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Posts Tagged ‘spiritual journey’

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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Grab this logo for your blog.

Dear Spiritual Thursday Friends,

We are gathering again for the first Thursday of each month. This is an open invitation to any blogger who would like to join us. We post on the first Thursday of the month. Each month is hosted by a different blogger. We do not adhere to any specific religious affiliation. We are here to express our thoughts about how our spiritual lives are going. Let me know in the comments or by email if you’d like to be on the list of participants.

Blessings,
Margaret

I’ve been choosing a One Little Word to guide my year for many years now. I have a collection of MudLove bracelets that express my different words. I’ve even begun a practice of gifting little words to some of my friends. It’s probably against the OLW policy to assign someone a word, but the friends who receive one seem to like the idea. At an NCTE conference sometime around 2014, I was given a MudLove bracelet. I love wearing my word.

Enough, 2022

My word came to me while I was reading Jess Keating’s Epic Email.

Everything you need is inside you. The tough stuff alchemizes to create the good stuff. Your story is enough. What you value is enough. Your desire is enough.

Jess Keating, Epic Email
I am Enough!

Today I listened to Glennon Doyle’s podcast We Can Do Hard Things. She said that January branding has got it all wrong with New year, New you. “It suggests we hate ourselves. It’s insulting.”

At our core, in our soul, we are who we are. And to quote Popeye, “I yam what I yam.” Who I am is enough. I do not need to change myself. Of course, I could exercise more or cook more often or get more involved in social activism. But who I am at 60 is the same me as I was at 50, 40, 30, 20, 10… Embracing my inner self gives me safety to open up for new experiences that enrich me. And if a challenge comes along, I am ready. I am enough.

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

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Round up of Spiritual Journey posts
can be found at Christine Margocs’ site,
Horizon 51

For our Advent time-of-waiting spiritual journey posts this month, Chris chose the topic of “waiting…with a side of hope.”

Waiting is not easy. It means patience, looking inward… finding peace.

My calendar suggests quite the opposite.

It says go here, do this, buy that.

Hurry up!

So I look to the stars and wonder

What are they waiting for?

The light we see is how old? days? months? years?

Yet it comes anyway.

Christmas will come anyway.

Why worry?

When his mother asked what he wanted Santa to bring him,

he pointed to the Christmas tree

and said, “That funny clown up there!”

Ah, to see waiting through the eyes of a toddler

dancing through each day in wonder.

Let’s change our mantra from “I can’t wait”

to “I Can Wait!”

Waiting brings light and hope and love

wrapped in a timeless gift.

Christmas present by Leo, age 2 yrs 11 months

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Ramona is gathering Spiritual Thursday posts at Pleasures from the Page

For today’s Spiritual Thursday post, Ramona suggested we listen to a podcast by Emily Freeman entitled The Next Right Thing. It’s a new-to-me podcast that I am now following. I listened this morning while walking and wrote my response by speaking into the Notes app on my phone.

Henri Nouwen writes in his book Here and Now, “We are inclined to think that when we are sad, we
cannot be glad. But in the life of a God-centered person, sorrow and joy can exist together. That isn’t easy to understand. But when we think about some of our deepest life experiences, such as being present at the birth of a child or the death of a friend, great sorrow and great joy are often seen to be parts of the same experience.”

Emily Freeman, The Next Right Thing Podcast

I am Here

My daughter gave me an Apple Watch.

It watches my every move and occasionally will vibrate my arm

and tell me something like you need to be moving

or you’ve reached your movement goal

or stand up now.

We have found devices in this modern world that help us to be present.

Present with our steps, each one counted and charted on an app on our phones

which we carry with us everywhere,

everywhere to be present with a friend on Instagram or Facebook.

Daily when I walk, I use an app called Voxer to chat with a friend across the globe in another place.

She calls this her daily podcast with me. Funny and true.

And I’m grateful for the technology that allows me to be present with a friend far away.

But sometimes all I need is to just be here–

Here stepping on fall leaves, listening to them crinkling,

listening to the sounds of birds

in the trees losing the leaves.

I’m just here with myself

And God.

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Spiritual Journey First Thursday posts are being gathered by Karen.

Spiritual journeys, like life, have their ups and downs. I think I’ve been in a low for a while now, without realizing it. Nothing like a major disaster to come along as a wake up call. God whizzed by and said, “Hey, look what the force of nature can do. Blow off roofs. Shut down power systems. Upend trees. Disrupt our lives. But I’m still here if you need me.”

Karen Eastlund asked us to write about virtue. She sent us a long list of virtues. I have been thinking a lot about Grace. Grace kept us safe from the storm. Grace allows us to be a safe haven for our family. Grace is the virtue that gives freely without asking for anything in return.

My family is filling up my house. It’s usually just me and my husband, dog Charlie, and cats Fancy, Mimi, and Buzz. Today my home includes 4 more adults, 1 toddler, 3 dogs and a cat. My school secretary commented, “Simon Family Zoo.” But I prefer another friend’s comment. He said, “Like Christmas!”

In Grace and with Gratitude, I open my heart and my home to the ones I love. We will get through this and likely become better people.

God, grant me the grace to be the calm in the storm, love in times of trouble, and faith when things look bleak.

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Spiritual Journey First Thursday is being gathered today by Linda Mitchell.

Linda Mitchell is gathering Spiritual Journey First Thursday posts. Her topic suggestion is Respect. I wasn’t going to write. In fact, I emailed Linda and apologized, “I’ve got nothing.” However, in the spirit of respect for this community of writers and because I’m awake on the last day of my summer break, I am writing.

Respect is born out of Love. The two are intertwined like the threads on the knitting needles. God calls us to Love.

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

1 John 4:16

This morning I read a beautiful poem by David Whyte, The True Love.

so that when

we finally step out of the boat

toward them, we find

everything holds

us, and everything confirms

our courage, and if you wanted

to drown you could,

but you don’t

because finally

after all this struggle

and all these years

you simply don’t want to

any more

you’ve simply had enough

of drowning

and you want to live and you

want to love and you will

walk across any territory

and any darkness

however fluid and however

dangerous to take the

one hand you know

belongs in yours.

David Whyte, Brain Pickings

Step out of the boat and give your hand to God. Find true love with God. Trust the safety you feel. Hold your hand out to others in respectful response.

Miramar Beach, Florida (photo by Margaret Simon)

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