Monday, August 8, 2016

Beginning Again

Chapter six in The Soul of the Pilgrim is about "The Practice of Beginning Again."

I like that so much and like all of us practice it over and over again in lots of ways.  I have that sense right now - of beginning again.  My vacation and the mission trip are over and Thursday I had a colonoscopy that I had been dreading and now it feels like - beginning again.  New beginnings, a fresh page, a new attitude, a new day, a new week. 

I like this quote from Rumi

Come, even if you have broken your vow
a hundred times,
Come, yet again, come, come.

So I come to my morning sitting  and begin again a practice that I have been neglecting for the last few months - which is a review of the day before.  I simply write down a list of everything that transpired for me in the past weekend.  On reflection I was awed by the fulness of these days which on the surface looked like I had not done much.  But my list included these things
  • Finishing Home Field - my niece's first novel.  It was a book that will stay with me a long time and full of insights about grief and love and life.  I loved it
  • Went to the movies to see "The Infiltrator" - a movie based on the life of a policeman who infiltrated a Mexican cartel.  Making  me think about leading a double life and putting your family at risk for your work and lots of other things.
  • Lunch to celebrate the birthday of an 87 year old friend who grieves the loss of his beloved wife two years ago
  • Playing games - our new addiction Splendor  and Skip bo with Melanie on Saturday and Chuck and Addie and Nikki on Sunday.  Laughing and listening to music and feeling at home!
  • Swimming with Maggie, Marnie, Erik, Reagan and Addie. 
  • Spiritual Conversations - with several people and listening and hoping that God was somehow guiding us through the messiness of life into seeing what our next steps are to be.
And so I cherish the richness of it all and pray always in the midst of  what often seems ordinary and even muddy, there is guidance for me to grow, to let go, to be present and open.

So I begin again and rededicate myself to what Christine Paintner calls "Monastic" spirituality - a

"return to the practice of showing up, of being still, of opening our hearts to an encounter with the holy.....Pilgrimage is a place of hew beginnings.  no matter how far I stray from my practice, thiere is always an invitation to begin again.  Not just each day, but each moment offers us the chance to lay a new foundation."

Here is a wonderful poem from the book about being alive::

How to Feel the Sap Rising 
   Walk as slowly as possible,
   all the while imagining
   yourself moving through
   pools of honey and dancing with
   snails, turtles, and caterpillars.

   Turn your body in a sunwise direction
   to inspire your dreams to flow upwayd.
   Imagin the trees are your own
   wise ancestors offering their emerald
   leaves to you as a sacred text.

    Lay yourself down across earth
   and stones.  Feel the vibration of
   direct and moss, sparking a tiny
   (or tremendous )
   revolution in your heart
   with their own great longing.

   Close your eyes and forget this
   border of skin.  Imagine the
   breeze blowing through your hair
   is the breath of the forest and
   your own breath jouned, rising and
   falling in ancient rhythms.

   Open your eyes again and see it
   is true, that there is no "me" and "tree"
   but only One great pulsing of life,
   one sap which mourishes and 
   enlivens all, one grat nectar
   bestowing trust and wonder.

    Open your eyes and see that there
   are no more words like beautiful,
   and ugly, good and bad,
   but only the shimmering presence of your
   own attention to life.

   Only one great miracle unfolding and 
   only one sacred word which is



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