How is it with your spirit?
That’s the way I often begin conversations with my patients, spiritual direction guests, and myself, as I begin another day. It’s a good question to ask before sleep as well. If we can’t name what we’re feeling, seeking, and need, to proceed with equanimity, then we have work to do. We need to ask loving, honest questions that will help us identify what’s impeding our peace. The pursuit of these names changes everything. When the unknown and unresolved is named, we can meet it and allow space for its voice to be heard. Everything the world needs begins with befriending ourselves as deeply as the Love that called us here.
And I suppose the question, “How is it with your spirit?” is also connected to my passion for any practice that takes me deep within silence, and why everyone I counsel has been invited to do the same. Repeatedly. Our spirits get knocked out of alignment so easily in the world. We bury ourselves, over and over and need resurrecting to live authentically.
Our Easters happen when we make time for those activities that take us into our spirits so deeply that time stops, the world falls away, and there is only the intimacy of self and passion. True renewal. It’s like watering a plant…and if you look around the world, the garden is sadly wilted.
Photography, gardening, writing, walking, centering prayer…I have developed so many ways to get to my center over the years that I hope all the practice helps me live from it, more and more. After all, it’s our genuine home, the place where we meet ourselves and our image of the Sacred (whatever that is for us), to enlarge the Love that binds us and feeds our lives and those with whom we share it.
I hold the memory of my beloved, late spiritual director in my heart. He’d often come to the hospital where I worked inhumane hours, just to offer me the time and space to listen myself to my center. We’d meet in the hospital chapel–reliably empty in a place where everyone moved too quickly, doing too much–and I’d always find him sitting so deeply in his prayer-filled center that he gave off light. It healed me before I even joined him, before words gradually became part of our conversation. Now, as I approach (too quickly) his wise old age in those long ago days, I understand the urge to take any time available to breathe, “head to my center,” and hang out with Love.
As the world picks up energy, turns outward once again, and engages beyond lit screens, texts, and messages, I hope we’ll retain some of the gifts that greater stillness and times of silence have given us. Many of us have made life-altering connections during this time of pandemic. We’ve forged relationships and uncovered gifts that will need tending to stay alive, just as our spirits do. I hope we won’t, as a species, return to mindless rushing and acquisition; such former habits will not meet the needs of our spirits or the present world.
The “way things were” has been a fallow field for over a year, while we’ve been tightly bound and changing; as we are loosened and part from the circles that have given us solace, insight, and community, I hope we turn to new fertility in the world and see continued possibility for healing and co-creating. Asking ourselves and beloveds, “How is it with your spirit?” and taking time to listen for the heart’s answers, can help light the path before us.
Be well and safe, and great gentle peace.
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