Off The Hook

We try so hard, don’t we? When spiritual development becomes a passion we sometimes work at it to the point of exhaustion, excluding all spontaneity of spirit. That’s why I’m letting myself off the hook today, and invite you to join me if so moved.

In her book, In the Sanctuary of Women: A Companion for Prayer and Reflection, Jan Richardson suggests with Thomas Moore that we let ourselves “get sleepy” once in a while, because it is in the latent spaces in-between when we let go, that spirit can then plant seeds that can germinate. Moore suggests that “…awareness, wisdom, and soulfulness do not arrive solely through perpetually vigilant consciousness.”

So today, let yourself off the hook and let spirit do her work.

Blessing

May you grow sleepy
enough
to find the gap where God lives.
May your soul find its waking
there.

Jan Richardson In the Sanctuary of Women: A Companion for Prayer and Reflection

Photo Credit Fish Hook: http://clipart-library.com/clipart/yikdE9EiE.htm

Photo Credit Person Floating: Esther Lui for NPR

Breathe

water-softening

 

Blessing

When the well goes dry, listen.
Sit by it, your ear pressed to its rim.
Hear the empty and the hollow of it.
Let be. Let be.
When finally you hear your breath
echo back to you,
let this sound be your first prayer.
Where there is breath,
there is water somewhere.
Breathe.

Jan Richardson
In the Sanctuary of Women: A Companion for Reflection & Prayer

 

Photo Credit: http://www.zdrillerteam.com/is-your-water-well-going-dry-5-common-warning-signs/

A Blessing For This Time Of Wrestling

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May this blessing from Jan Richardson console us as we wrestle with so much these days.

Jacob’s Blessing

Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. —Genesis 32:24

If this blessing were easy, anyone could claim it.
As it is, I am here to tell you that it will take some work.
This is the blessing that visits you
in the struggling,
in the wrestling,
in the striving.

This is the blessing that comes
after you have left everything behind,
after you have stepped out,
after you have crossed into that realm
beyond every landmark you have known.

This is the blessing that takes all night to find.
It’s not that this blessing is so difficult,
as if it were not filled with grace
or with the love that lives in every line.
It’s simply that it requires you to want it,
to ask for it, to place yourself in its path.

It demands that you stand to meet it when it arrives,
that you stretch yourself in ways
you didn’t know you could move,
that you agree to not give up.

So when this blessing comes,
borne in the hands of the difficult angel who has chosen you, do not let go. Give yourself into its grip.
It will wound you, but I tell you there will come a day
when what felt to you like limping
was something more like dancing
as you moved into the cadence
of your new and blessed name.

Jan Richardson in The Cure For Sorrow: A Book Of Blessings In Times Of Grief

 

 

Welcome Autumn

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Last evening, the eve of Autumn, I was comfortably ensconced in my chair listening to the Pacific Northwest seasonal onslaught of rain gently ping against the windows.  Sonorous snores from Sherlock, my tubby tabby, provided bass accompaniment and the savory aroma of beef stew on the stove wafted in, peaking my anticipation.  As the Germans would say, this was the essence of Gemutlichkeit.

Yet, with autumn comes the denuding of trees and spirit, so this arrival of the season is bitter sweet.  This blessing from John O’Donohue has eased me into it.  Perhaps it will do the same for you.

Vespers
As light departs to let the earth be one with night,
Silence deepens in the mind, and thoughts grow slow;
The basket of twilight brims over with colors
Gathered from within the sacred meadows of the day
And offered like blessings to the gathering Tenebrae.
After the day’s frenzy, may the heart grow still,
Gracious in thought for all the day brought,
Surprises that dawn could never have dreamed:
The blue silence that came to still the mind,
The quiver of mystery at the edge of a glimpse,
The golden echoes of worlds behind voices.
Tense faces unable to hide what gripped the heart,
The abrupt cut of a glance or a word that hurt,
The flame of longing that distance darkened,
Bouquets of memory gathered on the heart’s altar,
The thorns of absence in the rose of dream.
And the whole while the unknown underworld
Of the mind, turning slowly, in its secret orbit.
May the blessing of sleep bring refreshment and release
And the Angel of the moon call the rivers of dream
To soften the hardened earth of the outside life,
Disentangle from the trapped nets the hurts and sorrow,
And awaken the young soul for the new tomorrow.
~ John O’Donohue ~
(To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings)

photo credit: spoilt.exile <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/96301483@N05/46243352305″>Склон / Slope</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Finding Truth

