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Posts Tagged ‘spiritual journey’

Grab the 2023 Spiritual Journey image for your blog posts.
Image by Henry Cancienne.

Do you select a One Little Word for the year? For years, I’ve been choosing a single word to guide my spiritual journey. Last year’s word was Enough. This word kept me in check. Whenever I questioned myself, I remembered “You are enough.” But as 2023 approached, I thought I wanted a more active word. I follow my good friend’s daughter on Instagram. Faith Broussard Cade has become an influencer under the name Fleur de lis Speaks. I clipped this recent post:

My new word for 2023 is Purpose.

What is my purpose?

Does this activity fit with my purpose?

Can I live each day with purpose?

I have been having mixed feelings about the word, so I talked it over with a friend. She offered me the wisdom that my purpose is with God, to bless others with my own faith.

My daughter got an oracle deck for Christmas. She said, “Just for fun, ask the oracle a question and pick a card.”

I kept the question to myself, but the card I picked was “Dancing Spirit” with a beautiful butterfly as the image. The main tenants were “Honoring Oneself”

*Build self-esteem

*Feeling the sweetness of life

* Sharing your inner light in a centered way.

I believe that purpose will continue to show up in my life. Funny how that happens.

I love to share the practice of choosing a word with students. I found some word beads and elastic string at Target, so my students each chose a word and I made them a bracelet.

Students share their one little word bracelets.

I asked them to write a post about their words by choosing a quote and writing about what the word means to them and why they chose it. It’s a fun way to greet the new year.

If you are joining the link up today, please click on the InLinkz below. If you’d like to join our group and host a month, follow this link to our google spreadsheet.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!Click here to enter

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Poetry Friday is with Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core.

Today is the first Friday of the month. Time for the Inklings challenge. Molly challenged us to write a poem that answers an unasked question in the spirit of Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s poem Answer. I was intrigued by the way that Mary Lee responded to this prompt by writing after Joe Cottonwood’s Because a Redwood Grove. I wanted to borrow the form and use a repeated because.

Because a Poem

Because upon entering
your breath is taken away
into aha,
yes-and,
me, too.

Because breath has power
to stop your heart
and fill it up again.

Because words seem to know what they are doing.

Because alongside stars,
rivers flow capturing refracted light.

Because something holy
happens here.

Because a poem
is enough.

Margaret Simon, draft

Other Inklings Responses to the Challenge:

Heidi
Molly
Mary Lee
Catherine
Linda

If you would like to join the host round-up for Spiritual Thursday 2023, fill out this form.

The first week of the month also brings Spiritual Thursday. This is a roundup of bloggers writing about their Spiritual Journey. Bob Hamera has the gathering at his blog. He selected the topic of Acceptance and Change.

I follow Faith Broussard on Instagram. Faith was a classmate of my daughter’s and she currently lives in Atlanta. On Instagram, she’s become an influencer known as Fleur-de-lis Speaks. I loved her message today, and she used my 2022 One Little Word, Enough.

My family has changed in the last year. We lost my Dad, and this month we will meet our newest granddaughter. I once had a mentor who told me that God is Change. I actually believe that God is the constant in change. God does not leave us where we are, ever. There are changes that are hard, and changes that are good. Whatever the change, our acceptance, our open arms, our breath is enough. I am enough.

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Our first Thursday Spiritual Journey gathering is hosted today by Fran Haley at lit bits and pieces.

Today is the first Thursday of November and a group of bloggers gather to share their spiritual journey. Fran selected the theme for today, holy. I immediately thought of the hymn Holy, Holy, Holy. I thought of the torn apart hymnal I was given by an artist friend to use for collage. I didn’t find that hymn but one that did use the word Holy. I wanted to create an erasure or black out poem. I googled Zentangle designs and set to work on the page.

This exercise became meditative and holy. I used a pen that I had picked up from my dad. He was a pointillist artist. I felt his presence as I imagined the time he spent making dots on a drawing. He was always fascinated by the play of dark and light. One of his favorite Bible verses was John 1:5 “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Holy humble prayer
we clasp hands
worship deep

All love
is true

Sufjan Stevens has a wonderful version of Holy, Holy, Holy that I am placing here for you to listen to. These singers are wonderful, but they start goofing around on the video around the 3 minute mark.

Wishing you a happy and holy holiday season. What does holy mean to you?

If you are a Spiritual Thursday blogger and would like to host a month in 2023, please sign up on this Google document.

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Spiritual Journey First Thursday is hosted today by Chris Margocs.

For Spiritual Thursday, Chris suggested we write about “those who have passed and left something behind in our hearts.” My father died 5 months ago. My grief returns when I’m struck by something I want to share with him. A few weeks ago, we were driving to my daughter’s house to watch the LSU game and without realizing it, I thought about calling my dad to see if he was watching the game. Bam! Before I knew it, tears were welling up and I couldn’t speak.

