Heed the counsel of your own heart, and above all pray to the Most High that you may be guided in the way of truth. Ecclesiasticus 37:13, 15
Caribbean Sea December 16, 2015 Ruth Jewell
I was talking with a friend not long ago and he said his church was reevaluating its mission in the community. One of the questions he asked them was “what do they want to leave behind when they are gone”? What do they want their legacy to be? I thought that was an interesting question that all of us should consider in our lives. What do you want to leave to those who remain after you have passed on to the next world? What do I want to leave?
Contemplating our legacy is a serious question of the spiritual practice of living our lives with intention. Because of that I have been giving this question much thought during my sacred time each day. What is it about my life do I want to pass on to my family, my faith community, the world in general? How will living my life make a difference in this world? I know I don’t want to be remembered for just for doing my job or making a living, for me that is a superficial fact of surviving. I don’t want anyone to say survived the trials of living.
I think I do want to be remembered for being able to listen to a friend in need, for loving even those who I don’t agree with, taking action to right a wrong or feed and clothe the disenfranchised. I want to be remembered for standing and walking those who are growing spiritually and in their relationship with the Divine. I want to be remembered as someone who saw the Great Spirit in all I have met whether they belong to my faith or not, rich and poor, the outcast, the convicted felon, any and all who have been labeled unlovable. The short version is I want to intentionally live my life so that I will be a blessing to all around me. This is what I want, this is how I want my life to be lived and remembered.
I have to admit living into this intention is not easy for me, and I fail more often than I succeed. However, I know that the Great Spirit just says “OK, that didn’t work as you wanted it to, but pick yourself up and start over again, I am still here cheering you on.” So my prayer is for support and guidance and maybe, maybe just maybe I will do better tomorrow.
Each of our lives we are offered a choice of paths to follow. Intentionally choosing the path that leads to a life that grows your Spirit Being is never easy. Choosing an intentional life is always fraught pit falls and road-blocks. But living your life with the intention of being spirit filled and a blessing to those around you will be filled with joy amidst the tears of struggle and dark valleys we all go through. In living an intentional life you are never alone on your journey.
This week ask yourself what legacy do you want to leave? Does the life you live now match up with what you want? What will you do to live a more intentional life?
To all of my wonderful readers and followers of my Blogs on A Quiet Walk, and Beguine Again, this will be my last post for awhile as I am taking a sabbatical from electronic media until Mid-May. I will be traveling to new and exciting places, taking time for quiet reflection and renewal. I will return to the Blogosphere May 19th with new stories, maybe new prayer practice or and new insights. As I travel please keep me and my husband, John, in your prayers.
I wish each and every one of you a meaningful Holy Week and a celebratory Easter. Peace be with you all.
1That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the lake.2Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach.3And he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘Listen! A sower went out to sow.4And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up.5Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil.6But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away.7Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.8Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.9Let anyone with ears – listen!’
18 ‘Hear then the parable of the sower.19When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path.20As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;21yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away.22As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing.23But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.’
The word of the Lord
Please join me in prayer:
Source of Life may all that offer this today be acceptable in your sight, Amen.
Today’s scripture is a popular one among biblical storytellers and so all of us have heard this many times in many ways. We have heard many interpretations as well, so many in fact that in all likelihood we all think “Oh I know that one, it’s an old one and I like what it says.” I thought the same thing, at first, but then I began to look more closely at what was being said and what I thought I heard and what I was actually hearing. I was surprised to realize, I hadn’t heard it all.
Parables are multi-layered, like a Russian doll, you think there is only one doll until you start opening it up and discover many little dolls hiding within. Parables are like that, layers wrapped in layers. I didn’t read the middle portion of this scripture where Jesus tells his disciples one very important lesson, and that is those who want knowledge will open his parables up to discover the many layers, messages, hidden within, and those who don’t will simply hear a story about a really bad farmer. So I am going to try and open this story up bit, and, maybe we will find a layer within we didn’t expect.
Because this is such a familiar story to all of us I am going to try something a little different this morning and hope that we all see this story in a new light. Because this is such a visual story I am going to lead you in a guided meditation. I am going to read only verses 1-17; so get comfortable, with both feet on the floor.
Now close your eyes and take a deep slow breath, let it out slowly, … take another deep slow breath, … let it out slowly.
