Sara Bessey’s 40 Simple Practices for Lent, day 23: Tell someone you trust the truth you’ve been holding back.
As I read the instructions for this day, Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle came to mind. I have recently been diving deeply into her understanding of our Soul and the Sacred imaged as an Interior Castle. In Teresa’s image, there are seven dwellings. Each dwelling takes you closer and closer to the center, to the Sacred, to Oneness.
To get into the dwelling in the first place, we must enter it through prayer and meditation. Once we are in the first dwelling we learn that progression further into the dwellings depends upon a few things: humility, trust, self-understanding, and learning to stay centered in the chaos around you.
Here is Sara Bessey inviting us to deepen trust, as well as humility. Sharing of secrets with another creates a feeling of vulnerability, an inner fear of humiliation. Once the secret is shared, once it is heard without judgment, once the secret is no longer a secret, we recognize that our fear of humiliation was actually a fear connected to something deeper in our psyche, something blocking us from trusting fully, from being humble.
Feel the release of telling a secret for a moment. Bring to mind a moment you shared something secret—something you were afraid to share with another. Allow yourself to feel the beforehand: the fear, the ways in which you tried to talk yourself out of sharing, all of those emotions. Feel them for a few moments.
Then allow yourself to feel the after. Feel the release of the secret. Feel what happens in your body and spirit. Was the weight lifted? Did something shift in your heart? Was some dense heaviness released? Did you experience growing inner freedom?
Notice what happened. Offer a few moments of gratitude for this re-membering—that humility and trust offer us a path to greater inner freedom, to deeper connection with the Sacred.
Now, prayerfully consider what “secret” is currently holding you back, holding you hostage. Is it time to share it with a trusted friend, therapist, spiritual director, pastor, family member, etc.? What do you need to instill within yourself to obtain the courage to share it?
When you are ready, share it. Share it prayerfully. Share it with great humility. Share it with understanding that the Sacred is inviting you to healing, to freedom. Share it from your heart, with no judgement upon yourself.
May you feel the Sacred’s embrace as you share this secret.
May you know God’s mercy and grace through the sharing of this secret.
May you find a deeper Presence of the Holy as you share this secret.
Today in Sara Bessey’s 40 Simple Practices for Lent, she invites participants to go to Native-Land.ca and educate ourselves about the Land we live on.
For me this is a reminder of a few things:
(1) Who owns the Land? We seem to think we own it if we bought our house or our landlord if we rent. A person owns the land we live on. This is a Western mindset. It is one set upon domination and individualism vs stewardship. We go back to Genesis 2 and say, “God told us to have dominion over the land and rule it.” That is not what God said. God was inviting humanity to be caretakers, stewards of the Land; to recognize that the Land was gift from God, belongs to God our Creator. We are gifted with it for our lifetime, our time of ‘ownership.’ We do not own the Land. It belongs solely to the Creator of this Universe, to the Sacred, to God.
The Jubilee year in the Hebrew Bible brings that forth. Every 500 years the Land went back to its original owner, all debts forgiven, the slate wiped clean, a new start. A gift from God.
Who owns the Land? This question brought forth for me my childhood education in public school on the east coast. We learned all about the Pilgrims and how they came ashore. We learned how generous the Native Americans were, how they shared their land and food with the English. Never in my elementary school or public school teachings were we taught that the English stole the land from the Natives. They took ownership, a concept that Native Americans did not have at that time. They then kicked the Native Americans off their Land.
When we think about Land ownership we are being asked to remember privilege and racism and how those two came together to suppress and oppress the Native population, bringing some tribes close to extinction/genocide. It is important, at least for me, to use the word genocide. The Trail of Tears and other historical moments of ‘moving’ natives to more appropriate lands was steeped in racism and as effort to rid the US of the Native population (genocide).
As we think about the history of the Land we are on, it is important to acknowledge the pain, the oppression, the injustice, the theft that happened, especially here in the US. No land in the United States was acquired other than through stealing, taking, privilege.
