musical milliner

February 24, 2012

A Lenten Reflection~ guest blogger Kaze Gadway plants some seeds

Kaze Gadway is a lay youth minister to an outreach project for Native American youth and young adults in Arizona.  Episcopal Diocese of Arizona

Julian of Norwich “Pray inwardly, even though you find no joy in it. For it does good, though you feel nothing, see nothing, yes, even though you think you cannot pray.”
Lent is not like Advent. Advent is a preparation of the celebration of God with us, God walking among us. Although Lent comes before Easter it is a season not like any other. It is forty days of intensifying holy practices.
All religions have holy practices. They are ways in which we discipline ourselves to be immersed in activities that expose us to the sacred. It may be putting money in a jar to give to the poor. Or depriving ourselves of food or pleasure to remind ourselves of what is really fundamental. Or writing down our faith responses in a journal. Or meditating on Holy Scriptures in a different way. Or spending time in contemplative silence. Maybe it is a walk in which you observe such awesome particulars such as a leaf. Or it could be intentional prayer.
I pray all the time. Usually it is in response to something. I am concerned for someone or someone asks me to pray. During Lent, I pray in a cycle to include all those who usually get left out of my conscious prayer life. I pray for those in danger, for those nations who are in social upheaval, for those crushed by the economy, for those disenfranchised in decision making, for those paralyzed by grief or loss, for those bruised in spirit in shame and guilt, and for those who have lost their way. How I feel doesn’t come into it. I go inward to hold up those that are disconnected and fragmented in their daily joy. I don’t usually have an outcome, like I hope everyone gets a job. I hold them up as significant to the God who dwells within us.
“What are you giving up for Lent?” asks a child who has heard this on TV. “Nothing,” I reply. “I don’t believe in giving up something like candy that I shouldn’t be doing for my health anyway. I do add things.” And I give her an abbreviated context of holy practices.
“I’m going to give up fighting with my mother,” says one youth proud of himself.
“That’s great,” I reply. “What are you going to do instead?”
There is a thoughtful silence in the small group. He says, “Maybe I should help around the house more. That’s what we fight about.”
Another youth who has been with us for a long time says, “Maybe you should clean a different part of the house every day. That would make it a spiritual practice, wouldn’t it?” He looks at me and I tell the story of Brother Lawrence again of finding the sacred in even the smallest of kitchen chores by doing it intentionally with reverence and dedicating it to God.
“We do that in Native ceremonies,” an older youth comments. “Every implement we use, everything we undertake is lifted up and prayed over.”
We talk about that in general terms in order not to reveal the particulars of confidential sacred ceremonies. They have all participated in some kind of intentional sacred practice, including helping at the altar in Church.
One of the youth confesses, “Sometimes I am only praying by rote. I don’t really feel anything.”
I assure him, “Feeling is not necessary but intentionally holding up some person or issue to God is. Like when we pray for Haiti. We’ve not been there but we can take the time to hold up that country to God. That puts it into our minds and it also declares that we believe that God holds this as important and worthy to be cherished.”
So we each make a list of things that we normally do not pray for and each holds up one thing. The responses are amazing—being bullied, car crashes on our interstate that goes through our town, stores that depend on the tourist trade, people dying without family present, forgotten birthdays, violence in homes, and neglected animals. Our prayer life is enriched just by listing these things. We decide to check in and see what happens when we do something every day that exposes us to the Holy.
It is an exciting season.
Blessed Lent everyone.
In faith,
Kaze

March 27, 2009

Songs in the Key of Lost

Filed under: Uncategorized — by SAMM @ 2:41 pm
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In one week’s time I have misplaced my keys twice, my cell phone once, and my telephone/DSL signal several times. It’s been weeks since I’ve seen my DOK cross, and that does bother me.

Then the screen of my laptop announced it’s impending death- I can’t buy another now, but I do have the desktop, which is back online. I am grateful.

One of my children lost a cellphone. I haven’t seen my wallet for three weeks. I kinda get the vibe that the thing is in my house. Maybe a stretch here, but when my kitty went missing last fall, I knew, was certain, that she was nearby, and she was. She had slipped into a back garden, and after a long week of worry, I found her. So too does this missing wallet business feel. And, AND, I am pretty sure that my DOK cross is in the wallet.

I am not paying attention.

There are more misplaced belongings, including my mind. I usually find that one after a day or two.

So is there some message about which The Spook seeks my attention? See, this way, God is only indirectly blamed. Spook plays messenger pigeon. On the other hand, if one is hooked on the idea of a triuune order, which I mostly am, I can shake my tight little toddler fists toward all three and whine about the unfairness of bearing too much.

That line about not sweating the small stuff? Pish. It is always about the small stuff. Big Messes take you by the shoulders and force you to focus on the disaster at hand. But those bitty things? They pile up and take you down quickly.

During Advent we say “Wachet Auf!” Look around, something is coming. Lent is also a time to wachet auf. Be watchful. Keep vigilant. Don’t let the annoying crappy things pile up and cloud your vision, lest you miss the big picture.

(c)GoshGusMusic(ascap)2009

March 22, 2009

The Music of Silence

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Within silence we can find stillness. I am not still. My mood is agitated, often fearful. I know that I need to find a way, the way, to live into a consciousness of the compassionate heart. I have spent many years putting the needs of my family before my own. But we are called during the season of Lent to self-examination. All I see is lack: lack of compassion, lack of patience, lack of speaking kindly when I most need to do so.

Recently I participated in a silent retreat with my DOK sisters. I thought deeply about these things. My journal was busy. Mostly I sat in half-lotus for up to an hour at a time, and focused at the tisra til, the spot between the eyes where there is no thought, only darkness.

I followed a yogic spiritual practice for many years which taught me how to sit in that darkness and stillness. After a time, flashes of light, not unlike the colored lights which decorate a Christmas tree, appear. As one goes even deeper, the sounds of flute-like instruments are heard. This practice is referred to as “dying while living.” It brings one into a closer presence of God, at least that is my experience.

When I get that deeply into meditation, I have no conscious thought. I listen. I absorb the presence of the Holy Spirit. No expectations of clarity or direct answers. But always a certain realization results. That day, it was the compassionate heart.

I am blessed to be surrounded by these extraordinary women. They shore me up. They do not gossip or otherwise share what is spoken amongst the membership. That pastoral seal is foremost.

I came away from the retreat with more questions than answers. More work to do for my Lenten journey.

“Create in me a clean heart, O Lord…”

(c)GoshGusMusic(ascap)2009

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