Friday, August 31, 2007

sanctuary of the soul

"Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a Divine Center, a speaking Voice, to which we may continuously return. Eternity is at our hearts, pressing upon our time-torn lives, warming us with intimations of an astounding destiny, calling us home into Itself. Yielding to these persuasions, gladly committing ourselves in body and soul, utterly and completely to the Light within, is the beginning of true life. It is a dynamic center, creative Life that presses to birth within us." Thomas Kelly -- A Testament of Devotion

photo by bill

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

This award will be given to those that are just nice people, good blog friends and those that inspire good feelings and inspiration! Those that care about others, that are there to lend support, or those that are just a positive influence in our blogging world!

opening the eyes of our soul

words from my morning prayer:

the arms of God wrap around me. enclosing me. enveloping me. telling me i am safe without words. i breathe him in. the scent of his maleness and my beauty combined. sensuous. sensual. becoming one. coming home. just breathe. breathe me in. sense me like a child taking my hand. like a dog who raises his nose to the fresh morning air. breathe me in.

safety. trust. sensual. born to be beautiful. to ache with desire and settle into trust. the pain and the glory. breathe me in. just breathe. so rich, so pure. Yahweh. breath of God. carrying me on the wind. cradled. held. met. no terror. free. free falling. held. lovely. kind. free.

These words from Henri Nouwen followed:

The desert fathers...point us toward a very holistic view of prayer. They pull us away from our intellectualizing practices, in which God becomes one of the many problems we have to address. They show us that real prayer penetrates to the marrow of our soul and leaves nothing untouched. The prayer of the heart is a prayer that does not allow us to limit our relationship with God to interesting words or pious emotions. By its very nature such prayer transforms our whole being into Christ precisely because it opens the eyes of our soul to the truth of ourselves as well as to the truth of God. The prayer of the heart challenges us to hide absolutely nothing from God and to surrender ourselves unconditionally to God's mercy. --The Way of the Heart

Praise be to God. Amen.

photo by bill

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Simple as a Love Song

"I was four years old. I was playing, alone, in a thicket of trees and bushes. A moment came when there was sound and silence at the same time. I became exquisitely aware of the breeze through the leaves, of the sunlight dappling across the earth in front of me. I understood that this was an experience of God in me and around me. It was strange and familiar at the same time, and it was the simplest thing in the world." from Tess at Anchors and Masts

Simple as a love song from God. We spend our lives trying to learn the notes of that song. Desiring to be purely seen and heard. To be enwrapped in arms that hold and love us. To become exquisitely aware of all that surrounds and encapsulates who we are. The longing. The desire. Everyone loves a love story. You know the ones…where eyes lock, energy charges and the lovers are known without pretense—without all the if-you-really-knew-me-you-wouldn’t-love-me stuff. In an instant barriers are overcome and magic happens.

It may only be a split second where everything else in the world disappears and you know you are loved. Your heart sings the love song. You experience God’s presence. You know He, She, Me exists. People spend a lifetime searching for that feeling, but it seems that you cannot find it when you work at it. You can only open heart, mind, and soul to the experience. It often comes when and where you least expect it. A stranger on the street. A child. A film or book. The words of poetry. The dancing of butterflies. The breeze through the leaves. A broken heart.

It may take a lifetime to find your own song, but when you experience it you know that you have found heaven on earth and it is something you will never forget it.

“Heaven is right here in front of me: Heaven, Heaven!” It only lasted a moment: but it left a breathless joy and a clean peace and happiness that stayed for hours and it was something I have never forgotten.”Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain

photo by bill

the peacock watched

the gilded cage opened and streams of life drifted outward.
the eyes of the peacock watched intently and knew freedom was at hand.
fire burned all ‘round promising to ignite and threatening to consume,
still the eyes of the peacock watched.

collage by christine @Abbey of the Arts

poem by lucy

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Girl in Yellow

Here's something a little different today.

