Sunday, March 29, 2020

Looking in the Mirror... Holy Week

   Art by HeatherThompson Blue.     
   Phoenix Art 2020 (Digital Prints)

This Holy Week...vulnerability, love and strength are on my mind. 

I'm reminded of St Claire of Assisi's discussion of Jesus as a mirror on the Cross. 

She asks, can we look at Jesus suffering in horrific ways without giving into the temptation to look away?

Then she invites us to take the position of the mirror on the cross and look outward at the world.  Every person has a perception, but they are looking at a mirror of themselves, not truly SEEING the God-man crucified.  Standing in that place, can I allow others to be as they are with their own perceptions in the midst of my own extraordinary vulnerability.  This is the work of LOVE.

Some may say that vulnerability is weakness.  I used to feel that way too; then I learned in seminary that vulnerability is rooted in strength, and it is essential for authentic courage. 

Brene Brown discusses the power of vulnerability in this great interview on 60 Minutes.  Enjoy!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Finally Healthier, but COVID-19 Self Quarantined

As I go to bed tonight, I'm healthier than I've been in a long time (amen!), yet surrounded by "widespread outbreak" of a potentially deadly virus given my illnesses.  

I'm so surprised by the unexpected sources of love and support (including the most healing conversation with my exhusband), yet I'm deeply hurting by dismissive statements and an almost deafening silence within some of my communities... The saddest part is that I want to be silent about it because I don't want to cause problems.  A typical mindset for the disempowered. 

Social connection helps heal social isolation they say, but I have discovered another way. Being of service, no matter how small, that's the path to emotional and spiritual well being.  Otherwise, I dwell on today's hurts, not today's miracles. That's not what this life - my life - is about.  Service is where I renew my authentic power rooted in love giving and gratitude.

This is Week 3 in self quarantine due to chronic illness... I'm a single mom home schooling my kiddo - an accelerated curriculum no less - I was devastated that the school marked her absent when she had to stay home and we had communicated so well! All those 9 hour days of hard work adhering to the same schedule as the kids at school, doing homework, building systems to help other kids catch up...

This is where I have a choice... where do I choose to focus my attention? 

I don't know the answer for tomorrow and the next day, but today the focus is today.  

And I have a feeling I will be saying oh well also. Perhaps some swearing too.  And lots of laughing.  I know this because we've been doing it. 

I have control over my attitude.  So, I made the choice a couple weeks ago to think of this as a hermitage. We're focused on wellness, rehabilitation, God and learning.  

Getting angry is okay; staying angry won't help. But being authentic and daring to speak feels like the way to move forward - stuffing my inner fire at a time like this feels downright dangerous.  Perhaps that's where the mystics got their courage in the face of tremendous adversity?

Its been 3 WEEKS. 
3 WEEKS
I'm used to being home bound.  I am privileged to have a home that I am happy in... always. 

That said,  I haven't had to keep this pace in many years.  I'm used to significant alone time.  Now it's my daughter and I confined together. 

We must stay home. Even her dad is sacrificing in ways I never thought possible to preserve my life.  

To the others out there, please stay home if you can!!! Stop messing around.  We must stop this virus so that C and I can come out by August like they are saying without risk of my kid losing her mom. No drama, real talk. 

Tomorrow we officially start school again, at home, alas, not gonna let it break my stride.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Poetry: Ticketmaster Dreaming

When Neurons fire 

FIRE

Body responds

RAPIDpulse

DIZZYfaintwobbly

So F-CKING tired


SelfCARE

So lonely

Scroll through FACES

on FACEbook 

Like strolling a city WALK.


Ticketmaster

I DREAM of your 

journeys

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Seminary? Monastic? Ordained? Perspective from an 11 yo kiddo.

Last night, I had a moment of sadness when I was weighing whether or not I'd eventually return to seminary.  It rolls through my mind often. 

Will I pursue ordination (I have no idea)? Can I call myself a Monastic given that i am only half way through seminary? Im Franciscan but not a part of an order.... so I question myself. (The answer is yes, it's a New Monastic Movement in the world, outside the walls of the church.)

As I briefly mentioned this internal struggle to C, she put her hand on my foot, sitting across from me in the cozy room, and she said,  "Mom, you don't need a label. You don't need to be ordained. You already are a minister and a very good one.  And we have our church here...people come here and find rest... and we have our animals with our very Franciscan life....And mom, any time two people are gathered in His name it's church right? That means we have church all the time mom!"  

I burst into tears.  This Kid. 

There's a moment that comes along when a parent realizes that the Kid has absorbed the good stuff, even in the midst of hardship.  This was one of those very rare moments.  Thank you God.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Roots of Contemplative Christianity

I am a Contemplative. It started the moment of my concussion. Although I didn't have a name for it,  nor did I fully comprehend what was happening when I first picked up the pastels and later began to paint,  my entire being had shifted into a new way of knowing.  This piece by Father Richard Rohr explains the theological roots of contemplative Christianity, something I later learned in Seminary.


All Spiritual Knowing Must Be Balanced by Not-Knowing

Monday, January 27, 2020

It is amazing how religion has turned the biblical idea of faith around 180 degrees—into a need and even a right to certain knowing, complete predictability, and perfect assurance about whom and what God likes or doesnt like. Why do we think we can have the Infinite Mystery of God in our quite finite pocket? We supposedly know what God is going to say or do next, because we think our particular denomination has it all figured out. In this schema, God is no longer free but must followourrules andourtheology. If God is not infinitely free, we are in trouble, because every time God forgives or shows mercy, God is breaking God’s own rules with shocking (but merciful) freedom and inconsistency!  

In the fourth century, as the Christian church moved from bottom to the top, where it was protected and pampered by the Roman Empire, people like Anthony of the Desert, John Cassian, Evagrius Ponticus, and the early monks went off to the deserts to keep growing in the Spirit. They found the Church’s newfound privilege—and the loss of Jesus’ core values—unacceptable. It was in these deserts that a different mind calledcontemplationwas first formally taught.  

The Desert Fathers and Mothers gave birth to what we call theapophatictradition, knowing by silence and symbols, and not even needing to know with words. It amounted to a deep insight into the nature of faith that was eventually called the “cloud of unknowing” or the balancing of knowing with not needing to know. Deep acceptance of ultimate mystery is ironically the best way to keep the mind and heart spaces always open and always growing.  

We do needenough knowingto be able to hold our ground. We need a container and structure in which we can safely acknowledge that we do know a bit, in fact just enough to hold us until we are ready for a further knowing. In the meantime, we can happily exist in what some have calleddocta ignorantiaor “learned ignorance.” Such people tend to be very happy and they also make a lot of other people happy.