As a white American my heritage is filled with moments like this. Although I myself did not do the action, I am benefitting centuries later from the actions of my historical people. For me, as I contemplate the Land I live on, the Petroglyphs and their ancient historical value as a trade route, I recognize the harm done by White Man and how that harm continues today — to Land and to the Native population. I confess to the Sacred the role of White Man asking that not to be my experience, my expression of my own whiteness.
Today, I honor this Sacred Land I live on. It is Sacred. The Petroglyphs have a powerful place in the history of the Native Cultures. It saddens me when I walk through this Sacred Land and notice defacing of Petroglyphs, defacing and marking up of rocks as if the person was trying to make their own. I witness how privilege, disregard for the Sacredness of Land, this white heritage continues to cause harm.
I weep in my heart of hearts, crying out to the Sacred for transformation, for healing of this wound hundreds of years old.
I weep for this Land who has lost its practice, its role in the life of its people.
I weep for the people, the Pueblos who have lost their land so that we could creat Albequerque.
And I hope that one day each person’s heart will be transformed and see the Sacredness of the Land all around them.
I hope that one day each person’s heart will be aligned and aware that the only Owner of this Land is our Creator.
May we all take time to learn about the Land we live on.
May we all take time this day to honor its heritage, to honor those who lived upon it before us — its ancestors.
May we all take time this day to offer a gift, an offering, a prayer of healing to the Land we live on.
May we all take time to thank our Creator for this beautiful creation.
As you all know, I am participating in Sara Bessey's 40 Simple Practices for Lent. Today, day 10, is 40 things, experiences, or people I am thankful for. This day comes at a time when I have been feeling the pull back to my book: Grateful Heart, 100 themes on gratitude.
This day feels like a gift to bring myself back into conversation with my book, Grateful Heart, whose rough draft was finished December 31, 2019. What is left is for me to take the hand-written rough draft and type it into my computer, editing and creating the draft I will send to an editor friend, a pastor friend and a writer friend.
Grateful Heart arose during a silent retreat while I was praying and listening to what to do with the quarter-time I am not pastoring. (I am a 3/4 time pastor at the moment.) This book arose while walking with the Sacred. Teach gratitude as a spiritual practice. Offer a tool that will help people create a spiritual practice of gratitude. This book is aimed at doing both. Below I will follow the first 40 themes of my book, offering a gratitude for each them.
1 - I am grateful for my life -- for all the ups and downs that have brought me to where I am. Looking back, I would not remove any of the obstacles, challenges, dark-times. They all brought vital gifts and learnings for me. Without them I would not be who I am today. I am grateful for who I have become.
2 - I am grateful for that there is a powerful Compassionate Presence in this Universe that I refer to as the Sacred, God, Christ, Spirit. I am grateful that my connection to the Sacred entices and invites me to healing, growth, becoming a better human, deepening compassion and more.
3 - I am grateful for prayer, for a way to have conversation and be in relationship with the Sacred. I am ever changed each time I sit silently listening, each time I walk communing with Creation, each time I speak into the Love that surrounds me.
4 - I am grateful for my body and holds my spirit and soul. I am grateful for the gifts it gives me: walking, exercise, touch, stillness, and more.
5 - I am grateful for each of my five senses this morning:
5b - Sight: the beauty that greeted Pippa and I as dawn awakened creation
6 - Hearing: the sounds of the birds singing at the feeders
7 - Smell: the scent of chai tea awakening and feeding my soul. Pippa is grateful for the scents on the grass and rocks, her news...
8 - Taste: maple syrup that flowed over the french toast I made, sweetening and moisturizing it.
9 - Touch: I am grateful for the gentle awakening touch Pippa gives in the morning, leaning on my body awakening me, and for my hands that can pet and love on her.
10 - I am grateful for my intuition that is awakening in me a greater and deeper understanding of where my anxious-self connects in my body, when she arises, and what she needs to breath and be free.
11 - Body Communication: I am grateful for the way my body communicated that I needed to slow down, to rest, to stop over-working. I am not so happy how it did it, but that I was able to listen before I ended up in bed flat on my back.