The girl in yellow follows me in and out of the hours of my days. She catches me by surprise, and when I think of her I see light and sunshine. She emanates a glow and I see her smiling face in a bright yellow dress. She pulls me in. My heart feels light and just as suddenly I realize that her face framed by yellow is not laughing nor smiling. The color does not come from woven threads or gleaming rays of light. The yellow is not bright and sunshiny; it is, in fact, a smear.

The color is spreading and oozing down the dress she has just worn to Sunday school. The look on her face is one of horror and disbelief. At only seven years of age, she cannot understand what is happening. It feels like the time she cut open her arm on the swing set and blood spread over everything—slowly dripping onto her clothes. But this time the “blood” is not red. It does not come from an open wound. This blood is yellow and it slowly spreads across her chest and has splattered onto her arms. This blood, in fact, is mustard from a jar, broken when it slammed into her small shoulder after being hurled across the kitchen by her raging father.

She stands in shock, her face silent and frozen. While she was not the direct target of attack, she has become a casualty of war not much different than the child in a war torn country who suffers from shrapnel wounds because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Time has stopped as her mother, who instinctively ducked to avoid the incoming missile, turns to witness her beautiful young daughter covered in dripping yellow goo. Even her father stops his drunken rampage for a moment; sobered by the sight before him. She is his little princess and while he did not consider shielding her from his verbal attack, he never meant to physically hurt anyone—least of all his precious eldest child.

The girl takes in her parents’ shocked faces and immediately feels as though she is the one who has done something wrong. Shame floods over her and through her. She wants to cry and wail like a wounded animal and it appears as if that is just what she will do when suddenly a very slight movement catches the corner of her eye. It is her little brother, three years old. He has curled up into a ball and tucked himself into the corner of the kitchen.

Before her own tears start to flow, she hears the slightest whimper coming from the tiny boy. She cannot cry now. She must comfort her baby brother. She gently reaches down, takes his small hand into her own and says, “Come on, baby. Let’s go outside.”

The parents stand there motionless. They are incapable of caring for their children. They stand by as onlookers, watching as the seven-year-old moves into the role of protector and mother of both herself and her brother. Slowly and very quietly, the two children leave the room; tiptoeing as if their footsteps might give away their whereabouts even though all eyes are upon them. As they walk onto the front porch, the sunshine hits the front of the girl’s dress. There is a quick flash of brilliant yellow and then the gluttonous mess begins to turn brown and harden over the heart of the fair-haired girl.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


"Teachers arise from somewhere within me that is beyond me, the way the dark soil that is not the root holds the root and feeds the flower." --Mark Nepo

this morning i was invited to visit a young friend's new blog. he has recently left home for college and finds himself staying at the home of Christian friends. his post displayed many of his interior and exterior battles as he tries to navigate living with people whose religious beliefs he finds "a bit hard" for him.

it is so rich to have friends of all ages, genders, religions and life experiences. we have much to learn from each other. everyone is our teacher if we open ourselves to the possibility. this young man's post led me to respond to him with the questions i continue to ask myself as i walk through this journey toward and with God, so i thought i would share my response with you.

"just wondering what defines a "Christian" for you? i ask myself the same question all the time.

having grown up in a pretty traditional "Christian" place, i have found that the more i realize the expansiveness of the mystery of God and the universe and the lack of absolutes, the closer i come to knowing (truly knowing) that the way of God is love (which is so ethereal and impossible to adequately describe with words).

is love then the way of "Christians"? i know it doesn't always appear that way especially when we witness the "battles over denomination" and the "badgering toward salvation."

i have to wonder, however, what your hosts see in you that would lead them to believe you are "Christian". could it be the love you show toward others?

i hope and pray you will continue to ask yourself the questions and you will see the beautiful young man who can choose to live in love.

I fully believe that Christ's way is that of love...Does that therefore make those who love deeply and well Christians? many would say no, but many are opening their minds and hearts to reconsider what "love" and "Christian" truly represent."

while i wrote these words to my young friend, they were also written for myself and now also to those who will read them here. what does it mean to be "Christian?" what does it mean to love? what do you think?

The "And" is always nearby...

