Archive for May, 2017

31
May
17

5.31.17 … What joy to walk a labyrinth at my home church!

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2017 Labyrinth Walks, First Presbyterian Church, Charlotte NC:

What joy to walk a labyrinth at my home church!

Thank you, Erika Funk, for making it happen.

5.31.17

28
May
17

5.28.17 … scripture and sacred music …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2017 Labyrinth Walks, First Presbyterian Church- Charlotte NC:

I’m very excited that First Presbyterian Church will have a canvas labyrinth in place for two days next week. Come join this congregation for a walk!

Here is the schedule:

Labyrinth for Final Wednesday Worship

On Wednesday, May 31, the Wednesday Worship season will conclude in Wood Fellowship Hall. This meditative service will include walking a labyrinth and focusing on scripture and sacred music. The service will be at noon, followed by lunch in Wood Fellowship Hall Overflow. The labyrinth will also be available for contemplative walking and quiet medication beginning at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, May 30. The labyrinth will be in place until 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 31.

5.28.17

14
May
17

5.14.17 … enough said …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2017 Labyrinth Walks, Morning Star Lutheran Chapel, Mathews NC:

I had a few minutes for a walk with Albert. He actually tried to stay on the path.

Enough said.

5.14.17

12
May
17

5.12.17 …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2017 Labyrinth Walks, UNC – Asheville, Asheville NC:

UNC Asheville was easy to find, but the labyrinth was not. I was afraid I was going to have to turn back, but a couple stopped and asked me if I knew where a certain building was. I told them that I did not, this was my first time on the campus, but asked them if they knew where the labyrinth was. They responded, yes, it’s just around the corner and that they had just walked it. That was a first.

This labyrinth was in the “meditation garden” located on the grassy knoll above Weizenblatt Hall and below Ramsey Library, and on the same wooded knoll was a large artist installation, Frank Holder’s “Tent III” ( steel). The labyrinth itself was a 7- circuit classical and the artist incorporated every tree and rock that existed on the site This gave it a rather whimsical feel.

This was a walk with Albert. This was a labyrinth that Albert could actually walk with me. Sometimes he walked with me in the path and other times he walked in the next path. If he was walking in the path beside me, when I came to a turn, he would be very confused because basically I would walk straight into his nose.

As I walked back to my car, I had time to enjoy the campus and it’s many natural areas and art installations. I especially enjoyed the sculpture called “Finding Home” by Maleah Weir (steel, wire, found clothing). Albert thought he fit right in.

5.12.17

11
May
17

4.11.17 … “The Pink Moon owes its name to pink flowers called wild ground phlox which bloom in springtime.”

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2017 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (Walk 42/40), Holy Week Walks, finger labyrinth while sitting by the light of the moon, Charlotte NC:

I traveled home on Interstate 85 after a week on the road. And so I saved my Tuesday walk for a finger labyrinth walk by the light of the beautiful “PInk Moon.” My suggestion is that you all go out and look up. It’s gorgeous!

What’s a Pink Moon?

Why is the April full moon pink?

Despite its name, the Pink Moon does not actually turn pink in April – in fact the moon never changes its colour.

Just like the Blue Moon, the deceptive name originates in Native American traditions of keeping time based on lunar phases.

The Pink Moon owes its name to pink flowers called wild ground phlox which bloom in springtime.

SOURCE: Pink Moon 2017: Is the April full moon pink? | Science | News | Express.co.uk, http://www.express.co.uk/news/science/790159/Pink-moon-meaning-April-full-moon-rises-why-pink

Tuesday of Holy Week

The life of faith is one of mystery. Sometimes Jesus speaks in riddles. And important questions go unanswered. Only when something dies does it bear much fruit. To be lifted up means to die on a cross. Love your life and make it a god, you’ll lose it. Accept your death and let go of life, and it is yours in abundance. Who is this Son of Man anyway? And what is he saying?

Despite the riddling language about the life of faith, which sounds like a mystery wrapped in an enigma, some deceptively simple direction is given by Jesus: walk in the light. Now. We don’t know when darkness might be coming or overcoming. So get moving while there is still light.

The labyrinth looks like a maze, a series of tricky turns and passages. In reality there is only one way in and out. It is deceptively simple. As you walk it today, put your mind and heart in touch with the mysteries of life and faith . . . the wonder of birth . . . the inscrutability of death . . . the unexpected twists and turns of your path. Ponder the paradox of accepting death in order to live life to its fullest . . . the way suffering and trouble are sometimes a path to joy and meaning . . . how life is a strange mixture of light and shadow.

