“Caught in a self-centered dream, only suffering;
holding to self-centered thoughts, exactly the dream;
each moment, life as it is, the only teacher;
being just this moment, compassion’s way.”- Charlotte Joko Beck
Nearly all roads lead back to this simple, but not easy to do, truth. I see in my notes my first brush with it’s beauty was March 25, 1999. And my artwork tribute to the same was in 2003.
It’s staggering how long ago this all seems; it’s comforting how familiar the rhythm still feels against my soul. On it’s heels comes another truth that guides my walk; I pray more humbly and with greater grace than yesterday.
“Only self can cast a shadow on the way. Be more afraid of Spirit-unrest, or soul-disturbance, or any ruffling of the Spirit, than of earthquake or fire or any outside forces. When you feel the absolute calm has been broken – away alone with Me until your heart sings, and all is strong and calm.” “Remember all that you have to do is to keep calm and happy. God does the rest.”-God Calling February 21
Day is for action with God,
in the receipt and service of love. Night is for resting;
listening to the sweet sounds
of God’s concert of love songs for me.
Life lived in this way,
in balance of command and blessing,
is life lived as prayer
to the God of my life.
“By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.” Psalm 42:8
The only failure in this is not turning to Me for help, and availing yourself of my strength and eagerness to follow command with blessing.
Failure, by the way, is man’s word for fault.
A fault, in a weakened state, shifts. The vulnerable point becomes the site of breaking in the hands of a lone traveler, and bursts apart into a slurry of mud.
The temptation then is to go deeper into self-reliance and ask nothing of Me, staring more and more blindly into the possible glory of success or abyss of failure. More and more, thinking takes over heart.
But, in connection and reliance upon Me there is not only no failure – there is no fault.
Because I am your rock.
And I am your redeemer.
All of Me for all of you.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you. O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
Yesterday I was resisting a nudge to more consistently practice my “personal rule of life” during Lent. And struggling too with the language of “rule” even though the name and intent had been constructed by me (see earlier posts: Rule of Life). Thankfully I visited with a friend last night who posed the question: what other words might be better for you?
Hmmm. How gentle and permissive; just one more example of how a question often serves more than an answer. And served as an invitation to what showed up late last night – just in time for Lent.
There it is. That is it. This is mine.
Thanks to this exchange with a friend, I get to begin this Lenten season with more clarity and encouragement to live my Meadow Walk. It looks like practicing the behaviors, here in the city that I practiced in the Monastery (home of the Meadow):
• morning time reading, prayers, writing, meditation
• walking outdoors at least 20 minutes
• three joyful meals a day without snacks, sugar or wheat
• Vesper-like, time-out devotions around 5pm
• and evening prayers of thankfulness.
Just as I scribed and committed, familiar thoughts of failure came rushing in. But, what showed up next was:
The only failure in this is not turning to Me.
And, isn’t that kind of the point (or one of them anyway) of this time? Remembering to connect with Christ these final days … in this time before Easter.
Welcome to this space – a gathering place for the mind, body and soul.