Sunday, August 25, 2013

Haiku: 24.Aug.2013

Dragonfly squadrons
buzz fresh mown lawn:
prophets of solstice

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Day of the Labyrinth

We are waves on God's ocean, ebbing and flowing from the Presence, playing hide & seek with the divine spirit.  We meet the pilgrims we need on the Way; often, we find ourselves meeting them at every turn.

I rose early Saturday morning, and began mowing the lawn as soon as it was fully lit by the sun (shortly after 7).  I have a mulching mower.  I mow as Padre taught me, in a concentric circle.  It grows ever more inward.  This circle reminds me of the labyrinth; it is almost a prayer walk - although I'm more goal-oriented than fully prayerful.

Later that morning, I went to a labyrinth workshop.  This ancient form dates to the pre-Christian era; most of us know the name through the tale of Daedalus and the minotaur. It had a resurgence in the Middle Ages, when it was no longer safe to make the longed-for Jerusalem pilgrimage.  Twenty-two European cathedrals were designated labyrinth cathedrals; making the pilgrimage to these cathedrals and walking those labyrinths was held to have the same spiritual benefits as making the pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

The labyrinth, we are told, has a resurgence at times of transition, such as this profoundly noisy millennial era.  Contrary to Thoreau, most people today lead lives of noisy desperation.  We bombard ourselves with multiple stimuli in a cacophonous stew of images, voices, music, and print.  Our minds chatter more than Monkey, and we long for peace.  We are fear-filled, and long for comfort.  We are bold individuals, making our bold way alone in this ever-changing landscape, and we long for community.

There are times we must tap into the Great Silence that is beneath all things.  The labyrinth is one of many spiritual tools which help us get in touch with that Great Silence.  It can be a means of deep healing.

There were over 60 people present for this labyrinth walk. My group had eight people. We were told to remove our shoes, for two reasons: the space was holy, and the labyrinth was cloth – an exact replica of the labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral. People were guided in at respectful distances, yet there were several times groups would cluster; the circuits were relatively thin (I estimate 4-5" in width), so the pilgrims would often need to side-step each other.

A labyrinth is a long winding path. You often think you are nearing the center — you could easily step right into it if you jump the designated path — then find yourself led far away from it. I applied two types of prayer that have been fruitful tools in the past – walking and breath (they are closely related). As I walked, I was mindful of the length of my pace; I was intentional as I rolled my weight onto my toes. I was acutely aware of my breathing.

I've been working the past several months on childhood wounds – most of which are hidden from conscious memory (I know of them through reliable reports). As I walked the circuits to the center, I repeated this prayer with each breath:
“Grandmother God, I bring my woundedness to you.”

A wooden floor was beneath the canvas labyrinth. Even the wood prayed as we softly walked the circuits.

I was acutely aware of a burning sensation near my heart – not indigestion, but the prayerful heart burning the disciples experienced on the Emmaus road. I was aware of the tears burning at the well of my eyes.

This tearfulness was quite pronounced when I finally reached the center, which was trimmed with fleur-de-lis. Each pilgrim stepped into his or her own alcove – we were still close enough to touch. I was in the west-most alcove. Within a few moments, a woman stepped into the ESE alcove. She was crying.

I prayed for discernment: was this private grief, to be shared with God alone? Or, would she welcome comfort? The spirit led me to her. I gently put my arm on her shoulder. She drew me close, and nuzzled her head into my right shoulder. My tears were strong. My heart-fire was strong.

As I walked out of the labyrinth, it seemed I met this woman at every turn. It seemed meant to be: Nothing romantic, just a reminder that I was not alone on my pilgrimage. I had a new prayer:
“Healing Spirit, descend upon me”

Grandmother God, I come to you with open hands.
I come to you with tender voice.
I come to your embrace.
Wrap me in your healing blanket.
Teach me your compassion.
Let me drink your life-giving waters.
Grandmother God, I come to you beloved.
I bring you my wounds:
with your tender kiss, I become whole.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Summer Morning

7 o’clock: mowing
through nostalgic
morning dew.

Prayer, 17.Aug.2013

Grandfather Great Spirit, we give thanks that you bring us together at this time in your sacred circle. We give thanks for the turning of the year. You are the source of renewal. You guide us to the road of forgiveness. You build us anew to serve the nations. Day and and day out, you lead us on the path of atonement. Give us courage for our path. Set us on the good road. Strengthen us to forgive as we have been forgiven. Grandfather Great Spirit, make us humble in judgment, generous in giving, tender in mercy. This we ask in your Holy Name.

Inspired by presentation on the Sundance

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Through the Lens, through the Screen

I imagine I see the world through the viewfinder of this camera. Bright sun light gleams through. Hints of yesterday's clouds. Fresh-trimmed grass. The dry street. The darkened windows of the rental house across the street.

I imagine you, reading these words, peering into these mysterious pixels, trying to imagine you see these things as well. Imagining you see my face. Imagining you hear my voice, even as I imagine it while typing these words. I imagine you, with your coffee or tea, your morning radio, your sliced fruit, your inviting house. I imagine you, man & woman, friend and relation, drawing by this screen as our grandparents drew around the radio or tv. I imagine the community we are, the community we could be.

I imagine your voice. I imagine your warmth, your smile. I imagine your patience and your tolerance. I imagine you in California, in South America, in Michigan, in Ulverston. I imagine you strolling by this space, looking through all these words.

I remember, as a child, walking past window displays as Grandmother and I would walk down the street. I remember fascination with small animated villages, trains running through faux snowscapes. I remember the eerie faceless manikins. I often walk neighborhood streets, daydreaming of the dining room scenes, of the secret stories unspooling behind those doors.

That's how I imagine us: People passing by these electronic spaces, peering into each others' windows. Me, I don't leave much room to view between the blind slats. I keep my voice low, unless I'm singing.

Automatic writing, originally posted on Facebook

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Prayer for our walk

Grandfather Great Spirit, we give thanks that you bring us together at this time in your sacred circle. You are older than all need, older than all prayer. You created all things, all life comes from you: all creatures who walk the earth, the wings of the air, and the bright green things. Day in and day out, forever, you are the life of all things. You have set the powers of the four quarters to cross each other. The good road & the road of difficulties you have made to cross; and where they cross, the place is holy. Grandfather Great Spirit, join us in this circle; embolden our spirits, and strengthen our voices. This we ask in your Holy Name.

Adapted from Black Elk Speaks

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Idée d’jour

Stop. Breathe. Allow yourself the luxury of doing nothing for a moment, or an hour, or even a day. It is in emptiness that inspiration will appear.
— Carole Katchen