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Daily Dose (Nov 8 – 11)

Tuesday —

This week we’re talking about stillness as a healing sacred space.
It’s so necessary because it feels contrary to the messages we get from the world we live in.
What’s at stake here—with the sacred necessity of stillness—is not another to-do list, but an invitation to savor the pleasure of slowness, moments of stillness, even silence, letting them work their magic… calm to the spirit, the absence of urgency, the permission to notice small miracles.

In her book The Solace of Open Spaces, Gretel Ehrlich talks about the concept that space can heal. That space (stillness / open spaces—created by silence) represents sanity. We forget that silence can be a fullness, rather than a void (something that needs to be filled).
Stillness and silence can allow the mind to run through its paces without any need for justification.
Stillness and silence can let us recover—grab hold of—those parts of our self which have been so scattered, so disparate, throughout the week.
“We can make our minds so like still water than beings gather about us than they may see their own images, and so live for a moment with a clearer, perhaps even a fiercer life, life because of our quiet,” William Butler Yeats wrote.
Or as a friend told me, “It feels like my life has been saved and I wasn’t even aware of any danger. I see the stillness as a necessity, demandable, honorable. This is not sinful, or indulgent, or wasteful, or underserved.”

Gratefully, silence (stillness) can let the particulate of daily nuisances (too often toxic, and Lord knows we contend with a good deal of such) sift down to the bottom. Letting our being be filled with pure air, straight to the head and heart.
To sit still is to practice Sabbath—meaning literally, to quit.
To stop.
To take a break.
To make uncluttered time.
It’s all about what we can notice—and see—when we slow down and let the silence descend. It’s the permission to pay attention. To be here now.

Some of you lucky ones got up early and were able to witness the total lunar eclipse (our last one until 2025).
Here, the power is back on. Grateful. Thanks for the emails, no need to drive to a pub for this Sabbath Moment.
And today is Election Day here in the United States. Please take the time to vote.

Wednesday —

“Everyone needs a place to retreat; a spot where the world goes quiet enough for the soul to speak,” Angie Weiland-Crosby reminds us.
Yes and amen. Stillness (sanctuary and silence) as healing and restorative and rejuvenating sacred space.

It is my wish for every one of us. This poem from Becky Hemsley did my heart good. And reminded me of the gift of grace and sufficiency in stillness and sanctuary.

She sat at the back and they said she was shy,
She led from the front and they hated her pride,
They asked her advice and then questioned her guidance,
They branded her loud, then were shocked by her silence,
When she shared no ambition they said it was sad,
So she told them her dreams and they said she was mad,
They told her they’d listen, then covered their ears,
And gave her a hug while they laughed at her fears,
And she listened to all of it thinking she should,
Be the girl they told her to be best as she could,
But one day she asked what was best for herself,
Instead of trying to please everyone else,
So she walked to the forest and stood with the trees,
She heard the wind whisper and dance with the leaves,
She spoke to the willow, the elm and the pine,
And she told them what she’d been told time after time,
She told them she felt she was never enough,
She was either too little or far far too much,
Too loud or too quiet, too fierce or too weak,
Too wise or too foolish, too bold or too meek,
Then she found a small clearing surrounded by firs,
And she stopped… and she heard what the trees said to her,
And she sat there for hours not wanting to leave,
For the forest said nothing, it just let her breathe.
Becky Hemsley

Thursday —

We humans sure do go out of our way to manufacture all kinds of options in order to make life more complicated. The result? A Hopi (Native American) word “koyaanisqatsi”. It translates, “life out of balance”. Of course it doesn’t take a long, unpronounceable word to know the problem. But it helps to know that it’s been around awhile. Life’s difficulties and obligations impact us all. They pinch, constrain and put blinders on us. So, it’s not that we don’t pay attention, it’s just that with our blinders, we may not even notice… the gentle gifts of the day.

I love this from Gabrielle Roth. “In many shamanic societies, if you came to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions:
‘When did you stop dancing?
When did you stop singing?
When did you stop being enchanted by stories?
When did you stop being comforted by the sweet territory of silence?’”
This week we’ve been embracing the invitation of the fourth question. Comforted by the sweet territory of silence—to be replenished and renewed. And with that renewal, the gift of enough.

It’s not easy because of our internal tug of war about assigning value. We lump anything not of value into that great compost bin contrived to amass our “wasted time”.
In other words… A nap is approved only if I’ve worked hard enough to deserve it, or if I’m feeling under the weather. A day off is condoned if it is my due. A loll through the garden is acceptable only if I pull some weeds on the way through. A wasted afternoon is allowed so long as it doesn’t happen too often, and I seem duly contrite.
But it’s deeper than all of that, isn’t it? It seems that our perception of what is real is distorted.
Real becomes anything of “use”, in other words, anything that has market value or is of pragmatic significance. The afternoon then, can no longer be just celebrated. Or delighted in. It has to be used judiciously. Which takes some mental gymnastics when that use is soaking in a hot tub, reading a novel, taking a nap, watching your six-month-old son (or grandson) gurgle and slap at a mobile, admiring the hummingbirds as they wage turf wars near the feeders off the back deck, or smiling at the clouds that scroll through the sky, one in the shape of a great humpback whale.

Friday —

“Everyone needs a place to retreat; a spot where the world goes quiet enough for the soul to speak,” Angie Weiland-Crosby reminds us.

“In many Muslim cultures, when you want to ask them how they’re doing, you ask: in Arabic, Kayf haal-ik? or, in Persian, Haal-e shomaa chetoreh? How is your haal? What is this haal that you inquire about? It is the transient state of one’s heart. In reality, we ask, “How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?” When I ask, “How are you?” that is really what I want to know. I am not asking how many items are on your to-do list, nor asking how many items are in your inbox. I want to know how your heart is doing, at this very moment. So. Tell me. Tell me your heart is joyous or aching. Tell me your heart is sad or grateful, torn or hopeful.” (Omid Safi’s “Disease of Being Busy.”)

Tell me your heart craves human touch. “Being in touch with the heart tells us the quality of our existence, tells us how we recognize the truth,” Russ Hudson writes. “The heart also is the place where we know who we really are.”
This week we’ve been talking about the non-negotiable gift of sanctuary—places and spaces of stillness and silence where our heart (and spirit) is replenished, nourished and renewed.
I go to my sanctuary to let the cares of the day dissipate.
I go to my sanctuary to listen to my haal, my heart.
I go to my sanctuary to regain my soul and my grounding.
I go to my sanctuary to hear the voice of grace.

“Your sacred space is where you find yourself again and again.” Joseph Campbell reminded us. “To live in a sacred space is to live in a symbolic environment where spiritual life is possible, where everything around you speaks of the exaltation of the Spirit. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you might find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.”

Prayer for our week…
Here’s our Prayer Blessing…
Lord, help me
to live this day quietly, peacefully.
To lean upon
Thy great strength trustfully, restfully.
To wait for
the unfolding of Thy will patiently, serenely.
To meet others peacefully, joyously.
To face tomorrow confidently, courageously.
St. Francis of Assisi

Photo… “Good morning Terry, Sunrise on the farm, from Pleasant Plains, Illinois. The stillness and contemplations bringing forth restoration and new life.” Andrea Liston

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