I’ve started listening to a new podcast with Anderson Cooper on grief, All There Is. The episodes I’ve listened to are powerful and poignant. While I was blessed to have my father for 61 years, loss is loss is loss.

Anderson Cooper interviewed Stephen Colbert, and I was touched by what Colbert said about grief.

It’s a gift to exist. And with existence comes suffering. There’s no escaping that. But if you are grateful for your life. Then you have to be grateful for all of it… I have some understanding that everybody is suffering and however imperfectly, acknowledge their suffering and connect with them and to love them in a deep way that makes you grateful for the fact that you have suffered so that you can know that about other people. I want to be the most human I can be, and that involves acknowledging and ultimately being grateful for the things that I wish didn’t happen because they gave me a gift.

Stephen Colbert, All There is

I’m not sure I am at the point at which I can be grateful for the pain of loss, but I can be grateful for the life my father had and the legacy he left behind.

Last weekend my sister and I visited my mother. We took her to church on Sunday. We have a family history at St. James. When my parents were married there, my mother’s father served the church as a priest. I was baptized, confirmed, and married there. When I walked down the aisle holding my mother’s hand, we both got teary-eyed. My father’s ashes reside in the church walls in the columbarium. His presence was with us in that moment.

St. James Episcopal Church, Jackson, MS (photo by Margaret Simon)

I subscribe to Suleika Jaouad’s The Isolation Journals newsletter. A recent writing prompt suggested composing a prayer beginning with the Sanskrit prayer, “May creatures everywhere be happy, healthy, and free.” Here is my prayer:

May creatures everywhere be happy, healthy, and free.
May you sleep as soundly as my old dog Charlie on his therapeutic bed.
May you laugh as loudly as my granddaughter Stella on Facetime, eating a cookie, crumbs all around her mouth, smacking between giggles.
May your muscles feel as stretched and tired as mine after yin yoga class,
still tingling from pigeon pose.
May our paths cross on a fall evening when the breeze is cool, and we see the bright light of Jupiter, shining with eternal hope.
May we share a moment of memory of a life we knew was good.
May we cry a little.
May you look forward to tomorrow feeling the peace of knowing you are prepared.
Yes, and be still
and know God
as the deepest, most truthful,
and holy part
of you.

Margaret Simon

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Spiritual Thursday Round up is here today.

Close to midnight when the darkness is darkest, I was sleeping next to Leo, my 3 year-old grandson. He woke up startled on his first night staying with us last week. “Mamère, what’s that?” he asked.

“That’s an owl. Can you hear it? Who, who, who!”

“Is it in the house?”

“No, no, it’s across the bayou way up high in the trees.”

Whoooooooooo!

“Scary.”

“Don’t worry, I’m here. The owl is far away.”

“Far away? Outside? In the trees?”

We talked for a while about owls, how they live in trees, hunt at night, call to their friends. The questions went on and on until I sleepily said, “It’s time to be quiet now and go back to sleep.”

I turned on the sound machine and the ocean waves calmed us both back to sleep. But Leo talked about the owl for days. Who knew that his 3 year-old brain would be so curious and so afraid of owls?

Our fears, our worries, especially in the darkness of the night are unreasonable. We know this, but nevertheless, the threat feels real.

How do you listen to the owls?

My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.

Exodus 33:14
Leo makes play-doh cookies.

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Ramona has the Round up today at Pleasures from the Page.

Life has been a challenge for many these days. I’ve adopted the mantra “We Can Do Hard Things” from Glennon Doyle. Because we can, and we do. But today, Ramona suggests we reflect on celebrations. I have a list that includes celebrations big and small.

  1. A family wedding! It’s always joyful to spend time with family. Our family (including all my children and grands) gathered in Seattle, Washington a few weeks ago for the wedding of my niece. The setting was on the Puget Sound facing the Olympic Mountains at sunset. Six days later my sister-in-law brought me to a beach nearby the wedding location as I recovered from Covid. I celebrate beauty, beach, fresh air, and family love!

2. Flowers are blooming! My friend and former student Jennifer and her husband grow fields of sunflowers and hold “You Pick” days. (Petite Anse Farm) I took my grandson Thomas “Tuffy” on Sunday morning (This was our church service) and picked a bucket of sunflowers. Thomas enjoyed having his own pair of scissors and feeding the chickens with Farmer Andy. I celebrate summer, flowers, and farmers who adore curious toddlers.

3. I was absent the last week of school. My colleague next door, Erica, packed up all the books on my shelves (I have a lot of books!) to prepare for summer cleaning. I went to check on things on Monday and was met with this amazing surprise. Also my principal’s daughter, who is 10 going on 11, was there to help with “Tuffy” while I did a few more things. I celebrate the kindness and consideration of colleagues and teaching in a school with this welcoming environment.

