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The art of life, and the life of art

When I was young, I bought into the notion that I was not good at art, that we were not good at art, as if it were possible to classify an entire gene pool as bad at any particular thing. But the truth is that I was writing songs and my own version of poetry long before I hit high school. And although I didn’t think of it as such at the time, it was art, even if it was not the still-life-on-canvas type of art we might imagine when we hear the word. Read more

Take a weekend to nourish body, mind, and spirit

I’m guessing you could use a few days of peace and quiet, maybe in a gorgeous spot, where you have nothing to do but stare out a lake and let someone else do the cooking. Sound about right? If so, mark your calendars. I’ll be leading a retreat — Stillpoint: Creating Calm amid Life’s Chaos — at Pyramid Life Center in Paradox, New York, over the weekend of Sept. 8-10, 2017. Your spiritual getaway will include collage-as-prayer, journaling, silent breakfasts, meditation in motion, and prayer practices to help you discover the divine in the everyday, the miracles in the mundane. Plus, you’ll get delicious meals and free time to rest or hike or paddle a kayak across a crystal clear lake. I’ll provide the program; Pyramid will provide the spectacular setting, and you can do as much or as little as you want. The goal is to nourish yourself — body, mind, and spirit. Read more

Alleluia, Alleluia. He is risen: Knowing with our hearts what our heads can’t comprehend

“For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.” I take such comfort in these closing words of today’s Gospel. Because even amid the joy and celebration — the Alleluias sung at full volume and the flowers so fragrant I could swoon from the scent — there is a little piece of me that still doesn’t understand, that probably will never understand the resurrection, at least not this side of heaven.
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Finding grace, even in the shadow of the cross

I’ve been in desperate need of some grace these days. So much so, that I pulled a tarnished silver necklace bearing the word “GRACE” out of my jewelry box and looked up a DIY silver cleaning recipe that verged on chemistry experiment to polish it up. It was as if that tangible, visible sign of grace hanging from around my neck might get me the real deal, or at least a little closer to it. Read more

Finding the blessing in a toilet in need of scrubbing

Most weekends I don’t look forward to the long list of things that need to get done. After a busy week at work and nights spent driving to and from appointments and classes and more, I want to do nothing. Plain and simple. And so I procrastinate and grumble and eventually do my chores begrudgingly, always thinking that as soon as I’m done — if only that magic moment would get here sooner – or ever! — I will finally have a few minutes to really enjoy my weekend.  Read more

‘Shining like the sun’: Merton goes to the prom

I was standing in the dressing room of Lord & Taylor recently, waiting outside a closed stall door as Olivia tried on dress after dress in the elusive search for the perfect prom attire. As I scrolled through Facebook while she ran through her costume changes, I was surreptitiously eavesdropping on a group of high school girls who had taken up residence in the other four dressing room stalls, sequins and taffeta spilling out each time one of them peeked out to ask for an opinion. They ran back and forth between stalls, giddy with excitement and generous with compliments as they gushed over each other’s choices and encouraged each other to be bold and wear something outside of their typical fashion comfort zones. Read more

One month of meditation. Does it make a difference?

One month ago today, I decided to commit — really commit this time! — to a daily meditation practice. I’ve been down this road before. Usually I don’t make it more than three or four days before the snooze button wins out over the sounds of silence, but this time something was different. I think it was the Cravings journey I’d been on with my tribe. Although the food thing remained a struggle for me throughout that journey, the principles and practices clearly benefited other parts of my life. Something was seeping into the cracks of my soul and pushing me forward. Read more

Take inventory, simplify, let go…

I read this reflection this morning and knew I needed to share it here. From Peace in Our Hearts, Peace in the World: Meditations of Hope and Healing:

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The last chapter is not the end, just the opposite

So this week we delve into our final chapter of Cravings, but that doesn’t mean we’re done with this topic or this journey. In fact, this is just the beginning. At least I hope it is. By this point, I hope you’ve made some peace with food and perhaps have learned to weave in some quiet time to eat mindfully, journal, pray, or just sit in silence now and then. Whatever you’ve started during this eight-week process, keep it up. Continue journaling, if that worked for you. Stay in touch with our community here or build community where you are so you don’t have to go it alone. But, more than anything else, take at least a few minutes every day to be with God. Even if the food habits slip or the mindfulness goes out the window now and then, just keep coming back to the God, to the beginning, and start again. There is no failing here. There is no wrong way to do this. We find lessons everywhere, even in the “mistakes,” even when we beat ourselves up because we didn’t measure up to our own expectations. It all takes us to the next place on the path. Read more

Multitasking, mindfulness, and meditation

Hello, my lovelies! How is week seven going for everyone? I have to admit that this is a favorite chapter and topic for me: mindfulness. Ahhhh…just saying the word makes my shoulders relax and my breathing expand. I love it because I know it works, BUT, that doesn’t mean I always make the time and space for it. I am the queen of multitasking, something I used to think was a good thing. Not so. Multitasking distracts us and makes us feel like we’re doing so much but, really, we are usually half doing a couple of things. I can’t listen to my daughter and scroll through Facebook. I might think I can do that, but she’s going to notice I’m not really there, even if I don’t. I can’t eat dinner and answer emails. Well, I can, but chances are I’ll finish the meal without ever really tasting it. Read more