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Posts Tagged ‘Christine Valters Paintner’

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I wrote this blessing as part of an assignment from an on-line course with Janet Conner, author of Writing Down Your Soul and the Lily and the Lotus, and numerous other books and on-line courses.

This is a prayer I am encouraged to come to each day before I begin my writing. I must confess, I may not accomplish that, but I always do come to my writing time with a sense of gratitude, wonder and awe for the partnership that is about to begin between my muse and me.

As I look upon these words today, it occurs to me that I have prayed it often enough for the blessing to take root within me and I can say in all truth that this is who I am and how I live my life today and it has been coming forth since the original day of this writing.

I like it just this way.

My Writing Blessing

by Susan Heffron Hajec
Truth Seeker, Peace Maker, Love Giver
and
Napkinwriter
written on September 1, 2011

May I wake to each new dawn, alive and alert, with gratitude that this is the Day that the Lord has made.

May I rejoice in the Presence of the Divine. May the angels be leaders of light and joy today on my writer’s path.

May my writing flow from my loving heart. And may these writings increase love and inspiration in the world through countless readers who are led to them.

May the light of my soul infuse my writings with the power of truth, Peace and Love.

May this light reflect the beauty of my own soul to attract and reflect the light of others.

May this light become an impassioned and unquenchable flame within me. May it attract like a magnet all good and prosperity in my personal life.

May this writer know that she is daily provided for in the grand plan of life and that she doesn’t control that plan.

May this writer sense the possibility and potential that surround her and engulf her this very day. May she serve her world through careful writing and reflection.

May I go into the night humble, gracious and fulfilled.

May my writer’s soul always renew and companion me in grace to the next word to be written.
Amen.

(some inspiration of the pattern of this blessing, provided by John O’Donohue’s A Blessing in Anam Cara, page 160.

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Ash Wed Image - Christine Valters PaintnerPhotograph by Christine Valters Paintner, copyright

Today’s blessed blog for Ash Wednesday is by Christine Valters Paintner, with whom I will one day travel in Ireland on pilgrimage. She is my Abbess of the Holy Disorder of Dancing Monks and she sings to my heart with her reflections, photography, expressions of the holiness of life and the paths of staying true to the inherent holiness within each and all.

IAO who is coming to IrelandI AM the One coming to Ireland, SoulCollage® by Susan Heffron Hajec

Having said that, here is Christine and her blog message of the day.

“Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims,

Today we enter the long desert of the Lenten season. If you participate in a liturgical service, most likely you will be marked with the sign of ashes and the words “from dust you came and to dust you shall return” will echo through the sanctuary space again and again.

St. Benedict writes in his Rule to “keep death daily before your eyes” and Amma Sarah, one of the desert mothers said, “I put my foot out to ascend the ladder, and I place death before my eyes before going up it.”

The word for desert in Greek is eremos and literally means “abandonment” and is the term from which we derive the word “hermit.”  The desert was a place of coming face to face with loneliness and death.  Nothing grows in the desert. Your very existence is, therefore, threatened. In the desert, you can only face up to yourself and to your temptations in life which distract you from a wide-hearted focus on the presence of the sacred in the world.

Death of any kind is rarely a welcome experience.  Even when we witness the mysteries of nature year after year reveal the glories of springtime which emerge from winter’s fallow landscape.  We resist death, we try to numb ourselves from life’s inevitable stripping away of our “secure” frameworks.  We spend so much energy and money on staying young. But when we turn to face death wide-eyed and fully present, when we feel the fullness of the grief it brings, we also slowly begin to discover the new life awaiting us.

In the desert tradition, death is a friend and companion along the journey.  St Francis of Assisi referred to death as “sister” in his famous poem Canticle of Creation.  Rather than a presence only at the end of our lives, death can become a companion along each step, heightening our awareness of life’s beauty and calling us toward living more fully. Living with Sister Death calls us to greater freedom and responsibility.

Alan Jones describes the desert relationship to death in this way:  “Facing death gives our loving force, clarity, and focus. . . even our despair is to be given up and seen as the ego-grasping device that it really is.  Despair about ourselves and our world is, perhaps, the ego’s last and, therefore, greatest attachment.”

I have been sitting with Jones’ words and the invitation to fast during Lent, one of the central practices we are called to take on. The first reading today from the prophet Joel summons us to “return to God with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning.”

But the kind of fast drawing me this season isn’t leaving behind of treats like chocolate or other pleasures. This season I am being invited to fast from things like “ego-grasping” and noticing when I so desperately want to be in control, and then yielding myself to a greater wisdom than my own.

I am called to fast from being strong and always trying to hold it all together, and instead embrace the profound grace that comes through my vulnerability and tenderness, to allow a great softening this season.

I am called to fast from anxiety and the endless torrent of thoughts which rise up in my mind to paralyze me with fear of the future, and enter into the radical trust in the abundance at the heart of things, rather than scarcity.

I am called to fast from speed and rushing through my life, causing me to miss the grace shimmering right here in this holy pause.

I am called to fast from multitasking and the destructive energy of inattentiveness to any one thing, so that I get many things done, but none of them well, and none of them nourishing to me. Instead my practice will become a beholding of each thing, each person, each moment.

I am called to fast from endless list-making and too many deadlines, and enter into the quiet and listen for what is ripening and unfolding, what is ready to be born.

I am called to fast from certainty and trust in the great mystery of things.

And then perhaps, I will arrive at Easter and realize those things from which I have fasted I no longer need to take back on again. I will experience a different kind of rising.

My word for 2014 is “essence” and the question in my heart these days is “what is most essential?” I think this is the question death asks of us as well. The desert summons us to her fierce edges to strip away everything that gets in the way of deeply nourishing our hearts. The more we acknowledge our own bodily mortality, the more we might be inspired to release all those agendas, plans, anxieties, and commitments which drain us of the life we are here to embrace.

I wish you a most blessed Lent dear monks, no matter how you choose to enter into this season. May your fasting help you gain clarity around what is no longer necessary. May your practice become a portal to what is most essential.

If you would like to join in an intentional and soulful journey, please consider our online Lenten retreat on The Soul’s Journey, where we draw on the archetype and metaphor of pilgrimage for reflecting on the journey our deepest heart’s longings are calling us toward. There is a delightful caravan of fellow monks and pilgrims already gathering and there is still room for your beautiful presence with us.

We also have a Community Lectio Divina practice this week on the theme of “Return to me with your whole heart.” Stop by to pray with the text and share what shimmers for you.

With great and growing love,

Christine”

Photo by Christine received in London’s Regent Park, copyright.

Christine Valters Paintner  —    abbeyofthearts.com  —

Abbey of the Arts, Transformative Living through the Contemplative and Expressive Arts

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