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Reflections

Reflections

STILLPOINT...In the Eye of the Storm - reflections excerpted or carefully crafted to accompany you in your practice of 'engaged presence,' as you draw the world of crying need and awesome complexity into your heart and center.
 
SIS comes in regular installments as reflections, resources and reminders for engaging spirituality in times like these. Created by Joe Grant, JustFaith Ministries.  Reproduced with permission.

Last Post: Breathless

Heartfelt Thanks 

This is the final post on the Still In the Storm blog site. After twelve amazing years, I have retired from the staff of JustFaith Ministries. Thanks to all who have followed this blog over the years.  If you wish to continue exploring “engaged presence” with me, follow the link to my new blog site, In the Storm Still (below)Copies of the Still In the Storm publication are available at: http://justfaith.org/shop/

With a grateful heart,

joe

 

Photo by Joe Grant © 2016

Photo by Joe Grant © 2016

The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it,

but you know not whence it comes or where it goes.

So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.  –John 3:8

 

Seeker,

When was the last time life left you breathless?  

 

Inner-city living

leaves me longing

for Nature’s elegance.

 

Whenever possible,

I make for the woods,

to marinate in Creation.

 

I am blessed with a sanctuary,

a sacred soaking place

I visit religiously.

 

Here I amble amid cathedral colonnades

of maple, sycamore,

and black walnut…

 

To read the rest of this blog post visit Joe Grant’s brand new blog site (click the ‘follow’ button):

https://engagedpresence.wordpress.com/2016/07/08/breathless/

Blessings and thanks!


Now! Here! This!

Photo by Joe Grant © 2016

Photo by Joe Grant © 2016

Before You the whole world is like a speck that tips the scales, like a drop of morning dew that falls on the ground. But You are merciful to all, You who can do all things, You who overlook our falling short, so we may repent. For You love all things that exist, and detest no thing You have ever made, for you would not have made anything if you had hated it. How would anything have endured if You had not willed it? Or how would anything not called forth by You have been preserved? You spare all things, for they are Yours, Most Holy, You who love the living.

-Wisdom 11:22-26

Seeker,

With places to go and needs all around, how are you most likely to be found?     

 

In life,

some are runners, others are reservoirs,

Both are necessary.

 

Once a conductor of motion and sound,

at another time and place,

I am now intent on being still, becoming a holding space.

 

My running days long-gone,

it is a slower current I seek—

deeper-wider restoration.

 

There are others, thanks be,

nimble, fresh, and ready to run,

who are eager to turn possibilities into projects.

 

Yet, we all crave refreshment,

re-sourcing from creativity’s font—

a well of mercy to make us well.

 

At the center of our being is Being itself, and in this we are ultimately sustained and come to know ourselves as we truly are. -Cynthia Bourgeault

 

In all our coming and going—

days of doing, demanding, desiring—

how on earth do we stay well-grounded?

 

And how do we get ourselves back, body and soul,

from NEXT to NOW, from THERE to HERE,

from THAT into THIS?

 

In any moment, our first act is simply being,

being present, being now (not then), being here (not there),

being this (not that). Might this be true purpose of prayer?

 

When we present ourselves to life,

the moment expands to let us see

we what we can do, where we might go, and who life calls us to be.

 

While there is much to do,

We are not here to do.

Under the want to problem-solve

Is the need to being-solve. -Mark Nepo

 

With each breath, practice being,

every sigh breathing attitude into action

in a singular desire to dissolve into NOW! HERE! THIS!

 

Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
   -T. S. Eliot

 

May you clear a way

at least once a day

to pause, to rest, and to restore.

 

And may you hold open a holding space,

in this tempest-tossed time,

for the ones who have no choice but to be on the run.

 

joe

A Note of Thanks

After twelve amazing years on the staff of JustFaith Ministries, I have retired from full-time employment.

My heartfelt thanks to all of you who have followed and shared Still In the Storm over its five years and nearly two hundred posts. This blog site will be retired in July, 2016.

Copies of the Still In the Storm publication are available through JustFaith Books and Videos: http://justfaith.org/shop/

Those willing to continue exploring “engaged presence” with me will be prompted in July to follow my new blog:

In the Storm Still.

With a grateful heart,

joe


Most Blessed Sacrament of LIFE

Photo by Joe Grant © 2016

Photo by Joe Grant © 2016

God reigns! Let earth rejoice and the many coastlands be glad!

The heavens declare your righteousness

as the people behold your glory.

-Psalm 97: 1, 6

 

 

Seeker,

How have you welcomed, celebrated, shared the blessed sacrament of today?

 

Sacraments are not magic,

they are messy, majestic,

and at their core, mysterious.

 

Pungent though they be,

we don’t see what we don’t see.

To resurrection’s ubiquitous release, how blind can we be?

 

Pollen to irritate the eyes,

perfumes and resplendent bouquets

to overwhelm the senses.

 

Still the miracle fails to arrest us,

draw us out of our heads,

teach humility, school us in awe.

 

First we must free ourselves

from fractious fears,

and frustrations.

 

For every day is earth day

when we open the soul’s window

to let in the bird-song Psalms.

 

Now we practice holy communion,

the sacramental act of breath-receiving and returning—

first and final sounds we ever make.

 

In the face of that first inhalation,

in the wake of that final exhalation,

surely all else pales.

 

This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never dry all at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.

-John Muir

 

I went one day

for a walk into the woods,

and time lost track of me.

 

So, on I amble, and sometimes stumble,

knowing less and less about anything

and more and more about everything.

 

Don’t we need to lose sight to regain vision?

And knowing we are blind might be the first prerequisite

to letting ourselves be led into the path of another’s pain.

 

…you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten
pitied…
-Warsan Shire

 

In all this wide,

wonderful and woeful universe,

all that is real is love.

 

We understand this best

when letting-go of what and whomsoever

we have come to love

 

For we do not, cannot make love.

We can only welcome it,

make room to receive it, share it with abandon.

 

This is our sacramental mission,

from first breath to final.

Love is not attachment; it is release, losing, falling, letting-go.

 

Prayer is our humble answer to the inconceivable surprise of living. It is all we can offer in return for the mystery by which we live. It is embarrassing to live! Only one response can maintain us: gratefulness for witnessing the wonder, for the gift of our unearned right to serve, to adore, and to fulfill. It is gratefulness which makes the soul great.

-Abraham Heschel

 

How has the blessed-broken sacrament of life touched you?

 

joe