Of magic doors there is this, you do not see them even as you are passing through.

It is night time. Evening. The end of a busy week. Come and gone. Filled with goodness and richness. Still, I am tired. A strong need to restore. Refresh. Rejuvenate. It takes energy to live out loud. AND in the moment, it takes no energy at all. My cup overflows. Friendship. Conversation. Engagement. Music. Sunshine. Scooter rides. Being present to the moment. Lovely and true. My world expanding. Friends. Work. The world at large. Strangers on the street. Engaging. Listening. Loving.

No ordinary moments. All come together in perfect timing and perfect harmony. Not pressing, just letting things happen in the midst of the busyness. AND, I miss my quiet time. My rest. The place where I find peace and solace with myself—for myself. I need me. I love that I do not need others to define who I am AND I love the engagement and realness of being with others.

Sometimes the realness of being with others can be overwhelming and takes me by surprise. Simple spoken words or gestures bring tears to my eyes. The gentle touch of a hug gives peace to a deep place in my soul. A complement confirms my own delight. AND the biting words or cold silence of another threaten to send me into a tailspin. The "and" is always nearby. No ordinary moments.

It is morning now and I am grateful for a little time to rest, reflect and write. The beginning of a new day. Freshly arrived. Waiting to be filled. And...

photo by bill

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Wishing for... infinity of serenity for you and me.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Checking In

Home again and trying to catch up while also spending time with wonderful friends who are visiting for a few days. Add two teenagers to the mix--one starting high school and all the at entails and the other experiencing "re-entry" into the family after living on his own for several months. I long for a little time to reflect and write. Today, however, I am just checking back into the blogosphere and sharing this piece of art that arrived at my house yesterday. I love the blend of painting and poetry.

Blessings today!

"Gooseneck Cottage"

Painting is silent poetry and poetry is painting that speaks. --Simonides

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Reminder to Myself--"Live Out Loud"

If no one reads my words, does that mean I am not a writer? If I am not published, is my work not good? If I stop writing will the words continue to come? If I refuse to share my gift with others will it cease to be my gift? If I show one thing to the world, but feel something different which one is real?

When I consider asking these questions of someone else, the answers seem simple and easy. Then why is it so hard to calm the battle that goes on inside of me? The inner critic tells me I am no good. The still small voice says I am beautiful and fabulous. To whom shall I listen?

Over the last several months I have been encouraged to submit my work for publication. Yikes! It was bad enough while in graduate school to turn my writing into a teacher’s assistant and have it graded. Now I am subjecting myself to pure rejection. It really stinks. Hearing words like this “We have read (your submission) with interest. Unfortunately, it does not meet our editorial needs at this time. Blah blah blah” is really no fun at all.

So why do it? I am still pondering that one but somehow it all feels like the process where I need to be. Often when I get discouraged and feel like giving up, I receive a wonderful reminder in the words of another (God, fellow bloggers, friends, a stranger) and my desire to continue to write is renewed.

The words this morning came in the form of this quote: “We are here to live out loud.” --Balzac. And this one: “But imagine if birds only sang when heard. If musicians only played when approved of. If poets only spoke when understood.” --Mark Nepo

And so, for today I will continue to write for I cannot stop. It is like trying to stop the waves from crashing to the beach or the sun from rising in the morning or the birds from singing in the twilight. Because deep in my heart I know that I am created to “Live Out Loud.”

photo by bill

Friday, August 10, 2007

What is Soltura?

Many of you who are regular readers may have noticed that about once a month, I disappear and go incommunicado for a few days. Where do I go, you might ask? Many would recognize that I have gone to Soltura, but not necessarily know what that means. So, today as I prepare to disappear again for a few days, I wanted to share my own little piece of “social action” where I see the world changing one person at a time. It is a challenge to describe, because I have never heard of or experienced anything so unique in my life. Soltura is the place I began to find healing for my soul and it is the place I go to be refreshed and restored as I pour my heart, time and energy into helping provide a space for others to either begin or continue their own personal journey.

