“sink deep in humility…”

“Sink deep into humility — sink like a pebble through the water to the bottom of the lake– land softly and settle…” Shelley Nickerson sent me these beautiful words recently.

sink

deep

soft

gentle

resistless

into the arms of Love

to find

faith there

substance

hoped for

evidence of

heaven

belonging

“Into His haven of Soul enters no element of earth to cast out angels, to silence the right intuition that guides you safely home.” from Miscellaneous Writings by Mary Baker Eddy

“Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17

permission granted…

how often do we wait

perched on the edge of thought

anticipation

a fertive look over the shoulder

waiting

with a feather weight of hesitation

footsteps tentative

even as we hearken forward

waiting for confirmation

permission

before the take off

the launch

unchecked

unfettered

flight

permission is not

on the brink

hanging by a thread

it is granted

steady certain underlying

all-encompassing hand of God

nudging us from nests

of huddled hopes

wings find footsteps in air

rise

stretched

poised

flight unforgotten

nature unceilinged

not out there

not somewhere in the distance

not when, but here

shooting through this moment

breaking veils of concrete, intransigence

wings of grace, surety, power, peace

moments owned

unleashed

ordained

approved.

Psalms: “therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness…”

Matthew: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

“Is there no divine permission to conquer discord of every kind with harmony, with Truth and Love?” Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy

holding your ground…taking hold on heaven…

there is a gracious power in knowing who you are.

and it’s the knowing that counts.

unapologetic presence.

resources unspent.

no jockeying for position.

but being simply who you are.

and even when you’re not sure who that is

to hold your ground

to listen

to feel that knowing rise within

there are a couple passages in Mary Baker Eddy’s writings that speak to this: “Moral courage is ‘the lion of the tribe of Juda,’ the king of the mental realm. Free and fearless it roams in the forest. Undisturbed it lies in the open field, or rests in “green pastures, . . beside the still waters.”

“And how is man, seen through the lens of Spirit, enlarged, and how counterpoised his origin from dust, and how he presses to his original, never severed from Spirit! O ye who leap disdainfully from this rock of ages, return and plant thy steps in Christ, Truth, “the stone which the builders rejected”! Then will angels administer grace, do thy errands, and be thy dearest allies. The divine law gives to man health and life everlasting — gives a soul to Soul, a present harmony wherein the good man’s heart takes hold on heaven, and whose feet can never be moved. These are His green pastures beside still waters, where faith mounts upward, expatiates, strengthens, and exults.”

there’s so much in the world that would get us to look outside ourselves for confirmation of who we are, and how we’re doing. so many voices, suggestions, conflicting messages, a constant din…

i’ve been thinking about Jesus’ experience during his 40 days in the wilderness: how the temptations came to him; how he responded. The first two came in similar forms: if you really are the son of God…do this…prove it… Jesus didn’t rise to the taunts. He knew who we was; he held his ground; he felt the angels of God’s presence ministering.

how many times do we have the opportunity to listen more deeply for who we are, to stand our ground with what feels right–to feel the peace, strength and authority that comes when we do; and to grapple with the sense of regret or betrayal when we don’t.

it’s never too late to reclaim the ground though; refocus our gaze on what’s true; to feel the authenticity of spiritual dignity and grace–identity rooted in the presence and power of the unchanging goodness of God; to watch how the awareness of this has a way of setting everything right.

“praise song for walking forward…”

there are no ways to count

footprints left in light

no true way to measure

seismic shift of thought

to hold

infinity of love

to contain

a single voice

to replicate shine

that never outshines

leaving traces of praise

in every wake.

each, all, breathtakingly, unsurpassably

themselves.

the gauge infinity

not others

not self.

Nineteenth century writer Phillips Brooks wrote: “God has not given us vast learning to solve all the problems, or unfailing wisdom to direct all the wanderings of our brothers’ lives; but He has given to every one of us the power to be spiritual, and by our spirituality, to lift and enlarge and enlighten the lives we touch.”

Here’s to unsung moments filled with song…lives etched with meaning, the world a chorus of voices finding their light.This excerpt is from Elizabeth Alexander’s poem for President Obama’s inauguration.

Praise song for struggle, praise song for the day.
Praise song for every hand-lettered sign,
the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables.

Some live by love thy neighbor as thyself,
others by first do no harm or take no more
than you need. What if the mightiest word is love?

Love beyond marital, filial, national,
love that casts a widening pool of light,
love with no need to pre-empt grievance.

In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air,
any thing can be made, any sentence begun.
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp,

praise song for walking forward in that light.

“for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes”

spring is weeks early here. the robins are fully ensconced in their nest perched on the vine on our porch, the grass is green, the sky blue. everything sings. one bird is so eager, she starts at 3 am. the joy is uncontainable.

spring.

spring springing.

life resistless emerging.

lives flowing from the wellspring of Life.

life new.

life pure.

life alive.

life unquenchable.

Song of Solomon puts it this way: “Many waters cannot quench this love.”

