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Archive for the ‘Guest Blogs’ Category

Photograph by Christine Valters Paintner

 

My dream is to make a pilgrimage with Christine and her husband John on the holy terrain of western Ireland, spin stories, open hearts, and pray together in our pilgrimage tribe. I still wish upon a star and stay open to the possibility it may happen,

But today I have to settle for re-subscribing to her newsletter and Abbey of the Arts information and inspiration from her website. And read chapters of several of her books I have in hard copy and on my Kindle Fire.

 

To meet the new privacy laws, I had to re-subscribe this morning and I had to CONFIRM MY HUMANITY, and reveal I am not a robot.

I love that! I think about the things I go about the day and do in a robotic fashion and reaffirm I wish to stop that and only do what fills my heart and soul. Or else, actually put my heart and soul INTO that which I am doing robotically.

I also do wish to CONFIRM MY HUMANITY. There is so much less than human behavior being put in front of us on a daily basis…on TV, on the Internet, on the roads, all over the place in politics,… in personal interactions,…the hot button is growing, inappropriate behavior is getting all the attention; we are all putting ourselves at risk ever more often, IF we don’t stop and think…

we are humans, homo-sapiens, made to a greater image and likeness than what is showing…

Today, I confirm my humanity. I do the things that are mine to do. I respect myself and I respect others. I plant kindness in my day. I watch my thoughts and actions. I apologize quickly. I don’t hold grudges. I look for the joy. I believe in the good. I am humane.  I am active in the Human Humane Society.

Below are words from Christine. You may find her at http://www.abbeyofthearts.com

Have a humane day today.

 

A guest post this morning from Christine Vaulters Paintner, contemplative artist and writer

in Ireland

 

 

I am a joyful member of the Disorderly Dancing Monks and here are words from our Abbess.

A love note from your online Abbess

“Dearest monks and artists,

Like many of you, global events lately feel quite overwhelming at times and I ponder and pray about my response. One thing I keep coming back to is a sense of deep certainty that the way of the monk and path of the artist make a difference in the world. What distinguishes these two ways of being is that each are called to live deliberately on the edges of things, in active resistance to a world that places all its value on speed and productivity, that reduces people to producers and consumers, and reduces the earth to a commodity for our use.

The longer I follow this path in my life, the more I consider hospitality to be one of the most essential of all the monk’s wisdom. To practice actively welcoming in what is most strange or other in my world as the very place of divine encounter – what St Benedict tells us in the Rule – is a holy challenge! But in a world where otherness sparks so much fear and policies which further divide us, learning to embrace the gift of the stranger, both within our own hearts, as well as in the world is a true balm.

This is what Jesus taught as well through his actions everyday – welcoming the outcast, the stranger, the foreigner. Always breaking boundaries to witness to immense love over fear.

Perhaps the other great essential for me is the practice of silence and solitude. Making time for a deep listening, rather than reacting to what we hear. What are the sacred invitations being whispered in quiet moments? And can we resist a culture of noise where we are bombarded with endless cycles of news.

In her book Mystical Hope, Cynthia Bourgeault writes that “(Mystical hope) has something to do with presence — not a future good outcome, but the immediate experience of being met, held in communion, by something intimately at hand.” Allowing time to feel met by the divine and held in communion is a reminder for us as we return to the demands of our lives and seek to make wise and compassionate choices. It helps to nourish hope deep within us.

In my book The Artist’s Rule, I include a favorite scripture passage:

Now I am revealing new things to you, things hidden and unknown to you, created just now, this very moment. Of these things you have heard nothing until now. So that you cannot say, Oh yes, I knew this. (Isaiah 48:6-7 – Jerusalem Bible translation)

It is a reminder that more than ever we need people willing to pause and listen, to open their hearts to what is uncomfortable, and to hold space and attention until the new thing emerges.

I don’t have the answers, but I do have ancient practices which help to sustain me when I would rather run away. Perhaps if we keep practicing together, we will hear whispers of a new beginning.”

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Today is a guest blog — a poem– from the beautiful poems of blessings by Jan Richardson in her book, Circle of Grace.  Treat yourself to her book.

 

Blessing The Way
by Jan Richardson

With every step
you take,
this blessing rises up
to meet you.

It has been waiting
long ages for you.