So here’s a little bit of my personal history: While at therapeutic boarding school my then 14-year-old son went to his first workshop. My husband and I were subsequently invited to participate in our own workshop. Entering into the experience, I considered myself a pretty high-functioning individual who handled life’s ups and downs with reasonable “success”. I was very unaware, however, of how much I was just getting by and hiding behind defense mechanisms rather than fully participating in life.

Soltura gave me the space, the safety and the exercises to help me find my own best answers to the questions and roadblocks that stood in my way of truly knowing myself and therefore knowing the world around me. I came to know God in ways that I had never dreamed imaginable as I opened the door to new possibility. The tenet that I most admire and hope to live by is “Love God and love your neighbor as yourself.” What I have found is that if I do not know who I truly am I cannot love myself well and thus cannot love anyone else well; for I end up loving them exactly as I love myself which can be pretty crummy some of the time.

If you visit this website because you love Lucy and how she embraces life, you might be intrigued to know that I found Lucy (or she found me) through a Soltura workshop. I cannot imagine my life without her.

I have seen people from all walks of life experience Soltura…from Presidents of international companies to the abused mom who formerly slept in her car. Rich and poor. Ages 14 to 71. Addicts and teetotalers. Bold and timid. Christian and agnostic. Jews and followers of Zen. Businessmen and starving artists. Students and stay-at-home moms. People pushed by loved ones to get there and others seeking help on their own. I believe that Soltura is for everyone who desires to live life fully.

Soltura is where I go to work. It is where I go to play. It is where I go to be with God and be with friends and laugh and dance and be Lucy at her fullest. Soltura is a gift I am compelled to share with the world. I invite you to check out the Soltura website here. (The testimonies are really my favorite ☺.) Other posts are available here and here or check out the Soltura topics in my sidebar.

Anyway…that is where I will be from August 13-19. I’ll “see” you when I get back and pray you will come to find the Soltura of your life.


The Word That Is A Prayer

by Ellery Akers

One thing you know when you say it:
all over the earth people are saying it with you;
a child blurting it out as the seizures take her,
a woman reciting it on a cot in a hospital.
What if you take a cab through the Tenderloin:
at a streetlight, a man in a wool cap,
yarn unraveling across his face, knocks at the window;
he says, Please.
By the time you hear what he's saying,
the light changes, the cab pulls away,
and you don't go back, though you know
someone just prayed to you the way you pray.
Please: a word so short
it could get lost in the air
as it floats up to God like the feather it is,
knocking and knocking, and finally
falling back to earth as rain,
as pellets of ice, soaking a black branch,
collecting in drains, leaching into the ground,
and you walk in that weather every day.

photo by bill

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Caring...or Not?

Entering the downtown parking garage after an evening with friends, the smell of urine was over-
powering. As I turned to my husband to comment, there was a flurry of movement and from out of nowhere came a man who now stood between the exit and us.

“You guys got any money?” He said in his gravelly voice and before we could even respond he had jerked up his shirt and was showing us his heavily bandaged chest.

“Got blown up in the war. Come on, guys just give me some money.”

It was only earlier that day that I had written about no longer being able to ignore the homeless man in the street. And now, here was this man making certain that we would not ignore him. His movements were erratic and we were alone in an isolated, dark garage—only the streetlights from outside lit where we stood. His eyes were outlined as though someone had drawn around them with a bright red marker. His body was wiry and he was probably not much taller than me and there was something dangerous-feeling about him. It was desperation.

How do you respond to desperation? How do you have a conversation? Suggest a cup of coffee? Hand over $10? For $10 would not ever be enough. Enough for what? A score of crack cocaine. A decent meal. A bus ticket out of town. His lost dignity.

My husband responded, “I’m sorry, but we don’t have any cash.” The interchange—request for money and refusal—was repeated a couple of times at which point the man clenched his fists, made a grunting sound along with a short, quick punching motion, started to leave and then said, “Hey, you guys Christians?”

What could we say? We said nothing and then he was gone.

