Perfectionism is both a curse and a blessing. Mainly a curse, in my experience. But there is that inescapable reality that perfectionists grace our human landscape for a reason. It is my fervent hope that my accountant, my dentist, and any future surgeon who chooses to traverse the intricacies of my insides are all dyed-in-the-wool perfectionists. But even these folks whose work demands the utmost precision and who demand much of themselves as well as others — even these folks eventually need to come home, kick off their shoes, and quit being perfect. . . (read more)
Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories . . . and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.”
— Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of Little House on the Prairie
In “The Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy,” W is for Wonder. And, for many of us, Christmas is the Season of Wonder: pageants and angels and stars and potluck dinners and knitted scarves fresh off the needles. Mesmerized by twinkling lights and Advent candles piercing the darkness, it would seem that wonder just happens, descending like the Angel Gabriel, announcing good tidings.
But hold on. For the introvert, Christmas heralds a nightmare of multiple social events packed into a short space of time. For the financially strapped, the pressure to buy presents that one can ill afford creates anxiety. . . (read more)
Starting to make plans for a winter retreat? I hope you will consider spending it with me. February 3-28, I’ll be teaching an online course called “Living with Beauty” at Spirituality & Practice. You can also give this e-course as a gift! During the season of gift-giving, I hope you will consider giving the gift of beauty to someone you love. Follow this link to learn more. You can click “give as a gift” at the bottom of the page. You may want to gift yourself, too! I look forward to being your guide and companion on this journey of the spirit . . .
We can then see our own suffering as a voluntary participation in the one Great Sadness of God. . . . Within this meaningful worldview, we can build something new, good, and forever original, while neither playing the victim nor making victims of others. We can be free conduits of grace into the world. — Richard Rohr
Recently, my young cat named Oliver struggled with a painful illness, and it occurred to me that my own deep sadness over his distress was something much bigger than me. Remembering a line from Franciscan priest Richard Rohr, I even found myself saying, “It is the Great Sadness.” It was as if my cat’s suffering was noted and felt and permeated with that same Great Sadness that mourns the death of bees, that same Great Sadness that feels the groans of refugees and hurricane victims and gun violence. Yes, that same Great Sadness feels the suffering of this tiny gray rescue cat. It is the one Great Sadness of God, a sadness that invites us to participate. And when we do, we become channels of grace to the world. . . . (read more)
In the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act.
— Rebecca Solnit
In her book Hope in the Dark, writer and activist Rebecca Solnit argues a strong and eloquent case for uncertainty. Uncertainty? But . . . no one likes that word. Don’t we often remark that the worst part of waiting for news about a diagnosis or a lost dog or an unpredictable hurricane is the “uncertainty”? Today, we face serious, existential uncertainties in the larger world: Will we finally address climate change before it’s too late? Is it, in fact, too late? How much more violence will we see before hate runs its present course? Will our democracy hold? All this uncertainty makes us crazy. That is, until we discover the riches inherent in uncertainty. . . . read more