The Pace of Guidance

 Weathered, 12"x16" acrylic on canvas board

Weathered, 12"x16" acrylic on canvas board

Conspire Practice Reflection for Sunday, August 12

This week in Conspire, Lindsay lead us in a Quaker inspired contemplative practice. Longing to move at a slower pace and listen to the wisdom in our lives and our response to them, we opened ourselves to the possibility of moving “at the pace of guidance,” as Christina Baldwin puts it in her book, The Seven Whispers.

With curiosity and compassion, we sat silently as Lindsay offered some questions to help us access our inner teachers. 

When you meditate or pray, what shows up around this matter?
What are your best hopes in regard to this issue?
What are your fears in regard to this issue?
Six months from now, what are your hopes and fears?
When you think of this path, what color comes to mind?
What associations do you have with this color?
What would be most life-giving for you in this situation?
Is there an inspirational song that comes to mind as you ponder this matter?
Where do you feel heaviness, sadness, or draining energy?
What criteria or values are most important to you as you consider this decision?

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” ~Rainer Maria Rilke

We meet again next Sunday, August 19, at 11:05a, in the Jones Education Building at St. Paul’s Methodist, in room J-203.

May your pace be in tune with your inner guide and the compassion you have for yourself and all those you pass be steady and strong.

Practice with a Tear and a Smile

 Cloud, 12"x12" acrylic on canvas board

Cloud, 12"x12" acrylic on canvas board

This week in Conspire / Practice Houston, we practiced Lectio Divina with Khalil Gibran’s poem, A Tear and a Smile.

I found the full poem on this web page, https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/a-tear-and-a-smile-3/

Here is a link to the practice instructions for creating a Lectio Divina Collage.
If you enjoy this practice, here are some ways to search for poetry to use for your practice. For this poem, I searched the Poem Hunter website for a topic. I also subscribe to a Poem a Day on Poets.org

Often when I practice Lectio Divina, I also create a found poem or blackout poem. These are the lines I lifted from Khalil Gibran’s beautiful piece.

Flow from every part
hidden things
a tear to unite
depths of my spirit
flower folds her petals
the sun’s kiss
cloud floats
move in the world of matter
a joy to meet
the breeze of death
return the ocean

The idea that felt the most comforting and consoling was an image of a white puffy cloud floating across a bright blue sky, carrying the weight and the depths of the oceans. My prayer of intention became this

Move in the world of matter as a cloud floats
carry the depths of the ocean
with grace and ease, float.

The Weight of a Quilt

 Scout's "Grandmama Quilt"

Scout's "Grandmama Quilt"

The weight of a quilt

a stain on a hand written recipe

the loopy signature on a greeting card

The weight of a quilt

A story heard while sitting on a kitchen counter

A song frantically scribbled on a legal pad

hidden in the closet, lodged behind a guitar case

The weight of a quilt

dissimilar to the stories left untold

A tapestry of colors and patterns

measured, calculated,

selected, stitched meticulously

The weight of quilt

a well designed protector,

A grandmother’s hug.

A prayer and a promise

for what's to come.

Welcoming a Creative Shift

 Summersfest 24x24 acrylic on canvas

Summersfest 24x24 acrylic on canvas

This week I finished the book The Power of TED (The Empowerment Dynamic) by David Emerald. I am stunned at how much the victim orientation trained me to be a problem seeking problem solver. I am in the process of shifting from the dreaded drama triangle to the empowerment dynamic, from victim orientation to co-creator orientation.

This week in Conspire, we practiced the Welcoming Prayer.  It is difficult to explain how much more I got from this practice after steeping myself in the creator orientation rather than the victim orientation. There may be various resources for learning about The Empowerment Dynamic and the Dreaded Drama Triangle. Much of the work I have done in the past 10 years can fit into this framework, shifting towards empowerment.  Here is a link to the book, The Power of TED, for sale on Amazon

Here are the poems and excerpts we used in our group practice session this morning.

Reading One
”Life, therefore, is a constant flow of invitations to awaken to these spiritual realities. Spiritual practices are, at their best, cooperation with life’s inherent tendency toward spiritual awakening and unfolding - a tendency that Christians name as grace. Awakening is the expression of that grace in which we see through our apparent separation and notice that we are already one with Divine Presence and with all that is. All that is missing is awareness.”
~Ancient Wisdom for Contemporary Living, By David G. Benner from Oneing, Vol.1, No. 1, The Perennial Tradition, a publication of The Rohr Institute,  page 22

Reading Two
Come, come, whoever you are.
Wonderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.
It doesn't matter.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vow
a thousand times
Come, yet again, come, come.

Practice
Follow this link for the instruction sheet I used for guiding us through The Welcoming Prayer.
Here is a link to information and programs centered around the Welcoming Prayer on ContemplativeOutreach.org

Reading Three
That Lives in Us
If you put your hands on this oar with me,
they will never harm another, and they will come to find
they hold everything you want.
If you put your hands on this oar with me, they would no longer
lift anything to your
mouth that might wound your precious land-
that sacred earth that is
your body.
If you put your soul against this oar with me,
the power that made the universe will enter your sinew
from a source not outside your limbs, but from a holy realm
that lives in us.
Exuberant is existence, time a husk.
When the moment cracks open, ecstasy leaps out and devours space; 
love goes mad with the blessings, like my words give.
Why lay yourself on the torturer's rack of the past and future? 
The mind that tries to shape tomorrow beyond its capacities
will find no rest.
Be kind to yourself, dear- to our innocent follies.
Forget any sounds or touch you knew that did not help you dance.
You will come to see that all evolves us.
If you put your heart against the earth with me, in serving
every creature, our Beloved will enter you from our sacred realm
and we will be, we will be
so happy. 

Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi