Did someone go through our world and change the price tags that determine what we value? And what grounds us? It feels that way to me.
In conversations and email, I hear two consistent themes; depletion (from overload, distraction and hurry) and disconnect (diminished trust from fear and projection).
The cacophony in our world is loud. And if we’re at all insecure about our status, we are susceptible to (blinded by) public opinion, social media pressure and mob mentality. Bluntly, we lose our way. Okay, I’ll personalize this; I lose my way. And here’s how I know; when I demean, exclude, diminish, withhold mercy or withhold empathy (from others or myself) I lose my way.
So. Here’s the deal: We need to pause. It is necessary to “quiet the internal noise,” in order to hear the gentle lessons of the heart and stories about sufficiency, not scarcity.
In a national magazine, an ad for the Humane Society minced no words. Above an adorable puppy and kitten, the ad read, “It’s who owns them that makes them important.”
Our wellbeing, is about who or what, owns us. The good news is this; when we lose our way, our authentic self is not gone. It’s just been unembraced, and marginalized.
There is a bad car accident on a busy street. A woman, from one of the vehicles, lay in the street, in need of medical assistance. A young woman bends over the body. A man rushes over.
“Move away please,” he tells the woman. “I’ve had CPR training. Let me handle this.” He pulls out his training manual.
After a minute, the young woman taps him on the shoulder and says, “When you get to the part about calling a doctor, I’m already here.”
In Parker Palmer’s words, “Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic selfhood. As we do so, we will find our path of authentic service in the world.”
So. Let us wade in, returning to the truth of who we are (you know, the one already here), and to the light we can spill. To live fully into the self I’ve been given, an authentic self not gummed up with so many limiting stories.
And Lord, it took me back to something that I’d lost
Somewhere, somehow along the way.
Kris Kristofferson, Sunday Morning Coming Down
Mother Teresa once told a roomful of lepers how much God loved them. She told them that they are “a gift to the rest of us.”
Interrupting her, an old leper raises his hand, and she calls on him. “Could you repeat that again?” he asks. “It did me good. So, would you mind; just saying it again.”
Yes please. Just say it again.
I love the title of Tim O’Brien’s book, The Things They Carried (about a group of soldiers in Vietnam). The title fits what we’re asking today, What do we carry as reminders in order to sustain, replenish and nourish, and not lose our way?
On my desk is a medicine pouch. A gift from a Native American friend. 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.
All of it marinated, by the way, in an elixir of humor. Because I do know this; if my pouch is filled with a need for control and answers, I lose lightheartedness and can easily be seized with frustration, fear, panic, rage, despair, depression and exasperation. (You get the picture?) Let’s just call it heatstroke of the heart.
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 and to create life for those around us?
What if… wired to care, we see in this life, this day, even in the very muddle of the ordinary, even in the very chaos, the permission to trust our sufficiency, embrace our wounds as they become sacred wounds, and become places of empathy, compassion, healing. Because grace is alive and well.
“Spirituality means waking up.” (Anthony de Mello reminds us.) To the power of the present moment. There is no doubt that waking up isn’t always cheerful. Or easy. It is, however, worth it.
Because wholehearted people live present, susceptible to tenderness and mercy, human touch and healing.
Yes please, Just say it again.
Here’s why my medicine pouch resonates; I need something visceral, incarnational, liturgical. I am, literally, grounded.
We cut ourselves little slack. Because we need invitations to marinate in grace. To remember that the sacred is close by. To see life in fullness, hopefulness, wonder, gratitude, beauty, silence, prayer, connection and sufficiency. And from this marinade of grace, we embrace our humanity and all that enriches it; empathy, tenderness, inclusion, forgiveness. We let ourselves spill the light we receive, we give, offer, hold, touch, care, soothe, empathize and invite sanctuary.
What’s in your medicine pouch this week?
I’m off to the airport later this evening, to Cincinnati, to spend the week with the good people at Franciscan Media. We’re recording the audio book for This Is the Life: Mindfulness, Finding Grace, and the Power of the Present Moment. It’s my new book, due out October 14. I’m honored to work with them. Stay tuned. (There’s a big smile on my face in case you couldn’t tell.)
This afternoon I’m in the garden. Tomatoes off the vine and cucumbers and onions, for a wee salad with lunch.
It’s back to school week for many. I think that means respite for parents.
Quote for your week…
Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you. L.R. Knost
Note: On September 9 we push the pause button with the eCourse How to Harness the Power of Pause. You’ll be receiving an email invite. If it’s not your thing, no worries, just ignore or better yet, pass it on. For those of you who want a dose of replenishment, I’ll see you in the course.
SM reflection questions and exercises are available for group and personal use. Let me know if you want to receive.
