"We did not weave the web of life," wrote Ted Perry in the spirit of Chief Seattle. "We are only a strand in it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourself. "The part can no longer make believe that it does not belong to the Whole or contribute to the life or death of the Whole. We are One great respiration, One great circulation, One great web of life over this round earth.
I think joy and sweetness and affection are a spiritual path. We're here to know God, to love and serve God, and to be blown away by the beauty and miracle of nature. You just have to get rid of so much baggage to be light enough to dance, to sing, to play. You don't have time to carry grudges; you don't have time to cling to the need to be right.
by Anne Lamott, quoted in "The Washington Times," thanks to Liz Stewart
I heard a preacher say that hope is a revolutionary practice . . . hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up. . .
Coming out of the movie, I realized that I want what the crones have: time for all those long deep breaths, time to watch more closely, time to learn to enjoy what I've always been afraid of--the sad and the invisibility; the ease of understanding that life is not about doing. The crones understand this, and it gives them all kinds of time--time to get much less done, time for all the holy moments.
And we began to sing, "Why should I feel discouraged? Why do the shadows fall? "And Ranola watched Ken rather skeptically for a moment, and then her face began to melt and contort like his, and she went to his side and bent down to lift him up — lifted up this white rag doll, this scarecrow. She held him next to her, draped over and against her like a child while they sang. And it pierced me. I can't image anything but music that could have brought about this alchemy. Maybe it's because music is about as physical as it gets: your heartbeat; your essential sound, the breath. We're walking temples of noise, and when you add tender hearts to this mix, it somehow lets us meet in places we couldn't get to any other way.
Holidays are about families, and families can be a bit of a mess under stress. But the love that will gather is much more important than anything else on earth, and bigger than anything else on earth, too. Because finally, that love is sovereign.
Unfortunately, change and forgiveness do not come easily for me, but ANY willingness to let go inevitably comes from pain; and the desire to change and forgive changes you, and jiggles the spirit, gets to it somehow, to the deepest, hardest, most ruined parts. And then Spirit expands, because that is its nature, and it brings along the body, and finally, the mind.
Steeping ourselves in a place, simmering in its bounties, celebrating its wonders, and loving its peculiarities are necessary steps on a spiritual journey. We often take for granted the palces where we work and play. To get to know them again, or perhaps for the first time, involves acts of consecration and imagination. Or as Wendell Berry puts it: "My most inspiriing thought is that this place, if I am to live well in it, requires and deserves a lifetime of the most careful attention."