September 14, 2019

Breathing In and Breathing Out Many of us practice specific ways of trying to strengthen spiritual life. We may follow traditional practices we find helpful or discover our own. It can be good to begin by exploring what practices have helped, and not helped, us already. We may feel stuck or trapped in a particular practice. There may be ways to adjust how we experience certain practices, or we might want t0 start something new. Some of us find it helpful… Read more

September 12, 2019

The Times They Are Changing I appreciate the time I spend on retreat at New Camaldoli Hermitage. It feels like time has a way of standing still there. It is not true, of course. Life is changing at the hermitage in the same ways it changes everywhere else. People grow old and die. New people arrive and continue their exploration of spiritual life. Many changes at the hermitage, though, are grounded in the history and traditions of Benedictine spirituality. Every… Read more

September 10, 2019

Hope and Despair in the Stillness Stillness is inextricably linked to hope and despair for me. Sometimes stillness takes me to the edge of despair. It is the stillness of me reaching the end of my rope, my last resort, my worst case scenario. My brain has been running as fast as it can when it arrives at the end of my ideas. Words seem to turn to ash in my mouth, in my mind, and there is nothing more… Read more

September 7, 2019

Are Our Eyes Open? We each open our eyes at least once each day. Sometimes it takes time, and things come into focus gradually. If we start moving before our eyes are really open we bump into things, which encourages us to pay closer attention. There are days when we open our eyes immediately. One moment we are asleep and the next we are wide awake. Even if we would like to, we are not going back to sleep. Our… Read more

September 5, 2019

Heading in a NonDirective Direction Some of us grow up believing in the importance of being directive. People tell us life is all about making progress in a particular direction. The sooner we know where we are going and how we plan to get there, the better. Finding our direction is a significant part of growing up, maturing, and getting on with life. It is almost like life is a race and we need to build up some speed in… Read more

September 3, 2019

Clinging to the Icy Edge of Stillness Some of us like to believe listening to sacred stillness should be warm and comforting. We like to think we settle into stillness for a nice, quiet rest. Sitting still we close our eyes, taker a deep breath, and spiritual life wraps us in its arms. There can be days like that. We find a rhythm in our contemplative practices and grow accustomed to how they feel. Spiritual life seems to welcome us… Read more

August 31, 2019

Why Do We Celebrate Labor Day? Some of us have little or no understanding of what Labor Day is about. Labor Day has come to mean the unofficial end of summer. This weekend is the traditional beginning of the college football season. Some companies tell us we celebrate Labor Day by buying mattresses or trucks. Many of us see Labor Day as one last opportunity to get away before fall really starts. It seems a little ironic for our country… Read more

August 27, 2019

In Solitude and In Stillness Many of us cannot remember when we were last by ourselves, the last time we spent in solitude. We have grown accustomed to dealing with the demands of spending time with other people. Whether they are members of our families or people with whom we work, we are not alone. We solve problems and fit pieces into puzzles without checking the picture on the box. Each year for several years now, I spend a few… Read more

August 24, 2019

Practicing Our Way Into Becoming Some of us believe our lives are determined primarily by our past experiences. They see us following the examples we have experienced. Our lives are responses which reflect the ways we have seen others respond. Others of us advocate taking personal responsibility for our own lives. Whatever circumstances we have faced in the past, they say, we choose our own lives. They urge us to make wise choices and put them into practice. There is truth in… Read more

August 22, 2019

Giving Each Action Its Own Time It begins before I lift my head from the pillow each morning. There are so many things which demand my attention and need to be done. Personal things, like shaving and taking a shower. Breakfast, which leads inevitably to speculating about lunch. Work things; I need to call her, email them, finish that, and meet with him. Every once in a while, I need to think my way through something, or even write a little… Read more

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