Friday, December 31, 2021
Thursday, December 30, 2021
Wednesday, December 29, 2021
Tuesday, December 28, 2021
|Pleiades: The Seven Sisters Star Cluster|
by Damien Cannane
Monday, December 27, 2021
Sunday, December 26, 2021
Saturday, December 25, 2021
From Father Richard Rohr's Dec. 14 "Daily Meditation":
Father Richard shares why he believes devotion, or heart-centered faith, is essential to life's journey.
I want to encourage the uncovering of what we mean by the word devotion. We have to somehow live a life that’s connected to the heart. Otherwise, we get into head ideology, righteousness, opinionatedness, and insisting on the right or wrong words. All are ways of avoiding the heart and staying in the head!
I have to admit that I’ve learned this kind of devotion from good old-time Catholics and healthy evangelicals. They’re invariably heart-based people who look out at reality with soft eyes. We can usually see it in their calm face or the natural smile on their lips before they even start talking. Trust that first impression, it is seldom wrong.
If our message at the CAC (Center for Action and Contemplation) is not heartfelt and creating heartfelt people, I predict it will not last, and it doesn’t deserve to last. It’ll be another head trip that we can argue about. I think it was the gift of the early Franciscans, although I don’t know that we, as the later Franciscan Order, always kept it. Francis and the early friars had a heartfelt quality that made them dear to people. Not everyone always agreed with Francis on things such as not going to war or radical poverty—but authentic, heartfelt, devoted people cannot be dismissed.
Perhaps this is what Jesus was talking about when he taught, “Blessed are the pure of heart” (Matthew 5:8). It’s having achieved a purity of intention, desire, and motivation that isn’t about me—how I look and whether people are going to like me or affirm me. I think we all have to purify our intention several times a day: “Why am I doing what I’m doing?” If we don’t localize our intention in the compassionate space that we call the heart, it all becomes about making an impression that will ultimately benefit ourselves. We are all attracted to those loving people who are concerned about others more than themselves and concerned about us specifically. It’s really quite beautiful. We feel softened, we feel held, we feel more tender around people like that.
We can’t fake devotion but sometimes I do suggest we “fake it till we make it,” as many say. We need to practice some kind of heart-opening prayer and practice being compassionate and kind toward others. Eventually our hearts, as John Wesley said, will surely be “strangely warmed”  and no one is more surprised than we are!
This is one of the hardest things in the teaching of spirituality because we cannot manufacture devotion. It is the work of grace, but of course we have to want it and create the conditions that can allow it to happen. Anything that helps us to be less willful, less pushy, less judgmental toward ourselves is a good place to start, because the face we turn toward ourselves is the face we turn toward the world.
Friday, December 24, 2021
Wednesday, December 22, 2021
The Prayer of the Turtle
O God, let me be free of this weighty shell upon my back.When I'm swimming freely in the cool dark waterIt is a great discomfort to be weighted downBy this, this piece of bone.But if I didn't have a shell...I wouldn't be a turtle! Amen.
Tuesday, December 21, 2021
--James Russell Lowell
Monday, December 20, 2021
|"Small things" that make us strong|
Sunday, December 19, 2021
Saturday, December 18, 2021
--Henry Ward Beecher
- my body and good health
- my spiritual practice
- my loving husband
- my sons and daughter-in-law
- my dog Barney
- many friends
- my home
- my neighborhood and city
- opportunity and ability to exercise
- work I enjoy
- a flexible schedule
- my love of baseball
- recovery from addiction
Friday, December 17, 2021
The Heart of Jesus is a passionate devotedness to the well-being of humanity. To follow Jesus is to be possessed by that same passionate intention. Indeed, to say that God created the world is to affirm that it vibrates at a pitch identical to the nature of God, who is love. Indeed, the pitch we were meant to live at is love. Life does not ever feel quite right unless love is the best and greatest part of it. . . .
Our heart is the soft center of our egoless self and it has one impelling desire: to open. The heart is the capacity to open. This is the force that complements our other powers. It takes us beyond our limits. It contains our ability to reach out so it is the antidote to despair. We are spiritually coded in ways we have not yet dared even to imagine. The depths of our spiritual capacity are still unplumbed. Contemplation of Jesus’ Heart shows us how deep we really are, how vast our potential for love, how high our aspiration for the light. . . .
