Tuesday, April 17, 2012

God is my marketing manager :)

Well, my *everything* manager, really. But this morning, instead of what I'd intended to do (which was write the chapter of a new book), I completely revamped the brochure I created for my spiritual direction practice. I'm really excited about the way the practice is going--plus I find it fascinating that all my experience in technology is actually weaving itself even into the life of spirit. Now we can meet virtually by Skype, Google+, email, IM, or another video-or-voice offering and share the same sense of the sacred and good, warm-hearted connection. Here's my new brochure--feel free to share it with anyone you think might be interested! Peace.

Monday, April 16, 2012

What's God creating right now?

I was thinking this morning about how easy it is to get caught up in the idea of ministry. We can think it's something "out there" or "something I'll do when I retire" or "something I'd like to pursue if I have the time/money/support/opportunity."

As a person who went to seminary, I can say that I had that idea of ministy--maybe I should write it Ministry--for a long time. I designed programs. I looked for jobs. I thought about the days when I'd be free to live out that which God was stirring within me.

But the older I've gotten, and the more I've lived, the more I've healed relationships, the more I've opened to life as it arising in the moment. God is here. God is living. God is inspiring and moving us--as a community, as a family, as person-and-pet, as nana-and-grandson--to create a moment of love. Right now. This instant.

Who is around you? What is around you? What living beings are in your environment at right this very minute? You are together creating a moment of love that won't come again. That in its truest sense--in my understanding anyway--is your real ministry. All the rest is someday and wanna-do. It's not where the life of God is moving, blessing, reaching, comforting, and laughing, because that's happening in this exact, precise, and perfect moment.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

That look

This morning I collapsed into the big chair to begin my meditation time, hoping for a peaceful sense that would wash away the stress still clinging to me from yesterday's challenges. As I settled in to the quiet dark, an image began to appear in my mind's eye...it was the image of sitting in a crowded room, where Jesus was preparing to teach. I noticed the sense of quiet and stillness--is that peace?--that surrounded him like a cloud. The group still chatted and jostled, getting comfortable in their seats, leaning forward with questions, hungry for direction, for confirmation, for next steps. Jesus silently looked around the room, a small, loving half-smile on his face. He embodied such quiet!

He glanced over the crowd and, almost like a spotlight shining on buildings on a summer night, his gaze had an illumining effect. Each person he touched with his eyes grew quiet, peaceful, waiting. I felt him start to look my way and felt both like hiding my eyes and looking back. I sat still, and our eyes met, and in that instant I knew, like the woman at the well, he knew everything I'd ever done, and it didn't matter. He loved me anyway. The twinkle in his eye told me that. That delicious peace of perfect acceptance spread over me, too. I watched in wonder as his gaze touched every person in the place, and their hunger was satiated and their questions were answered.

Soon we were all sitting in perfect peace. And he hadn't said a word.

Now our meditations can begin.

Monday, April 02, 2012

A life blossoming in love :)

Years ago, when I was in my first year of seminary, the professor of my Pastoral Care to the Dying and Their Families class asked us, on the first night of class, to write out whatever we wanted to appear on our headstones. I thought that was an interesting first exercise, and the phrase I wanted on mine instantly filled my head. It was A Life Blossoming in Love. The image that went along with that saying was a vine of morning glories, lush and purple and blue and open to the morning sun.

In the years since, I had many ministry experiences--most of them wonderful--as I worked as a chaplain, a spiritual director, and now teaching at the seminary level. I feel very connected to God's goodness and the sweet, moving energy of life. But still I wonder: What's next? Should I write a big book on Eco-Spirituality that really sums up everything I feel about God and nature and our flourishing lives? Should I find a new chaplaincy position somewhere, so I could return to that amazing and unique work that I loved so much? Should I look for a position as a spiritual director on staff at a retreat center, or start my own workshop schedule...or...or...or?

I am not certain why I am always looking for the right "fit" for what stirs my spirit. Could it be a lack of trust that what's unfolding is the Right Thing? Could be. Or could it be that my spirit is stretching and yearning for that big thing that's just around the corner? Could be.

I don't really know.

But today an interesting link led me, of all places, to this article on Oprah's website: http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/Six-Word-Memoirs-O-Magazine-Mini-Memoirs. And I decided to create some mental space, go outside in the sun, and prayerfully invite my own six-word phrase to bubble up. Suddenly, instantly, I knew it, and it was only five words: A Life Blossoming in Love. I've known it for years! And it really is the hub around which my life revolves--God, family, home, and work.

I am not sure why I do so much pushing and prodding and analyzing and wondering and waiting, when I've already written my memoir. I already know what my life is about. It doesn't have to be more complicated than that. In fact all the dust clouds and questions and doubt that gets kicked up around that bigger sense of life purpose could just be my industrious crazy-making ego, wanting to feel in control of the show.

Could be. :)