Prayer: Lord of mystery, paradox and shadowy light, teach me to walk in your ways and embrace the fullness of life.

SOURCE: http://www.sitemason.com/files/k/kxNC24/holy%20week%20meditation.PDF

And the painting?

The Belated Kid

1854–57 William Morris Hunt (American, 1824–1879)

Hunt began this monumental image of a peasant girl and her rescued kid about 1854, when he was working with the French realist painter Jean-François Millet in Barbizon, a village outside Paris. He finished it after returning home to Newport, Rhode Island, in 1857. It proved so popular when exhibited in the United States that Boston collector Peter Chardon Brooks (who on Hunt’s recommendation also became a great patron of Millet) commissioned a replica.

The painting clearly was inspired by Millet’s pictures of peasant children [17.1484], especially those depicting young girls diligently watching over one or two cows or sheep. In Hunt’s version of the subject, a kid that strayed and was found again is carried home by a pretty barefoot shepherdess. To add to the sentimental mood of the painting, Hunt shows a mother goat following them closely as though to express gratitude for the rescue. While Hunt’s image echoes Millet’s images of rural labor, it is considerably more romantic in its presentation of the innocence and goodness of these hardworking peasant children. The large scale of the figure is tempered by soft contours, delicate colors, and subdued lighting to create an image that is both noble and tender.

Source: The Belated Kid | Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, http://www.mfa.org/collections/object/the-belated-kid-31308

4.11.17

11
May
17

5.11.17 … a bench that is upheld at one end by a cairn …

Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2017 Labyrinth Walks, First Baptist Church , Asheville NC:

Not what I was expecting… You feel like you’re walking into a sacred space. And not every labyrinth can create such a feeling.

I almost didn’t come to this labyrinth because I assumed it would be a very typical “production” labyrinth. But this one was a perfect despite lots of noise from I240 rush hour traffic right outside the garden’s wall. I actually consider it a blessing.

I’m fascinated with this Baptist Church which is octagonal in shape and has beautiful brick and stonework.

And someone really took the time and effort to make this 2016 labyrinth installation perfect.

I would assume the labyrinth’s stone is local. The designer worked with the stone diligently, with its color, texture, lines… its movement.

I love it that I have a new practice at the center which I just learned this year. It works perfectly well when I am distracted by the beautiful setting of the place.

Today I considered what I believe “sacred” means. Quite a different contemplation from yesterday’s contemplation of “weeds.”

As I walk, I noticed another little special area over in the corner; so of course, I have to go over and look in that little nook before I leave…

And don’t you love the bench that is upheld at one end by a cairn?

And what else did I do on this visit?

Max Patch!

“Max Patch is a bald mountain on the North Carolina-Tennessee Border in Madison County, North Carolina and Cocke County, Tennessee. It is a major landmark along the Tennessee/North Carolina section of the Appalachian Trail, although its summit is located in North Carolina. It is known for its 360 degree views of the surrounding mountains, namely the Bald Mountains in the immediate vicinity, the Unakas to the north, the Great Smokies to the south, and the Great Balsams and Black Mountainsto the southeast. A small parking area is located near the summit with a short loop trail.”

Source: Wikipedia

5.11.17

10
May
17

5.10.17 … still beautiful even though weeds … hodgepodge of things people have left … cartoonish people looking over at me while I walk … hot … covered in kudzu …

Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2017 Labyrinth Walks, Riverwalk Arts District, Asheville NC:

The Riverwalk District is an interesting district. It was the old cotton mill area. And in 1985 it became an artist community; however, the area burned down in 1995, and at one point was declared a Brownfields Cleanup Area.

This labyrinth is modeled after the 11-circuit Chartres labyrinth. It is made of rocks outlining the paths of gravel. It is a seven circuit Chartres.

The walk itself, although the picture of it posted has no weeds, is filled with weeds. So weeds will be my meditation while I walk.

So sometimes my theme is brought to me as this one was. So I ponder … what are weeds in my life and what weeds are still beautiful even though weeds.

At the center is a hodgepodge of things people have left including lots of little glass pebbles, some small pieces of tile, a nice piece of white rock, a small old piece of deep red brick and one lens from a broken pair of glasses. (Where is the other lens?)

