A Time for Everything…


Is it irony that the torment of the Ukrainian people is occurring just now – at a time of the year that holds much meaning for many who believe in a greater good?  Jews, Muslims and Christians alike look upon this season as one of deep prayer and reflection – Christians currently observing Lent, Jews looking ahead to celebrating Passover and Muslims coming upon the holy season of Ramadan.

As Christians, we begin our walk into the desert, a contemplative journey, a time of isolation and sacrifice as we are challenged to be our best selves. We are asked to go deep into who we are, who we are meant to be. We know what lies ahead and we pray for the strength it will take to bear up under it. We understand that this is a quiet time so that we may do what is needed, so that we may evolve closer to who we are meant to be.  Again, I think of a Mary Oliver poem…

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with […]

From here…to there


Have you ever experienced a time when you were literally drawn into your surroundings…into that moment…that event…that conversation? That you were, strangely… but truly, part of it? If so, you knew this moment was something unique…something that would pull you back again and again.

I know this has happened to me..

Early morning solitary walks along the shoreline, the day’s slow rising sun just beginning to show itself, its rays warming my body, waves lapping at my toes, the sand melting away beneath my footsteps…I am stirred.

Years ago we had a camp in the Adirondacks. There, nestled among some of nature’s most awesome wonders, I experienced many such moments – sublime moments – uplifting. Whether cabin bound in winter watching snow soundlessly and so very gently shrouding the earth in white; or feeling the silent, smooth gliding of my kayak along the calm lake encased in craggy mountains…always, I knew these times were sacred.

And definitely, as I stood high on the rugged cliffs of the Irish coast, looking way down into the ocean and far out to the distant horizon, I was moved to somewhere else.

I have a feeling that moments like these happened lots of times in my life. But I believe that I often missed them – too busy, distracted by living.  Now, though, as I age, […]

January 24th, 2022|Minding Our Spirits, Uncategorized|5 Comments

Chop Wood. Carry Water

 Chop Wood…Carry Water

“The novice says to the master, ‘What does one do before enlightenment?’
‘Chop wood. Carry water,’ replies the master.
The novice asks, ‘What, then, does one do after enlightenment?’
‘Chop wood. Carry water.’”   (An ancient Zen tale)

A strange little story, but one that grabbed my attention. Oh how I’ve searched for some form of ‘enlightenment’ over the past few months! I’ve read stacks of books, streamed hours of videos, podcasts, Ted Talks…and on and on. But was still left hungry…for something. I didn’t know what.  So when I came across this quote, I was curious. As I searched the internet for the source, I realized that there seemed to be little consensus as to its origin or even its meaning. So, because many ancient quotes are subject to the reader’s interpretation, I bestowed upon this one my own, albeit personal, understanding.  I determined that, for me, this parable was another call to mindfulness – in the sense that, no matter what or who we are, there are basics that need tending to and we may as well enjoy the process, not just the results.

I think this may have been playing out in my own life without my even knowing it.

Now, chopping wood and carrying water are two pretty menial tasks, right? But in these days, over […]

We Will Dance

This year, my year end message to you was particularly hard to compose. Normally, even last year, I was able to muster up tidings of joy and sentiments of deep gratitude for all the blessings of the past year. But this year, this strange, unsettling year, I can’t quite get to that place.

I haven’t written in a while. I should say, I haven’t posted in a while. I have been writing all along. But the tenor of my journal entries (which are usually reflected here) has consistently fallen short of my vision for this space. I’ve always envisioned it as a place of comfort and peace…a haven of sorts where we could gather to be refreshed and nurtured. I hope you feel that, so far, I’ve met this goal.

But this year, especially these last few months, I’ve been struggling with how to stay true to the reason I write, true to myself and most of all, true to you. I’ve been so frightened by the state of our world. I fear for our children whom we can’t keep safe. I worry about our leaders who are more focused on power than on doing what is best to preserve our democracy. I dread thinking about our precious planet and how we are ignoring all the signs of its […]

December 20th, 2021|Minding Our Spirits, Uncategorized|26 Comments
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