You are one of the disciples of the teacher Jesus and after spending the night in the home of a friend Jesus goes out early in the morning to the shore of the Sea of Galilee. … Many people come to see and listen to this teacher of yours and to hear what he has to say, … so many in fact that there is no room for Jesus … to sit or stand on the beach. … Jesus asks one of your fellow disciples to get a boat and pull it up on the shore. … He gets in and asks everyone to sit. … You and the other disciples sit in the sand forming a half circle around the boat and the crowd finds their places behind you. … As you sit and wait for the crowd to become silent you are aware of your surroundings, … of the sound of the water lapping gently on the shore, shore birds calling, … a gentle breeze blows across the water, … and there is the pleasant smell of fresh fish coming from the boat. … The sun hasn’t yet climbed far into the sky but it is warm on your back and the sand is still comfortably cool.
Jesus begins to speak.
“‘Listen! A sower went out to sow. … 4And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, … and the birds came and ate them up. 5Other seeds fell on rocky ground, … where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. 6But … when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, … they withered away. 7Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. … 8Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, … some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. … 9Let anyone with ears – listen!’”
You and your fellow disciples are confused by the story … it seems simple yet you know there has to be more to it … or Jesus wouldn’t have told it. … So one of the disciples ask a question; … “Teacher, … ‘Why do you speak in parables? … We are confused but we know there is more to this than a simple story’”
Jesus smiles at you and says:
‘To you it has been given to know the secretsof the kingdom of heaven, … but to crowds … it has not been given. … 12For to those who have, will be given more, … and they will have an abundance; … but from those who have nothing, … even what they have will be taken away. … 13The reason I speak to them in parables is that … “seeing they do not perceive, … and hearing they do not listen, … nor do they understand.” … 14With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says:
“You will indeed listen, but never understand,
and you will indeed look, but never perceive. 15 For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and their ears are hard of hearing,
and they have shut their eyes;
so that they might not look with their eyes,
and listen with their ears,
and understand with their heart and turn—
and I would heal them.” 16But blessed are your eyes, … for they see, … and your ears, … for they hear. … 17Truly I tell you, … many prophets and righteous people … longed to see what you see, but did not see it, … and to hear what you hear, … but did not hear it.
[Pause for moment and then ring the chime]
Well did you hear a new message in the story? Did you hear the story open up in a new way and did you find a new layer that you hadn’t seen or heard before? I cannot speak for you I can only speak of my own heart. I can only speak of what I have heard. And, I would like to offer my budding new understanding of this parable, a new layer for me. Your new layer maybe different from mine and that’s ok, we learn from each other and my layer of this story may or may not resonate with yours but it might be a layer you hadn’t seen before and cause you to think. I hope you will tell me yours sometime so that you will cause me think.
So here is the new layer I discovered as I listened to Jesus. I didn’t feel like a disciple in the story, rather I felt like one of the crowd who was thinking about following Jesus. When I heard the story I thought Jesus was comparing me to the seed being sown and I wasn’t sure I liked what I heard. I was close enough to hear the question of the disciples and Jesus answer and my first thought is “How rude of Jesus not to make the message plain to all of us.” Then I thought again, “OK, if there is a hidden message, what is it? And, how do I tease it out?”
As you can see this internal conversation has caused me to almost miss the rest of the Jesus’ answer so I listen again and hear.
“18 ‘Hear then the parable of the sower. 19When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. 20As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. 22As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. 23But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.’”
Ah … the story isn’t about being a careful farmer and planting the seed in good, rich and well watered soil after all. Rather it’s about who will have the staying power to follow Jesus and spread more seeds. OK, I get. But I still have questions. You see I do some farming, and yes my harvest is best when the seed is grown in the right place, but like all good farmers I’ve learned that seed that falls in difficult soil has its good qualities as well, it is often more hardy and will survive when no other seed would. What would it look like if considered for a moment the seed in this story and thought about how what the seed does and how that helps the sower? If I am going to be a seed for the Kingdom don’t I need to be strong?
Don’t I really need to work hard and build up my strength because this won’t be an easy task? So maybe falling on dry hard ground where I have to quickly dig deep into soil, taking up as much water as I can and learn to make efficient use of nutrients when they are available in order to grow. Wouldn’t that be a good thing? I know seeds that do that and they do well in dry places.
