Life Is Good

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I felt God with me watching the sea, listening to the waves, thinking, praying, walking, and in liturgy: especially certain readings/ prayers/ songs.  Special words sometimes pierced my heart like a healing arrow.  A new understanding?  It is okay and actually very normal and healthy for to experience a new transition at this time in my life.  And it is a blessing that I can have the time and be open to try some new things.  It is good to explore.  As I consider possibilities I will open up more again to new hope.

God is letting me heal and enjoy more than ever before female spirituality.  I especially am grateful for examples of women who express their spirituality with strength and gentleness, with clarity but also room for open-ness, with graciousness.

Re myself? I can hope again.  I can dream again.  My life is not over or all dried up.  It’s okay for me to go slowly.  It’s good and fully right that I hear and honor my inner sense that this is really the time for me to explore.  God blesses my rhythms.  Letting go need not bring me or mean shame.  Things passing is not failure.  Some of my sorrow comes from attachment, some is because of love.  It’s all okay.  I am resilient.  Main revelation: Life is still Good.  Contributing my little part where/ how-ever is worthwhile.  There are others doing so also.  Life on earth is not hopeless!  The most significant grace for me right now is the capacity to feel a sense of contentment.  “My grace is sufficient for thee.”

I am very very grateful for women who can and do the gracious ministry of quiet hospitality.  I am grateful for womanly wisdom and fertile spaces.  I am grateful for a renewed tangible sense of Life, Here and Now, that just Is.  It’s not dependent upon a program or an accomplishment or results of any kind.  I am grateful to have reclaimed some of my inner child’s wonder and direct in-touch-ness with a Life-is-Good view.

Notes from Cohasset, on retreat in September 2016

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Hints of Hope

“Blessed are you who are elastic and ever-flexible,

For you will not be broken by change.

Your new wine skins shall bulge but not burst

When filled with God’s intoxicating new wine.

“Blessed are you who are ambivalent, who can embrace the inconsistencies of life in love and hate, the good and the bad, indeed all,

For you shall not become religious fanatics.

“…Look around… you live in the Kingdom and God’s Day has dawned”

(Excerpt from Fr. Eduard Hayes’ Blesseds in his “Gospel of Gabriel”)

 

Thank You, Lord, for ambivalence!  Usually that is characterized as a bad or weak thing.  In my own life, it has meant for me a signal to slow down, to pay more attention to my true/core self.  It often means to “listen” to my gut.  It often means stop.  Sometimes it means “let others deal with their own issues.”  Looking back, I think it usually means I have intended to affirm something, but I have committed too much of myself, or in a way that doesn’t wholly honor the truth of my self.  I am grateful for ambivalence because it helps me pause and remember to notice more of the big picture.

Re flexibility: Thank You, Lord, that You created me stretchable!  Thank You for times of stretching and for times of relaxing.  Thank You for breathable boundaries.  I thank You that I can see “over my fence!”  Thank You also that I am learning that it is good and just to have a “fence.”  Thank You that “even I” may have a “fence.”  Even-so, thank You for “little fences” that don’t block my “view”!

  • Praise be Jesus!
  • Praise You, my Beloved!
  • Praise You this morning, this new day!
  • Praise You Now and Forever!
  • Praise You Here and everywhere!
  • Blessed be Your Holy Name!

Did the Lord really make things to pass?  God certainly made things pass-able.  But God promises to make all things “new.”  God’s love heals, redeems, re-births, sustains, endures.  What in this now could be eternal?  My love for you, Lord.  My response to Your Love is Yes!  I choose You too!

How/why is it that I hope Everyone will come to the Table of the Lord in Heaven?  Why should I want everyone to be saved?  Because God made everyone.  God’s Love brought each person into existence; I desire that they be whole, and I believe part of “being whole” is ongoing living in Love with God.