12 - I am grateful for the nourishment Pippa finally ate this morning, for learning that with egg on her dry food she will eat and nourish herself.
13 - Sleep: I am grateful for a full nights sleep without disturbance.
14 - Movement: I am grateful for my personal trainer who has created core building exercises for me, arriving in my email each morning.
15 - Learning: I am grateful for the things I am learning about Pippa to help her with her anxiety. This morning I learned that going out before light creates anxiety for her. Going out after the sun has risen, when you can see the world creates a more relaxed enjoyable experience.
16 - Mindfulness: I am grateful for this Lenten practice that is creating a mindfulness in me regarding my anxious self, and that part of me (calling it after the flower essences that Pippa and I are taking) that Outbursts when overwhelmed or anxiety rises too much.
17 - Hobby: I am grateful for the fiber arts that I engage in: crocheting, weaving, knitting. They invite creativity and relaxation/meditation all at the same time.
18 - Accomplishments: I am grateful that for some reason I am not turning on my TV, an accomplishment I have been working on for months. With Pippa, with my intention of paying attention to my anxious self, the TV has needed to stay off. It seems to be a numbing agent, numbing me from myself, from my inner world, from healing and growth.
19 - Spiritual practices: I am grateful for Open the Door by Joyce Rupp. This devotional is the devotional that the small groups I lead at St Paul's are engaged in. It continues to invite me to open the door of my heart wider and wider.
20 - Spaciousness: I am grateful for the ways that a morning cup of chai tea, a meditative sit, and time standing and puttering around the yard (while Pippa does her thing) creates spaciousness in my morning.
21 - Sabbath: I am grateful that today is my sabbath and I get to take the pace I desire, the walks I want to take, read a good book, work on my book and more.
22 - Rest: I am grateful for a book, Saints for All Occasions, that gave me a spiritual and mental rest this past week, a rest that TV would not have given me.
23 - Stillness: I am grateful for the stillness of the early morning before anyone is up and moving; although Pippa is not so grateful for that stillness. It seems to make her jumpy.
24 - Generosity: I am grateful for the generosity of friends who have been present helping me teach Pippa good inside greeting and manners, as well as are helping me work with her on her leash.
25 - Creativity: I am grateful for the ways in which my Wednesday small group engaged Open the Door creatively, drawing and painting their doors and sharing those drawings and learnings.
26 - Laughter: I am grateful to have laughter back in my house. Pippa brings such joy and hilarity.
27 - Indulgence: I am grateful for the small indulgences I allow myself, especially my Honey Mamma's raw chocolate bars. These chocolate bars have supported me and freed me from sugar, giving me the chocolate that I so yearn for in a healthier way.
28 - Household tasks: Today is laundry day. I am grateful that I have a day when I can putter and do household tasks instead of trying to cram them into a busy schedule.
29 - Errands: I am grateful for the staff who have been helping me get all the stuff a dog needs.
30 - Tedious Tasks: I am grateful for the dishwasher that helps me keep my kitchen clean. I am also grateful for the ways in which Thich Nat Hahn's writing have reworked dishwashing to open me to its spiritual practice qualities.
31 - Job: I am grateful for the job of pastoring -- its many blessings and its many challenges; for the aspects I love (preaching, worship creating, small groups) to the aspects I do because it is part of the job (best practices, administration, currently financial/Trustee stuff).
32 - Work: I am grateful for the soul work that God has brought into my life, especially the books She has laid upon my heart: Grateful Heart, 4 Elements children's books, Animal Spirit Medicine Oracle Cards and book, Silent Retreat for Beginners, and more.
33 - Play: I am grateful that Pippa has become more comfortable and is playing with me now.
34 - Mountaintop of Yesterday was finalizing the adoption of Pippa. I am grateful for that!
35 - A moment of feeling cherished: Pippa licking me and smiling and wiggling with joy that I am her human.