I say ‘he was gone’ and yet he has not left my mind for more than a few moments in the four days since this happened. I feel strong compassion and care for this man who represents thousands of others on the Seattle streets. I do want to make a difference, and in the moment, I feel as if we did nothing. We were stunned. And scared. We felt trapped and potentially in danger. Trapped.

I cannot begin to imagine what it would be like to feel trapped and desperate every moment of the day. If money is not the solution and conversation/relationship not an option, what else is there? What will I do the next time I am faced with a similar situation? What will I do in the meantime? Can caring be enough, as Brian McLaren says?

“Just caring is a good start. That’s a real start. Who knows where it could lead.”

I look forward to seeing where this caring leads, because not caring is no longer an option.

I’d love to hear thoughts from you and ways you see that are making a difference.

photo from google images

Monday, August 06, 2007

Grand Theft Auto

Who loves to wake up to the words, "I have some really bad news"? Well, certainly not me, but that is just what happened yesterday in my house. The words came from my husband and while he did not have that someone-died-tone in his voice, I was braced for the worst. In this case, the "really bad news" is that his new car had been vandalized and broken into (bad news) AND my car (a little 2004 Honda Element that I love) had been stolen (really bad news). Yes, stolen. Gone. Zip. Disappeared. "Oh" was about all I could say and "I'm sorry about your new car." I was stunned.

So, we spent the day filling out insurance and police reports and taking his car across town to be fixed. So what now? Fortunately, we hadn't quite sold our 14 year old mini-van and I have a new scooter (which is much more entertaining than a car at the moment) plus I do have my trusty bus pass so transportation is not a huge issue. I do, however, find myself a little numb over the fact that some person actually stole my car out of my driveway. Hmm. I am still pondering how I feel about that. Numb seems more appropriate than angry or sad. It just really feels kind of weird. And, I wonder where we will go from here. How long will they leave a report open before the insurance settles? Is my car crashed by the side of the road? Was it a just a joy ride? (I can't imagine a chop shop would have any interest in my little blue Honda.) Will we replace it if it never is found?

Interestingly enough most of the time I forget that this has happened, but every now and then the thoughts pop into my head. Grand theft auto. Someone committed a crime. Will they be caught? Will they be punished? Do I even care? It's weird and a little annoying for now. Who knows what tomorrow may bring?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Rabbit Trail of my Mind

Oh, the rabbit trail of my mind ☺. I am on information overload and I don’t even own a television or currently subscribe to the newspaper. It all started today with a little contemplation and solitude. Sounds good, right? But, oh, the doors that open when I sit down with pen in hand and computer nearby. My personal thoughts are enough to make an average monkey mind appear serene. How has this happened? All when I thought I was getting a grip on my mind spinning tendencies and relaxing into quiet time and rest.

For some reason I was prompted to explore Psalm 13 and verse 2 managed to pop out at me. “How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart all the day?” (NAS version). I was concerned that the verse alluded to me listening more to myself than to God, but other translations led me to think that the verse referred to an anxious mind which did not feel relevant to me today. Then “Pow” the next thing I know, my mind is racing with the issues of the world and just like that serenity is gone and sorrow for the world has entered.

So, what do worm castings, global warming, organic gardening, Charlotte’s Web and lighting the Dafur wall have in common? Throw in the homeless person on the corner and a decision whether to purchase a latte at Starbucks or try to find an independent barista who sells fair trade coffee and my morning walk (which was my next step toward trying to regain calm) turned into even more food for fodder. It is all too much! As I said at the beginning, it is information overload and today the topic seems to be our collapsing world.

While I consider myself to be a pretty conscientious person, I have never fully embraced the total “tree hugger” mentality that met me head on 18 years ago when I moved to Seattle from Oklahoma. My conservative roots run pretty deep and while a few years ago I did break down and buy Birkenstocks (floral not basic brown), I still pretty much insist on shaving my legs and armpits (time allowing) and have a hard time considering myself as an angry in-your-face activist such as the cloth diaper pushing moms I met when I was pregnant with my now 18 year old son.

