether they are hibernating or not. :)
    March: Love the winds of change and open to all possibilities. Life is bringing you good things.
    April: Let the seeds of hope, vision, growth, and consciousness be planted (and don’t be afraid to shed a few tears; they enrich the soil).
    May: Witness, participate in, and celebrate the euphoric, exploding abundance of your early growth!
    June: Tend your growing lovingly, feeding and watering (and appreciating) as needed.
    July: Intentionally weed out the thoughts, opinions, and actions that can hold back or delay your growing.
    August: Notice how far you’ve come! The season is almost complete. Continue to nourish your growth by caring for it with water, food, shade, and love. Begin thinking of ways to celebrate it at harvest.

How is your life in tune with the seasons? I'd love to hear, if you want to post a comment and share your thoughts.

Namaste, friends. :)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

God's Happy Love

Catherine of Sienna said it all this morning in this quote from her Letters:

    If you live every day with respect for others, God's happy love will be your best friend.

Wonderful! Blessings on your day, :) k