36 - Low of the day (yesterday): Realizing that the place I adopted Pippa from really is not going to be able to help me with her behavioral reactive leash issues. Their behavioral person was no help. He had nothing to truly offer. It was frustrating. I am grateful that I asked, that I listened, that I spoke what I needed and that I asked for resources that will be helpful. This low of the day yesterday comes with a gratitude for voicing what I needed to voice in a compassionate gentle manner.
37 - Unexpected grace: I am grateful that I was able to be gentle with myself yesterday, bowing out of a previous engagement, allowing myself the space and time to settle in and finalize Pippa's adoption.
38 - Challenging moment: Pippa reacted outside on leash. I am grateful that the human she reacted to did not react back, but rather understood what was happening as I spoke "She is a rescue." I am grateful that I was able to handle Pippa without my anxiety going over the top. It rose. I breathed. Pippa calmed as we walked away. We are learning together. I am learning that outbursts within myself happen in those moments.
39 - Moment of balance, peace and harmony: snuggling up with Pippa at the end of the day, book in hand, warm herbal tea. Lovely.
40 - A moment with the Sacred: My small group did a visualization during our 7 minute sit. I am grateful for how the Sacred arrived and offered insight and healing in that short time.
What are your 40 gratitudes today?
I invite you to share them, or at least one, in the comments below....
On day three of Sara Bessey’s 40 Simple Practices for Lent, she invited us to contemplate what we would fast from (give up) for Lent. In my reflection, I also invited you to contemplate what you would take on (spiritual practice, healing practice) to fill in the void created by giving up a negative, limiting, undesired belief, practice or habit.
I wanted to check in and see how everyone was doing.
I will share my experience so far:
Pippa came into my life very quickly. I had gone to look at other dogs, just to look. Not to adopt. I was looking at two bonded older dogs. They were awesome, but the two dog energy was way too much for me at the moment. I felt an inward overwhelm.
On a whim I heard myself asking to meet Pippa. In she came. She was beautiful and shy. I was unsure. Then a moment shifted and she walked up to me, licked me, started wagging her tail and smiling. She was inviting me to bring her into my heart, into my family. My heart broke open.
Then I heard the words from the staff. “Would you like to meet with a behavior specialist because Pippa has leash aggression with dog?” I said yes. When the behavior specialist arrived, I learned it was people and dogs.
But what could I do? Pippa had won my heart. I could not imagine anything other than her sweet behavior. I took her home on a trial basis. On the way to the car, she showed her “I will protect my human” behavior on leash. We have work to do!
Because Pippa joined me, I began to reflect upon my interior space. I began to notice that I have an anxious presence within me. It was very much present at the moments that Pippa and I would be ready to step out the door for a walk, when people came to my house for dinner or group. I realized that for Lent, I desired to give up this anxious presence so that I could be a more non-anxious stabilizing presence for Pippa.
Pippa has shown me the when this anxious presence appears. She is a fantastic teacher in this respect.
I have been doing the interior work to uncover what is hidden below this anxious presence. It comes layer by layer, starting with the surface and diving deeper. Each layer uncovers the next opportunity to be a non-judgmental witness to my own interior wounds. Each layers invites me into deeper unconditional love for myself, for my Soul. Each layer unleashes more and more of the Sacred’s Light into my life.
Another lesson Pippa is teaching me is to ask for help. I do not have to do this alone. Support, whether people or flower essences, gives me greater courage to be present in a non-anxious way. I have nothing to fear really. Pippa is fine if I am fine. Pippa is relaxed if I am relaxed. Pippa reflects back to me my inner self. She reflects back to me how support shifts my interior self, opening up a new experience and expression.
I am one who does things on my own. I don’t need help. As a child, youth and young adult I was constantly proving myself — proving that I could do something. Growing up with two older brothers created that dynamic within myself. Being the first out queer person seeking ordination in the Philadelphia Baptist Association brought that dynamic deeper into reality for me. It has been my way of being. Yet, it does not serve me well.
Surrounding myself with supportive people, supportive energy, supportive Spirit strengthens me, instills courage, encourages me to be in a gently witness-self place, opens me in ways I did not know.
