Transformation of Grace

[It was] one of those moments where reality sort of spills outside its boundaries, and you become aware of a happiness that you don’t deserve. Which is grace. When that happens your soul swells up a little, and you want to be worthy of that happiness.

-David Brooks, on seeing his family in an idyllic moment playing in the backyard. He was speaking with Krista Tippett for the On Being podcast.

I think of grace as winsome beauty, natural hardiness, and long-lasting robust love all rolled into one. Capable of withstanding momentary stresses and deep human error.

When David Brooks and E.J. Dionne were speaking to Krista Tippett about this subject (listen here: http://www.onbeing.org/program/david-brooks-and-ej-dionne-sinfulness-hopefulness-and-the-possibility-of-politics/9001) it was in the context of religion and politics. They made the point that even in a context of separation of church and state, our political views are still informed and shaped by our religious ones.

What could happen if the spiritual understanding of grace dominated our politics? What could we do to regain the category “grace” as a practical and conceptual guide? What if it was a cultural imperative alongside of other words like “freedom” or “hard work”? What if we had ways to ensure its presence in our legal system, our tax code, our educational system, and our penal system?

Grace can be a robust thing, brought forward from nice-sounding Bible quotes and cute pictures of ballerinas, into the tough realm of the every-day world. It has the power to change us by making us want to be more, to rise to a higher level.

How could we be transformed, if we adopted the beautiful and strong thing called Grace as our governing reality? If our heroes were not Supermen but Grace-Men? Not Wonder-Women, but Grace-Women?

Who are grace-heroes for you? Take a moment and talk about one here.

Mastery: Living the Highest You

Author Glenn Berkenkamp has written a marvelous book called Mastery: Living the Highest You. It was given to me recently as a gift.

He describes the process of receiving both the form and content of the book in a state of deep relaxation. It is a small book with only a sentence or phrase on each page, about self-mastery.

Here are some examples:

A Master loves unconditionally.

A Master allows herself to be guided by the quiet voice of her spirit.

A Master knows she is more than the habits and fears that may have governed her for years.

A Master understands there is no value in judging himself or others.

A Master acknowledges the worth and value of each moment.

Birkenkamp recommends to read the book through, to get a sense of the scope and range of the topic of mastery. Then the book may be used as a reference, guide, or devotional source.

In the next several posts I want to dwell on certain of these phrases, but I want to give due credit here to Berkenkamp and recommend that you look him up and get this book.

A Dream of Autumn

A dream:

I am lying in a bed of golden leaves.

It is afternoon in Autumn. Gold light shines through a canopy above me. The bed is thick and soft, it seems made for me. I am resting after a long journey. Light, warmth and softness are all around me.

There is a child here, playing nearby. I am looking after him. An older woman walks up and says hello to the child. She quietly entertains him for awhile.

Eventually I feel the sun getting lower in the sky. I sadly tell the child it is almost time to go. But I want to linger there and feel the light, the carefree rest, and the sense of the child’s joy. I feel a sense of belonging.

The elements to this dream are listed in 10,000 Dreams Interpreted by Pamela Ball:

  • GOLD – wealth, probably not of money, but spirituality.
  • LIGHT – divine revelation, expressed in the dream as energy
  • LEAVES – assessing how growth has occurred or may occur now
  • AUTUMN – letting go, preserving good in a time that is ending, old age and the mellow restful feelings it brings
  • CHILD – inner child, playful innocence
  • OLD WOMAN – feminine, the anima, spontaneous and nurturing

Interpreting this dream, I would say I have arrived at a time when I will come into the fruits of a long period of spiritual work. I am 42 years old, and entering the second half of life, the time of autumn.

Being in the presence of the child and the woman is an interesting and, I feel, quite profound aspect of the dream. These are archetypal images. It is as though I am discovering anew the aspects of myself that are pure, childlike, and feminine. It could also be that placing myself within an environment of spiritual insight and discovery puts me in touch with the feeling of wealth, which in turn relaxes me and allows me to be more spontaneous and nurturing of others, especially children.

The bed of leaves made of gold, made for me, providing luxurious rest underscores the need for retreat, for rest so that I can access these animating forces in my life, this light and energy.

Caring for a child is significant in that my profession as a violin teacher is now about children. Specifically helping them through music to find joy and belonging, self-expression and confidence.

What does the sadness mean, at realizing the sun is setting? Is it that the end eventually must come, or is it that there are other aspects of my life that are ending? Perhaps the sense of childlike wonder and playfulness is transient, and a sense of responsibility calls me away from the scene of rest. Perhaps it is simply that most of my childhood is gone now, and while getting in touch with it is restorative, it is a temporary reprieve meant to allow me to return to the world.

The joy and belonging I felt in the dream are truly encouraging to me. They are something I have been searching for.

SONY DSC

Bed of Autumn

Dark Rain Ahead, Hummingbird

Weekend Reading from O At The Edges, where the Letter H is described as “An aspirate dependent upon others, or a line strung between posts.”

O at the Edges

image
Dark Rain Ahead, Hummingbird

The black-chinned hummer buzzes my flowered shirt,
bringing to mind the letter H, its history of an inferior life among

letters, and a Phoenician origin signifying fence.

An aspirate dependent upon others, or a line strung between posts,

even whispered, H does not contain itself.
Disconsolate or annoyed, the bird moves on.

Do names depend upon the power of symbols, or do they power the symbols?

In the 6th century A.D., Priscian disparaged H, saying it existed only to accompany.

Clouds shade the way.
The black-chin extends its grooved tongue at a rate of 15 licks per second.

Alone, the H’s voice is barely audible.

Through the trees, across the crushed rock driveway and beyond the barbed wire

and chain link, I hear deadfall snapping under hooves.
At rest, its heart beats an average of 480 beats per minute.

Modern Greek denies its existence.

Say khet…

View original post 27 more words