Friday, January 9, 2015

Honor of looking back

In celebration of writing Salon for the Soul for five years, I am looking back at my most-popular blogs, sharing their essence and patterns and, wondering, what the over-arching message may be. What speaks to people? Apparently surrender, handing over our brokenness, relying on God, following Jesus, finding our gifts in community, blaring at God out of loneliness and seeing ourselves as wounded healers. Thank you for the honor of sharing myself and hoping that, sometimes,  Salon for the Soul reflects your thoughts, beliefs and experiences.

#1 Spiritual nakedness

Lay your burden                                                                                                                         
at the feet of Christ.
Give yourself                                                                                                                         
unto me.

With those words murmured into my heart during worship, I was able to begin to truly surrender. I have been moving toward this process since June, when Spirit commanded me to lay down on a pew in a Meeting that wasn't my own and surrender.

Sunday, I did lay my troubles at Jesus' feet and gave the rest to God. Suddenly, I felt jolted awake, really awake. A golden light invaded me and I experienced a wonderful lightness. For me, this is surrender.

And, I believe I must do it every day. Every, single one.

#2 Please, use my brokenness

I awoke with a new prayer on my lips and in my heart yesterday:
Please, use my brokenness.

Certainly, I have prayed for healing and for God to use me, but never to use my brokenness. Before the words formed, there was an image of a mosaic, specifically the cement binding all of the broken pieces together and I knew that's where God, silently and mysteriously, resides. If I can admit that I am I pieces and give them to God, then something transformative can happen. Nothing of my own volition can make this change. I have to totally surrender and let God work.

Am I brave enough for that surrender?

Full text: http://salonforthesoul.blogspot.com/2011/11/please-use-my-brokenness.html

#3 Present in the midst

Driving home from Cleveland, I noticed a peaceful patch of woods and longed to be there, out in Nature and away from the artificiality of the hospital.

I so craved Mother Nature to recover from the week. After peaking outside, I knew my recovery meant getting out there.

As I sat in worship, soaking in the sacredness, someone smelling of soap and sausage plopped next to me. Permeated, I reluctantly opened my eyes to my friend Patia. "I thought you could use an angel," she said as she kissed my cheek and offered her hand. 

Hurriedly walking to yoga, then catching the silken sky reminded me of how much more there is to life than my current obsessions. "Lift me out of my littleness," I murmured as a prayer.

In my sacred, Quaker Meetinghouse, joyfully finalizing details for a workshop on sacred pain with a beloved partner, I spot a voicemail message. My father says my mother has been moved out of the ICU. THANK YOU, I sing and dance.

I sink my teeth back into centering prayer, almost strangled by the phrase "the end of time.” Not end of the world or humanity, but the end of time. I live so constrained by time. Pushed and rushed. What would it be like to live outside of time? To do and act when Divinely inspired?

My youngest wakes up sick and I am anxious about bringing my mom back next week. The anxiety mounts. I remind myself that I've had a few terrific days making spiritual connections. That I have felt God present and that she will figure all of this out. The burden is not mine.

Oh yeah, I remember.

#4 A Quaker considers guns

I really do wonder how Jesus would handle this. I think he'd take a deeper look at society and see where we are failing and demand we fix it. First, however,  he'd probably walk up, unarmed, to the shooter taking his chances and look him in the eye, witnessing his wholeness and goodness, not just the evil he projects. After all, the shooter is as much a child of God as his victims.

My heart is not legislated by human law, but by Spirit’s. Life is about constantly dying; none of it is easy. Dying from our ego and into Divine union. I do not fear death; to me it’s the ultimate surrender. Of course, I don’t wish to die violently, at the hands of a shooter, but my prayer would be that I could look that person in the eye and see that of God in them.

Maybe if that had happened once, the shooter would not even have a gun.

Full text: http://salonforthesoul.blogspot.com/2013/01/a-quaker-considers-guns.html

#5 Surrender as a gift

Spiritual gifts, a topic near and dear to me, have been on my mind and heart as I read and prepare for a full-day retreat on an annual Quaker renewal day.

Of course, I have plenty of play planned. Play that gets us out of our heads and into our hearts, where we may better discern our gifts and those of others. The person who can look inside and see it all clearly is in the minority. Most of us need encouragement and nurture from each other.

"It is the faith community's responsibility to name giftedness of its members because we cannot see ourselves clearly," Lloyd Lee Wilson writes in Essays on the Quaker Vision of Gospel Order.

When that happens it “frees the individual from fear, hesitation and caution,” according to Quaker Marty Grundy, who also taught me that the burden of translation, when listening deeply, prayerfully, to another is on the listener. I call it listening by heart, beyond the words and to the other person's heart.

Perhaps seeing gifts in another is a similar process. A looking beyond the surface, deeper, to that place God resides in each of us.

Full text: http://salonforthesoul.blogspot.com/2013/09/surrender-as-gift.html

#6 At odds with God

od, I am blaring, what am I supposed to do right now?

For Pete’s sake, I’ve been discerning your message from June asking me to surrender. I can’t even be clear on that with the help of a clearness committee. First it seemed I was to give up the rigidity of the fibromyalgia. But it got worse, not better. And, in this time, I have discovered healing energy in my hands, even consciously used them on another. Now I understand my propensity to touch someone when they are hurting. Do I surrender to this?

Next I thought it was about direction and vocation. Now it seems more about finance and livelihood. I keep reading about the path of descent making one holier and more pure. I tire of that path. I don’t know anyone else on it. It’s lonely and painful.

Full text: http://salonforthesoul.blogspot.com/2013/10/at-odds-with-god.html

#7 Other side of grace

Three days ago I felt tested, much like my Quaker friend Patia described about her own life Sunday. "God tests those closest to him," she'd said.

So it was with surprise and gratitude I responded to my 13-year-old's request to walk the local labyrinth. I couldn't help noticing how much each quadrant of the sacred pathway resembled a section of the brain. Perhaps this is why a walking meditation works so well for me – it quiets my mind, I surmised. 

A tapping webinar I stumbled onto demonstrated how this process can release the body from its frozen state between fight or flight in the amygdala, the part of the brain that the labyrinth mimics, and trigger relaxation.

So relaxed and unfrozen, I encountered a friend who practices healing touch. "You have the gift," she told me after experiencing it. "Yes," I replied, "when I can get myself out of the way” which, she admitted, was the challenge. She encouraged asked me to center and place my hands on her injured ribs. I felt the surge again and so did she. We just stood there touching each other tenderly. 
"This is what real connection means, doesn't it?" I finally asked, breaking the silence.
 "Yeah it really is. I felt things settle, what did you feel?"
"The energy, but I also saw green."
"Love," she said with a smile.
"The heart chakra," I chimed in.
Wounded healers, we agreed.

Full text: http://salonforthesoul.blogspot.com/2013/09/other-side-of-grace.html

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