Reminders that replenish us
“I have never been lost,” Daniel Boone once said about exploring remote areas. “But I will admit to being confused for several weeks.”
That’ll preach. And I will admit to the same. And it is no surprise, given the world in which we live.
There are times when we experience “koyaanisqatsi” (Hopi—Native American—word), which translates, “life out of balance”. Lord knows that there are too many ways that we can get sidetracked from replenishment. And sanctuary.
And one of those ways is forgetting that sanctuary and sufficiency is indeed alive and well inside of us, embraceable in moments when we stop; and allow ourselves the permission to be here now (yes, even in times of imbalance).
Today, I write this Sabbath Moment with two very clashing pictures in my mind and in my spirit. The celebration and festivity with the Super Bowl, and the devastation in Turkey and Syria.
In other words, a good day for us all to remember and ask, where do we find sustenance and renewal for our wellbeing? After all, it is in our DNA to be replenished and grounded.
The garden has always been that place for me, with its power to heal and sustain, where Sabbath and sanctuary tether and refuel my heart and spirit. However, because there are “out of balance” times—when we remember that health, physical, spiritual or mental, is not a guaranteed destination—we know attention and mindfulness is required.
And the permission to pause. And pay attention (our invitation to the sacrament of the present moment). So. Here’s our question… what does it take to “stay hydrated” emotionally and spiritually?
I love this… When the Shawnee and Chippewa (and other early people) went on hunts or vision quests or long journeys, each traveler would carry in a small rawhide pouch various tokens of spiritual power—perhaps a feather, a bit of fur, a claw, a carved root, a pinch of tobacco, a pebble or a shell. These were not simply magical charms; they were reminders of the energies that sustain all of life. By gathering these talismans into a medicine pouch, the hunter, traveler, or visionary seeker was recollecting the sources of healing and bounty and beauty. (And the tokens are known only to the wearer.)
I’m smiling big, because next to my desk hangs a rawhide pouch. A gift from a Native American retreatant, after I told the Hopi story. A pouch, now gratefully, filled with “tokens”.
But what if? What if the “tokens” in that pouch are not a magic wand to undo life, but instead, the power and the freedom to embrace the life we have been given, this life, and to create sanctuary and replenishment for those around us.
What if… they remind us that we are wired to care.
That we are wired to see in this life, this day, even in the very muddle of the ordinary, even in the very chaos of the ordinary gone awry, the permission to experience a whiff of the holy? What if?
Which begs the question; what are the reminders that sustain, replenish, and nourish us?
No worries, this isn’t a test. Even though the world we live in places a premium on “correct” answers… meaning that we can too easily miss the invitation to simply be present. To see, to listen, to touch, to receive… and to spill.
This I do know; if my “pouch” is filled with a need for control and answers, I can easily be seized with fear, despair, exasperation and frustration. (You get the picture?) Let’s call it heatstroke of the heart.
We can be so focused on a “cure,” that we miss the opportunity to be present, where we can make space for matters that hydrate and nurture health. I see the pouch as a wonderful invitation to pause, to be here now, and remember that replenishment and groundedness are real.
And lest we forget, we are on this journey together, so our groundedness spills to the world and to those around us.
This from Rev. Steven Charleston, Choctaw elder and retired Episcopal bishop. “It is not for me to tell you who you are, but please let me share this small insight. The beauty of your life is contained in its simplicity. You were born to be an agent of grace, sharing kindness into the world. You are an unconscious healer, restoring hope into the world. These two simple definitions are a spiritual job description. They represent the core of your calling. I believe they describe all of us, uniting us into a shared purpose. Beyond all of the differences we construct among ourselves, we have a common task. Agents of grace. Sources of hope. If we see ourselves in this way, the complexity we imagine becomes the simplicity we are.”
Count me in.
Today, I was grateful for this from Maria Shriver, “It’s a lot to fathom, and the images coming out of that region (Turkey) are devastating. But through the destruction, there was a light that shined as well. That light came from the heroic acts of those working to save the lives of family members and total strangers. Yes, the worst of nature was on display. But so was the best of humanity.
In moments like these, I’ve found that it’s best (or at least helpful) to focus one’s mind and heart on the best of humanity. While so much of the news rages on about the worst of us, I turn my focus to the best of us.
At the end of the day, that is a question we can all ask ourselves. What is the state of our souls? Is it strong? If not, are we trying to heal it and strengthen it? When the time comes—when we are called upon to show what we are made of—will we be able to show the best of ourselves or not?
We simply have to keep following their light, as well as the light that burns within each of us. It is our hope. It is our inspiration. It is our own superpower. May we each use it to better our world.”
On my walk this morning a good chat with the geese. They prefer chatting to what often feels like a homily.
And congrats to the Kansas City Chiefs, winning the Super Bowl.
Quote for our week…
Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts. Albert Einstein
Note: Shawnee story adapted from Scott Russell Sanders, Hunting for Hope
Today’s Photo Credit: “Terry, near St. Andrew’s Abbey (Benedictine monastery) in Valyermo, in the Mojave Desert, northern Los Angeles County,” Charlie Hedges… Thank you Charlie… Keep sending your photos… send to terryhershey.com
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Letters that do my heart good…
–Good Morning Terry, Thank you so much for lifting us out of places of fear, doubt and anxiety with your words of hope and encouragement. When I read your words this morning, the song “music of my heart” kept running through my mind. There is a glorious version by NSYNC & Gloria Estefan. It speaks to all those people in our lives who help us “listen to the music” to become what we are called to be. Thank you for helping us listen. Peg
–Terry, Your blogs are helping me maintain focus during a difficult time in my life. Thomas Merton, my anam cara, had a love for music. In his sparsely equipped hermitage he had a record player and loved jazz and Bob Dylan. Joan Baez visited him at the monastery. When he made trips to Louisville he was known to visit jazz clubs. As one person said, the improvisation in jazz allows musicians to listen and then to respond—in my mind a perfect description of contemplative life. Keep on keeping on. Blessings, Patrick
–Terry, Your “pause” yesterday, titled “Awareness,” reminded me of the exchange between the mole and the boy in that wonderful book “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse.” Mole asks the boy, What do you want to be when you grow up?” The boy paused as he thought. Then responded: “Kind.” I love the memory of that. Best, Richard
–A few months ago I was watching the Mr. Rogers doumentary film that was on Amazon Prime at the time. As it ended I lamented how much the world needs Mr. Rogers now. Then I told my wife, I think the closest person we have to Mr. Rogers today is Terry Hershey. For real. Robert
–Terry, Thank you for your guiding words each week. They have moved me to set up my own little quiet sanctuary (be it only on my patio) with a glider, potted flowers and prayer books. Thank you, Eileen
POEMS AND PRAYERS
Awake, O my soul,
to the beauty of the divine deep within you
and awake to its fragrance in the body of the earth.
Know its strength of attraction
and its grace to heal what has been torn apart.
Awake, O my soul,
to the beauty of the divine deep within you.
Awake, O my soul.
From John Philip Newell’s Sacred Earth Sacred Soul
I asked for Strength..
and God gave me difficulties to make me strong…
I asked for Wisdom.
and God gave me problems to solve…
I asked for Prosperity..
and God gave me a brain to work..
I asked for Courage..
and God gave me danger to overcome..
I asked for Love..
and God gave me troubled people to help..
I asked for Favors..
and God gave me opportunities…
I received nothing I wanted, yet
I received everything I needed..
I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance;
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.