Look close
and you can see
the layers of it,

how it has been fashioned
by those who walked
this road before you,

how it has been created
of nothing but
their determination
and their dreaming,

how it has taken
its form

from an ancient hope
that drew them forward
and made a way for them
when no way could be
seen.

Look closer
and you will see
this blessing
is not finished,

that you are part
of the path
it is preparing,

that you are how
this blessing means
to be a voice
within the wilderness

and a welcome
for the way.

 

permission granted for one-time reproduction
Copyright 2015 Jan Richardson
Wanton Godspeller Press
Orlando, FL

 

 

 

 

 

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“I think I’m becoming unfinished.” Mark Nepo  wrote in Things that Join the Sky and the Sea

Sounds True Publishing
Bolder CO 80306
© 2017

** I really like this quote

From: page 2, Quieting the Thieves

…he stepped out in the rain…his “to do” list in his shirt pocket had become soaked from the rain, and the ink from the line items had all run together and become blurry…the tasks themselves had blurred, and he liked that interruption. Now they were unreadable and forgettable even though we often carry those lists right near our hearts, so important we think they are.

Now, he sees them as the thieves they are, demanding we have everything in order before we live, fingering them like worry beads. They are, in fact, the greatest thieves. As he feels the rain drops drip down his neck, he begins to sense that he, like his to-do items, is becoming unfinished, and he is good with that.

I like that. Let’s just take the bully out of our To Do lists and fuel them instead with our Spirit for life! Then the check mark we put beside the items will be worthy of its mark.

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My post today is my most beloved poem of all the poems Joyce Rupp has written. It touches me deeply at the soul level as being the poem of my own birth. Indeed, gathered together am I from history-held mysteries.

These past couple of months, I have been in prayer and healing ministry for so many of my family members and friends suffering from illness and grieving the loss of a loved one — each one “so ordinary, so unique, so simple, so complex”…

Each one given the gift of life and each one exploring the ways to live that as a life of love.

Each of us is surprised into life and each, the blessing of eternity passed on.

I seek out this poem often, to bless myself and the others that I love.

A Star in my Heart is a beautiful read.

 

 

From A Star in my Heart – Joyce Rupp

Revision date: 1/8/2018

gathered together am I
from a history-held mystery,
a bundle of memories am I.

caught from smiles and heartaches
of faces and places past cherished
given in love from the heart of life.

from kisses and love making,
from caring and growing,
from vibrancy and vitality,
the gathered memories
of my own named person
have been gifted into existence.

surprises from seeds and secrets,
gifts from unknown voices and events;
here am I, so ordinary, so unique.
here am I, so simple, so complex
knowing that the seed of my self
has the touch of gathered memories;
gleaned from the ages of another time,
seed and sperm seeking, making known.

a birthed bundle surprised into life,
light filling the center of a new spirit;
the blessing of eternity passed on:
urgency always to seek the face of God,
first gatherer of all good memories.

Joyce Rupp – A Star In My Heart

Lura Media –

 

 

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GUEST BLOG by Julia Lim

Ikigai (生き甲斐) is a Japanese concept meaning “a reason for being.” Everyone, according to the Japanese, has an ikigai. Finding it requires a deep and often lengthy search of self-discovery and reflection.

The word “ikigai” is usually used to indicate the source of value in one’s life or the things that make one’s life worthwhile. The word is also used to refer to mental and spiritual circumstances under which individuals feel that their lives are valuable. It’s not necessarily linked to economic status or daily state of things.

Even if a person feels that today is dark, but has a goal, he may feel ikigai. Behaviours that make one feel “a reason for being” are not actions which individuals are forced to take – these are natural and spontaneous actions.

In the culture of Okinawa, ikigai is thought of as “a reason to get up in the morning”; that is, a reason to enjoy life. In a TED Talk, Dan Buettner referenced ikigai as one of the reasons people in the area had such long lives.

Primary text source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ikigai

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I have read so many of his books, and also of his fellow monk/friend Abbot Father Basil M. Pennington, who furthered the cause of contemplation and Centering Prayer among Catholics. Two holy, manly clergy who were not afraid of the silence and not afraid to push past limits imposed on the spirituality of Catholics. I love them both and became a friend in life of Father Basil.

Both met sudden, unexpected deaths; Father Merton, electrocuted by a wire that touched water in his bathroom in Bangkok and Fr. Pennington in a car accident where another car raced through a red light at an intersection crashing into the car in which he was passenger and killed him instantly.

