“Is Nothing Sacred No More?”

I sit here on this Friday almost-summer morning, unable to attend to tasks I anointed for today. A practical list consisting of tending to my car’s need for an oil change, to weeding long neglected, and to tending my business. I spent yesterday in a similar sort of funk, telling myself it was due to a particularly challenging session with my mentor. Or due to my youngest child becoming a high school senior and the seismic changes ahead for us both. But in my soul, I know neither is why I feel so lost and in such deep sorrow.

candles

9 people were killed in their church while in prayer group. 9 people were killed while tending to their faith and to each other. 9 people killed because of the color of their skin and being trusting souls with their killer. Just writing these sentences makes me cry, feeling such pain and sorrow I cannot attend to my day as usual. 9 people dead whose souls are calling out for me to respond, to take action on all our behalves.

We live in a time when children are killed in school and adults are killed in church. We used to believe childhood was sacred, that a church or a temple was sacred. How did this become not so? My youngest child grew up with children being killed in school and shared with me how being in school doesn’t always feel safe, despite their SWAT team drills and safe room protocols. She shares how she feels safer jumping her big horse over a 3 foot fence than sitting in her classroom some days.

Now you may be telling yourself how your church or your school is safe because can’t happen because of where you live. Yet my (white) daughter who lives in one of the best parts of Charleston less than a mile from the Emanual AME Church, doesn’t feel safe. I keep reliving being inside this church but a few weeks ago, feeling the sacred power of the countless numbers of prayers offered there. Only now, I’m wrestling with the image in my head of the blood stains of  the 9 people killed within the sacred space I had offered prayers.

When did we agree that nothing was sacred no more? When did it become easier to distract ourselves from tending to the outrage of “never again” with the actions necessary for making it so? That nothing really changes in the aftermath of another act of violence against another human being? When what is sacred to us-childhood, church, life-is violated and we ignore the call from our soul to attend to it, to repair it, to mend the wound in what is sacred to us?

I don’t have an easy answer for the violence and racism rampant in our times. An easy answer will not suffice to change what is wrong and our tolerance for allowing it to prevail. What I do know is I seem unable to distract or ignore what I am feeling inside until it goes away. Something deep within me is stopping me in my tracks, waiting for me to respond, for me to take action on the pain and sorrow I feel. I do know our souls are calling for each of us to take better care of what is sacred again.

“The Peril of Lacking Integrity with What is Sacred to You”

Healing Your Legacy

Almost 40 years ago, I sat down in a yoga class, closed my eyes, and opened up to the world within. I was a reluctant participant to the new age of ancient spirituality, wisdom, and healing, not always inspired by the way “being spiritual” was being used to bypass the sometimes hard work of relationships and life. Yet my own experience of transformations and healing through engaging ancient technologies taught me to not throw the new age baby out with my judgement of others…..funny how life teaches us at times!

Matthew Fox, a renowned theologian, wrote “ I seriously question the spirituality and ethics of anyone whose integrity in life has never gotten him or her into trouble”. In my work with couples and families, I find a lack of one’s integrity often lies at the root of pain and conflict in their life and relationships. Taught as children love equals not hurting the other, what is to be done with feelings, thoughts, and desires you fear will hurt or cause rejection from those you love? Too often the answer is to become silent and not risk sharing with those you love, judging them as what is holding you back from living what is sacred to you.

What is sacred to you is intimate, tangible, and known by the priorities of your life. What is sacred seeks sharing with those you love, forming the foundation of the intimacy and security of relationship you long for and all too often, confuse with control. What is sacred invites those you love to share what is sacred for them with you as well, offering safe harbor for the power of our vulnerability to be shared. Scary? Can be. Yet without the courage to risk sharing what is sacred to you with those you hold sacred in life, the pain and rejection you fear you will create. Ironic. (Irony I have come to understand is the sacred’s way of reminding us of the limitations of human’s linear logic ).

What is sacred in your life will test you, will challenge you, will demand change you fear and are afraid to make. These trials and tribulations are not proof something is wrong with what you hold sacred in life-quite the contrary. What tests you in life is simply reminding you to engage with faith and courage, what is sacred to you, an intimate reminder of the faith and trust the sacred has in you….trust and faith when extended to ourself and those we love, creates the integrity of intimate relationship that is sacred as well.