This labyrinth backs up to the railroad line, and there is a wall painting on the nearby Cotton Mill Studios of cartoonish people looking over at me while I walk. It’s worthy of a smile.

Did I mention it was hot?

As I drive along the river, I see the old grain tower and a large chimney with no structure covered in kudzu.

5.10.17

06
May
17

5.6.17 … “To be interested in the changing seasons is…a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.” — George Santayana, “Justification of Art”

Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2017 Labyrinth Walks, Avondale Presbyterian Church, Charlotte NC, World Labyrinth Day 5.6.17, We Walk as One at One.

Perfect day, perfect sky, perfect sun, perfect breeze….

And here are a few quotes I’ve collected over the last 2 weeks:

“The path needs more light. To shine the light of your own natural curiosity into the world of another traveler can reveal wonders.” ~ Phil Cousineau, The Art of Pilgrimage

“I want more than just the top halves of things—just the spirit and not the flesh, just the presence and not the absence, just the faith and not the doubt. This late in life, I want it all.” ~From “Learning to Walk in the Dark”

“Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.” – Martin Luther

The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation

One can understand how someone would have problems relating to some part of the Trinity, or even the whole package. Someone who had been abused by their earthly father finds the image of God as “father” brings up bad associations. Some women who have suffered in a male-dominated society have difficulty relating to the male savior Jesus. The set of relationships is complicated, and the questions that arise from them are legitimate. Even though I have been aware of the difficulties with the Trinity, I still believe there is enough value in the doctrine that we owe it to ourselves to prayerfully consider how we understand it and how it shapes our relationship with God now. Instead of pitching the whole thing, we have a call to update and expand our understanding of the Trinity and contemplate how we can apply it in the most life-giving way.

That’s what Richard Rohr invites us to do in “The Divine Dance.” Instead of getting stuck in a quagmire where we feel required to believe “impossible things” and therefore do not believe anything, Rohr suggests that we focus primarily on the Trinity as a set of relationships that is always open, a community waiting for us to join in. He writes, “Whatever is going on in God is a flow, a radical relatedness, a perfect communion between Three – a circle dance of love.” Rohr is quick to point out that this is not New Age jargon, but is rooted in the earliest stages of Christian thought. He draws upon St. Bonaventure, Duns Scotus and Hildegard of Bingen (among many others) to take us back to our inclusive, expansive roots and away from a rigid, doctrinaire and sexist understanding of the Trinity. I finished “The Divine Dance” more hopeful than I have been in a long time for the future of Christian dialogue and interfaith relations (see the section titled “Interfaith Friendship”).

Father Rohr has a gift for recognizing the theological underpinnings present in literature, music, movies and other areas of our culture. He uses examples from all of these to illustrate how Trinitarian nature permeates not only our interactions with each other, but potentially our relationship with creation as a whole. At a time when much of the conversation in our world is divisive and fear inducing, Rohr invites us to celebrate the cosmic connection we all share. This is an important, optimistic book that I will return to again.

SOURCE: The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation – The Presbyterian Outlook, http://pres-outlook.org/2017/04/divine-dance-trinity-transformation/

“To be really happy and really safe, one ought to have at least two or three hobbies, and they must all be real.” – Winston Churchill, “Hobbies”

“A compassionate city is an uncomfortable city! A city that is uncomfortable when anyone is homeless or hungry. Uncomfortable if every child isn’t loved and given rich opportunities to grow and thrive. Uncomfortable when as a community we don’t treat our neighbors as we would wish to be treated.”

—Karen Armstrong, Charter for Compassion

Be Whole-Hearted – Center for Action and Contemplation

Guest writer and CAC teacher Cynthia Bourgeault continues exploring Jesus’ eight blessings known as the Beatitudes.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” —Matthew 5:8

This may well be the most important of all the Beatitudes—from the perspective of wisdom it certainly is. But what is purity of heart? This is another of those concepts we have distorted in our very morality-oriented Christianity of the West. For most people, purity of heart would almost certainly mean being virtuous, particularly in the sexual arena. It would be roughly synonymous with chastity, perhaps even with celibacy. But in wisdom teaching, purity means singleness, and the proper translation of this Beatitude is, really, “Blessed are those whose heart is not divided” or “whose heart is a unified whole.” Jesus emerged from his baptism as the ihidaya, meaning the “single one” in Aramaic—one who has unified his or her being and become what we would nowadays call “enlightened.”

