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Archive for the ‘Spiritual Growth’ Category

See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life

It doesn’t take much to bloom–
a space in the yard
tucked away from plain view
safe from weeds and snakes.

Just stretch out your branches,
bend to the light,
open your eyes
and be white lace, clouds of lace

woven on air
swept up in a tangle of wind
waiting for hope.
That’s all it takes to bloom.

(c) Margaret Simon

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life

 

See more Spiritual Thursday posts with Doraine at Yoga Inspired.

This is the first Thursday of the month, so the Spiritual Journey gathering is happening at Dori’s site today around the topic Balance.

 

photo by Danne from pexels.com

 

Balance is a levitated word
held between my fingers
with no space for doubt.

Balance doesn’t lean or lose;
it’s always in control.
Gravity is its guide.

Balance grows on solid ground,
strengthens while it weighs nothing,
suspension in space and time.

So how is it, then, that balance
eludes the seeker? Here for a second,
then gone, out of reach.

We request balance in our lives
of diet
of things-to-do lists
of spinning plates.

But balance is only of God,
of true peace
of kindness
of mercy.

Balance can not be achieved alone.

(c) Margaret Simon

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life

EnneaThought® for the Day

Type Two EnneaThought® for March 4th

Everyone has positive qualities that they usually do not recognize in themselves. Today, can you see your own strength which is at the center of your love for others—and for yourself?

photo from Pixabay.com

I subscribe to EnneaThought for the Day from the Enneagram Institute.  The small messages come daily to my inbox.  It’s usually the first email I open expecting it to inform my day.  I’ve used the messages for writing prompts in my notebook, and today when a little stuck about what to write, I copied and pasted the message into the blank page in WordPress.

I know that everyone has positive qualities, and especially in teaching, I look for those in others.  But how often do I focus on my own positive qualities?  This message reminds me that my strength is at the center of my love for others.  Without it, I am useless.

Finding a sense of peace through forgiveness of myself is a daily exercise.  Nobody is perfect, but I tend to stew on stuff, especially if I feel I have hurt someone or given a false impression of myself.  Stewing is not productive.  It keeps me from moving forward.  It weakens rather than strengthens.

Writing helps me sort through the muck of my mind.  I feel strong and productive when I write.  When I wasn’t sure what to write this morning, I jumped into the page and just.did.it.  Is this the best I’ve got? No. But here it is and that’s enough.

Monday should be Forgive Yourself Day because we all need to start our week off with a positive outlook, a show of strength, and a sense of self-love.  Give that to yourself today.

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See more Spiritual Thursday posts at Donna’s site, Mainly Write.

 

Donna is gathering our Spiritual Journey First Thursday posts at her blog. Donna recently moved, so she chose “Home” as our topic for today.

We often look to our church as a spiritual home.  But is this the only place where God lives?  Like the saying “Home is where the heart is,” God is where the heart is, too.  Just because you may not have a place to worship, God’s presence does not leave you.  God is in my mind…always.

I also believe that God is in my poetry.  Wherever I am, the world opens and reveals poems.  This week is only the first week of February, but the temperatures have climbed above 70 degrees, and the Japanese magnolias are blooming.  On my early morning walk, I pass a lonely tree in a vacant lot.  It’s obviously not trimmed or cared for and in many ways looks like it’s dead, but not this week.  So I wrote a poem about it. Of course.

The first stanza is a direct quote from The Time is Now, a weekly writing prompt from Poets and Writers.

A Day on Saturn

A day on Saturn
lasts a total of ten hours,
thirty-three minutes,
and thirty-eight seconds,
according to the Astrophysical Journal.

When I pass the Japanese magnolia,
I think it must be dying.
Lichen clusters on its branches;
a hollowed trunk carved like a cave
invites infesting insects.

And yet, there they are
in the middle of winter, pink
blossom buds
point to the sky
spot Saturn

like an astrolabe
aligns the planets,
from a leafless display

balancing a day.

–Margaret Simon, all rights reserved

 

 

 

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Published by Abingdon Press

 

When I first met Jake Owensby, he was being consecrated as the fourth Bishop of the Western Louisiana Diocese of the Episcopal Church in 2012. My first impression of him was presence.  It was a brief exchange, but I felt he was fully present and aware of me.

In his new book A Resurrection Shaped Life, Bishop Jake is fully present.  He reveals himself in true reality while showing us how to live with the realities through a relationship with Jesus.

