September 26, 2005

Falling in Love

Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love and it will decide everything.

Attributed to Pedro Arrupe, S.J. (1907-1991)

September 25, 2005


Empty your mind of all thoughts
Let your heart be at peace.
Watch the turmoil of beings,
but contemplate their return.

Each separate being in the universe
returns to the common source.
Returning to the source is serenity.

If you don’t realize the source,
you stumble in confusion and sorrow.
When you realize where you come from,
you naturally become tolerant,
disinterested, amused,
kindhearted as a grandmother,
dignified as a king.
Immersed in the wonder of the Tao,
you can deal with whatever life brings you,
and when death comes, you are ready.


September 21, 2005

Pond Rings

Pond Rings for Ashley

Ashley writes beautifully about the connections and friendships we make here, in this on-line space. She notes "the unique phenomena of online communities and how there is a built in component of connection and attention that often is unknown, but holds a potent space." This has been so true for us here at Graceful Presence. We have been warmed and enlivened by the familiar faces of friends joining us here, and by those who simply open this page, and notice. Like pond rings, each ring forming connections creates an ever broadening circle of Presence through our lives.

Ashley shares our experience when she writes, "A wave of electric delight or effervescent bubbles rising and making a fizz, has the opportunity to run through our systems when connection, community, and care are acknowledged and we feel the essential embrace of intimacy, belonging, and acceptance."

Thank you Ashley.
With gratitude and embrace to all friends here, seen and unseen.

September 14, 2005

Original Self

I woke early today, while it was still dark outside. Peering out the window, I noticed the sky was still full of stars. When I walked outside, an owl greeted me with a full and resonant hooting sound coming from a nearby forest. This quiet nightscape was actually full of sound, of fresh and damp morning air, of an endless starry sky that seemed to wrap me into itself – I was at once enfolded but not able to feel the boundaries. This is divine love. This enfolding happens simply because we are, not because of our personalities, our deeds, or our intentions. It just happens because we are.

In this moment of pure holding, in a moment that seems all too brief, I recognize the person in me that came into this world full of possibility and destined for joyful unveiling and manifestation. This person within is sheltered and usually hidden beneath the thick layers of indoctrination of who I usually see myself to be, beneath convention and programming, beneath the all shoulds and oughts, and all the plans that were made for me by my family and culture. In this moment I feel the pure lightness of this self, the unbounded freedom inherent in my entity. I recognize my original face.

This – my original self – how to describe her? Well, she is open, naked, unhindered. She is inquisitive, receptive, and responsive. Though unaware of self, she views her intimate world to be emanating from her very self. She is not separate from others; indeed everything she sees seems to be an inexplicable extension of herself. She searches for eyes, for glimmers of knowing recognition in others. And when she feels this recognition her whole body responds with joyful exuberance. She reacts with amazement at the simplest of miracles. She does not know what love is because she is love.

In the immediacy of this moment, this fresh moment standing enveloped in darkness, I am alert and conscious, engaged in the immensity of the universe. The reality of my smallness is unveiled just as the early light illuminates the low fog rising in the nearby field. Little me - I am so small, a speck on the planet, infinitesimal yet not insignificant. I remember who I am.

September 8, 2005


Last Rose

Fractals are made by downloading a program called Apophysis, (and the tutorial) and then by manipulating the random mutations the program produces. It's mathmatical magic, which you don't really have to understand to make quite stunning fractals.

The thing that amazes me is that no two will be alike, since they are moving, spiraling, spinning, and caught in time so to speak. Each moment is a fresh moment for a fractal.

First Fractal

First Fractal

A new friend, Stacey, helped me learn to make Fractals.
Oh my! So much fun!
Thank you Stacey!

September 4, 2005

Musings on Spaciousness

There are many kinds of spaciousness – there is spaciousness of physical form, of time, of presence, and I have discovered, of love.

Form: I recently moved into a different house, and took this opportunity to purge a lot of unnecessary possessions that have collected over time. It is so freeing to feel the spaciousness of physical form –uncluttered walls and airy rooms with few furnishings, and even drawers and closets that have extra room in them. Also, the view from the windows looks out to a vast country landscape of fields, distant hills, and deep forests – a delightful spaciousness to explore.

Time: A couple of years ago, my only child left for college, and my extra activities related to her busy schedule came to a sudden slowdown. Since I work full-time, finding extra hours when I was free from tasks, schedules, and events was a luxury. Though I missed my daughter’s daily physical presence in my life, this change brought about a new and welcomed spaciousness of time.

Presence: In quiet moments of solitude, I have been turning to the spaciousness of the present moment. I have been allowing this feeling of spaciousness within me expand, just to see how far it can go, and observing what the experience of it is for me. The intensity of this experience is subtle. In the simplicity of observing the present moment, noting what thoughts come and go, hearing the flies buzzing by and the soft clucking of the chickens, feeling the warm breezes on my skin, and observing my own breath… there is a prevailing fresh quality of resting in Presence. I still don’t know the answer to that question or how far this can go yet, because there is no end to the in-the-moment experience of this. In other words, each moment of feeling spaciousness is a new moment - I feel it expansively and freshly. The experience of this for me is of open possibility, and a quiet peaceful serenity. Though occasionally disturbing thoughts surface in the present moment of observing, I am becoming practiced in just allowing these troubling thoughts dissolve. When I realize turmoil, and then become less absorbed within it, I feel a humbling compassion toward myself. This is fertile ground for love.

Of late, when lingering in a sort of pause mode, I have begun to be more aware of this interior spaciousness – of an emptiness within me. This emptiness is not incompleteness, no – not at all. This emptiness implies possibility, a place of receptivity, of room for something huge. In this space there is no finiteness of capacity, no walls to confine, no social constraints to limit. This kind of space is freedom, freedom from confinement, from preoccupation, from oppression, from drivenness, and from all the other interior and exterior forces that tend to bind and restrict my spirit. This space gives me elbowroom for my passions. The passion I notice most is love. I am reminded of this: “Make your home in me as I make mine in you.” (John 15:4) To the extent that I find this grace filled space within me, I keep discovering an expanding emptiness in which love makes its home.

Spaciousness is always a beginning, a possibility, a potential, and a capacity for new awareness. If I can bear the truth of how things are, and actively seek the truth, not just what is comfortable, I eventually find myself in the midst of a peaceful Presence.

A friend suggested that to the extent we make our own spaciousness holy, and intend it for love, pointing it toward loves source, this space responds. In my experience, our increasing availability to the truth, to love, happens gradually, gently, and with grace. It happens in keeping with our unique personalities – and (smile) I seem to have a penchant for love. My heart opens widely in response. We seem to be given what we need as we need it – this space opens before us at precise increments. Space becomes brutal when we try to force it, make it a project, or demand that it meets our expectations.

It is a blessing that love is relentless. Love waits for us to make space for it in our lives. When I step out, risk myself in love, let this love exude from my wholeness, I find an ever deepening capacity within me for this spaciousness of love.