Is it possible for anyone to really reject God?  I don’t know.  That is not within the realm of my understanding.  God has set for me to love, to respect, to do my small part…  As Fr. H. often said “I’m not on the results committee.”  Mary said one of the biggest “Yes!”‘s the world has ever known.  Her “yes” was entire — whole and open, unconditional.  But even Mary had to let Jesus go into the world and let others encounter Him however they would.

…My stomach has a small twinge of nausea.  What am I worried about?  What brings me anxiety?  I hope to know my responsibilities and to fulfill them.  I don’t want to be caught unprepared.  So, for what am I responsible today?  Only to be.  And to listen.  “Go gently.  Celebrate being.  Ask God ‘Who am I to You?’  Be open to each hint of hope.  Awaken to possibilities, dreams, desires.  Remember to breathe!” (Word from my spiritual director.)  Thank You, God, for the assignment to listen.  I like listening!

Notes while on retreat at St. Joe’s in Cohasset.

Both And Each

All people should be able to discuss anything.  Maybe there are ground rules for respect and shared time-limits, etc., but no topic should be taboo.  Do I really believe everything the Catholic Church teaches?  I think yes, but some might say no.  How so?  Because I see that which the Catholic Church Teaches as Doctrine is quite limited and the details of how it is all lived has room for interpretation.  Yet, much of how certain bishops or priests or local parishes want to say This is what it means — well, they enlarge their territory of What We Must Believe.  And they will often refer to “the Magisterium.”  However, I haven’t yet found that the Magisterium have dictated as much as some would have me believe.

I am just one of those very strange birds who still believes/ has a quite conservative/ orthodox/ primal view of the world, of God, of Meaning in general, AND YET I have a very liberal view that all views are part of The Truth.  My view of Life is like a kaleidoscope.  All the pieces are there for all of us to view (objective reality), but how we turn it and look varies and what we see varies (perspectives are inevitably relative).  And it is MEANT to be that way.  It is meant to be turned and to watch the colors flow.  There isn’t just one position that is correct.

Plus, I personally really enjoy seeing “unusual” colors and unexpected juxtapositions.  I like the red-purples and the yellow-greens.  I like the blues and greens that can’t make up their mind as to which they are.  I also like textures.  Texture upon texture.  Layers of meaning.  Sacrament.  Symbol.  Literal.  Metaphoric.  Colors can shift and water can move.  Why must the literal vs. metaphoric be rigidly defined?

I believe I am real, but I am also a symbol of something.  My life is happening, but my life story is also metaphor, allegory, poetry, and prose.  I refuse to accept the rigidity of other people’s language.  I am happy to refuse it!  I celebrate the freedom I give myself to breathe, to move, to think, in my own unique way, however quirky or ordinary it may appear to others.

While on retreat in Cohasset, September 2016.

The Colors of Water

“I used some of the in-house binoculars and discovered more buoys, rocks, birds, ships, all in the middle distances.  Also, when I use the binoculars to look at the lighthouse (which looks SO far away — and closer to the horizon than to me), I see that there is so much more ocean I can see between it and the horizon than I had imagined before.

There are some streaks of green water mixed in with dark blue swaths.  The closest water looks milky green.  And that same green appears further out.  There are several dark navy ribbons weaving in several place.s  It’s all mingling quite a bit amongst the middle-distant-and-nearer rocks, but even further out, where two days ago it was all dark blue, it is now striated.  Oh my!  I love these mixes and playings of blue and green!  Even a small wave can make a big splash!

The water came up on shore during the storm yesterday maybe twenty feet closer than it is now.  It was very raucous and choppy but it didn’t seem at all frightening.  I liked it.  There was enough spritz from the waves clear up to the balcony I could taste the salt on my lips.”