When we repent, we admit that the sorrows, the losses, the wounds, the betrayals, and the regrets of our past have made us into someone we don’t want to be anymore. We die to that self and entrust ourselves to Jesus. From those shattered places in our lives, Christ brings new life; repentance is the beginning of our resurrection.

Reading Bishop Jake’s book was like being present with him, not in the way listening to a sermon would, but like sitting next to him listening and learning how to be a Christian in today’s world.  He accentuates Jesus’s plan for the world, a world of resurrection, in which love displaces fear, “where generosity eliminates deprivation and respect guards the dignity of all.”

Bishop Jake reminds us of who Jesus really is: committed to healing in the world.  Jesus suffered.  We suffer. God does not take away the pain or the suffering; however, through Jesus, we know that suffering is endured out of love and eventually leads to healing.  When we lead a resurrection-shaped life, we live in compassion with imagination and hope.

Jesus changes our mind about God. In Jesus, we see who we truly are as humans.  We are the beloved, not the blameworthy…we slowly begin to exchange our habit of blaming others for the habit of compassion.

Barbara Brown Taylor reminds un that new life starts in the dark. We must go through Good Friday to get to Easter. A Resurrection Shaped Life guides you through the darkness, by wading next to you and showing you the star.

I suggest following Bishop Jake’s blog: Looking for God in the Messy Places.

 

 

 

 

 

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Spiritual Journey is gathering today at Ruth’s blog.  We are writing about our chosen words for 2019.

Choosing a one little word is something I start thinking about weeks before the year’s end. For me it becomes a process of listening to the universe.  This year my thoughts started around Thanksgiving.  The first word I considered was Compassion. 

A compassionate life is something to aspire to. I recently read Bishop Jake Owensby’s latest book A Resurrection Shaped Life. 

“By God’s grace, a new life–what I’m calling a resurrection-shaped life–emerges from suffering and sorrow.  One way in which that new life emerges is in our unguarded engagement with the suffering of others.” (21)

Caring so deeply that we stand beside and hold hands with suffering is what Jesus calls us to; however, the more I thought about this word, the more unworthy I felt.  I don’t want to choose a word that leads me to despair, that feeling of not meeting up with my own expectations.

Another word I considered was Mindfulness.  I love practicing yoga and bringing meditation into my day.  I’ve not made time for this since school started, so perhaps if I gave myself the word mindfulness, I would get back to these spirit-filled activities.  And being in touch with my spiritual center would also lead me to compassion.

These words are still an integral part of my thinking.  I meditated the other day and heard another word, Blessed. Ah, yes.  That’s it.  I am blessed and when I feel blessed, I can bless others.  But the dictionary definition of blessed is “made holy; consecrated.”  This definition makes me feel I am proclaiming something rather than working toward a better me.

In searching for synonyms of compassion, I found a perfect word, one I can wrap my head around, one that is not a claim or full of unlimited expectation.  Simple and sincere…

 

 

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Round up is with Irene at Live Your Poem.

On this first Thursday of December, the Spiritual Journey bloggers are reflecting on our 2018 one little word. Way back in January, I chose the word Explore.  Like previous words, Presence and Open, this word helped me to be more present to the world around me.  Exploration is important in the life of a writer.  To me exploring has a connotation of adventure and daring. While I find much comfort in just being at home, when I am more open to adventure, I reach out and invite joy in.

My students and I enjoy exploring different ways to look at common objects.  The above image was taken through a Private Eye jewelers loupe in the school garden. The Private Eye asks the viewer to use figurative language to describe what you see.  It looks like… and it also looks like…

A rose in bloom
flowing tutu in the sun
a garden dancer

 

Following NCTE in Houston, my friend Dani traveled home with me for a few days before heading back to Montana.  We explored Avery Island and the Tabasco plant, a sculpture garden in New Orleans, and an old cemetery.  Dani was fascinated by the above ground crypts.  Since NOLA is below sea level, bodies are buried above ground to avoid floating away. Exploring is more fun with a friend.

 

Explore was a good word for 2018, but as this year comes to a close, I’m thinking about next year’s one little word.  I feel the need to turn more toward reaching out to others and making some kind of difference.  Explore was a more self-serving word, one that led me to adventures and new places, but didn’t send me outward to others.  I’m ready to look inward to how I can become more generous to others.

#haikuforhope

Hope fills my waiting heart
Gently cradled in wonder
Exploring my world

(c) Margaret Simon

 

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