But, just as my theological world view has shifted from one of an evangelical/fundamental outlook to one that is more emergent and postmodern, I am finding that I can no longer ignore the person on the street corner or easily throw plastic into the garbage bin rather than recycle. (And I must admit, even though I was somewhat bullied into it, I am happy to say that I primarily used cloth diapers for my kids.) I have started riding the bus and walking where I can rather than driving and I am feeling pretty guilty about that container of chemical weed killer sitting in my garage.

And, just when I was starting to hyperventilate and think that one person, one family, cannot begin to make a dent in the hurt, the hunger, the global warming, the pain, the….you get the picture, God in the way only God can do showed me these words from Brian McLaren’s a Generous Orthodoxy in his chapter “Why I Am Green.”

“Just caring is a good start. That’s a real start. Who knows where it could lead.”

Okay. Deep sigh. My mind is a little calmer now and sharing even these words feels like a start. So, to return back to worm castings, global warming, etc. I shall share a bit of my brain’s rabbit trail.

Check out Rosa Gallica Lifestyle for gardening tips with worm castings and other environmentally friendly topics.

Krista Tippett has a great interview with author, Barbara Kingsolver on her new book,Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, about eating locally and better.

E.B. White's, Charlotte's Web—the book and movie are fabulous. Julia Roberts (as Charlotte) makes a great case for treating spiders kindly.

And, Tess, brought this project for lighting the Dafur wall to my attention.

In closing, I leave you with the wisdom of Kermit the Frog: It's not easy being green.

Friday, August 03, 2007

No Words

reflections from bermuda #7
Pure, perfect, calm. Sometimes there are no words to describe the magnificence of creation. Silent prayer. Words spoken through a breeze. The sound of a gently flowing fountain. Sunbeams and shadows cast across the brilliant green lawn. Flowers bursting with color saying, “Look at me. Dance with me.” Soft white clouds float above a sea of azure blue.

Timeless. Breathless. Wordless. Good morning, God. I see you. Feel you. Know you are here with me. I am grateful. Thankful. In awe of all that surrounds me. Beauty. Still and calm today. Safe and secure. Gentle. Kind. Lovely. Free. They are I. I am they.

Thank you. Stillness and calm. The birds are even quiet today. Giving space for contemplative prayer and worship. Here we go. The new day has come. Pure. Perfect. Calm.


photo by bill

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Theological World View

I found this survey at Anchors and Masts. The results are interesting and I have to say that the "summary" states pretty accurately my world view. The part I found to be quite curious is that in my post About Me I said I am "a reforming fundamentalist" and that category has now scored the lowest today. Does that mean I am "reformed"?

So much to learn. So little time.

You scored as Emergent/Postmodern, You are Emergent/Postmodern in
your theology. You feel alienated from older forms of church, you
don't think they connect to modern culture very well. No one knows
the whole truth about God, and we have much to learn from each other,
and so learning takes place in dialogue. Evangelism should take
place in relationships rather than through crusades and altar-calls.
People are interested in spirituality and want to ask questions, so the
church should help them to do this.



Neo orthodox


Classical Liberal


Roman Catholic


Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


Modern Liberal




Reformed Evangelical




What's your theological worldview?
created with

flickr fan photo and comments are here

The results showed a photo (which I removed due to spacing issues) of Brian McLaren whose book "a Generous Orthodoxy" was one of my recent reads. I highly recommend it. I found much clarity in seeing both the differences and similarites among the various forms of theological views. The one category the survey left out is "unfinished Christian." It is probably the one I can most enthusiastically claim!

Forget About Comfort - Part 2

reflections from bermuda #6

It is the illusion of comfort that keeps us locked in fear and turmoil. For comfort is not about material wealth and trappings (a powerful and apt word!). Comfort is being at rest and at peace with God and with oneself for the two cannot be separated. Comfort is surrendering to the still small voice that says, ‘Let the little children come. Come to me all who are weary and heavy burdened.’ Seek comfort and peace.

