Tag Archives: contemplative

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A Constant Squeeze on the Heart

A Constant Squeeze on the Heart In her 2018 book, The Magnanimous Heart, the Buddhist teacher Narayan Helen Liebenson writes about the transitory nature of life and the spiritual challenge it brings. The conditions of our particular lives- our jobs, homes, relationships, the bodies we inhabit-are always changing, and with change comes loss. We know…
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Making Friends with My Body

Making Friends with My Body When I was first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in my late 40’s, I had been having back pain, overall soreness and sometimes just feeling exhausted for several years.  I had been to various doctors, orthopedic surgeons, chiropractors, physical therapists and athletic trainers and no one could do anything for me.  I…
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Writing from the Center | Revision: Writing Until You Find Your Meaning

One of the exciting aspects of writing is the process of discovery also known as revision.  An idea or image comes to mind, and we sit down to describe it because we want to remember it or share with others. Yet, it often happens that as we write, what seemed so clear and evident at first seems to fade. Or we suddenly find numerous threads of ideas with no pattern.  When that happens, just keep writing until you come to whatever feels like the end.  At this point you are ready to embrace the process of revision – the nearly magical process of discovery. Like a sculptor standing before a block of marble, you chip away at the mass of words on the paper or screen.
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Quiet Nativity

I wondered how to do it differently this year,  How could I move through the holidays with gratitude rather than resentment, with a sense of peace even in the midst of activity?  After all, Jesus was born into the very messiness of human life, not into a place where all was neatly prepared and ready.  I longed to carry the Christ child in my heart this Advent season, but there was simply no room in the Inn. And so, that first evening, as we all sat in prayer, I asked God for the gift of peace.  I prayed that, in the space between gently released thoughts, the veil might be lifted from my eyes and Christ enter in. . . .
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Lectio Divina: A Word for Me

Lectio Divina: A Word for Me Once upon a time there were two sisters, Mary and Martha, who had Jesus as a dinner guest. Martha, a first century ancestor of Martha Stewart, created an impeccable meal. Mary created—well, Mary was a first century ancestor of couch potatoes and just sat at Jesus’ feet. Isn’t that how the story…
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Lectio of Surprises

Lectio of Surprises I’ve been practicing sustained lectio divina for a long time. Over the course of praying with many texts, I’m continually surprised by God. Last spring, I finished a long lectio with the Gospel of Luke that took me two-and-half years. It worked out that I read chapter 22 and 23 during Lent…
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Time to Pause, Move Toward the Center

Time to Pause We have a labyrinth in our backyard which, weather permitting, is where I do my walking prayer every day.  One day, while I was preparing for a group to come and join us for a walk, my husband caught this photo of our dog, Bella, sitting in one of her contemplative postures…
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Unpredictable: The Invitation to Come Home

Unpredictable: The Invitation to Come Home My summer had surprising experiences with several unpredictable happenings. My body was telling me in no uncertain terms to pay attention to my aging process. More than one round of issues with blood pressure and wellness told me that I needed to let go of a few events I…
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Writing from the Center: Persistence, Not Perfection

Persistence, Not Perfection Kathy Fleming is a talented visual artist (www.kflemingart.com) who serves as the Artist Coordinator for the Benedictine Center of St. Paul's Monastery.  Her canvases are captivating both in their craftsmanship and the deep reflection underlying each one.  Those who see the exhibits she designs in the Monastery Gallery benefit from her uncanny…
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Reflections on Food as a Tangible Form of Love

I want to feed people the way she did because eating is, as our fall guest speaker Norman Wirzba writes, “a profoundly spiritual act.” What we eat and how we eat—both individually and collectively—reflect our gratitude, our stewardship, our generosity, our joy, and our love.
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