I am grateful for this Lenten season and the gifts it has already given me. I look forward to the next layer that Pippa will teach me to uncover as we both walk this healing growing path together.
I invite you to share in the comments how your Lenten journey is going.
How is the Sacred bringing teachers and support into your path to encourage you in your healing, growing journey?
We live in a world that keeps us busy. Our jobs keep us busy, and many times overwork us. Our personal lives have us on the go — so much to do with so little time! There is noise everywhere in our lives: our devices, TV, traffic, music, social media. Many of us do not get the opportunity to experience Silence on a regular basis as part of our day to day life. Getting away, being Intentional, and greeting Silence is vital to our spiritual lives and to deepen our relationship with the Sacred.
The Silence I am talking about is not so much not talking or an absence of noise. It is about creating sacred space to listen deeply within.
Silence is more than meditating and praying. It is about being in a state of consciousness that opens you to listening to the depth of your Soul and the Sacred. It is about connecting in and journeying with the Silence that comes into Presence during meditation/centering prayer and is there ready for you once you awaken from that prayer-time.
There is a softness, an invitational quality to this Silence that is different from being in your home alone doing chores. That silence feels lovely. The Silence you engage here is one that, yes is lovely for the most part, yet has an invitation, a challenge, to soul work.
To greet Silence, we need to create regular periods of time where we step away from the noise of our lives; where we create the time and space to sit, to walk in nature, to attend to our interior hearts and lives, to Be fully present with ourselves, with our Soul, with the Sacred.
Sara Bessey, in her 40 Simple Practices for Lent, suggests the beginning of this on Day Five: Choose silence for the day instead of TV, radio, etc. And she deepens it on Day Six: Unfollow or mute five social media accounts that make you feel angry, afraid, envious.
The work of this Day Six is the work of intentionally choosing to step closer to Silence, to Soul. I have found that social media is noise in my life. It does not bring me joy. It took a good amount of self-reflection before I was willing to admit that it does not truly connect me with others either. It offers a mask that creates an illusion of connection, of friends and family, of socializing. Yet, something is missing. For many times when we sign off social media we do not feel uplifted, any more deeply loved.
Rather, I feel distracted, like I whittled away valuable time. I feel frustrated, disheartened by all the anger, bullying, hatred that runs through my various feeds from time to time. Twitter is the worse for me. Instagram is the one that leaves me smiling, laughing, uplifted.
Catherine Price, in How to Break Up with Your Phone, invites you to begin to practice mindfulness with social media. She invites the reader to pay attention to their emotional state before going on social media: why are you going on social media? How do you feel before you open the ap? Then after the experience of social media: how do you feel after being on social media? Did it meet or exceed your expectations? Did it create the feelings you were hoping for before you went on?
The truth is, if we peel the surface layers away, the answer that arises is that social media does not create want we hope it will, what we yearn for in our lives. Social media creates noise that allows us to stay numb to what we are truly seeking.
Silence invites us to be present with what we are feeling, to hold it before the Sacred, to ask for guidance and healing, and then to sit companioned in our struggle, in our hopes, in our prayers.
I invite you this day to take stock in social media.
How do you use it?
How and when does it amplify your life?
How and when do you use it to distract you, to numb you from life?
What do you really want? How conscious do you want to be in your life? How much power do you want social media to have over you, numbing you from your own conscious awakened experience of life?
Silence and the Sacred are there if you invite them in. They will companion you into a deeper understanding of yourself, your Soul, your life, your purpose. All you have to do is create space and time, ask, sit, and listen.
I found this gem as I was preparing to write a different post. But it seemed to me to still be relevant 7 months later, especially as St Paul's prepares to Pray Our Democracy -- praying for its return to health. Enjoy
Captain America: Winter Soldier:
Maria Hill, who works for Fury, saves them from the transport van and takes them to a hide-out where they learn that Fury has not died. They create a plan to destroy Project Insight:
Maria Hill and Fury explain the plan. They need to breech the three carriers and replace their targeting blade with our own. All three carriers need to be linked for their plan to work.