4. My friend and unofficial spiritual director Ellen sends me daily quotes. I am amazed how many times the quote she sends hits the exact right spot. Last week when I was recovering she sent me this list. Just what I needed. I celebrate the spiritual guidance of others who give us strength when we need it.

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Today’s Spiritual Thursday Round-up is with Susan Koehler.

You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best you have to give.

–Eleanor Roosevelt

This month’s spiritual journey topic is from Susan Koehler, abundance. At this time in my grief, I’m aware of the abundance of people who care about me. I have received cards and flowers, texts and messages of love and support. These expressions are good, well-meaning, thoughtful yet sometimes difficult to accept. I’m much more comfortable on the giving end rather than receiving.

Susan offers a poem on her post today, one that can be used as a mentor text. This kind of exercise often helps me say what I mean to say without having to decide on the form. Last week during #verselove on Ethical ELA, Jessica Wiley offered a mentor text by Eloise Greenfield titled By Myself.

I worked through this prompt a few times and would like to share this draft today.

By Myself
after Eloise Greenfield

When I’m by myself
and I close my eyes,
I’m a running river
everchanging, yet steady in its way to go.
I’m a scent of yellow.
I’m a half-filled cup of tea.
I like to sit alone with me.
I grip myself in
I’m a string of violin,
time unfolding, worth gentle holding.
I’m a space for filling up again.
I open my eyes,
and find myself in me.

Margaret Simon, draft
Sunrise walk, by Margaret Simon

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I am unraveling.

Coming unbound.

Stressing about little things.

Complicating.

Uninspired.

Frustrated.

Writing gets hard when I feel like this…

In a tiny seedling, the size of a mustard seed, God’s love is hiding, germinating, taking time. I will come back to myself. I know this. But maybe not today.

I need to give myself grace.

Yesterday I got an email from a friend who knows that my One Little Word is Enough. She shared Seth Godin’s blog.

And maybe it’s enough
To feel sufficient, to be satisfied with what we have: Chisoku in Japanese.

Of course, by some measures, there’s never enough. We can always come up with a reason why more is better, or better is better, or new is better or different is better.

Enough becomes a choice, not a measure of science.

The essence of choice is that it belongs to each of us. And if you decide you have enough, then you do.

And with that choice comes a remarkable sort of freedom. The freedom to be still, to become aware and to stop hiding from the living that’s yet to be done.

Seth Godin

This concept of enough challenges me to make a choice. A choice to be OK when things are not.

The words from the hymn “I Bind Unto Myself Today” are words of commitment, traditionally sung at ordinations and on All Saints Day. The chorus can be like a chant, a meditation:

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I pray this day that I can claim this comforting chant, resolve to accept what things I cannot change, and be ready to move forward in peace.

Amaryllis and bridal wreath, my morning walk

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Every first Thursday I join a group of bloggers writing around a spiritual topic. Today, Ruth is the host, and she chose ashes as the topic. Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. I am Episcopalian and attend an old historical church that was built by slaves in the mid 1800’s. I’ve attended this church for close to 40 years. In the last year, my friend Annie has taken the position of priest in charge. She is the first female priest in the history of our parish. Annie’s compassion and her ability to be present in the moment comforts me, even when she was marking my forehead with a smudge of ash and saying, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

Impermanence. We are not here forever. It’s not the most joyful thing to embrace. But in understanding and accepting my impermanence, I can be present in the moment. I can feel the soot on my forehead and touch the bread of life and know that I am loved.

The sign of the cross in ashes is the same gesture the priest makes with oil at baptism, saying “You are marked as Christ’s own forever.” No one can take away my belonging to God. Some days, especially during Lent, I need to sit with this belonging and be okay with who I am. I am enough.

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Today’s Round-up for Spiritual Thursday posts is at Linda Mitchell’s site, A Word Edgewise.

I like to buy flowers. When I go to the grocery store, I often put a bouquet of flowers in my basket. I consider it rescuing them from certain death. Sometimes I find someone to give them to and other times, I cut them and place them in a vase for my husband and me to enjoy. Flowers just make life better.

Colorful roses from Walmart

The other day my neighbor shouted from her doorway, “Don’t go! I want to show you something.”

She brought out the amaryllis bulb I had place on her doorstep around Christmas time. It was blooming, a beautiful white double blossom.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” she cried. “Do you want it back?”

“Of course not. It’s meant for you to enjoy.”

“I do love flowers, you know.”

Heart card collage by Margaret Simon

What is in your heart today? Love, gratitude, grief? It’s all there. Take time today to hold your own heart with compassion. Buy yourself flowers.

To end this post, I want to share Avalyn’s heart poem. This was not my doing. She saw it in a book (Sharon Creech’s Love That Dog) that you can make a poem into a shape, so she wanted to try it. I showed her a quick YouTube video, and she created her own.

Concrete heart poem by Avalyn

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