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    Spiritual practice: Breathe with your problem

    Sunday, May 24, 2015, 9:37 PM [General]

    Richard Rohr writes:  “Prayer is not the avoidance of distractions, but precisely how you deal with distractions.”

    St. Paul writes:  "Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words."

    During this week as problems arise, simply breathe.  Sit with your problem without trying to solve it.  The moment you become curious and watchful, dopamine is released in the reward center of your brain and your irritability is instantly replaced by pleasure, contentment, and inner peace. Do you sense the Spirit’s intercession for you?


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    Pentecost Sunday

    Wednesday, May 20, 2015, 2:18 PM [General]

    On Pentecost Sunday,
    we pause to remember the coming of the Holy Spirit,
    who was with us from the time of our birth
    and before
    and who will be with us at the time of our death
    and beyond.
    The Spirit gives us life,
    The Spirit teaches us
    The Spirit prays with us,
    for us,
    and through us.
    Rejoice in the Spirit’s presence and work
    in your life.

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    A Spiritual Practice for Ascension Sunday

    Sunday, May 17, 2015, 4:43 PM [General]

    The ascension of Jesus put us into the surreal world of mythic cosmology,
    though physically unverifiable
    nonetheless awe inspiring.
    In our baptism like his,
    we were affirmed to be the children of God
    and commissioned for service.
    We were incorporated into his death
    so that we died to our old self;
    and incorporated into his resurrection
    so that we rose to new life.
    In his ascension, he is given power and authority that makes him victorious over all obstacles.
    In our identification with him,
    we have been seated with him at the right hand of victory.
    Let these bigger than life images inspire you to live
    a productive, victorious, full life.

    During this week take the story of Jesus’ ascension into your awareness and let it inspire you to live

    … from a “high” perspective. “God raised us up and seated us in the heavens with Christ Jesus.”

    … with a victorious attitude.  “In all these things we are more than conquerors through the one who loved us.”

    … with a plan to live creatively, approaching each situation with freshness.  “As Christ was raised ..., we too can walk in newness of life.”

    … with awareness that you are part of the body of Christ, displaying God’s wisdom in the world.  “God’s purpose is now to show the rulers and powers in the heavens the many different varieties of his wisdom through the church,”  “which is the fullness of Christ.

     

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    Spiritual practice: Expressions of God

    Sunday, May 10, 2015, 4:45 PM [General]

    Love is a verb and not a noun.

    God is love.

    Is God a verb?


    Wherever you see love, you see God.

    Some places may surprise you.

    Some lovers may surprise you.

    Whenever you see love, you see God.


    This week be on the look out for expressions of love.

    Remind yourself every time you see one that you are seeing God.


    This week, be yourself an expression of love.

    Let God be seen in you.


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    Spiritual Practice: Remember the Source of All Creation

    Sunday, May 3, 2015, 3:29 PM [General]

    The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day
    runs through the world
    and dances in rhythmic measures.
    It is the same life that shoots in joy
    through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of grass
    and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.

    Rabindranath Tagore


    The highlighted words from Tagore’s poem are all elements of creation.  They are things you can see and touch.  


    During this week notice how many of these things you see.  How many can you hold in your hand?  Remind yourself that you draw from the same creative source as each of them.  In a sense you are one with them.

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    Spiritual practice: Discernment

    Sunday, April 26, 2015, 5:09 PM [General]

    My sheep know my voice. —Jesus

    We hear many voices, receive many messages, throughout the day. Our thoughts or inner voice, dreams, feelings—both emotions and physical sensations, symbols, coincidences, or a sudden flash of knowing are all sources of those messages.

    Knowing how to distinguish which voices are helpful from those that are not helpful, productive from destructive, positive from negative is the process of discernment.  The process involves paying attention to what the message is calling you to do or pushing you away from.  The process may also involve discovering whether you are being called to look at something you have been ignoring.  Meditating on the message, reflecting on it in your  journal or sharing with a close friend or and asking if he or she feels you are understanding the message correctly can help in the discernment process.