Notes from Cohasset, Retreat in September 2016

 

Hear and Be Heard

My spiritual director encouraged me to reflect on my preferences, to acknowledge I prefer “this and not that”, especially as regards things that matter deeply to me.  I had been speaking with her about my experiences in teaching, studying, ministry…

Something that troubled me in my experience of the program through the diocesan seminary had to do with censored speech.  Some of the female teachers seemed to express some annoyance with the leadership but weren’t specific about it, and the effect to me was only that the professor felt bitter somehow.  I wasn’t given enough detail regarding any issue to be able to form my own perspective; I was only left with a feeling of their impotence.  It also made me feel “outside” somehow.  I couldn’t really connect with the professor because she hadn’t shared enough.  And I also then felt wary of the administration wondering how or why a professor should be muzzled and yet retained.

I was alarmed when one such professor was more clear about an issue: whether or not women can be ordained.  We (students) brought up the issue and quickly learned we weren’t “allowed” to discuss it!  I invited the professor to lunch and even then she wouldn’t say much.  What I gleaned from the encounter was that she was angry and afraid of something, and yet she chose to “remain faithful.”  And she was one of a few professors I felt were courageously and energizing-ly Honest.  To encounter a limit set by others that she accepted really shocked me.

Even I who am so “conservative” theologically find that I don’t see why we must accept externally imposed limits.  Especially I don’t understand the value in limiting what we can discuss.  Would the “powers that be” attempt to censor my thoughts???  Group discussion is, for me, another form of thought-processing.  I don’t consider any last word to be some form of consensus or assertion of belief; discussion is simply a forum where peers can explore their thoughts with some amount of collaboration: the way musicians might improvise together.

Would musicians after a jam session say “There! That is the new rule!”  What rule???  We use mostly existing (musical) language and maybe explore some new, but the main point is to play.  Play with the sound, play with the musical language and structures, and play with our own artistry in the context of others doing something similar or at least compatible.  That’s it.  That’s all it is.  There’s nothing to be decided.  There’s nothing to be affirmed or negated beyond being heard.

Yes!  There it is.  That is one of my prime values.  To be heard.  I need to be heard.  And I believe every person’s voice merits being heard.  Let the lions roar.  Let the waves crash and the geese honk and the stones laugh and the dogs bark and all God’s creatures give voice to Being!

More notes from while on retreat at St. Joe’s in Cohasset, September 2016

Embracing Being

More notes from Cohasset:

Thank You, God, for this day, this day with beautiful blue sky and gentle waves lapping and singing on the rocky shore.  I love how your little rocks giggle as the water pulls over them back out to sea.  Thank You for the whoosh of the waves coming in and tumbling over themselves.  And Lord, I love all your rocks!  Such big boulders! with beautiful veins.  Some of them get rushed by the waves and then hug the water before letting it go making sweet sizzling sounds.  Lord, there are so many different sound of water and of water and rocks.  So BEAUTIFUL!

I can see two little ships out at a great distance but not nearly to the horizon.  It’s odd how when I first noticed them I thought they were traveling in the same direction, but now it’s clear one is going northward and the other southward.  I can hear a jet overhead and I can hear the roar and rumble of some distant breakers.  There’s a lighthouse I can see clearly today.  Yesterday there was too much fog to see it well.  Earlier I could hear gulls calling, but now they are quiet.

The sun is shining and warming my arms as I write out on the terrace (open-air).  I just took some pictures of the boulders.  I am always amazed and charmed by how a flower can grow in the crevice of rock.  There is a type of shrub that seems to thrive in the crevice of the rock.  The breeze is lovely Lord!  Thank You!  Thank You for Everything!

So, Lord, who am I?  Who am I to You?  Do You want to tell me?  Do You want to whisper in my ear?

  • I Am yours.
  • I Am Creator of all that is.
  • I Am your Creator.
  • I love you.
  • You are My beloved child.
  • You are My delight.
  • I made you for joy and for sorrow, but especially for joy.
  • You are My song.
  • You give voice to joyfully proclaiming My love, My love for everyone.

Thank You, Jesus!