In Thomas Moore’s words:

“When from the lips of Truth one mighty breath
Shall, like a whirlwind, scatter in its breeze
The whole dark pile of human mockeries;
Then shall the reign of Mind commence on earth,
And starting fresh, as from a second birth,
Man in the sunshine of the world’s new spring,
Shall walk transparent like some holy thing.”

In her article “Voices of Spring” Mary Baker Eddy says this:

As mortals awake…this adorable, all-inclusive God, and all earth’s
hieroglyphics of Love, are understood.”

And finally ee cummings…an ode to goodness, God, and  Life’s irrepressible All!

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

“you will not find me where you left me…”

i found out today that a friend passed on.

he was one of those friends whom i didn’t know well.

one of those friends who just felt like a long lost friend. a brother.

as i think of him, my thoughts are awash with the love of his life,

how it touched me. how it touched so many.

there is so much in life to understand, to see yet more deeply, to perceive beyond the sense of endings.

even in absence, love reaches out to greet us, to bridge the gaps, to shower us in living presence.

it requires something more of  us perhaps.

to be still in the face of longing, a vaccuity of what we’ve known.

to find that quiet, timeless space within where grief turns to awakening, life new, ever constant, moving, growing, being ever truly what it is.

to see here. to see beyond. to see in between the lines.

to know with an inner knowing that life is so much more than what we think we see.

to feel the life, the presence, the tangibility of timeless being.

to hold and be held in a comfirmation of ever-presence.

Life’s legacy, each of our lives, living, alive, alight with Life’s love.

indispensible, never absent, unfettered, free.

this poem by Doris Quinn speaks to me of this bigger journey, assurance of broader vistas, the incapacity to ever be lost.

I have climbed mountains since I saw you last;

You will not find me where you left me.

I have scaled pinnacles and seen the vast

Horizon of a higher point of view.

There was the struggle of the mounting way,

There was the longing to go backward,

Back to the known, the loved, the day to day,

The old and tried, to save me from the new.

But there seemed no way out but up and on;

(There was a light sometimes that beckoned me)

It was as though it were agreed upon;

Now was the time and this the thing to do.

I have climbed mountains since I saw you last;

I will not find you where I left you;

No one remains in valleys of the past;

Each has his mountain, each his larger view.

“out of my stony griefs…cleaving the sky”

lifetimes lived in moments.

moments bridging lifetimes.

eternity in moments.

i’ve been thinking about  Jesus; the crucifixion; the  resurrection. its current relevance.

how do you begin to quantify what was offered. what given. what surrendered. what discovered. the sheer depths and poignancy of it. the love given, the love being given. a fierce love. a constant love. a relentless love. a love that brings us to ourselves.

Mary Baker Eddy in her book Science and Health discusses Jesus’ time in the garden of Gethsemane as: “patient woe; the human yielding to the divine; love meeting no response, but still remaining love.”

there’s a hymn by Sarah Adams written back in 1841 that captures the power and promise of resurrection–the kind of dawning and awakening that breaks forth in the blackest of times; that prompts the kind of purity, fervency, honesty of heart and thought that launches us into the lives we were meant to live. struggle not for the sake of struggle, but struggle that sheds the dead briars and branches for new growth in our lives. struggle that surrenders to the winds of God, singing out the life within us, resurrecting, awakening, coming into our own, even as we rise higher, higher from the depths of infinity.

Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee:
E’en though it be a cross
That raiseth me;
Still all my song shall be,

Refrain
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee.

Though like the wanderer,
The sun gone down,
Darkness be over me,
My rest a stone;
Yet in my dreams I’d be

Refrain

There let the way appear,
Steps unto heaven;
All that Thou sendest me
In mercy given;
Angels to beckon me
Refrain

Then, with my waking thoughts
Bright with Thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs
Bethel I’ll raise;
So by my woes to be
Refrain

Or if on joyful wing
Cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and stars forgot,
Upward I fly,
Still all my song shall be,

Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee.

nearer, nearer, even as the arms of divine Love enfold us, nearer. today. wherever we are, whoever we are, Christ’s light dawning within us. the promise of peace. the promise of life. the promise of resurrection.

things not lost

sometimes it can feel like there are a lot of things that we lose along the way: people, friends, loved ones, homes, jobs, opportunities. sometimes its hope, faith, confidence, direction, love.

sometimes it can feel like we’re stranded in the wasteland of our lives, a desert of hopes, a vast and overwhelming wilderness.

i love the promises in Isaiah and Joel: “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose….I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten.”

