Sleepwalking . . .

2 02 2016

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Could I be sleepwalking? Not literally, of course, but spiritually? Could I – the very essence of who I am – walking through my everyday life, be unaware of the freedom awaiting from being fully awake?

 

There are forces in this world that entice me – use chicanery to divide me – and exploit ego’s elevated lusts within me. I discover my spirit to be numb and cold – hibernating – withdrawn from loving. I resist being loved, pain’s potential is too great – risking is too exposed. I consent to the novocain of the busyness of doing life and I dive in willingly. So I abstain from engaging and living life wholly.

 

I am sleepwalking.

 

My petition to the Great Awakener is this, “Wake me up inside!”

And the answer I hear surprises me; challenges me; feels counter-intuitive to what my ego has learned: “Stop trying to do so much. Let go of what you believe, what you perceive will save you. Be aware of Presence in the ordinary and extraordinary of everyday living.

 

Here, then, is my hope for you and for me:

Mystery, stir trust within us so we might lean into the breaking dawn.

Presence, pierce the comfortable fog of paralysis so we might live freely.

Light, awaken our courage so we might risk letting go of false securities.

Spirit, help us not to sleepwalk through the gift of living.

 

Pssst – it’s time to wake up.

 

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Revolution of the Heart…

4 07 2013

“The greatest challenge of the day is:

how to bring about a revolution of the heart,

a revolution which has to start with each one of us.”

Dorothy Day

JULY 4 4

JULY 4 5

(The quote was sent from Well for the Journey’s – www.wellforthejourney.orgDaily Faith Reflections sent out every weekday morning. The photos were taken at an Independence Day celebration near my home a few years ago)





Waiting…

14 12 2012

alone

“Our desire is to banish waiting time in order to get on with our life!

be productive . . .

don’t sit around . . .

don’t waste time!

 

“But what if our life can be found within the waiting?”

Waiting . . .

In the not knowing –-  ”I just want to know!” . . .

but we don’t;

In blindness — ”Please, just show me!” . . .

but we can’t see a thing;

In discontentment –- “I need to move!” . . .

but to where?

 

I am afraid of this lingering time . . .

of what I might learn about myself;

that my loneliness will be fully revealed to myself and to others;

that my inadequacies will be exposed;

my faithlessness –- will be broadcast . . .

 

What courage it takes

to circumvent the “cut-and-run” instinct –-

holding our ground in this waiting place . . .

to embrace the fear and chaos that seeks to keep us undefined:

 

and slowly –- sometimes imperceptibly –-

our awareness dawns,

and we find our spirit freer than it has been before —

settling into what once seemed desolate.

(The quote is from Daily Hope: A Winter of Reflection, A publication of reflections from Well for the Journey, Inc.)

 





Cape May, NJ

6 10 2012

Just thinking of some friends on a Well for the Journey retreat in Cape May, New Jersey this weekend…





Invitation to Wholeness

10 04 2011

Opportunities to move toward wholeness rise from the most unexpected places, in the most unexpected ways…but if we would pay attention to the counter-cultural way Jesus lived, the way the Spirit speaks, to our past experiences with God – the unexpected becomes the expected…

New Mexico is a beautiful place with an array of beautiful ecosystems and landscapes. The Well for the Journey’s southwest pilgrimage provided a wonderful opportunity to learn more about desert and Native American spirituality…and to feed my new passion for photography! As the pilgrimage went along, my fellow pilgrims began to kid me about my addiction to my camera…but I didn’t want to miss a thing!

One beautiful day, our pilgrimage took us into a beautiful, remote, sacred space – Chaco Canyon. Chaco Canyon embraces pueblo ruins that date back a thousand years. My camera started buzzing as soon as we turned down the ten-mile dirt road to the park and continued all day long, wanting to capture what I saw and experienced…I wanted to take it all home. And the bonus…because of our long day, we anticipated a spectacular high desert sunset!

My day was going well: wide open sacred space, new friends, my camera, and a hike on top of a mesa. That’s when it happened…my camera battery light began to flash! “This can’t be!” I thought. I shuffled through my morning memories: fresh batteries from the charger; made sure I turned the camera off after each use; extra batteries…my stomach sank…I forgot extra batteries! I began some serious strategic planning about how to conserve the batteries I had when I became aware of this voice from within, “It’s okay. Just enjoy the experience…the day.” Now, this voice could have come from one of two places: from subconscious, trying to rationalize and prepare myself for what was inevitable; or from the Spirit encouraging me to listen…to just be in creation…to engage in a Holy conversation. By the time I rejoined my fellow pilgrims, my camera was dead and I was trying my best to lean on the Voice calling me to “just let this camera thing go and to be with the Creator in this sacred place.”