 

I am one lucky soul as my writing mentor/guide/soul-infused light Janet Conner is going to plan a writer’s retreat, at my suggestion, at the home of Thomas Merton,  Gethsemani outside Louisville Kentucky next summer. Because by her own admission, she is in love with him too.

 

 

 

Count me there!  Yes. Yes.

 

Peace in every step….Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Communing, reflecting, writing

 


Pretty sure to spend some time in here

 

I will bring the healing graces of Reiki
to “rain down upon us from the heavens above
granting all good things”

 

Below as guest blog is a short account of a wondrous soul taken from the monastery website. ”

“Thomas Merton, known in the monastery as Fr. Louis, was born on 31 January 1915 in Prades, southern France. The young Merton attended schools in France, England, and the United States.

 

At Columbia University in New York City, he came under the influence of some remarkable teachers of literature, including Mark Van Doren, Daniel C. Walsh, and Joseph Wood Krutch. Merton entered the Catholic Church in 1938 in the wake of a rather dramatic conversion experience. Shortly afterward, he completed his masters thesis, “On Nature and Art in William Blake.”

Following some teaching at Columbia University Extension and at St. Bonaventure’s College, Olean, New York, Merton entered the monastic community of the Abbey of Gethsemani at Trappist, Kentucky, on 10 December 1941. He was received by Abbot Frederic Dunne who encouraged the young Frater Louis to translate works from the Cistercian tradition and to write historical biographies to make the Order better known.
The abbot also urged the young monk to write his autobiography, which was published under the title The Seven Storey Mountain (1948) and became a best-seller and a classic.
During the next 20 years, Merton wrote prolifically on a vast range of topics, including the contemplative life, prayer, and religious biographies.

His writings would later take up controversial issues (e.g., social problems and Christian responsibility: race relations, violence, nuclear war, and economic injustice) and a developing ecumenical concern. He was one of the first Catholics to commend the great religions of the East to Roman Catholic Christians in the West.

Merton died by accidental electrocution in Bangkok, Thailand, while attending a meeting of religious leaders on 10 December 1968, just 27 years to the day after his entrance into the Abbey of Gethsemani.Many esteem Thomas Merton as a spiritual master, a brilliant writer, and a man who embodied the quest for God and for human solidarity. Since his death, many volumes by him have been published, including five volumes of his letters and seven of his personal journals. According to present count, more than 60 titles of Merton’s writings are in print in English, not including the numerous doctoral dissertations and books about the man, his life, and his writings.”

Brother Patrick Hart, OCSO

 

http://www.monks.org/

 

 

 

 

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How To Bring More Love to Our World

Guest Blog from Suzanne Murray, author, writing coach, EFT & Creative Coach
October 14th, 2017

http://www.creativitygoeswild.com

I don’t think any of us will question that these are tough times that can leave us feeling a bit helpless to have a positive, creative impact in our lives and the world. If we view the world solely from our rational mind, we limit our understanding to what has happened in the past or what we think might happen in the future. We limit our connection to the grace available in each moment and to the potential for miracles. We limit our capacity to love our world.

Science now shows us, based on a study of the earth’s magnetic fields done by NASA, that what we hold in our hearts radiates out to the whole world. It turns out that our hearts have a magnetic field five thousand times more powerful that the one generated by our brain and it is in communication with the magnetic field of the earth.

This means holding love and appreciation in our hearts and feeling it going out to people and places in need actually has an impact. We can do this for people on the other side of the world from us, people in the midst of natural disasters, those in front of us in the line in the grocery store as well as to the earth herself.

I have a great fondness for tree squirrels and sometimes hold my affection for them in my heart and send that love to people and places in need. Recently I was doing this while sitting in my car in the park. I notice a gray squirrel loping in my direction and watched him come right up under my window, sit up and stare straight at me, as if to say, yes! So find what works for you. Play with it. I was delightfully surprised by what felt like squirrel love.

Our heart’s connection to a larger field of awareness may explain how we know things beyond our mind’s ability to understand how we know. We just know. We feel it in our gut, in our bones. This voice of our intuition or inner knowing that doesn’t make sense to our mind.

We tend to let our minds talk us out of the guidance that comes from that kind of knowing because it takes us out of our comfort zone into the unknown. Yet now more than ever we need to tap these expanded capacities for creative problem solving and innovation to be the change for our own lives and the world. We can to bring our heart felt love into our own energy field and the field of the world.

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