Clearing The Way as A Spiritual Practice

Sitting up on the hill where I live, I am a distance from the fires that are currently burning in California. Acres of beautiful land burned, trees, wineries and homes are gone. I can smell the smoke here.

Fueled by sustained winds and low humidity, the fires burn and continue their destruction. The fires are clearing a way, to what?

What will be our responses to those who are experiencing the effects of this clearing? What can we do now and in the weeks to come?

Please look for opportunities to help: the people, the wildlife and the land need our prayers and action now.


Clearing the Way as a Spiritual Practice

In my last post, I used the word “intention”. If your intention is to clear the way, what might your spiritual practice be?

In the next few blogs we will have an opportunity to explore different methods of potentially clearing the way. Today’s blog will focus on spending time in nature.

What happens when you choose to spend 30 minutes out of doors, experiencing the natural world? I am not suggesting photographing it, although that in itself is a good practice. Or walking in it, which is another. Rather, finding a place to sit and simply listen and observe the natural world which goes on around us, whether or not we choose to see it.

When you get back to your home or office, briefly record what you saw, or heard. (If possible do this several days in a row.) Then bring your attention to any awareness that you have of something opening or clearing that you haven’t noticed previously. What is it?

For the next couple of weeks I will be leaving my living space on the hillside in order to stay in an apartment near the ocean. For a couple of weeks I will tune into the rhythm of tides, the sound of shorebirds, feel the grit of sand and the power of wind. I will find time to simply sit and observe nature as gift, clearing the way.

Please know that you are in my prayers. Please keep Earthenware Ministry in yours. Thank you.

Clearing The Way As A Spiritual Practice

As I take my morning walk, I pass by an old house mostly invisible to anyone passing by. Overgrown trees and shrubs block the view from the street. I have never seen a light on when I have passed by it in the evening.

I don’t find the house intimidating or presume that it is “haunted” rather I imagine that it has a story. I imagine that at one time it was home to a family who loved it and planted the trees that are now overgrown.

Also, while I have not walked on the property my assumption is that the property is a welcome home in an urban landscape for deer and small creatures. In an urban environment, this house provides both green space as well as a bit of a mystery.

I wonder if we can use this house as a metaphor for our own gentle, but thorough, practices which can become a way to renew our vision, our spirituality and creativity. What do you think?

By the way I am not advocating using a bulldozer either on the actual or metaphorical house – rather beginning to intentionally clear a path to and from it while protecting the green space and the wild creatures who may dwell there.

In my previous blog posts on the topic of clearing the way as a Spiritual Practice, I have suggested the importance of seeking out and telling where we are and how we are feeling and also in doing action. Today, I am suggesting the word, intention.

What is your intention as you seek to clear the way and what tools might you use?



Clearing The Way As A Spiritual Practice

Yesterday I shared some of my process as I took in the enormity that is the Las Vegas tragedy. If you read it, thank you.

This afternoon, I am thinking of you. As adults we often take in events that are difficult and simply move on. There is always so much to do. In the United States during the past few months we have experienced major fires and floods, Mexico has had an major earthquake. There were events throughout the world, perhaps even in your home town. On Sunday innocent people were gunned down attending a concert. We all, each of us have experienced something whether or not it was nationally televised. And those events and your feelings matter.

If we are to clear the way as a Spiritual Practice, we must talk. We must also act. Clearing The Way in this present time is vital to your health and the health of those whom you love.

I am inviting you to say how you are feeling by commenting to this post, and to share your one act whether or not you think the action is big or small. Also, talk to your clergy, your therapist, your next door neighbor, and your best friend. Write your legislative officials. Light a candle. Say a prayer. You are not alone.



Clearing The Way As A Spiritual Practice

How does it feel when the way is clear? How do you know it is clear? What do you do when it is not clear? What do you do intentionally to clear the way or keep it clear?

These are questions that I have been pondering as I prepared to

begin this month’s blog series on clearing the way.

Today, I can relate something of what I re-discovered yesterday. As with most people I was aware of the events in Las Vegas on Sunday evening. News reports began to be aired late Sunday evening as I was preparing to rest. When I awakened some of the enormity of what had happened was being broadcast by the news media. I felt overwhelmed by grief and simply did not want to get out of bed. It was simply too much. Even prayer was an effort.

As I watched my newsfeed, a request came across my screen for someone to transport an injured bird to the wild life center about 45 minutes away. After waiting a short time, hoping that someone else would volunteer, I called and found out that the bird still needing transporting. I said that I would come right away.

When I arrived, I found that the bird had been placed in a box with tall sides, on top of some t-shirts. As I looked into the box I saw a small bird, alert but not fluttering around and not making any sounds.

I carried the bird to the car and began the transport to the wild life hospital. Once there, I carried the box with the bird to the reception desk where the bird was identified as a Townsend’s warbler and whisked away by caring hands. I remained to answer some questions and was on my way home.

I am in no way minimizing the scope of the tragedy in Las Vegas or the loss that will continue to be felt by individuals and communities in the face of this violence. However, what responses can we make? What keeps us from making them?

I wonder if when there is little we can seemingly do, when it is easy to slide into despair and feelings of futility, we can listen for what we can do in that moment, and simply do it. Our small actions can create change and clear the way.

10/13/17 update: I called the wildlife rescue hospital and received a report that the Townsend’s Warbler was well. He had been released back into the hills not far from where he came. đź’—

An Appreciation of Tradition As A Spiritual Practice

Today is my last blog, for now, on the topic of Tradition. I hope you have enjoyed my reflections this month.

Through blogging on this topic I gained a deeper appreciation of the complexity of Tradition, some of the shadow sides of Tradition, a deepening appreciation of the legacies that I contain as a person and to which I contribute in my own way.

I have chosen not to reflect directly in this blog on specific written traditions, cultural traditions, political traditions etc.. My hope has been that these reflections might encourage your own reflections and even perhaps discussion about specific traditions with others in your family and community.

In our fast paced world with seemingly new customs created daily, I find it helpful to look deeply at the custom to see the continuity, the tradition, that may be within it. Such reflection helps to ground me in this time. How about you?

During the month of October, I will be blogging on the topic of an appreciation of “clearing the way” as a Spiritual Practice. I will have more to write about this in my next post.

As I write this, it is the afternoon before Yom Kippur. I am not Jewish, but for my friends who are, please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers during these holy days.



Appreciation of Tradition As A Spiritual Practice

The way forward bearing tradition

is similar to hermit crabs

who walk sideways.

We, like them, seek shells.

Always needing a larger one.

New growth requires a new shell – still moving sideways, more often than forward.

Yet, little by little making progress, if progress is to be made.

What makes us desire a shell?

What shell will contain all we are becoming? Who have we been, dear finite ones?

A shell provides safety perhaps from bumping up against other shells. However, bruised we may wonder what is entirely safe?

A shell provides selfhood, or rather a gathering in of self. Containment.

We bearing tradition, walk sideways. What shell do we choose for our journey now, dear finite ones?

Perhaps a weathered shell,

a good sized one,

a gnarled encrusted one,

One with history,

One filled with love.