However, as we packed up for our return trip, I felt the call of my camera. Out of nowhere I heard my voice blurt out, “Does anyone have extra batteries?” No luck…(sigh). Then again I heard, “Greg. Just let it go…be with Me. Nothing you take home can capture the grandeur and mystery that is in this place at this time.” Deep in my soul I understood what I was being invited to do – to move toward wholeness, but with the sweet afternoon light painting the canyon walls, my stubborn spirit did not hear the Truth that my soul understood. Just when I thought I had dealt with this issue, out of nowhere that stubborn spirit broke through my seemingly calm surface of self-control – the Chaco’s National Park store! “Surely they will have batteries…saved!” As I entered the store, I walked confidently…righteously…up to the cashier and asked, “Where are your batteries?” Devastation swept over me as I heard his reply, “We don’t carry batteries.”

You would think that I would finally get it and rest in what was at hand…to take time and enjoy the gift of nature around me, but driving out of the canyon, with the sun anticipating a kiss with the western horizon, I had one more fleeting, desperate thought – the store at the intersection with the main road…maybe. But disappointment was a loyal friend, staying right by my side – we were behind schedule and stopping was not an option.

Then the late afternoon Light kissed my heart – I had missed the point of everything the day had offered. In trying to “capture” creation…the spirit of the place, in trying to hold onto images and take them home, in being distracted by my “wanting” and the pursuit to get my hands on materials (batteries), through my unawareness of God’s attempts of engaging me in conversation, in not letting go, in trying to make Chaco Canyon “mine” – I missed the true beauty of the day. I missed a deeper communion with God. I missed out on true freedom and bound myself with worries of things I did not have and with fear that I might miss a “shot”. I missed out on deeper community with my fellow pilgrims. At the end of the day, when I was looking up into the star, spangled sky, I realized the lesson of the day…“creation is not mine.” All that I saw and experienced was a gift. And if I love the Creator, I will carry the Creator’s creation with me always.

I do not tell you this story so to bore you with this particular day in my life. I tell you this story because I trust as fellow pilgrims you too have experienced such struggles. So questions come…What are you holding onto? What is binding you? What conversation with God is waiting at your door? How is your listening? What is distracting you?

The good news is that at the end of the day, God’s continually pursues conversation with us…helping the unexpected become expected…always inviting us to wholeness.





Dances with Light

6 04 2011

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“Light gives of itself freely, filling all available space.

It does not seek anything in return;

it asks not whether you are friend or foe.

It gives of itself and is not thereby diminished.”

Michael Strassfeld

From Well for the Journey’s Daily Faith quotes

Light intrigues me. It’s the light of early morning and late afternoon that hypnotizes me most often – takes me to thin places…where the air between the physical and spiritual world is separated only by a sheer veil. I love to watch the light slowly bathe the earth…joining all of creation, coming out to welcome the light’s warmth. And I love how light slowly withdraws from the day, touching the earth as a lover – gently pulling away until only fingertips touch, longing for the next time to embrace one another. I love to watch the light play, creating shadow art on earth and painting the sky with unbelievable hues. I love to watch light dance with clouds and mist, gracefully moving and bending…humbly highlighting its dance partner.

And there are endless discoveries within light…about light: from my artist brother – helping see the beauty of light within an object instead of objects as just object; from my photographer friend – to do my par to be ready for the light…to be in place…to be alert and then to wait on the sweet light of dawn and dusk; from my chip carving friend – how to cut away what is not needed so that light may wash over…mingle with what has been cut to reveal beautiful designs. I have learned much from reflected light and awed by billions of lights flung in the dark sky – seemingly so small to my eyes but larger than my imagination can fathom, reaching through light-years to touch me.

I love the mystery of light – surprising me…gifting me with displays of unexpected beauty. Even when nature (or we) tries to cover light…to conceal it…light seizes the opportunity to play and dance with obscurity…to color the sky with designs I could never imagine…to inspire.

Then there are those times when we think Light has left us…when there are unending days of cloud and rain…when it seems there’s no way Light can or will sift through…when light is illusive. Even in these times, somehow…from somewhere… something calls us to reach deep within and draw from the Light that burns in our core…the Light we’ve known…the Light that knows us and knows us. And even when our gaze cannot look that deep, the warm glow of community gathers round us…those who walk the way with us. We see the Light reflected by and in others, giving us hope in our deepest darkness. For even in darkness, what Light has touched incubates…cradling life…making preparations to give birth – for what incubates in darkness longs for the Light.

The Word was first,

the Word present to God,

God present to the Word.

The Word was God,

in readiness for God from day one.

Everything was created through him;

nothing—not one thing!—came into being without him.

What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by.

The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out.

John 1:1-5

The Message (Eugene Peterson)

My artist brother – Dale Cochran

My photographer friend – Joye Durham

My chip carving friend – John Ballenger

(links can be found in the margin of this page)