Mary Baker Eddy‘s definition of wilderness points to the imminent dawning that begins to emerge particularly in the toughest times in our lives: “Loneliness; doubt; darkness. Spontaneity of thought and idea; the vestibule in which a material sense of things disappears, and spiritual sense unfolds the great facts of existence.”

out of the harrowing experiences of human struggle, a life untouched rises out of any kind of rubble, a phoenix, a child-heart so pure that it washes everything in its fierce and gentle light: its anthem, an involuntary song of renewal, joy, praise, unfettered peace.

there is no place in life, not waiting to reveal its gifts to us. its the way we seek that counts. hearts uncluttered glimpse them first–the spiritual impetus within, the still small voice that whispers…I am here, come along, all is well…come and find all that you think  you’ve lost…it’s found.

there is a call to discover the simple and profound relevance of our lives–an undiscardable significance, the spiritual substance and grace of a unique and divine identity. and to discover that this journey is blessed by and includes the journeys of everyone around us…goodness unbounded, never limited, spiritual in compass, with room for all of us to grow, prosper, to seek, find and be found.

i’ve always loved this poem by ee cummings…and somehow it captures the spirit of this journey to me…

maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea

“wide open like a lake…”

we get messages from so many different places.

messages. messages that mean something to us. messages that are meant for us are hovering everywhere.

(not the clatter and chatter that tries to fill the airwaves of our thoughts, heads, homes, lives.)

they glance. they beckon. they light. they shout. they whisper. they sing.

we hear them in between the spaces. in between the noise. underneath the words. in between the lines.

they come with true intent.

they come with truth.

they come with peace.

they come to rally, heal, dispell, reveal.

how we hear them. how we see them. glimpse them. discern them. feel our oneness with them…is to know our own true thoughts. it is to trace the heart of thought to source waters that are pure.

in the book of I John we’re encouraged: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God.”

where do thoughts, feelings, inner impulses and inklings lead? do they bring peace, assurance, goodness, calm, confidence, joy, rightness? if they don’t…try them, check them, measure them in the weight and scale of God’s infinite goodness…the Principle of all rightness, the unfaltering certainty of divine Truth. whatever doesn’t land there, discard. let it go up in smoke, dissipating before the stuff that holds. and don’t stop until you do.

Mary Baker Eddy writes it this way: “Are thoughts divine or human? That is the important question.”

and she puts it another way: defend yourself daily against “aggressive mental suggestion.”

such an incredible way to put it…aggressive mental suggestion…how thoughts come in a subtle suggestive and undermining way, encouraging us to doubt, wonder, be afraid, feel suspicious…thoughts that undermine, thoughts that inflame, thoughts that distract, divide, disturb, pull….thoughts that draw us away from that calm and certain center within. but they are never really more than thoughts, suggestions…

it’s seeing this that counts. it’s seeing this that helps us regroup, get our footing, see that our ground is not lost–at any moment.

nothing can truly separate us from the center of God’s goodness and grace. we are held there…we are the presence, power and substance of it expressed, we are the likeness of Love’s true impulse and peace. this is the home, the shelter, the mental space and clarity that keep us steady in any storm. it’s never out there. never going anywhere. here for  the being, the taking, the living.

George Fox founder of the Quakers said this: “Carry some quiet around inside thee. Be still and cool in thy own mind from thy own thoughts,and then thou wilt feel the principle of God to turn thy mind to the Lord from whence cometh life; whereby thou mayest receive the strength and power to allay all storms and tempests.”

And Sara Groves puts it so beautifully in words from her song Like a Lake:

bring the wind and bring the thunder
bring the rain till I am tried
when it’s over bring me stillness
let my face reflect the sky
and all the grace and all the wonder
of a peace that I can’t fake
wide open like a lake

here’s to underlying and constant grace. answers at hand. Love pouring forth its blessings at every turn. messages, messages, sweet good messages here.

the world’s not falling apart…

there are songs that speak

songs that sing the day

songs that  say the word

words that make you see…

Dar Williams has a song that says “the world is not falling apart because of me.” the first time I heard it was on a long drive, a work trip. thoughts of the world were weighing heavy on me. her lyrics pierced right through to meet my need. singing at the top of my lungs right along with her, everything lightened.

the idea that i was responsible for fixing anything, anyone, anywhere…the corresponding worry that i was not up to the task…suddenly seemed absurd. it was like i was being lifted to a different vantage point, from which i could see and feel a divine order, grace, government, love for the entire universe.

it was a sweeping assurance, confirmation that:  “the government is upon His shoulders…” and that “my yoke is easy and my burden light…” (from the books of Isaiah and Matthew)

There’s an interesting dichotomy between being responsible, giving your whole heart, being truly true to yourself and God, living with complete fidelity; and the weighty, burdensome feeling of being responsible for, being party to, and therefore needing to fix a broken world.

easing up on all of it…

casting burdens on the Lord (as the old hymn by Philip Doddridge urges us to do,)

is like gazing through a window that you didn’t know was there–

to discern that things may not be so broken after all,

our gaze, when fixed on that deep and divine Principle Love catapults us to a perspective of piercing clarity, resonant oneness, holy, unfettered being.

responsibility then is not weighty, but the tender impulse to respond to Love’s government of all being.

Mary Baker Eddy puts it this way, “Starting from a higher standpoint, one rises spontaneously, even as light emits light without effort; for “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

to “look up”

as Christ Jesus told us

especially when it seems like things are falling apart

is to begin to glimpse, to discover, to realize,

the kingdom of God ever within us,

the presence of heaven at hand:

it is to breathe the air of innocence,

to find ourselves washed new,

the whole sweet world held in Love’s fresh light.