I will be traveling without internet connection, so Spiritual Snacks will be on a break through the rest of the month. Thinking of you!
From Rachel Naomi Remen's Kitchen Table Wisdom.
"Endings and beginnings are always right up against each other. Nothing ever ends without something else beginning or begins without something else ending. Perhaps this would be easier to remember if we had a word for it. Something like "endbegin" or "beginend."
"Sometimes we may need simply to choose life. It is possible to become so attached to something or someone we have lost that we move forward blindly, looking over our shoulder to the past rather than to what lies ahead. The Bible tells us that as she looked back, Lot's wife was turned into a pillar of salt. I suspect that many of us have had this happen to us without our realizing we have become frozen, trapped by the past. We are holding onto something long gone and, hands full, are unable to take hold of our opportunities or what life is offering."
And a quote from II Corinthians: "Now is the accepted time. Behold, now is the day of salvation."
From Rachel Naomi Remen's Kitchen Table Wisdom:
"I had thought joy to be synonymous with happiness, but it now seems far less vulnerable than happiness. Joy seems to be part of the unconditional will to live, not holding back because life may not meet our preferences and expectations. Joy seems to be the willingness to accept the whole, and to show up to meet whatever is there. It has a kind of invincibility that attachment to any particular outcome would deny us. Rather than the warrior who fights toward a specific outcome and therefore is haunted by the specter of failure and disappointment, it is the lover drunk with the opportunity to love despite the possibility of loss, the player for whom playing has become more important than winning or losing. The willingness to win or lose moves us out of an adversarial relationship to life and into a powerful kind of openness. From such a position, we can make a greater commitment to life. Not only pleasant life, or comfortable life, or our idea of life, but all life. Joy seems more closely related to aliveness than to happiness."
"Cast all your care upon Him, for He careth for you." I Peter.
Today, actively turn your fears and concerns and hopes and all whom you care for over to the Great Heart of Love. Feel that Love embracing you and yours. Rest there.
From physician and therapist Rachel Naomi Remen's book Kitchen Table Wisdom.
"A certain percentage of those who have survived near-death experiences speak of a common insight which afforded a glimpse of life's basic plan. We are all here for a single purpose: to grow in wisdom and to learn to love better. We can do this through losing as well as through winning, by having and by not having, by succeeding or by failing. All we need to do is to show up openhearted for class."
In her book Kitchen Table Wisdom, Rachel Naomi Remen urges us to grieve our losses and disappointments (particularly in professions, such as medicine, which traditionally encourage repression in the name of professionalism.)
"The way we deal with loss shapes our capacity to be present to life more than anything else. The way we protect ourselves from loss may be the way in which we distance ourselves from life. Protecting ourselves from loss rather then grieving and healing our losses is one of the major causes of burnout . . . . Grieving is a way of self-care . . . You grieve because it's of help to you. It enables you to go forward after loss. It heals you so you are able to love again. 'On to the next' is a denial of a common humanity . . . It is a rejection of wholeness, of a human connection that is fundamental."
Today, your job is not what you think it is. Today, your job is to pray for yourself and each person/group with whom you gather, no matter what the task seems to be. Feel the presence of Love with you - embracing each of you, in the spaces between you, attending to each of your needs for comfort, wisdom, healing, insight, clarity, worth, belonging, and courage. That's all.
Today, accept that our lives and our world are in constant change. And constant change requires both engagement and rest. In Finding Your Own North Star, Martha Beck writes "You don't cope with change by becoming indifferent to it. You learn to follow the flow . . . fully experience surprise, tragedy, delight and wonder as they come your way: In practical terms, this means not overburdening yourself with so much doing that you have no time to be."
At the same time, acknowledge that you rest in the great warmth and support of Love, who is your source and substance, your past and your future, and does not change. The Bible says in James, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
From Rachel Naomi Remen's book Kitchen Table Wisdom:
Our own self-judgment or the judgment of other people can stifle our life force, its spontaneity and natural expression . . . Judgment does not only take the form of criticism. Approval is also a form of judgment. When we approve of people, we sit in judgment of them as surely as when we criticize them. Positive judgment hurts less acutely than criticism, but it is judgment all the same and we are harmed by it in far more subtle ways. To seek approval is to have no resting place, no sanctuary. Like all judgment, approval encourages constant striving. It makes us uncertain of who we are and of our true value. This is as true of the approval we give ourselves as it is of the approval we offer others. Approval can't be trusted. It can be withdrawn at any time no matter what our track record had been. It is as nourishing of real growth as cotton candy. Yet many of us spend our lives pursuing it. . .
The book of Isaiah says: "As the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth things in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations."
Today, let go of a sense of fear or hopelessness. Feel the presence of intelligent and powerful Love moving in your life, moving through institutions, moving in countries - shifting hearts and bringing goodness to fruition. Love is a dynamic power, active this moment. Love impels growth. Love reveals wise action. Love weeds the garden of our cultures and consciousness, removing whatever impedes.
Tarn Wilson is the author of the memoir The Slow Farm and numerous essays. You may read more of her work at tarnwilson.com.