    During this week practice hearing and discerning.  Pay attention to the “messages” you receive.  Also be aware of which ones you consider helpful, productive and positive.  Does the message call you to action, affirm you are on the right track, or offer you a warning?  Messages that function in these positive ways are the “voice of the good shepherd.”

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    Spiritual practice: Doubt is a step on the spiritual path

    Sunday, April 19, 2015, 6:02 PM [General]

    Doubt leads to questioning and nurtures curiosity.  Curiosity is the the fertile environment which produces discovery. This quest to discover is essentially a spiritual quest.  Doubt and questioning lead us to find answers. The doubt-questioning cycle keeps us growing. Just as spring is new every year, so the answers to our questions are often renewing.


    During this week embrace your doubt and see where it leads you.  Each morning this week as you begin your day, ask, “What am I wondering about today?”  As the day unfolds notice what connections you make that appear to be stepping stones on the answer path.

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    Spiritual Practice: Courage to go forward

    Sunday, April 5, 2015, 5:59 PM [General]

    “Go back?" he thought. "No good at all!

    Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward?

    Only thing to do! On we go!"

    ― J.R.R. TolkienThe Hobbit 


    Can you think of some event that has caused you to wonder how you could ever be able to go on?  Make a list of a couple of those events and then ask yourself, “How did I find the strength and courage to go on?”


    Your answer leads to discover how Easter calls you to embrace new life.  

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    Spiritual Practice: Living With “Ugly” Feelings

    Sunday, March 29, 2015, 3:34 PM [General]

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    When you become aware of an “ugly” feeling and you are telling yourself, “I’m angry.”  I’ll use “angry” in this example.  You can substitute any feeling that is discomforting or upsetting.

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    Shift your sentence from “I’m angry” to “A part of me is feeling angry.”  This is recognition that you and the feeling are separate.  You are not the feeling.

    Say “Hello” to the part of you that is feeling angry.  When you first try this practice, it feels counter intuitive.  It certainly is different from common strategies, maybe even some you have tried in the past—to ignore the feeling, to deny it, to argue with it, to try to talk yourself out of the feeling.  Saying “hello” is a way of acknowledging the presence of the feeling and recognizing that it has come to you, often without your conscious invitation.  Saying “hello” indicates that you are trying to move toward willingness to consider what the feeling might be trying to tell you.

    You can add even more power to your shift by adding a phrase, “I’m sensing…” and then add, “…that a part of me is feeling angry.”

    Place a hand on the location in your body where you feel the sensation the most.  Some common places that feelings show up are in your stomach, throat, chest (heart area), neck, shoulders, or head.  If you don’t sense a particular place in your body where the feeling seems to be showing itself, simply place your hand over your heart.  This gesture often has a calming effect.

    Listen to what the part of your body or the anger has to say.  Sometimes the feeling will remind you of a situation in your life, past or present, in which you have felt this way before.  Any number of memories, thoughts, feelings, images that come to mind may be part of the message.  Ponder what they might be telling you.

    After you’ve listed carefully, you may be able to say, “No wonder I’m sensing part of me is angry.”  This is a way to show compassion to yourself.  Having gone through this process you may be able to respond to your situation in a different way.

    Remember you can substitute any discomforting or upsetting feeling for anger.

     

    I learned this practice from Ann Weiser Cornell.  Visit her website for fuller explanation and additional resources:  focusingresources.com.

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    Spiritual practice:  Celebrate Diversity of Religions

    Sunday, March 22, 2015, 3:40 PM [General]

    To be hospitable, you need to accept pluralism as a natural condition in the world. Celebrate the diversity of the Creation. One particularly valuable spin-off of hospitality is inter-religious dialogue. Spirit speaks in many languages, and this spiritual practice helps us receive these multiple messages. — Henri J. M. Nouwen in Ministry and Spirituality

     

    To celebrate the diversity of religions, write out a story in your journal about an encounter with another religion — a conversation with a believer, a visit to a sacred site, attendance at a ritual, or use of a practice — and what you learned from the experience.  If you have the opportunity, share your story with another person.

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