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Visioning and Gratitude As A Spiritual Practicei

Around this time of year in the stores, paper calendars appear counting the days until Christmas Day. From a secular point of view these devices may remind one of the number of shopping days remaining until the holiday. From a Christian religious context they are reminders of the days remaining until Christmas.

I look at these calendars with some nostalgia as I remember a time when my daughter opened each day in turn, got the chocolate treat contained in the calendar, and we sang Away In The Manger together.

In the Northern Hemisphere we are in the transition between Fall and Winter with less light and often cold weather. In the Christian calendar we are entering the season of Advent, a season of preparation. For further information, please see https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advent

I have the wreath readied to use during the four Sundays. I also will be following and participating using my cell phone and Facebook with the interactive Global Advent Calendar. http://adventword.org

So what does any of this piety have to do with Visioning and Gratitude? If you happen to be other than Christian what does this have to do with you? Thank you. These are great questions. For the first, my comment is let’s wait and see. For the latter question, I am revealing some of my practice in hopes that you may reflect upon yours, whatever these might be. I also hope that you will thoughtfully share your vision of what is meaningful to you.

Please know that I do pray for all of my readers. I ask that you keep Earthenware Ministry in your prayers as well.

Warmly,

Meghan

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Visioning As A Spiritual Practice

Where is the WE in visioning as a Spiritual Practice? Most often our looks back or forward are individual experiences. Today, I am suggesting that we look at those around us as we reflect on visioning. What is the vision of those closest to us? What is the vision of our relatives, friends, neighbors, members of our community, church or school? How would we know? What conflicts might be revealed? What assumptions might have to be worked through?

I believe that as Creatives our willingness to articulate our vision through a variety media invites others to articulate their own. Similarly, I imagine many of us have looked at a painting, sculpture and written word and found something shifting in ourselves in response. Of course, this shift could have been perceived positively, or less so. And our actions in response might be positive or less so.

What is our responsibility to listen and be in conversation with others? Is there such a thing as a shared vision? In a culture that values individualism, and in which the young often have little support and the aged are isolated, where is the WE envisioned? What stories do we tell? What music do we make? What makes working together and listening to each other’s vision a spiritual practice?

I invite your thoughtful responses.

Warmly,

Meghan

Visioning As A Spiritual Practice

Reminiscing is supposedly the favorite activity of the aged. Having worked with elders, I would dispute that. Most of the elders I have known are far more interested in the present and visioning the future, even if it is a future that they know they will not see. But if one listens, the aged do tell stories.

Yes, and these stories are sometimes events in their lifetimes or connections to those who were so important in their lives, traumas endured, or remembered pleasures. These stories are vital to both the teller of the story and the listener as each has a role in envisioning past being revealed in the present. For a moment, something is revealed that if the listener is not present, may be lost forever.

In contrast, I often see reminiscing, or remembering, with children who are making connections with the child that they used to be, but have moved beyond. These connections are important as milestones and are sometimes expressed as judgement toward those younger.

Both reminiscing and remembering are types of visioning. As a Spiritual practice, it can be useful in the present to reflect upon one’s relation to the Holy and how that early vision is, or is not, part of one’s present. Did your family practice a particular faith tradition? Who told you about the Holy One? Were there stories, songs or celebrations? Do you have feelings of having moved beyond these early experiences, or do they inform your present?

For today, I invite you to vision backwards as a Spiritual Practice, to withhold judgement on who you were as it may, or may not, inform who you are now, and your relationship with the Holy One. Attend to the memory, the story, and see the connection, the movement, the pleasure if there is pleasure and the sorrow if there is sorrow. Be aware of other feelings as well. Be gentle with yourself.

Our visions of the present and the future are grounded in remembered spiritual stories. Your story is important, remember it, journal about it, and if appropriate share it with another generation.

Thank you for reading this blog. Your comments are appreciated.

Warmly,

Meghan

Visioning As a Spiritual Practice

We began the first full week of November yesterday which means a new topic to reflect upon.  This month is Visioning.  As it is November in the United States, the month for Thanksgiving, the topic would typically be gratefulness or giving thanks.  We will get there but not just yet.

What is your vision in the present?  What is your vision of the past?  Do you, or have you made five year plans?  New Years resolutions?  What visions do you carry in your heart for others, a child, a grand-child?  Where do our visions come from?  Are they useful?  Are you a person who generally looks ahead to the future?  Or, are you a person who generally looks to the past?  What happens when what we envision doesn’t happen in the way we imagine?

I write this blog having listened to many of the reports on the mass shooting in Texas.  I grieve for the loss of life, the pain that families and the community will carry going forward.  Today, I have had to use all of my creative tools: writing, prayer, walking, meditation, art journaling to care for myself in the midst of grief.  I am thankful for those tools and the structure they provide.  I am thankful for the time that I have had to use them.  Through using them, I can be centered enough to respond, to listen.  At another time of my life, I would have gone forward without using these tools, not expressing the feelings, to the next thing.  What about you?

On this day, I invite you to grieve with me.  I don’t know what the vision was for the members of the church whose lives were cut short yesterday.  I am certain that the days events were not part of their vision when they arrived at church that morning.  I am sure that family members had visions of their children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews growing up within a close-knit community.   I am sure that family members imagined Thanksgiving, Christmas and the beginning of a new year together.  Along with this particular loss of individual lives, there is a loss of vision, a loss of what could have been.

So, we begin a month of reflections on visioning, and if it fits reflections on visions of grief, visions of love and a vision, or visions, of response.  Let us tend to our visions, love our visions, when necessary grieve our visions, and remain open to where they lead and Whom leads us.

 

Clearing The Way As A Spiritual Practice

Outside my window the tree branches are being blown quite vigorously. I can’t see the wind but I see it’s effect on the branches. Is the wind clearing the way?

We have come to the end of a month of reflections on the topic of clearing the way as an intentional spiritual practice. Tomorrow is the last day of the month. Where have you gone with this topic? What way has been clearing for you? Has the clearing felt good or devastating? Or a combination? What is emerging?

While there is part of me that wishes that we would become aware of only pleasant things as we intentionally clear the way, I can’t do that. The experience of clearing the way frequently may make us anxious, aware of feeling loss, and lacking control over our own lives. So what do we do with those normal feelings? My suggestion is that we note these feelings rather than ignore them, pray about them if that is your practice, and find another with whom to share these feelings.

During the month of November, we will be exploring visioning as a spiritual practice. We will be doing 360 degree visioning as we look at both the past and what we know of our present and our hopes for the future.

(Please note that I write these blogs as as a practicing Christian and as a “Creative”. My spiritual experience includes an awareness of grace and the movement of the Holy Spirit. My experience as a Christian is also the lens through which I create these reflections. If Christianity is your tradition, I hope you will respectfully comment below. If Christianity is not your tradition, I hope you will also respectfully comment as well. Peace!)

Clearing The Way As A Spiritual Practice

The methods used in clearing the way as a Spiritual Practice vary as there are many ways to create space. We each have our individually preferred actions although others may emerge. Twenty common ones are:

  • Prayer
  • Meditation
  • Play
  • Paying attention to rootedness, groundedness
  • Forgiveness
  • Gratitude
  • Journaling
  • Cleaning Out Clutter, environmental and personal
  • Paying attention to traditions
  • Paying attention to Seasons
  • Walking
  • Nature
  • Dance
  • Creative art activities
  • Reading
  • Gardening
  • Listening
  • Being listened to
  • Singing
  • Service

What are your ways? What is your practice?