Your comfort zone is an illusion—a trick—to keep you in conflict. Take a step—move beyond—just one tiny step can change your life. One honest moment of moving through or past fear creates a miracle. Taking the risk to do something different can break the chains that bind.

Each day it looks different. Some days the biggest thing I can do is get out of bed, step out from under my cozy covers. Or speak to a stranger as my heart pounds wildly. Go to graduate school. Give up a good job. Travel to a foreign country. Let go of my teenagers. Take a step. A single step outside my zone of comfort.

If there is a battle raging inside (whether loudly or nearly undetectable) then something is yearning to shift—to move. Complacency holds fast, but risk is the ticket to freedom. What would I do if I were brave?

“Forget about comfort.” God sent those words to me over three years ago. They were not just for that day. They are for a lifetime. They continue to be worth the risk and the discomfort ☺.

What would you do today if you were brave?


photo by bill

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Young at Heart

The playful side of Lucy is bursting at the seams these days. Possibly it is the amazing Seattle weather or the refreshment of returning from a fabulous vacation. It could be that my year of celebrating "50" is rapidly coming to a close and I want to capture every moment of delight before that next milestone comes around.

Quotes like "youth is wasted on the young," "how old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?" and "you don't quit playing because you grow old. you grow old because you quit playing" run through my head.

I want to play. I want to dance. I want to ride with the wind on my face and the feel of warm sunshine on my skin. I want to bloom and grow and blossom. I want to know the power of being me--shining, laughing star that I am. Lovely. Kind. Free.

Abbey of the Arts (who is also in a playful mood) reminded me of a wonderful poem by Lynn Ungar and particularly the following line:

“Imagine setting it all down—
papers, plans, appointments, everything,
leaving only a note: “Gone to the fields
to be lovely.
Be back when I’m through
with blooming.”

Mark Nepo says of blooming, "The simple rose, at each moment of its slow blossoming, is as open as it can be." I am reminded that I can be no more nor less of who I am at this very moment. Thus, I will embrace this day for what it is and who I am as I carry with me thoughts of laughter and play, youth and aging, blooming and slow blossoming."

"Gone to the fields to be lovely." Care to join me?

photos by bill. bermuda 2007

Forget About Comfort - Part 1

reflections from bermuda #5

Comfort. Forget about comfort. Penetrating words of the soul. Those words seem pointed even poignant as I sit here in the middle of this tropical paradise. It is a glistening summer morning and I am perched upon a hilltop veranda overlooking the shining town of Hamilton.

Forget about comfort. What comfort? The padded cushions surrounding my body? The chilled water cooling my throat? Hmm. This setting does not belong to me and yet I am grateful to be a part of it. The opportunity to sit in contemplation. Butterflies. Peepers. Kiskadees. All break the reverie. Wait. Do they break it or generously add to it? They are all a part of this tropical Eden.

The garden. The beginning. “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” (Genesis 2:25) Why are we now so fearful to be naked—both physically and I believe more accurately, spiritually? Given the choice, I imagine people would choose to bare themselves physically more easily than let someone see the inner recesses of their heart. Why? It is such a paradox, because we live our lives desiring to be seen and truly known yet still we hide.

“And the man said, ‘I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself’.” (Genesis 3:10). And so we hide in our comfort. We hide behind our clothes. Our image. Our jobs. Our homes. We say we are serving others; catering to their needs—our children, spouses, bosses, friends. Of what are we afraid? Being selfish? Being wrong? Being seen for who we truly are? Being naked?

We build up savings accounts for old age. We work until we can work no more and then ask, “Where did my life go? I have built this comfort and still I am not comfortable. What happened?”

Comfort. The comfort of the womb. The safety of a bosom cradling a child's head. The joy of being seen and truly known. Connection. Relationship. True comfort comes from authentic relationship. Relationship with God; with others; with ourselves.

Forget about comfort—whatever comfort is. These are words spoken to me from the inner most recesses of my heart. And as I write, I realize that it is not comfort that I should forget about, but the illusion of comfort for it is the illusion that has the ability to keep me locked in fear and turmoil. (to be continued)


photos by lucy