SABBATH MOMENT BULLETIN BOARD
Today’s photo credit — In St. Hildegard’s footsteps, the vineyards surrounding her Abbey, Rudesheim, Germany… Cathy Roby… Thank you Cathy… keep sending your photos… send to email@example.com
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Sept 9 – Oct 4–eCourse How to Harness the Power of Pause
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Sept 7 — Whispering Winds Center, Julian, CA
Oct 23 — St. Mary, Park City, UT
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In the mailbag…
–Thank you for you note on “the light that shines.” I am a caregiver of 54 years, yes 54. I care for my husband who has Muscular Dystrophy. He is now 79 and things are progressing rapidly. Meanwhile, I have not too well myself. Without going on further I could really, really use some extra prayers about now as I am so anxious and worried. I saw your presentation at St. Gall Catholic church in Gardnerville, NV recently. I look forward to your return when possible. Thank you for your time. Judy
–I could not love this post more… thank you!!! This just tilted my focus and put me back on a steady course today. It has been a vexing week. All better now!! Blessing to you and your offerings. Cindy
–Thank you for this medication. It went straight to my heart. I will be using it to start my Centering prayers from now on. I look forward to your weekly audios. God bless you. Maurine
–Thank you so much for these powerful insights. They were needed balm for my soul. Blessings and prayers. Sr. Val
–Dear Terry, Your reflection is a very powerful reminder and admonition of the call to the embrace of our “greater selves.” Thank you for your personal revelation of coming into the need and grace of compassion with ourselves and our hope in the goodness of life. That is, our true interior life, the fullness of ongoing growth in the love of God that transcends and transforms what the world imposes upon us in fear and our own sense of helplessness. Also, I am so grateful for the encounter you what with having to wait in the lines for the Vashon Ferry. That in itself is a real life encounter of how we are to put into place our release of impatience and reliance of peace. Thank you dear brother! Larry
–Two Thoughts- 1. This is me. 2. I am enough. Two Actions – 1. Spread the light. 2. Spread the love Andrea
–Thank you, Terry Hershey! Your message really speaks to me today. The beginning of the week, I’m hopeful and ready to tackle the week. But by Friday, I’m discouraged and depressed by all the ranting, the lies being told, and etc. etc. People tell me turn off the TV, don’t read. But how does that help? Living in a bubble is not going to make me feel better. You message is the only one that helps me deal with the stuff being thrown around on TV and social media. It helps me find the good stuff to focus on and feed my desire to learn more. It helps me to find my light! Thank you again for touching my heart with your compassion and love. If I may quote you, “Keep spilling your light.” It really helps! Judy
–Oh the FERRY !!!! Thank you for including that. The humor of bearing witness. Understanding. Anne of Green Gables asked Marilla, “Don’t you ever get into the Depths of Despair?” “No, I do not. To despair is to turn your back on God,” said Marilla. Then, God, when my frustrations are too much, and I’m given yet another ‘opportunity’ to ‘learn’. Makes me laugh, thinking, “God don’t you have time for anyone else? It’ always me, me, me?” Got my first chickens, almost 8 years ago. Whoa. Really? Best teachers I’ve ever had. Stewardship. Once learned, stewardship, it applies to all in life. Inward, and outward. Stewardship is so potent it’s obvious governments are afraid of it. Stewardship is in thanks to all those inalienable rights & Earth given from the Creator. That light in the corner of the hut, unlit? It’s part of the stewardship we have to ourselves. Yes, all this from Chickens. More of God’s sense of humor, in my life. Thank you for all you do. Garden and Be Well, Tara
–Terry – thanks for this reflection. I appreciate them every week – but this came at a particularly necessary and poignant time for me. In the midst of some personal and professional struggles, you helped me re-light my lamp. In gratitude, Bill
POEMS AND PRAYERS
My idea of God is a God of Infinite Mercy who can hope where there is no hope, can love where there is no love, who reaches out to the vulnerable and touches them gently on the shoulder, and whispers in their ear, you are not alone. That’s my God. He lives in me. Jon Katz
You can call it a decision
I say it’s how we’re made
There’s no point in shouting from your island
Proclaiming only Jesus saves
There will always be suffering
And there will always be pain
But because of it there’ll always be love
And love, we know, it will remain
Everybody gets lonely
Feel like it’s all too much
Reaching out for some connections
Or maybe just their own reflection
Not everybody finds it
Not like the two of us
Sometimes all anybody needs
Is a human touch
A Celtic Blessing
May the light of your soul guide you.
May the light of your soul bless the work that you do
with the secret love and warmth of your heart.
May you see in what you do the beauty of your own soul.
May the sacredness of your work bring healing, light
and renewal to those who work with you
and to those who see and receive your work.
May your work never weary you.
May it release within you wellsprings of
refreshment, inspiration and excitement.
May you be present in what you do.
May you never become lost in bland absences.
May the day never burden.
May dawn find you awake and alert,
approaching your new day with dreams, possibilities and promises.
May evening find you gracious and fulfilled.
May you go into the night blessed, sheltered and protected.
May your soul calm, console and renew you.