 

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For Light

Light cannot see inside things.
That is what the dark is for:
Minding the interior,
Nurturing the draw of growth
Through places where death
In its own way turns into life.
In the glare of neon times,
Let our eyes not be worn
By surfaces that shine
With hunger made attractive.
That our thoughts may be true light,
Finding their way into words
Which have the weight of shadow
To hold the layers of truth.
That we never place our trust
In minds claimed by empty light,
Where one-sided certainties
Are driven by false desire.
When we look into the heart,
May our eyes have the kindness
And reverence of candlelight.
That the searching of our minds
Be equal to the oblique
Crevices and corners where
The mystery continues to dwell,
Glimmering in fugitive light.
When we are confined inside
The dark house of suffering
That moonlight might find a window.
When we become false and lost
That the severe noon-light
Would cast our shadow clear.
When we love, that dawn-light
Would lighten our feet
Upon the waters.
As we grow old, that twilight
Would illuminate treasure
In the fields of memory.
And when we come to search for God,
Let us first be robed in night,
Put on the mind of morning
To feel the rush of light
Spread slowly inside
The color and stillness
Of a found world.
– John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us:
A Book of Blessings

“The Sacred Symmetry of Your Soul”

 

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FOR PRESENCE

Awaken to the mystery of being here and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.

Have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.

Receive encouragement when new frontiers beckon.

Respond to the call of your gift and the courage to follow its path.

Let the flame of anger free you of all falsity.

May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame.

May anxiety never linger about you.

May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul.

Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.

Be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.

May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.

 

from To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings by John O’Donohue

 

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photo credit: PMillera4 <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/48227962@N04/36204074031″>Ireland</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Blessing for 2017

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I am indebted to John O’Donohue once again for this lovely poem.  It seems I will forever learn at the soul of this great contemporary mystic. Josie is John’s mother who died after him in 2011.

 

On the day when
The weight deadens
On your shoulders
And you stumble,
May the clay dance
To balance you.

And when your eyes
Freeze behind
The grey window
And the ghost of loss
Gets into you,
May a flock of colours,
Indigo, red, green
And azure blue,
Come to awaken in you
A meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
In the currach of thought
And a stain of ocean
Blackens beneath you,
May there come across the waters
A path of yellow moonlight
To bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
Wind work these words
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak
To mind your life.

“A New Year Blessing”
Benedictus (To Bless The Space Between Us)

 

 

Photo Credit:  Pastor Linda Roddis

“Blessing For Artists At The Start Of The Day” From John O’Donohue

Good Morning Writers

May morning be astir with
the harvest of night;
Your mind quickening to the
eros of a new question,
Your eyes seduced by some
unintended glimpse
That cut right through the
surface to a source.

May this be a morning of
innocent beginning,
When the gift within you
slips clear
Of the sticky web of the
personal
With its hurt and its
hauntings,
And fixed fortress corners,

A morning when you become
a pure vessel
For what wants to ascend
from silence,

May your imagination know
The grace of perfect danger,

To reach beyond imitation,
And the wheel of repetition,

Deep into the call of all
The unfinished and unsolved.

Until the veil of the unknown
yields
And something original
begins

To stir toward your senses
And grow stronger in your
heart

In order to come to birth
In a clean line of form,
That claims from time
A rhythm not yet heard,
That calls space to
A different shape.

May it be its own force field
And dwell uniquely
Between the heart and the
light

To surprise the hungry eye
By how deftly it fits
About its secret loss.

♣ John O’Donohue in To Bless The Space Between Us