Fury: We have to assume that everyone on those carriers is Hydra. If we can breech those carriers then maybe we can salvage…
Cap cuts Fury off: We are not salvaging anything. We are not just taking down those carriers, Nick, we are taking down SHIELD.
Fury: SHIELD had nothing to do with it.
Cap: You gave me this mission Nick. This is how it ends. SHIELD has been compromised. You said so yourself. Hydra grew right under your nose and nobody noticed.
Fury: Why do you think we are meeting in this cave? I noticed.
Cap: How many paid the price before you did.
Fury: I didn’t know about Barnes (Bucky)
Cap: Even if you had, would you have told me? Or would you have compartmentalized that too? SHIELD, Hydra they all go.
Maria Hill: He’s right.
Fury looks around for an ally. No one agrees with Fury.
Fury: Well, it looks like you are giving the orders now Captain.
The Current State of our Country:
I’ve been reading the news, paying attention to what is happening, and watching Stephen Colbert (because honestly that is the only way I can ‘watch’ news, through humor). The current state of our country is not good. It feels like Hydra has overtly (not sneakily) invaded our government and taken over.
Rally after rally, Trump spews hatred. He insights chaos in those who attend. He laughs or ignores hatred filled chants that arise in the midst of his speeches. He stops talking to allow them to chant. This is evil at work.
Where and when will it all stop?
Many of us are putting our hopes in the 2020 election. We must elect someone else President. As if the election of a Democratic President will end this hatred that has arisen, this culture of violence that Trump has ignited. It will not. It would, hopefully, begin to shift the narrative because the President of the United States has a tremendous platform to do that from.
But it is not THE answer. It is one aspect of a shift we are all seeking.
We are not salvaging anything
The NRA must go. They must go in order for us to move forward and create reasonable gun-control bills like other countries around the world.
White supremacy groups must go, along with those organizations and politicians that support them. There is no place in this country for hatred! No place!!
This may not be a popular thing for me to write (being a Pastor and all), but some Christian institutions must go. Those institutions that support homophobia, racism — they must go. They are not Christ-like in any way.
If they followed the Way of Jesus, they would be out protesting for asylum seekers to be welcomed in this country, not working to shut down the borders. If they followed the Way of Jesus, they would be seeking government aid to end the epidemics of homelessness, hunger, mental illness, drug-addiction in this country, not seeking to cut those programs.
As Jesus told this parable he said “for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me….‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’” (Matthew 25: 35-36, 40)
It must all go!
There is no salvaging institutions that are steeped in corruption, greed and evil, that have lost their way. They must go to make way for Good.
Because when a vacuum is created, something new can be planted. To plant Good at the scale we need to, we must dismantle the institutions that feed and protect this insidious hatred that has invaded our culture.
Then and only then can we rebuild the Moral Center of our culture and country — a Moral Center aligned with Love, Compassion, Justice, Peace and Harmony, no matter your spiritual path.
The Sacred calls us to be the Voice, and ones to lead the charge!
Will you join in this important work?
Will you step into leadership as Captain America does?
Join St Paul's UCC as we Pray Our Democracy each Sunday during Lent. We will gather in our chapel from 12:45p to 1:15 p MT to imagine a healthy, healed, whole, balanced democracy, and to hold that image of health, of justice, of compassion and peace, that image of God's Economy in prayer.
I have always struggled with the practice of giving something up for Lent. Having grown up Baptist, we did not really celebrate Lent. We celebrated Holy Week and Easter.
So when I entered adulthood and began to seek ways to deepen my connection to the Sacred, my spirituality, I began to contemplate this practice. I remember the first time I decided to really practice giving something up for Lent. I went BIG! I gave up sugar, including chocolate. It was not a pleasant experience for those who lived in my household. It turns out that sugar was how I comforted myself, how I pushed down all those feelings and things I did not want to deal with. When I gave it up, I had no way to cope! My partner at the time, begged me to "take my mini-Easters on Sundays." We laughed about it over the years, but I had not prepared myself for the spiritual and emotional turmoil that happened when I stopped using my 'drug' (yes sugar is an addictive food) of choice.
