What Sparks Our Spiritual Curiosity? I believe in the power of practicing spiritual curiosity. Quite a few of us accept whatever spiritual life we have picked up along the way. We may have learned something about spiritual life as children. Some of us just accept what “everyone knows” about spiritual life. We often treat spiritual life the ways we treat other aspects of our lives. Some of us analyze as much information as we can, taking a rational approach. We work… Read more

Is It Possible to Be a Contemplative Leader? The monks I know teach me about what it means to be contemplative. I believe the wisdom in what they teach can shape the ways we become leaders. There was a time when I was convinced leadership had nothing at all to do with being contemplative. Leaders were people of action who made decisions and implemented them. It felt to me like contemplation was an extra step which wasted too much time…. Read more

What Difference Can 20 Minutes Make? When I practice listening to sacred stillness I follow the guidelines of centering prayer. Centering prayer is a way of praying which is beyond thoughts, words, and feelings. We practice giving our consent to the presence and action of spiritual life within us. One of the standard suggestions about centering prayer is to practice twice a day for 20 minutes each time. Pausing in the morning and the evening for 20 minutes to practice… Read more

The Spiritual Life of Trees I live in a place where many people seem to think trees get in their way. Trees send their roots out to create obstacles in sidewalks. When the winds pick up trees drop their branches, and fronds, and disrupt traffic. Where I live people plant citrus trees to be decorative and the fruit can become a nuisance. People here do not seem to understand the spiritual life of trees the same way I do. I… Read more

Lectio Divina and Sacred Pilgrim I listen to the Sacred Pilgrim podcast five days a week. Each weekday morning, my friend Laura Cavanaugh posts a recording to facilitate lectio divina. Lectio divina, or sacred reading, is one of the first contemplative practices I learned from monastic life. It is an approach to reading with different priorities than the ways we usually read. When we read a news story or a textbook, or even a blog post, we often read to find… Read more

What Emerges From Our Inner Stillness? We have grown accustomed to looking at stillness as a form of emptiness. Our assumption is stillness is a vast, open, uncluttered space with no noise. It is easy for us to just write off stillness as a waste of time and effort. Why would we expect to hear anything when we listen to stillness? We experience stillness as a quiet, empty expanse. What makes stillness sacred, anyway? Some of us approach stillness as… Read more

How We Practice Community We all thirst for community, yet we each practice community in our own ways. There were times in my experience when I sought community based on shared interests. I learned community is more than just sharing an interest in similar things. Even when our opinions or habits or ideas bring us together, we might not be practicing community. Some people would like to define communities based on our family background. They try to make predictions by… Read more

The Value of Handcrafted Leadership Some people have questions when they hear me talk about leading like a monk. It can be a challenge for them to see what monks have to do with the way we lead today. The monks I know work hard to put their values into practice. They struggle to find an effective balance between time for reflection and time for daily work. Each monastic community, and each member of the community, looks for ways to… Read more

When We Stop Doing All the Talking People encourage us almost from birth to express ourselves. Almost as soon as we begin talking we are expected to speak for ourselves. People tell us to say what we mean and mean what we say. It is as if each of us believes we were born to do all the talking. People encouraged me as a child to speak so people could hear me. I remember people telling me to project so… Read more

What to Do When We Hit the Wall How often have you hit the wall lately? I believe in the value of hard work and persistence. There are really significant dividends which come with refusing to give up. We learn some of life’s most important lessons by trial and error. If you do not succeed at first, keep trying. Like Thomas Edison, I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways which do not work. Persistence is important. When we… Read more

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