Or, what about the seed that falls on thorny ground and to prevent being overrun by thorns adapts and develops protection that would keep the thorns from killing me. I’ve seen plants do that as well so I know it works and such plants thrive. Or, consider the seed that falls on rocky ground. Here I have to learn to extend my roots around obstacles, breaking down some of the rocks into new soil. With deep, strong roots, I will do quite well, I know that because I’ve seen plants that do. So while I’ve not landed in an ideal place, I learned to survive and I may have produced only 10% compared to the 30 or 60% of the seeds planted in good soil. But that’s still something and there will be seeds for the sower to spread around in the next year. And if there is a draught, or someone seeds the farmers field with weeds, or he has to sow his seed in a rocky field I know that the seed that has had to struggle will do very well and produce a crop, which could mean the difference for the farmer between eating and starving.
How do I compare that scenario to Jesus answer? Well being a seed on the dry, hard ground of kingdom means I have to work hard at understanding. Not giving up but keep digging for the treasure found within me and those around me even when it seems hopelessly dry. When, I land in an area where the temptations of the world try to tear me away from my path to follow Jesus, I have to work harder to keep the message of the kingdom in front of me while I work within the world. And, when I hear the kingdoms message and find it sweet like honey but the world lays obstacles in my path I have to remember to let my roots grow with study and contemplation in order to break down the rocks in my path so that I am able to spread my seed-children, the good news of the Kingdom, in new soil.
Why wouldn’t I want to be planted in nice rich soil, with plenty of nutrients, in other words, why would I not like the task of spreading the word of the kingdom to be easy? Well, from a farmer’s perspective, seed that is always grown in nice rich soil does produce a lot of seed; however, a lot of that seed will not have the ability to fight off disease, or draught. That means if there is any kind of environmental stress your crop will most likely fail. However, if you harvest seed from plants that have had to withstand stress the resulting plants will be strong and healthy even under stressful conditions and the farmer has a crop to sell and eat.
It’s the same with the seed of the kingdom. If receiving the word is easy and you don’t have to work for it then when something challenges you, you and your community will struggle and maybe not survive. It has been my experience that working hard for anything means I value it more and I learn to distinguish what is false and what is true because I need to do it to live into the message Jesus taught me.
Jesus told this story because he knew what his disciples, and anyone else who followed him, would need strength in order to stand against the world’s trials, temptations, and obstacles as they spread the word of the kingdom of God. He knew they were going to be tested with many trials and how they responded to those trials would test their resolve and determine whether or not the Good News was spread. So his disciples were going to have to dig deep into inner territory, sending down strong roots into their soul to anchor their faith and learn to protect themselves from thorny individuals by loving instead of hating them. So you see it wasn’t the easy road and productive communities that defined the movement called THE WAY, it was those who experienced suffering, struggle, trials, doubts, who loved their enemies despite persecution that defined the followers of Jesus.
That definition of struggle and hardship is what defines us today, or should be anyway. Maybe in years past some of us have had it so easy to be “Christian” that we have forgotten what it means to be a follower of THE WAY. Those who cannot bring themselves to dig deep within, to doubt, question and be willing to live into mystery and paradox may fall by the way side. But some will strike out into the wilderness and learn how to thrive and how to spread the Good News despite draught, thorns or obstacles.
So my question to each of you is what do you identify with in this parable? Mine was the seed on less than ideal ground. Are you the seed on good soil, but when disaster strikes you are unable to go on? Or, are you the seed that lands in dry, thorny, rocky land, are you the seed that fights and struggles bringing into fruition the best fruit you can? We all have choices; I’ve chosen what I will do. How do you choose?
Amelia is a 5 year old, little girl who is a mixture of tomboy, imp, princess and budding scientist but most of all a Grammy’s delight. Walking home from school with Amelia is always an adventure. Today we hadn’t gotten even 100 feet from her school when she bent over and said, “Look Grammy, I found a purple maple seed.” Amelia hands me the seed and says “now you carry this for me I want to show dad.” Off she runs to her next exciting stop, which is about 50 feet ahead. “Look what I can do Grammy,” she said as she runs up a yard to the brick wall and with one heart stopping leap lands safely on the ground in front of me. “My, my you are so good at jumping,” I said as I pushed my heart back into my chest.
Running ahead of me again she suddenly stops and gets down on her knees, as I walk up to her she is talking to a small ant hill. “Look how busy they are, Grammy, where are they going so fast?” “Well,” I tell her, “this is a new ant hill so they are just building it up right now and gathering in some of the leaves for food. Don’t disturb the nest or they will bite.” “Really,” she says as she prepares to test my theory. “Yes really, and those bites hurt so let’s leave them to their work, OK.” “Ok,” and she is off again.
