I pulled three tarot cards this morning in the past/present/future spread. Super interesting.
Past: Octopus: "Practice shapeshifting by altering your physical appearance and mannerisms"
Present: Kiwi: "Do a walking meditation each day for the next week"
Future: Seagull: "Now is the time for deep emotional healing"
In the recent past, in my new appointment, I have been observing and participating without leading in the way I am accustomed to leading. I think there were two psychological/physical pressures at play. (1) I am a new associate pastor appointed just in July to work with a seasoned and beloved veteran. (2) I am still somewhat recovering from the intense health journey of the first 9 months of this year, so energy has been an issue. With these two pressures in mind, I have been more of an observer than a leader. In some ways, it has been important to be this person. I needed to hear the voices of the congregation and get up on the balcony to get a view of the dance floor. Incidentally, when it occurred to me that I was done with this for now, I also realized that my balcony view and the senior pastor's balcony view are different. That is so interesting to me. I also wonder what it would be like to let these two views live together. Regarding shapeshifting, I find that I haven't been my full self. It is time for me to step into being my full self.
I also realized this week, that I need to be walking my Tukwila community more. So next week, I will commit to doing a walking meditation around the neighborhood or at least to the coffee shop. The meditation part is taking in the community. We often think of meditation walks as connecting us to nature, seeing the beauty there. But what about the beautiful of the diversity of humanity? So, walking. Next week.
Regarding the near future and deep emotional healing, well, ugh. To me that means there will be deep emotions. That sounds tiring. Interestingly enough, I started seeing a new Spiritual Director on Monday. Perhaps this work will lead to emotional healing. I know that I have his voice in my ear already saying, "Do you really need to do that? Is God calling you to do that? What will happen if you step away?" Yikes!
Isn't it interesting that a period of shapeshifting leads to a period of healing? That seems very true. In leadership theory, we talk about walking through the swamp. It is hard work. Often, it is so hard that we turn around and retreat. When we do that, no growth happens. It is the continued progress forward through tough times that leads to growth. That feels like shapeshifting. And it feels like healing. It also feels like where our world is right now--in the swamp. Our certainties have shapeshifted to swampiness and we are flailing in the goo. It seems a large percentage have retreated back to the way things were. For those of us who are still in the swamp, it is going to be hard. But the end result will be a deep healing as we work towards transcending the goo and move into loving kindness towards all.
What does your swamp feel like?
I want to take a moment to encourage reading this month's BeZine. The focus topic is "Loving Kindness."
Today's practice brings music from John Legend, a slam poem from Ajanae Dawkins, along with a sacred quote from Harper Lee, and a photo project from me and João Perdigão. Along with readings from the Jewish and Christian lectionaries, the Qur'an, and the Buddhist tradition. And as always, we have our BIBOLOVE practice from Soyinka Rahim. (BIBO = Breathe In, Breathe Out). Our prayerIn s for this week focus on the Republic of Congo, Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe.
Let my heart rise up to meet mercy, my voice to meet compassion, my hands to meet action.
BIBOLOVE: Breath In, Breath Out--yum
John Legend, The Roots - Wake Up Everybody ft. Melanie Fiona, Common
Ajanae Dawkins - "When Viola Davis Won"
Jewish Daily Reading: Daily Study from Chabad
Christian Daily Reading: Revised Common Lectionary Daily Reading
Muslim Daily Reading: Daily Verse from The Only Quran
Buddhist Daily Reading: Daily Zen
Please bring your own sacred readings to the daily pattern. If there is something else you'd like to see, let me know!
“You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird. J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1960
Weekly prayer focus comes from the World Council of Churches prayer cycle. We know the world needs to be surrounded with prayer and positive thought. This allows us to work through the world country by country. We focus on one set of countries per week with the same prayer, lifting them up.
Focus countries: Republic of Congo, Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe
Let us pray.
We know that we fail to live up to being makers of peace. Let us bring in rather than push out, be invitational rather than confrontational--seeing signs of life while decrying the desecration of hope.
For signs of hope and peace, we pray for
- People who continue to witness to their faith even when it is disadvantageous to do so.
- Those who work with people living with HIV and AIDS and who are searching for ways to defeat the disease.
- People who devoted their lives to the health and betterment of the people they served.
- The great tropical forest with its many forms of life.
For the oppressed and weary, we pray for
- An end to violence and instability in the Republic of Congo.
- All leaders, to use their power justly in service to all of the people, and to refrain from corrupt practices.
- An end to autocratic rule.
- Those involved in subsistence agriculture, that their crops may be plentiful and they have enough food to eat and clean water to drink.
- Women, who often bear the brunt of poverty and receive less education than men and fewer opportunities.
- An end to deforestation and desertification, and for the sustainable and responsible use of natural resources.
- The just sharing of these countries’ natural resources, particularly oil, so that all the people reap the benefits and not just those in power, or international corporations.
For those we love, those we hate and those we are indifferent to
For the transformation from ME to WE
Let peace prevail on earth.
So may it be.
Translation by Neil Douglas Klotz, Sufi
O Birther! Creator of the Cosmos,
Focus your light within us— make it useful:
Create your reign of unity now-
Your one desire then acts with ours,
as in all light, so in all forms.
Grant what we need each day in bread and insight.
Loose the cords of mistakes binding us,
as we release the strands we hold of others’ guilt.
Don’t let surface things delude us,
But free us from what holds us back.
From you is born all ruling will,
the power and the life to do,
the song that beautifies all,
from age to age it renews.
Truly— power to these statements—
may they be the ground from which all
my actions grow: Amen.
May Peace Prevail on Earth. Amen. So mote it be.