Being prayer

prayer bead

"But, for me, in that moment, on that particular evening, the words simply would not come" As a spiritual director, you might expect that I spend a fair amount of time thinking about prayer, talking about prayer, and actually praying. Lately I’ve been reflecting on how varied my experiences of prayer have been throughout my life.  The most poignant moment of change happened when our son was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  This is how I wrote about it in Sacred Healing: MRIs , marigolds, and mir … [Read more...]

Repentance redefined: Giving up exhaustion and opening to change

vine2

Day 4: Repentance redefined: Giving up exhaustion and opening to change “exhaustion was not fertile soil for growth and change” We had been meeting for about two years when my directee said to me: “You know the most helpful thing you’ve said to me since we’ve been meeting is “God is not in favor of exhaustion.”” As a woman who struggles with over-work, conversation about balance and spiritual practice were a large part of our conversations together.  But it wasn’t until we began to talk about … [Read more...]

Focusing curiosity on ruts

chagall

"So many factors work against our visionary initiative.It is a human tendency to become stuck and to build ruts." Isn’t it funny how we tend to sit in the same place every time within a classroom or at church or sometimes even in our own dining room?I am just finishing up my first semester of teaching as an adjunct professor at the Seminary of the Southwest .  I’ve had a great time with a small group of nine amazingly brilliant, exceptionally open, motivated learners.  Interestingly, for … [Read more...]

Pack lightly and carry a big heart

packing

Packing this week, okay, this month, for this pilgrimage has been an interesting exercise in self-reflection.My gathering theme has become: pack light and carry a big heart.Linguistically, it has the same rhythm of that old saying:  Walk softly and carry a big stickThough I remembered that saying from a movie decades old it looks like the saying had more noble origins. Years ago I heard Oprah say that women have so many clothes in their closets because they are dressing … [Read more...]

Meeting myself again for the first time

moist and green

Something is up.  I’m not sure what, but something is up. I just get the feeling.Maybe it’s Jesus’ wisdom “To whom much is given, much is required.” (Luke 12:48)I love my work right now; it is a gift. Yet, the question rises: what might be shifting?I love my husband of 33 years. He is a gift. Is my marriage changing,too?I love our children and new granddaughter.  They are gifts. How can I love them better?Interestingly, this trip is a gift that my work and calling have given m … [Read more...]

Ungodly contentment

red rose

"So many women spend their lives playing small. I call it ungodly contentment. "It's funny how adept we are as humans at turning something helpful and good into something less than helpful.  Contentment is one of those characteristics that can be a quality of spiritual maturity, or it can be a sign of our refusal to grow up. Though likely just a teen, Mary seemed amazingly mature as she let go of contentment and opened to something new and "troubling." This is how I write about it My Own … [Read more...]

Settle for More

fredericksburg 041

"Faith moves us toward that which we cannot see" I will be on Midday Connection at noon today talking about chapter one of My Own Worst Enemy.We will be exploring the story of Lot’s wife and how her hesitancy to imagine and move toward a life different from what she had known sabotaged her calling to live radiantly. This is a brief snippet from the book to whet your appetite.  Turn in today or download the podcast at your convenience. Her Only Escape Was Unknown Territory The instructions … [Read more...]

Self-compassion and not-so-easy small choices

pool party

One of the challenges of learning the spiritual practice of self-compassion is that it most often comes to us in the shape of not-so-easy small choices.Think of Mary of Bethany who courageously chose to sit at Jesus’ feet to learn... And stayed there even when her sister complained bitterly. Think of the woman with the hemorrhage who hoped beyond reason, bravely and illegally entered the fray of the crowd, and reached out to touch the hem of the Rabbi believing she would be healed... And t … [Read more...]

Positive change, negative response

hard things

"If we can muster the courage for the initial choice, we expect affirmation and blessing." It is a moment of being invited to grow up.  It is usually an unwelcome invitation.When we make a difficult but wise choice, something in us expects that the world will rise up and bless us.And sometimes that does happen: Mary’s sign from the angel was Elizabeth’s encouraging proclamation.But sometimes… not so much.We are looking for affirmation and we get complaint. It happened to Mary of … [Read more...]


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