But after Lent, I fell right back into it. No change. No transformation. Just a really rough 6 weeks.
As an energy and Light worker, I have learned that nature abhors a vacuum. If you take something out, you need to put something in its place. So if I am doing a healing and I remove a block, I need to put Light in its place so (1) the block does not return and (2) something else unhealthy does not take its place.
I did not do that. I did not reflect upon what I wanted as an outcome for 'giving something up.' If I had, it would have been more like my 2019 year-long experience. I decided that 2019 was the year to take back my body from Lyme disease, bring myself back to myself: lose the Lyme disease weight, stop my sugar addiction eating, exercise more, maybe lift weights. I accomplished the first three and have shifted the last one into this year 2020 -- the year to strengthen my Core, my Center.
As I did the physical work for my body, I also did the emotional and spiritual work of my soul. When I gave up sugar, I asked myself what it's benefit was for my Soul. I sat in conversation with my Soul listening and healing the wounds that sugar covered over. Each time I released a wound, a limiting belief, a block/obstruction of energy and love in my life, I replaced it with prayer, with walking in nature, with Light, with peace.
For me, the invitation of Lent is not "what are you giving up for Lent?" but also "what am I replacing that habit/thing/release with?"
What am I giving up this Lenten season? I am working at releasing my sometimes anxious presence, and falling deeper into a non-anxious presence, a witness-observer, a compassionate companion. To do this, I will dive deep into my own fears, what causes them, what my Soul needs to release them, and do that tender Soul work.
Why? I met the most beautiful being yesterday -- Goldie, whom I feel like really wants to be called Pippa. She is an amazing girl, a cross between a labrador retriever and a beagle. We fell in love. I wasn't sure at first, but as she hung out with me, she warmed up and clearly asked me to be her human. I said yes.
Then I learned that she is reactive to other dogs and sometimes humans. She needs a non-anxious compassionate presence in her life. She needs someone who can calmly give her stability and grounding. She chose me. I don't always feel those qualities in myself. She sees them. She knows they are there.
By bringing Pippa (Goldie) into my family, we will find that door in my heart, open it and heal together; replacing all that fear and anxiety with Love and Peace.
I knew Spirit would bring the right dog companion into my life. I did not realize what that meant. I look forward to being taught by Pippa how to companion her healing and growth.
What are you giving up this Lenten season?
What are you replacing that with? How are you 'filling the void' so that the unwanted behavior/habit/belief does not reclaim its spot in your life?
On Ash Wednesday, we begin the 40 day Lenten journey to Holy Week and Easter. It is a time of deep reflection and prayer, inviting us to enter deep into our hearts, into God's temple within each of us.
As your clergy person prepares the ash, she/he/they mix olive oil with ash; mixing the symbol of healing with the symbol of letting go/death.
As you approach your clergy person and they place ash on your forehead or hand, they speak to you, "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return."
This statement is an invitation to remember that God created us from the earth, from dust. That our bodies hold all the elements of God's creation. That when we pass from this life, we return to the earth, fertilizing it for new growth, new life to come forth.
As the ash is spread across your forehead or hand, you are invited to take this spiritually into your heart.
What needs to be released, let go, die in your life for new life, new beginnings, hope to arrive on Easter?
What is holding you back, obstructing your connection with the Sacred? How can you allow that to pass from your life so you can reconnect with the One who created you?
The oil in the ash reminds you that you are on a healing journey; that as you release limiting beliefs, blocks, negative habits, whatever is holding you back, there is a healing Presence that soothes your soul, that companions you. The olive oil reminds you that that healing presence is Christ Jesus. He knows the path you are invited to walk as you let go. He knows the fears and anxieties that arise as we work to transform our lives to be more in alignment with the Sacred, with our Soul. He knows how to hold you in your grief, how to encourage you in your despair, your to embolden you in your fear. He is ever present!
This ancient beautiful ritual offers us the opportunity to join millions of others and declare that we too are on a path of healing; that we too seek to be better humans, that we too desire God's Economy to be present in our world.