“Help me look for snails, Grammy.” Amelia has a love affair going with snails of every shape and size. She picks them up and carries them carefully along with her, until, that is, she forgets she has them in the heat of a new discovery and then the snails are old news. Sometimes she carries them all the way home and we release them into the backyard and into the wild.
Every moment with Amelia is a discovery in a half, every rock a treasure trove, every leaf a rare jewel to be enjoyed. Worms and snails are potential friends or pets to be trained. We sing songs to stop traffic on our progression across a busy street and she dances down the street to a tune in her head.
Oh the life of a 5 year old, a world of discovery ahead and an imagination that has no boundaries. Where does all of the enthusiasm go to as we grow older? Is life so trying and stressful that we forget just what it means to be in the moment? As I watch my little adventurer skip down the sidewalk I am trying to remember what it was like to be that carefree, and find delight in a snail slowly making its way up a wall.
Maybe that is what grandchildren are for, to awaken in each of us that little boy or girl lost in the mists of time. To remind us of the important things like snails, red leaves, purple maple seeds and sunshine and shadow. Amelia has reopened a door I thought was shut and locked. A part of me remembers and dances with my little genius, princess, geologist, archaeologist, biologist, and junk collector as we walk home from school.
I’m so sorry this post is late but life just seems to interfere at times, especially during Holy Week. But I did want to talk about “life.” No, not the meaning of life but rather how fragile life is. In the last two weeks two friends have passed on to next life. One was in his late 80’s and had lived a long, happy, and productive life. The second was in his early 50’s and had so much more life to live. I was unable to say good bye to these friends before died and a part of me is sad because I never had the chance to tell them face to face how much they meant to me.
I am blessed that I was able to visit a friend who has been ill for a long time and while he is doing quite well considering health concerns there is a fear I might not see him again. The chance to tell him how much he means to me and how much he has touched and influenced my life was very important to me. So often we don’t get that chance. One day someone we love is sitting next to and the next they are in the arms of God.
Love transcends death and my friends are still with me in my memories but they have moved on to a new life, one I will not know until I too pass those doors. I no longer can call upon them for advice, or companionship. They are beyond helping me problem solve or sitting with me when I am confused and lonely. What I feel is grief, a grief at the loss of the physical person and grief at my own inability to tell them how much I loved them when they were here beside me.
This week, this Holy Week, I would encourage you to reach out to those you love and draw them into your arms, hug them and tell them you love them. Tell them how much they mean to you. Let them know they have made a difference in your life. That too is a spiritual practice, letting others know the love for them and how much they mean to you. Don’t let a moment go by without saying “thank you” to those who touch your life. It is never too early in life to recognize our mentors, our role models, and those who care for us, who love us; however, it can be too late.
9I say to God, my rock, “Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I walk about mournfully because the enemy oppresses me?” 10As with a deadly wound in my body, my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me continually, “Where is your God?” 11Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.
I have to admit I haven’t always lead an exemplary life and the life I have led has been on roads and paths G-d might have preferred me to avoid. Those bumpy roads led me to places where I felt abandoned and alone. But, I have to remember that I choose those roads, I choose to ignore the sacred voice within and live outside of G-d’s love. I choose to be there, even when the event that got me there was none of my doing I still choose NOT to recognize I wasn’t alone. I couldn’t or wouldn’t see G‑d walking beside me every step of the way. I choose to see only darkness; I simply refused to see the luminous darkness that was G-d.
Yes I blamed G-d for all the bad events in my life, isn’t that what every human does? As a human being I saw the worst and assumed the worst. I rolled around in my self-pity, yelling at G-d that life was unfair and therefore G-d either didn’t exist or didn’t care what happened to me. I yelled at G-d telling her “why are you doing this to me, why aren’t you there for me, why am I so alone.” I was so busy trying to run from those comforting arms that I never recognized that it was G-d holding me up, that Jesus was the one helping my broken spirit and that the Holy Spirit was trying to dry my tears. Because I did not recognize G-d I was afraid, so afraid. My bones shook with fear until I thought they would break. I could not see that what happened to me were the consequences I had to experience and live through in order to find my way back to a better place.
It wasn’t until I ran out of tears, ran out of words, until I ran out of myself that I was able to open the door and let you in, G-d. Only then, O Divine One, did I feel your presence and finally rest in your outstretched arms. I was still afraid, but I wasn’t alone any longer. My fear was not as frightening because I knew you were there, and I know it now, in this moment of time I now live.