I do not consider myself a "Christian," because the far-right direction that term has taken makes me nauseous. Actually, I do not adhere to any religious label or dogma. I do, however, feel that Jesus gave us an excellent example of how to live. The devotion to love is the key. It does not need to be Mother-Teresa-style sainthood love. Simple love of self, family, friends and neighbors does the job.
'Tis the season to practice more love,
Thursday, December 16, 2021
Wednesday, December 15, 2021
|Pansies blooming in Wichita winter|
Tuesday, December 14, 2021
I want to be more loving in my heart! It is often easy to have the idea in mind, the plan to be more loving. To see it with my mind and give assent to the thought of being loving—this is crystal clear. But I want to be more loving in my heart! I must feel like loving; I must ease the tension in my heart that ejects the sharp barb, the stinging word. I want to be more loving in my heart that, with unconscious awareness and deliberate intent, I shall be a kind, a gracious human being. Thus, those who walk the way with me may find it easier to love, to be gracious because of the Love of God which is increasingly expressed in my living.
|Ornaments on the resort lobby Christmas tree|
|From my morning walk on the beach|
Monday, December 13, 2021
--Alfred, Lord Tennyson
|I understand that the resort stores the Christmas|
decorations for guests that come back this time each year.
Sunday, December 12, 2021
|Great music and harmony singing; |
impressive carrying a stand-up bass along the beach!
|It says "One Love" (Bob Marley's Jamaican theme song)|
|Ready to be spread around the resort|
|Part of the mural at Feathers|
Saturday, December 11, 2021
Friday, December 10, 2021
Thursday, December 9, 2021
|My morning lap-swim heaven|
|Lighthouse along the coast|
Wednesday, December 8, 2021
|Looking from the ocean in,|
where our gang hangs out, and
|The beautiful turquoise water we get to laze in.|
Time to swim laps!
Tuesday, December 7, 2021
Monday, December 6, 2021
|View from the hammock|
Sunday, December 5, 2021
|Music on the beach at sunset|
Saturday, December 4, 2021
|Sand decoration leading to one of the beach dinners|
|The resort lobby|
|Gingerbread house display in the lobby|
|One of the street vendors|
|This sign made me smile|
Friday, December 3, 2021
Your image of God creates you—or defeats you. There is an absolute connection between how we see God and how we see ourselves and the universe. The word “God” is a stand-in word for everything—Reality, truth, and the very shape of our universe. This is why good theology and spirituality can make such a major difference in how we live our daily lives in this world. God is Reality with a Face—which is the only way most humans know how to relate to anything. There has to be a face!I see in myself that I was raised with an angry and judgmental god, and work daily to overcome my extreme tendency to judge. I also recognize a strong seed of anger in myself. I am eternally grateful to the 12-Step program for giving me the ongoing opportunity to (re)define my Higher Power in a manner that works for me.
After years of giving and receiving spiritual direction, it has become clear to me and to many of my colleagues that most people’s operative image of God is initially a subtle combination of their mom and dad, or other early authority figures. Without an interior journey of prayer or inner experience, much of religion is largely childhood conditioning, which God surely understands and uses. Yet atheists and many former Christians rightly react against this because such religion is so childish and often fear-based, and so they argue against a caricature of faith. I would not believe in that god myself!
Our goal, of course, is to grow toward an adult religion that includes reason, faith, and inner experience we can trust. A mature God creates mature people. A big God creates big people. A punitive God creates punitive people.
If our mothers were punitive, our God is usually punitive too. We will then spend much of our lives submitting to that punitive God or angrily reacting against it. If our father figures were cold and withdrawn, we will assume that God is cold and withdrawn too—all Scriptures, Jesus, and mystics to the contrary. If all authority in our lives came through men, we probably assume and even prefer a male image of God, even if our hearts desire otherwise.
All of this is mirrored in political worldviews as well. Good theology makes for good politics and positive social relationships. Bad theology makes for stingy politics, a largely reward/punishment frame, xenophobia, and highly controlled relationships.
|I do tend to get god and dog mixed up... all that love!|
Thursday, December 2, 2021
|The Flower of Life symbol|
Wednesday, December 1, 2021