Lord, You are my Abba, my Lover-Creator, my God, my Haven, my Home, my Mother, my Father, my soul’s Lover.  You are Eternal-Child, Infinite-Joy, Boundless-Love.  You are Source of Laughter.  You are Author of my meaning.  You are Ground of my Being, and Anchor of my Peace.

Abba-Papa-Lover-Jesus-Joyous-Playful-Holy-Spirit, I kiss You!  I kiss Your Holy Face!  I kiss You all over Your Beautiful Face.  And I kiss Christ’s scars.  Lord, can I thank You for my scars?  Can You give me gratitude for my wounds and my scars?

Abba-Papa, thank You for Your Kisses.  Thank You for salving and binding my wounds.  Thank You for tenderizing me.  Please lead me not into hardness; deliver me from all bitterness or luring cynicism.

Lord, what do we think of this body of mine?!  How do You see it?

  • Your flesh is beautiful to me.  I made you perfect.  Why you put on extra weight is simply the normal outcome of eating more than you need and not exercising as much as you need.  I made you for moving as well as resting.  You think your fat is ugly.  I don’t.  Your fat is just excess, and I don’t condemn it.  This (the fat and your attitude about it) is something more you could let go.  Just let it go, My dear!  Let it go!
  • Breathe!  Breathe deeply.  Experience pleasure and feeding in ways besides eating.  Feel the air fill your lungs.  Make more use of your lungs.  Sometimes walk at varying paces; feel how flexible I’ve made you.  I delight in your flesh as well as your spirit.  I delight in your whole being.  Come, let me love you!

Notes from while on retreat at St. Joe’s in Cohasset; Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Connected with Cohasset

Reflect on who/how has come and gone throughout my life and has blessed me.  (And I am content with the passing of the connection — and can see that the blessing remains.) [Assignment from my spiritual director.]

Oh what a glorious day!  Sunshine, blue sky, wind, choppy waves, lots of sea-sounds splashing, crashing waves on rocks, open sea, LARGE WATER!, multi-colored boulders.

Celebrate that God has given me wisdom and courage to act in integrity. [More assignment from director.]  Praise be Jesus!

Colors of the ocean this morning:

  1. navy blue
  2. stormy sea blue
  3. blue-green
  4. teal
  5. green-blue
  6. olive-green
  7. green-brown
  8. murky red-brown
  9. frothy-white crested-brown and green
  10. glassy silver
  11. white

I am experiencing a bubbling Joy I haven’t felt in a very long time!  Thank You, Lord.

Today I camped a small while in a niche of rock perfectly sized as a chair for me, looking out onto the boulders facing the Atlantic just east of Euphrasia Hall, after my meeting with my spiritual director.  It felt good to be nestled in with the rock and to enjoy the waves crashing and splashing against the boulders just below.

After lunch, I napped almost two hours.  Then I spent an hour on the porch, head into the wind, watching the storm (Hermione) come.  Forecast says winds will peak at 25 mph around 9 p.m.  Rain was expected at 4:15 but hasn’t come yet (4:51).  Liturgy is at 5:00.  I found six books I will take with me from the library.  Joan said we could take any book we like.  I found four on mysticism, one “cube book” full of amazing photos of the earth, and one on sacred dreaming.

Tomorrow is Tuesday already!  Our middle day!  It seems to come too soon!  I will have three full days and then one closing day plus travel.  Time for liturgy…

Tonight it is raining.  The sky is a foggy gray, the sea is green and very choppy, the wind is strong and raucous, the trees are waving wildly.  I feel like it’s a party!

Today I am grateful to God, grateful for Everything!

Amazing!

The above were notes written throughout a day on retreat at St. Joe’s in Cohasset, September 2016.   Today (April 2017) I am grateful for how vividly I remember Being there.  It is as if I hold that place as an intimate space within me; it is now a part of me.  I see the view; I hear the waves; I smell the salt air; I breathe the Peace.  What a marvel.  Thank You, Lord.