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A Place for Sanctuary. Sabbath Moment Daily Dose. (Nov 2 – 5)

Tuesday — This week we’re asking; where do we tether our identity for well-being (in a world where many feel lost or adrift)? Because if we cannot find that place, it is easy to stop playing music. To stop caring. Or risking. Or giving.
So, let’s start with the paradigm shift. (And the good news.) Here’s the deal: Life is not only about what has been lost; it’s about the music that resides and endures. Inside. Which means that we have a choice, to say how the story ends.
Tell me, where are you grounded?
Tell me, where can you play the music that spills from a whole heart?
I’m with Thich Nhat Hanh here…
“Our true home is in the present moment.
The miracle is not to walk on water.
The miracle is to walk on the green earth in the present moment.
Peace is all around us–in the world and in nature–and within us–in our bodies and our spirits.
Once we learn to touch this peace, we will be healed and transformed.”

The present moment invitation from the garden (our natural world) nourishes me. And when I am grounded, I do hear the music. And when I am grounded, I do let that music (of caring, risking and giving) spill to the world around me. Which means, if there’s a garden (cultivated or natural) nearby, count me in.
Today, I was grateful to spend the day at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. Completed in 1895, George Vanderbilt’s 250-room chateau is as remarkable (stunning) today as it was more than a century ago. It is a wonder both of architecture and hospitality.
And of garden serenity, the gardens (and forest space) designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted (the creator of Central Park in New York).
And I loved this; Olmsted wanted to create a landscape that “nourished the body and the spirit.” (Think about that. “Why do you want to cultivate a garden space?” “Because I don’t want to stop playing the music from my whole heart.”)
I spent the day, ambling and absorbing the gardening, letting it seep into my soul, remembering the words of poet May Sarton in Plant Dreaming Deep, about the gift of spending the morning “enjoying the air and watching for miracles.”

Wednesday — In Monday’s Sabbath Moment, we told the story of Lorraine Hunt Lieberson’s stolen viola, and a world turned upside down.
It’s a story about where we tether our identity (and well-being). Because if we cannot find that place, it is easy to stop playing music (that which flows from our authentic and whole hearted self). It’s easy to stop caring. Or risking. Or giving.
So, let’s remember our paradigm shift. And the good news that life is not only about what has been lost; it’s about the music that resides and endures. Inside. Which means that we have a choice, to say how the story ends.

Sometimes (well, to be honest, more often than not), we do tether our identity (meaning our worth and value) to what we do, or to our vocational label or tag. And what if that’s gone? Or taken away?
When we come face to face with the possibility that this me (and this sacred present moment even with our “loss” of the absence of my label) is enough. The gift of enough.
An invitation to bring my whole heart and self to this moment…
…to care and try and fall down and get back up and give
…and be on the lookout for those who are down and are unable to get back up.
My favorite story about enough and sufficiency comes from a certain African tribe. When a woman in the tribe knows she is pregnant, she goes out into the wilderness to pray and listen until she hears the song of the child she bears.
This tribe recognizes that every soul has its own vibration, expressing its unique flavor and purpose. Then the mother to be teaches the song to the other members of the tribe. The tribe sings the song to the child at birth. They sing when the child becomes an adolescent, when the adult is married, and at the time of parting and death.
But there is one other occasion when the villagers sing this song. If at any time during his (or her) life, the person causes suffering to another member of the tribe, (we can add here, at any time when their identity becomes untethered), the villager gather in a circle and set him (or her) in the center. They sing the song, to remind them not of the wrong done (or of what has been “lost”), but of their own beauty and potential.
When a child loses the way, it is love and not punishment that brings the lost one home.
I cannot tell you your song (the reminder of your sufficiency). But I can tell you this: you have one. Count on it.
And if you sit still, you may hear it.
It is the song that reminds us we are beautiful, when we feel ugly.
It is a song that reminds us of the gift of enough, when our world fells upside down.
It is the song that reminds us of the story that keeps our hope alive.

Quote for your week…
Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, savor you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Mary Jean Irion

Thursday — This week we’ve been talking about coming face to face with the possibility that this me (and this sacred present moment, even with our “losses”, even with the absence of our label) is enough. The gift of enough.
An invitation to bring my whole heart and self to this moment…
…to care and try and fall down and get back up and give
…and be on the lookout for those who are down and are unable to get back up.
The gift of enough… the music that resides and endures. Inside. Which means that we have a choice, to say how the story ends.
Meaning the specific question… where do we hear, where do we remember, where do we replenish, that music?

This week (traveling through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina) has been a wonderful reminder and affirmation for me, the gift and renewal and rebirth and healing we find in nature, in the world outside. The enchanting medicinal gifts from colors and hues and leaf shapes, and uninterrupted landscape, and undulation and open sky and clouds, and birds and the cool edge to autumn weather. My Oh My…
And I read this from the Diary of Anne Frank, “The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.”
Amen… And for me, the synonym for happy is restored… both grounded and grateful.

Speaking of which… a reader asked if I would give the full quote from Mary Jean Irion… Here you go… it’ll do your heart good…
“A normal day! Holding it in my hand this one last moment, I have come to see it as more than an ordinary rock, it is a gem, a jewel. In time of war, in peril of death, people have dug their hands and faces into the earth and remembered this. In time of sickness and pain, people have buried their faces in pillows and wept for this. In time of loneliness and separation, people have stretched themselves taut and waited for this. In time of hunger, homelessness, and wants, people have raised bony hands to the skies and stayed alive for this.
Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, savor you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it will not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky, and want more than all the world your return. And then I will know what now I am guessing: that you are, indeed, a common rock and not a jewel, but that a common rock made of the very mass substance of the earth in all its strength and plenty puts a gem to shame.”
(Yes, World: a Mosaic of Meditation)

Friday — This week we’ve been talking about coming face to face with the possibility that this me (and this sacred present moment, even with our “losses”, even with the absence of our label) is enough. The gift of enough.
An invitation to bring my whole heart and self to this moment… the invitation to resilience.

Resilience involves inviting all of life in: the longing, hunger, wildness, energy, appetite, hope, humor, beauty and irony. We are not outrunning life. Or outrunning the bad parts of life.
Only when we embrace do we see.
I know that often, I am afraid to honor that space, waiting instead for some issue to be resolved, for miracle to spirit me past the messiness. I wanted to see beyond the mess (the loss, the untidiness).
I know now that such a thing is possible only if I embrace the mess (the uncertainty, the muddle), this clay of life…
If I run, I do not honor.
If I do not honor, I do not allow for the space that enables me to give, receive, move, or grow.
There is a Taoist saying of Chuang Tzu: “One has to be in the same place every day watch the dawn from the same house, hear the same birds awake each morning, to racialize how inexhaustibly rich and different is sameness.”

There is something liberating in the notion of life as a journey. We are no longer encumbered by the need—the compulsion—to arrive.
Today—this day, thisness—can be sacred ground indeed.
And here’s the deal: Thisness invites savoring, and gives birth to wholeheartedness, joy, empathy, compassion and connection. In the sacrament of the present, fear and striving do not own us, and we welcome our imperfect and untidy parts.

Driving by Lake Chatuge in North Carolina, I stopped to watch a flock of geese. I was tempted to hang out and tell them some stories…

Here’s our Prayer Blessing…
May the sun bring you new energy by day,
may the moon softly restore you by night,
may the rain wash away your worries,
may the breeze blow new strength into your being,
may you walk gently through the world
and know it’s beauty all the days of your life.
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