Sightless Among Miracles

We celebrate adult education at our Spiritual Center. On the last night of class, we often invoke a tradition.   The students and teachers form a tight group, and Norm, a dedicated photographer, takes a picture.

Norm sent me a picture of recent class and quoted: we walk(ed) sightless among miracles.

I looked at the picture. I read the quote. And I think I cried a little; because I remember…

I remember the days when we used to hug each other. In our Center, hugs were not only reserved for close friends. We hugged randomly and unabashedly. Everyone who wanted a hug was embraced by love. I’m not even much of a hugger; but I miss it.

I remember gathering in Annette’s office for the pre-church prayer with volunteers. Like a pile of unruly puppies, we laughed, nudged, held hands, and told jokes too rowdy for church.   We could stop the silliness on a dime and move into a prayer of exquisite grace – the contrast of profane and sacred leading to a deeper holiness.

I remember kneeling with my forehead on the floor, a prostration, minutes before I enter the sanctuary to facilitate the Sunday service. It’s a practice I learned in India. Get your heart above your head. Offer your life to the Divine. Bow to the congregation. It’s not about you Bonnie, it’s about service,” I say to myself. I can’t do that now without risking exposure.

I made so many assumptions about permanence, thinking that these mundane activities would belong to me forever.  I assumed that these cherished activities were mundane.   I walked “sightless among miracles,” not realizing that the commonplace homespun of our days is as sacred as a silk vestment.

I look back without whining or bitterness. I just see how wealthy we were. I know the days of hugs, and touch, and bowing will return. But in the meantime, I hope to remember all that I used to take for granted. I will remember simple things with reverence. I will exclaim “how wonderful is this place called existence; then and now, and we get to see it.”

What do you remember? What do you miss from pre-pandemic times?

 

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Love is Looking Up

A couple of Sundays ago, in our virtual church service I mentioned the positive effects of literally looking up. My prayer partner Marc told me about this concept. Then I read an article stating that the brain is stimulated in new ways when we lift our gaze. Casting our attention upwards helps us find awe, wonder, and possibility.

When I spoke with Marc about this, I said to him, “That makes sense. Remember the line, ‘I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help?'”

He nodded.  “We know that’s true,” I went on, “because it’s the Sound of Music.

He smiled.  “Maybe the Bible too.” I said

The benefits of looking up are important, especially now. Not only are we perpetually glued to keyboards and screens. We metaphorically look down, guarding ourselves against potential loss and disaster. We need a new view. Every day.  At least once a day.  We need to be reminded of the broader possibilities surrounding us always.

We don’t have to take an exotic vacation to create a new view. Wherever we are, looking up deliberately provides us with a positive shift in consciousness.

During the live-stream message on Sunday, two friends from our Spiritual Center, Lenore and Abinadi watched from home. “When you said look up, we looked up.” they emailed. “This is what we saw.”  (see above and below)

Will you look up at least once today? Tell us what you see.  What changes within you when you look up deliberately? 

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Be Hero Now

A few days ago, I wrote about praising unsung heroes.  People shared comments about super-heroes disguised as health care workers, mail carriers, good sons and daughters, waste-water employees, and more.  Unsung heroes are everywhere.

The generous responses made me wonder – is it possible that you are a hero too?

You may not think of yourself as heroic. When I look in the mirror,  I’m a far cry from Wonder Woman. Honestly, she’s a lot more put together than I am, with that sparkly bra and all. She’s well-endowed with perfect hair. Not me.

While I’m not fazed by my ongoing bad hair day, I know that many of us dismiss our importance. The thought of ourselves as heroic doesn’t even cross our minds.  But what if your life is essential to the evolution of this sacred yet scary time?

We need to recalibrate our perception of heroism. Heroes are not fearless or perfect. Fears are catalysts for courage and flaws inspire humility.  Your presence matters here. To quote Clarissa Pinkola Estes, “you were made for this”even if you don’t know it.

Would you take a moment to notice who you are?

Your life changed a little over a week ago. The pandemic struck and  you gave up familiar routines. You sacrificed work or you worked at an essential job for the well-being of others.  You practiced generous isolation. You put dreams on hold. You bought canned goods and toilet paper and prepared for the worst. You worried about loved ones.  You prayed, you let go, you took action.  You attended church on-line.  You home-schooled your children.  You brought groceries to the elderly and reassured your neighbors.

You’re proud and humbled, doing the work of kindness; revealing gifts in adversity.  And here you are, reading a blog about hope when you may feel hopeless. That in itself, is heroic.

How have you expressed heroism in recent days?  

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