Heartbeat of Life, whose rhythm is available to those who listen for it,
Settle us into the silence using our breath to turn toward your Presence. Guide us into this day aware of the pulse of life around us. Make us aware of the cadence in our conversations, the tempo in our footsteps and the energy in our movement. Use the music of this day to increase our compassion and mercy. As we hear the Holy, move our whole human family forward in faith. Amen.
for more information on drum circles, please visit http://www.musichealsus.com
Do you remember how you FELT the first time you encountered God? Take some time to revisit that experience. What is God revealing to you now?
Try this, sit back, close your eyes if you want, take a deep breath and let go. Take another breath and relax as you exhale. Now for just a few moments, visualize one of the beautiful Spring flowers you have seen through this last week, perhaps a blooming bush or tree caught your attention. Breath in its fresh scent. Notice the color and texture of the flower in your mind’s eye. Bring as many details as you can remember, the stamen and pistil, the petals and stem. Follow the flower down through the stem to its roots, where this last week’s rain saturated the ground offering this flower nutrients from the soil. Imagine that all this flower needs to create beauty is being provided by our Creator.
Now take a moment to consider your own life. Imagine God caring for your life in the same way the flower is cared for. Consider the things God is nurturing your life with at present. There is nothing you need to schedule or arrange, nowhere you need to go for the moment, just take some time in the assurance that God is already providing all that you need to bring meaning and purpose to your days. As the flower opens up to reveal the blessing it offers, imagine your life gently opening to reveal something God is using to bless others.
Now look around the garden of your life, at all the other blooms. What attracts or repels you? How is your life connected to the others? Walk right to the center of this garden to the Source of peace and contentment. Inhale that grace deeply. Take a moment to soak up the peace you feel.
When you are ready, you may return your attention to your surroundings and stretch.
In Springtime, the air is full of earth’s fecundity. Robins dance as they build nests to fill with vulnerability. Blue jays hop along the bare branches full of last night’s rain dropping diamonds of light with every landing. Blooms begin to emerge in surprising places. Everything begins with beauty.
Beauty is sometimes easiest to find in a square inch; one raindrop, one robin’s egg, a newborn’s hands, and her mother’s smile. Sometimes beauty is found in large brushstrokes like the patterns clouds make in the sky at sunset, the steady stream of traffic that brings loved ones home after work, or fresh row of strawberries ripening in the sunshine. Beauty captures our attention in large masterpieces, too. A mountaintop view or a breezy balcony on the edge of the salty sea; an instrumental symphony, a choral harmony or the sound of rushing waters over swollen rivers. Sooner or later the raindrop we encountered becomes the masterpiece. And, the fleeting beauty of choral voices bring us to notice one single Voice. The words of John Keats in an Ode on a Grecian Urn remind us, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty and that is all you need to know.”
It takes all our senses to receive beauty. It requires an open awareness to all that is. The more beauty we take in, the more beauty is reflected back for others. Practice fecundity.
Made for us while on mission in 2007 doing Katrina Relief from the fabulous cooks and crew at Camp Hope in Vancleave, Ms.
Slice French bread, around 16 slices best broken in pieces and placed in an oblong Pyrex or casserole dish lightly buttered.
2 cups sugar
1 quart milk
1 stick melted butter
1 T vanilla
Mix the above and pour over bread, sprinkle with cinnamon, go heavy on that sprinkle! Bake one hour at 350 degrees.
1 stick butter
I cup white chocolate chips, or 8-10 oz white baking chocolate, I use both Ghiradelli chips and Bakers white chocolate squares
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 t vanilla
6 t water
Melt butter and white chocolate in microwave for 2 minutes. Remove, stir and add powdered sugar, vanilla and water. Heat another minute, remove and stir until smooth and creamy, then pour over bread pudding as it comes out of the oven. Serve warm.
The grackles came today,
One by one, perching on half-leafed limbs,
Announcing their arrival with small, squeaky chirps… at the silence.
Many hundreds, playfully filling our trees.
Moving in one direction, not resting for too long.
Suddenly, they took flight, a
Black cloud filling the air, their free forming air-shape dancing in space.
Beauty unfurled across the sky
Rising and falling, turning
And swaying, laughing at the earth,
And then, gone.
Like a Springtime garden, our days often overflow with the wildness of life. Daily new blooms are revealed in brilliantly colored moments when each new encounter brings us into contact with diverse textures. We absorb the wildness of life as long as we can before we perceive a need to move toward stillness and peace. Often times moving toward stillness because of sheer exhaustion.
The landscape of our lives always includes an open gate. A way to move from the ever flowing and changing stream of life, into the stillness and fullness of Presence.
How often do you walk through the open gate that delivers you to Presence?
We don’t have to wait for eternal life to happen, eternal life is available now. Rather than packing each day with movement, schedule time in each day for stillness. Open yourself to Presence. It is a fearful thing at first, taking ten minutes in silence each day. We resist moments that appear empty, rather filling silences with words, thoughts and activities.
Here is how I walk through the open gate to Presence. I have a comfortable chair where I can sit without being interrupted. I keep an empty pad of paper beside me to write the chatter, “wash the dishes in the sink, buy some laundry detergent, call the office, send that birthday card…” You know that kind of chatter. After writing it down, I let it go. I center my thoughts on my breathing, letting my breath rise and fall naturally. And I simply rest. Sometimes, I imagine myself being carried or held in the moment.
Just ten minutes a day helps me to encounter Presence. Because the gate is open, I can return again and again.
Enter into the peace of Presence, now. It is your choice.