Join me today. What is the Sacred inviting you to let go of this Lenten season? What is keeping you from deepening your relationship with the Holy One? What practice do would help you step more fully into the person you desire to be, the person the Sacred is calling you to be?
You will remember from the previous post that at this moment in the film, Avengers, Captain America has arrived to face and fight Loki. He has landed with his shield, protecting a man who courageously stood before Loki, speaking truth to power. Loki had aimed his scepter at the man moments before. After shooting his scepter and being blocked by Captain America….
Captain America: You know the last time I was in Germany, and saw a man standing above everybody else, we ended up disagreeing.
Loki: “the soldier… the man out of time”
The liminality of Time...
Captain America is, literally, a man out of time — the linear time line. At the end of Captain America: The First Avenger, we watch as Steve Rogers forces Red Skull’s plane down into the ice cold waters. Cap freezes.
Captain America is found decades later by SHIELD and thawed. He is a man out of time. Steve Rogers has no references for this current time, this current culture. He holds values and moral center from WW2 era. He looks 30 or so but is 100 years old.
Have you ever had that experience, where time goes away, where you feel like you are not connected to time — literally “out of time”?
What do I mean?
Stepping into Kairos time...
When I was beginning to create High Desert Essences in Taos, NM, I felt the invitation to create Chive essence. I followed the way I was taught: put a glass bowl of spring water in the Sun with one or two flower dropped in it. Leave it for 3-4 hours on a full Sun day. I did just that.
When I went to pick up the essence something did not feel quite right. I tasted it. It tasted like Chives. So I decided that was not going to work for High Desert Essences. This is the moment where I learned my method of co-creating flower essences — Chives taught me.
I did not want to waste the essence, that would not honor the gift of Chives. Without thinking, I downed the entire bowl of pure potent Mother essence. That was on a Monday.
Next thing I know, I’m getting a text from a one of the women I painted with regularly. Because I was currently in NM, I video called in. The text read, “Are you joining us today?” We painted on Thursdays, so I replied, “Yes, on Thursday.” An answer came back, “Well that is now!”
Somehow I had lost Tuesday and Wednesday. I had no idea where they went. It felt like only 3-4 hours had passed since I took that Mother Essence. How could 3 days have passed?
It took me about a month to ground myself back into the human linear timeline that is seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years. Somehow Chives had aligned me with a very different timeline — Kairos, Sacred, Universe. This timeline is not linear. Rather it felt more like the timeline of the Heptapods from the movie Arrival.
When I was able to reconnect with this linear timeline, I became aware that Chives had restructured my energetic and physical body to be in greater alignment with my Soul’s purpose and Soul-volution.
It was a powerful experience. I am forever transformed by each experience where the Sacred pulls me out of linear human time into Kairos time.
It takes adjustment when you return, like it took adjustment for Steve Rogers. Depending upon what happens when I am out of time, the adjustment back varies. Sometimes I can step back into time and move forward without delay. Sometimes it feels like I have lost 70 years or more, like the world I have come back into is completely different than the one I was in. When that happens, I am aware that I am so very different than I was before.
I would not recommend downing an entire bowl of pure Mother Essence to experience what it is like to step out of time.
Meditation, prayer, silent retreats, dosage level energy essences, and other healing and spiritual experiences open you to those moments, to those experiences.
It is vital that when you intentionally ask to step out of time for healing, transformation, restructuring, soul-volution, you do so with an inner knowing of what you are seeking. Conscious awareness, consciously co-creating the out of time moment will enhance and potentize the transformative work that you are seeking, doing, manifesting.
When you come back, allow yourself the linear time you need to integrate the healing, the evolution, the experience before stepping fully back into society, into the hum of linear life.
Enjoy the experience.
The veil is always thin….
always awaiting your request
to offer you
a Kairos experience.
Captain America: The First Avenger
Pastor Jocelyn Emerson weaves together her training as a Light and Energy worker, Reiki master, spiritual director, and Pastor with her life experience as a mystic and contemplative to offer a space of trust, safety, and honesty to support you on your life's journey.