Why do I put myself through all of that? Why do any of us? Is the struggle to return to you G-d after I have rejected you so important to my understanding of you as unconditional love? Well I think I know the answer to that question and it is yes. Yes it is important to walk through the darkness in order to see the light. Sometimes I have to test my own limits before I learn that you have no limits.
You, Oh G-d, will always welcome me back when I have strayed from your side. I know you are always there in the dark with me but my eyes are blinded by your startling bright light and I cannot see. Because I can’t see I fear you’ve left me to stumble in the darkness. It is only when I regain some hope that you are there, that my eyesight begins to clear. When I choose to hope, I choose you, oh G-d. It is when I choose not to recognize you, there beside me, that I become hopeless and unable to see your glory all around me.
So I will choose hope, I chose you oh G-d, I am choosing you G-d. I have made my choice and I choose to live in your light, your love, your hope. Will I sometimes forget that choice, probably? In some future time I will again fail to see your presence in the dark and you will be there walking right beside me. You will not leave me alone even if I believe you have. But the big difference now is I know you forgive, I know you offer me grace and I will fall into your arms when the tears and words run out and you will comfort me.
O patient G-d I am grateful for your presence, even when I push you away. Grant me my moments of struggle and suffering even though you suffer with me because, in my suffering I discover again your amazing love. Amen
17When the poor and needy seek water,
and there is none,
and their tongue is parched with thirst,
I the Lord will answer them,
I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
18I will open rivers on the bare heights,
and fountains in the midst of the valleys;
I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
and the dry land springs of water.
19I will put in the wilderness the cedar,
the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive;
I will set in the desert the cypress,
the plane and the pine together,
20so that all may see and know,
all may consider and understand,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it.
Advent, a time of waiting, a gestation time of new beginnings, I have heard those words many times over many Advents. And, while all this waiting is important I have a confession to make, I hate waiting! Yes, my impatience frequently gets me into trouble, with G-d and with those around me. I begin before the preparation has been completed and my task, while not a total failure, does not live up to its potential. Patience is not one of the gifts G-d has seen fit to give me. It is something I have been trying to learn for 66 years and I am still not very good at it.
I admit to being one of those thirsty people in the desert who wants to have water and I want now! If I had been with the Israelites in the Sinai I would have marched right up to Moses and said “I’m thirsty, I need water and I need it now!” And I am sure Moses would have looked at me with a jaundiced eye and said “get a grip; learn some patience for crying out loud. You are out of Egypt so be grateful for what you have and quite complaining!” Yep that would have been me hearing those words. Yet in Isaiah we hear that G-d will provide water and more to those who are poor and in need and it is not lost on me that G-d came through with food and water during the Exodus. So yes I do believe G-d, in Her own good Time and Way, will provide.
The key to this waiting is “in Her own good Time and Way” G-d will offer the drink and food we need and it’s always in that perfect moment. The moment when we not only need it the most but the moment when we are open the widest for hearing G-d’s voice speak the Word we so desperately thirst and hunger for.
For the last two and half years I have been in my own time of Advent, walking in a wilderness of my own making as I waited for G-d to give me a Word I could respond to about where my ministry would take me. And in that time there have been many impatient moments. Many times I have tried to hurry G‑d. I have tried to guess what She will speak and tried starting a task with no direction from Her. It rarely works out because you cannot hurry G-d. G-d will speak when the time is right, when my heart is open the widest to hear G-d speak and not before.
Through out this time G-d has been allowing a ministry to begin gestating within me. To grow in concept piece by piece, step by step while at the same time letting G-d open me up to whom I am and who She is. I am learning that G‑d is my greatest counselor, friend, lover, supporter, confidant, comforter, and confessor. All I have to do is live a life that puts G-d first, keep our relationship strong and allowing the counselor, friend, lover, supporter, confidant, comforter, and confessor work through me in a working partnership with Her.
It seems as if it would be easy to do what G-d asks of us doesn’t it? But it is not. Ask the Israelites how hard it was to follow the path G-d laid before them. Ask the disciples how hard it was to walk the path Jesus laid before them. Each one will tell you it is not easy. Yes G-d will provide for the poor and needy but verse 41:20 of Isaiah says it best. We are to “… see and know … consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.” We fail hopelessly in that understanding. All too often we take G-d’s handiwork for granted and do not see what the Lord does for us. I, just like the rest of the human race, all too often think we are entitled to the abundance we see around us. We forget just where and who it comes from, where and from whom we come from. It has taken me a life time to understand in a small way the meaning of verse 20. And, it has only been in the last year and half that I have worked hardest to be patient and to let G-d speak when She is ready and not me.
