Welcome to September and to autumn in the northern hemisphere and spring in the southern. It’s a grey day in Seattle with some much needed rain. It is not just the weather that makes me aware of the changing seasons however. The huge maple tree outside my office window, what I call my sentinel tree, now has its red streak right down the centre. It is my red flame that heralds the arrival of a new season. I love it, even though I hate to say goodbye to summer and the wonderful parade of flowers that have blessed my life over the last few months.
Today, following my retreat on Seasons and Rhythms, I am more aware than ever of the changing seasons around us the many facets of our lives that dictate our rhythms and seasons. It was also a good reminder of our need to breathe deeply throughout the day something that surprisingly does not come naturally to us. In yesterday’s Meditation Monday: Rituals that Give Us Rhythm, I spelled out the two types of rituals or practices that are vital for a balanced life – rituals of restoration and of transformation. Practices like retreats provide important transformative anchors that help us adjust to the changes we anticipate, even to those that take us by surprise. Interestingly one of the aspects of the retreat that participants enjoyed most was the feeling of community we experienced as we talked together across the distances of thousands of miles. That sense of togetherness is, in itself, a restorative practice and space that we all desperately need.
On Saturday, following the retreat I engaged in one of my restorative practices during this season – harvesting and preserving the garden produce. First I picked tomatoes with community member Andrew, admiring the incredible variety of size, shape and colour of the fruit. Then I dried apples and tomato skins (wonderful for salad dressing and for winter soups) and today I am getting ready to make chocolate, pear bread, my new seasonal favourite which I will store in the freezer. So good to have supplies like this when unexpected guests drop in.
This week we have had some outstanding posts on Godspacelight. Kellie Brown inspired us with part 2 of her series What is Theopoetics, Elaine Breckenridge awed us with her fascinating look at the art of Susan Cohen Thompson, I love her compelling question “What might happen if more of us had our own awakening and began to view life with the eyes of nature? “ She also wrote a second post of a poem she wrote Madrone Chapel – not about a building but a tree that is her “threshold into transfiguration”. On Friday we were enriched by two posts – an update from Lilly Lewin who is currently leading a pilgrimage on Iona, and a beautiful reflection and poem by June Friesen The Risks of Living In This World. I love her poem, part of which I want to end with this week as it is a wonderful reminder that all of us need to let go as the seasons change and we prepare for a new season ahead.
Open your hands and let go –
Open your hands and spread your fingers –
Open your hands and shake them a bit –
Open your hands and blow over with your breath.
Let go of the struggles you are fighting –
Let go of the bondage that attempts to bind you –
Let go of the nagging thoughts that want to hold your mind captive –
Let go – release – and breathe – and think.
Let go of the could of, should of and would have….
Let go of the feelings of regret, sadness and anger…..
Let go of the negative feelings and attitude…..
Let go – – – – release – – – – breathe.
Release your being from the screaming of the world –
Release your mind from the control of the world –
Release your body members from the bondage of the enemy –
Release yourself to God’s Spirit – breathe deeply of Him and begin to live.
Breathe deeply of the Spirit’s Presence –
Allow Him to inhabit the depths of your soul –
Begin to embrace His life-giving Presence –
Now is when God-given life can really begin.
May you receive the wisdom and the guidance of God’s spirit in all you do this week
Join Christine Sine on October 14 or watch the recording later. October and November, the season between Canadian Thanksgiving and American Thanksgiving, is gratitude season on Godspacelight. Christine Sine will encourage you to enter into the practice of gratitude in this interactive retreat that will help us enter this season of gratitude with joy and delight in our hearts.