The “Contemporary” Leadership of Women

 Much has been written, talked about, and even merchandised about the new power and contemporary leadership of women.  As a woman, I initially received this buzz about contemporary women’s place with a “hallelujah”, and now sigh, concluding how like the truism of memos serving the illusion of action, talking often serves the illusion of change.

One of the challenge I offer to those I work with is “how are you taking action on your new awareness/desire/choice/commitment in your daily life?  While words are powerful, using words only for talk diminishes the power and clarity the authentic (root) meaning the word offers us for committing to action.

The root (Latin) meaning of the word “contemporary” is “together with” and I smiled to have found a word so accurate in describing the history of women’s leadership. While the word “contemporary” may currently mean “new/current/fashionable”, women’s leadership throughout history has been “together with” .  

Women for ages have been “together with” the birthing and nurturing of new life, “together with” healing, tending and caring for members of their community, “together with” those in old age and in death.  The leadership of women is not new, ever unfashionable, nor simply the leadership of men with a skirt and lipstick on it. 

So the next time you hear talk about the new and contemporary leadership of women, smile at knowing just how contemporary women’s leadership is and commit yourself more to taking action “together with” your deepest values and what is sacred in the life you lead as a woman.

 

The Mother’s Prayer

Motherhood was once honored as a sacred calling, the nurturing of a child into an adult considered of critical value to the entire community. The sacredness of motherhood was believed to have the active support of the sacred, ancient wisdom believing the prayers offered by a mother the only prayers God was bound to honor.

Whether we believe in the prayers of a mother being more powerful or not, we can honor “Mother” by honoring ourselves as daughters of the mother we all have in common… Mother Earth. When we honor ourselves as daughters and sons of Mother Earth, all life that receives Her nurturance, Her shelter, Her sustenance, becomes our relatives.  And the Earth Mother’s sacred prayer for Her children’s harmony, happiness, and peace,  is a sacred prayer we are now being called upon to honor as human beings.

Walking as a Goddess on Earth

 With temperatures about freezing for the first time in months, I went on a walkabout today on the land I live with. Winter’s stay was long and harsh this year and I knew winter’s damage would be compounded by the damage of hungry deer looking to stay alive with 4 feet of snow on the ground.

Splintered branches, young pines snapped in half, sides of young hemlocks nibbled mostly away, and cracked trunks of bushes whose blooms bring joy to my life, were sights greeting me as I walked about in the warming sun of April. I sighed as I tagged the trees and bushes needing tending,  reminded again of the circle of life. 

When I first become the steward of the land I live with, winter’s damage saddened me. I love trees and after a heavy snowfall, take my broom out to brush off branches bending almost in half with snow weight. I became more comfortable with pruning and cutting off the damaged parts my tree companions after learning the cost of damaged limbs to the health of the rest of the tree. I learned to honor my response-ability to not only nurture my beloved green companions, but to also make the sometimes uncomfortable decisions of what dies so that the rest of the tree may live.

Walking as a Goddess on Earth honors the mutual relationship we humans have with the other forms of life on Earth.  Whether making the sometimes heart-wrenching choices for our beloved animal companions or insisting on a quality of life for what nourishes us as food, we are called to honor our power in the circle of life with awareness and care.  And when we honor the sacred trust of our power as human beings, we begin to honor how our everyday choices-even the ones we call small- impact in a large way the other life that serves, nurtures, and bring joy to us in our walking as a Goddess on the Earth.

Simple…. Make Love with Your Life

Here in New England, we are beginning the seasonal descent into less sunlight and more darkness while also entering the busy season of  holidays.  Our bodies may want to curl up more on the couch in front of the fireplace while our social self pulls us in the opposite direction of more activity and interactions.  How do we manage this seesaw of our needs and our world?  It is simple really….make love with your life.

We have all been taught to distrust the unknown, to be afraid of what we do not control, and to not give power to the unseen. And while we are biologically wired for physical survival, we are wired as well for exquisite partnership with the sacred…..the partnership at the foundation of art, of creativity, of thriving as a human being….the beauty that reveals itself when we choose to trust Life enough to make love with our life.

As with many matters simple, it may not be easy, but what delight we real.ize when we make love with our life, when we allow ourself to open up to what Life brings for our experience and awareness,  our unique expression to be shared,  our real.ization and our creation. Our life wants nothing more-and nothing less-from us than for us to make love with it and to realize the sacred partnership of the physical and the infinite, the seen and the unseen, the known and the unknown…for this is how we create that which we do not even know is possible to create…and is this not the call of our times and world?