And now G-d is bringing me closer to an understanding of what my role as Her partner will be. And, somehow I feel it is appropriate that G-d picked Advent for this to happen, the time for me to begin to feel the movement of a baby ministry within me. I am excited and scared about bringing into reality this ministry of my very own. It takes courage for me to step out and claim my role as G-d partner a courage I do not always have. I have many fears; will I be worthy of G-ds trust, will I hurry this up and as a result rush to completion what needed time to grow, will I give up saying “sorry G-d this to hard for me,” will I simply not be enough for the task. There are so many fears, so much excitement, and so many hopes. The future I do not know, only G-d does, so I will keep waiting, and listening, and moving with G-d’s time and moments. Patience is really hard but I continue to learn to lean into the open arms and let G-d teach me.
This Week’s Spiritual Practice
Do you have something waiting to emerge from you? Waiting is hard (just ask any 4 year old) but it can be done. So this week I simply ask that each day you find yourself a quiet place and sit in silence for 5 to 20 minutes. Listen for a Word from G-d. It might be a Word about doing something, or it might be G-d whispering “I love you.” Just remember whatever happens let it happen in G-d’s time not yours and be grateful for the time spent with G-d.
In the past month I have begun the InterPlay Life Practice Course. For those of you who have never heard of InterPlay I can only described it as a time to play with my body/spirit/heart/mind all at the same time and it is a blast! Of course the founders of InterPlay have a much longer definition, that in brief, is a system and practice that allows you to lean slowly at your own pace to love being an embodied being by bringing into one whole Mind/Body/Spirit/Heart. But for me the term “it’s a blast” works best. (If any of you are interested in the longer definition please visit http://www.interplay.org and there you will find all kinds of information and also where you might find an InterPlay play group of your very own.) Within my small community of new friends and playmates I am discovering what it means to free myself from the confines of “ought and should” for the openness of the possible within me and I find it extremely freeing and uplifting. In the freedom to dance and song, alone and in community I am discovering a new me. Well not really a new me rather let me say the real me, the one who laughs, and sings, and dances, and prays, and cry’s and morns, and laments, and worries, and creates, and brings to fruition all of the pieces that make up the being I am, in this body, in this place in time, the real Ruth is beginning to step forward. My steps are tentative and small right now, but I am hopeful that in the very near future they will become leaps and bounds of joy.
I realize all of this probably makes little sense to all of you, heck it still isn’t making much sense to me. But I hope that in the coming months I will be able to clarify the joy I am feeling and be able to share just a little with you. I realize I can’t just give you my experience, but maybe I will be able to open the door for one or two of you, inviting you into a space where you too may explore your true being. It might not be with InterPlay, it might be in some other way that allows you to open your being to new light, and I hope you will share that with us here at the Begin Again, Cloaked Monk blog, or here on my blog, A Quiet Walk.
So, today as a way to begin anew, I invite you to join me in a body prayer for morning:
1. I invite you to stand, if you are able to, if you are near a window or have access to the outside that would be wonderful, but not necessary.
2. Stand for a moment and breathe deeply, taking air in and letting it out slowly.
3. Now take another breath, this time noticing how cool the air is as it enters your lungs and how warm it is when you exhale.
4. Take a third breath and follow it into your lungs, noticing how your lungs expand to hold the fresh air. Imagine that you are seeing the exchange of oxygen that fuels your body for the waste product of carbon dioxide. Let yourself find joy in the workings of your body.
5. Now raise both hands to your chest placing them palm to palm in a prayer position. As you do so offer a prayer of thanksgiving for your health and well being.
6. Now raise your arms up over your head, stretching out to reach for the sky and offer a prayer of supplication for someone who lies on your heart.
7. Lower your arms and return your hands to a praying position. Bend head, and/or body, slightly and offer the following, “may the peace of the Holy Spirit be with me and those I love this day, Namaste.”
8. Stand still for just a moment to allow yourself to return to your day.
And so my prayer for all of you this day is; “May the peace of the Holy Spirit be with each and every one of you this day, Namaste.”