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]


    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.


    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:

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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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    A spiritual practice for this week: See the Light and Shadow

    Sunday, March 15, 2015, 4:13 PM [General]

    Surprisingly, we cannot see light itself

    only reflected light.
    Even at that light and darkness,
    brightness and shadow,
    provide the necessary contrast
    that make it possible for us to see.
    God is only known in the reflection.
    You are the reflection!
    You are the reflection in all your brightness
    and shadow.

    I took an art class many years ago. I remember only one repeated line the instructor used: “drawing is made up of light and shadow.” That’s true of seeing too, light and shadow. Look around you. What do you see? Could you see it without light? Could you see it without shadows?

    Take a few minutes to write your answers to these questions. What does this exercise tell you about light and shadow in your life? Consider whether you can really appreciate one without the other?

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