According to Jesus, this enlightenment takes place primarily within the heart. When your heart becomes “single”—that is, when it desires one thing only, when it can live in perfect alignment with that resonant field of mutual yearning we called “the righteousness of God,” then you “see God.” This does not mean that you see God as an object (for that would be the egoic operating system), but rather, you see through the eyes of non-duality: God is the seeing itself.

So this Beatitude is not about sexual abstinence; it’s about cleansing the lens of perception. It is worth noting that Jesus flags this particular transformation as the core practice of the path. Somehow when the heart becomes single (undivided, whole), the rest will follow.

Gateway to Silence:�Create in me a pure heart, O God.

SOURCE: Be Whole-Hearted – Center for Action and Contemplation, https://cac.org/be-whole-hearted-2017-04-20/

Since Buechner’s quote has been circulation … I thought I would pull the a larger quote. I like it even more …

“Grace is something you can never get but only be given. The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It’s for you. I created the universe. I love you. There’s only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you reach out and take it. Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too.” Wishful Thinking [99]

You must know that there is nothing higher and stronger and more wholesome for life in the future than some good memory, especially a memory of childhood, of home. People talk to you a great deal about education. But some good, sacred memory preserved from childhood – that is perhaps the best education. For if a man has only one good memory left in his heart, even that may keep him from evil.…And if he carries many such memories with him into life, he is safe for the end of his days.

Source: The Brothers Karamazov

Taylor Rees

‘Pilgrim at Tinker Creek,’ Annie Dillard

Patience and an appreciation for detail are two shared job requirements for filmmakers and environmental organizers. Taylor Rees, who does both of these jobs, says Dillard’s deep, slow look at her backyard environment made her realize she was part of the ecosystem around her, instead of just an observer. “Her writing became a practice of awareness for me, something I try to embody whenever I am outside,” Rees says. “It’s put my work in climate change, science, film, and digital media into context—put it back into the living world, where the reasons for working began and belong.”

Her Favorite Quote: “Our life is a faint tracing on the surface of mystery, like the idle curved tunnels of leaf miners on the face of a leaf. We must somehow take a wider view, look at the whole landscape, really see it, and describe what’s going on here. Then we can at least wail the right question into the swaddling band of darkness, or, if it comes to that, choir the proper praise.”

“To be interested in the changing seasons is…a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.” — George Santayana, “Justification of Art”

5.6.17

06
May
17

5.6.17 … RECEIVE – – imagine yourself receiving a complement with grace. No rebuttals allowed …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2017 Labyrinth Walks, Morning Star Lutheran Chapel, Mathews NC, World Labyrinth Day 5.6.7, Facilitated Walk by Chris B (Charlotte Labyrinth Walks):

I was introduced to Chris B by a friend in DC; she and Chris have a mutual friend. So with her info I signed up through Meet Up for her Monthly May Walk.

I have to admit I have not taken a facilitated walk in a long time if it wasn’t facilitated by me (and I’m not trained).

Chris did a great job introducing Labyrinths and encouraging everyone that “there is no right way.” She had a few great personal touches: her personal story regarding labyrinths, her story owl and her cards. She also handed out an introductory question and a brief resource list. All very helpful!

The walk was a group walk and Chris walked the boundary to maintain the sacredness of the space.

After the walk, the group shared. Chris apologized for stopping me from taking pics. I actually agreed that I should not take pics if I had not asked permission and if the facilitator requested that I not do so in advance. Lesson learned.

5.6.17

05
May
17

5.5.17 … “May you be content knowing you are a child of God. . . . Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise, and love. It is there for each and every one of us.” – St. Teresa of Avila

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.

May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. . . .

May you be content knowing you are a child of God. . . .

Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise, and love.

It is there for each and every one of us.

St. Teresa of Avila

“May Today There Be Peace Within”

Of course, I needed to do a little research on Saint Teresa of Ávila …

“Saint Teresa of Ávila, also called Saint Teresa of Jesus, baptized as Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada (28 March 1515 – 4 October 1582), was a prominent Spanish mystic, Roman Catholic saint, Carmelite nun and author during the Counter Reformation, and theologian of contemplative life through mental prayer. She was a reformer in the Carmelite Order of her time and the movement she initiated, later joined by Saint John of the Cross, eventually led to the establishment of the Discalced Carmelites, though neither she nor Saint John were alive when the two orders separated.”




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