Ash Wednesday, 02.17.21
“In any instant the sacred may wipe you with its finger. In any instant the bush may flare, your feet may rise, or you may see a bunch of souls in trees.”
— Annie Dillard, For The Time Being
We are told today to remember, and wisely so: You are dust,
and unto dust you will return. This as we dip a finger into oil and ash,
marking ourselves mortal, meaning: there is a bit of the Earth in us
from our first gasp, and it never leaves us, never stops drawing us home.
Meaning: much as…
A way to see our choices and the choices of others that calls out grace, 01.25.21
When the pandemic first landed in our awareness, and everything felt like it was careening out of control — because it was! — here’s something I noticed: While, like other contemplatives, I had an immediate, intuitive sense that the opportunity opening up for us collectively was a flashing-red-light invitation to large-scale spiritual and cultural transformation…
…I also initially lurched pretty heavily into the Hard Science camp, which is, to be honest, not my norm. Deep appreciation and respect for scientific inquiry and expertise? Absolutely…
Liminal dispatch, 11.07.20
In order for pain of any kind to dissipate and transform, it has to be witnessed.
Our culture tends to promote the opposite: deny it, push it down, suck it up, pretend it’s not there, project it onto someone else, numb it, drown it out.
When someone is enraged, underneath that is pain.
When someone is caught up in delusion, underneath that is pain.
When someone is posturing or bullying, underneath that is pain.
When someone is making impassioned claims of persecution, even when it is objectively nonexistent, underneath that is pain. …
Liminal dispatch, 11.02.20
These past few years have been rugged for lots of people. Yes, even the ones who “won.”
I am hard pressed to find folks, of any political stripe, who are measurably happier, less stressed, more joyful, more connected, more magnanimous, less anxious, or more body-mind-spirit healthy than they were four years ago.
I can scroll through my social media feed and see clearly: the majority of folks seem kind of exhausted and queasy. The bravado, even the most arrogant or bullying kind, has a kind of tinny, hollow ring. There’s a defensiveness, even in the certainty of…
Metaphor inspired by autumn in American politics, 10.08.20
Right outside the window where I usually sit to work during the day, there’s a pretty impressive funnel web. It’s not beautiful like an orb weaver’s. It’s crude looking, like it was created by clumsy hands, the threads haphazard and littered with leaves and carcass bits.
But even with its brutish appearance — or maybe because of it — it is astonishingly effective.
I’ve watched all summer with a kind of mesmerized horror as the spider has grown fatter and fatter on the liquefied insides of flies, ants, mosquitoes, small wasps, the…
Now more than ever, we have to discern: Are we transforming or transmitting pain? Liminal dispatch, 08.27.20
As writer and teacher Richard Rohr says, pain can be transformed, or it can be transmitted. And if it isn’t the first, it will absolutely be the second.
This is the tough part: those are the only two options, friends.
When we refuse to acknowledge the terror, sorrow, grief, wound, or trauma, our own or others’ — when we ridicule it or deny it or lie about it or manipulate it — everything just gets amplified and transmitted. Over and over and over.
Liminial dispatch, 08.15.20
As I have been scrolling this past few weeks, one thing keeps jumping out at me:
We really need to be aware of the lure of inadequate analogies.
Specifically, the lure of shallow analogies — those that on the surface seem adequate or clever but that are actually designed precisely to distract us from much larger and deeper complexities.
We’re all looking for grounding in an ungrounded time. We’re all grieving something. We’re all trying to make sense out of uncertainty, chaos, and deception. …
Liminal dispatch, 05.31.20
I have lived in Southwest Minneapolis for 13 years, and I love my city.
This past week has been a nonstop horror show, from the moment the world learned of George Floyd’s murder — and as a white woman, my feelings, intense as they have been, are those of a bystander. The true terror and rage and grief that lie in layers and years before this week are things I can never fully understand.
Liminal dispatch on desire and how what we’re drawn to is the perfect entry point to conversation with the Divine, 05.06.20
In St. Ignatius’ First Principle and Foundation — a kind of intro to the spiritual exercises — he describes the purpose of spiritual practice this way:
All the things in this world are gifts of God, presented to us so that we can know God more easily and make a return of love more readily. … In everyday life, then … I want and I choose what better leads to God’s deepening God’s life in me.
There were several…
Liminal dispatch, 04.27.20
Right after the foundation rattles — you feel the first tremors,
and what do you think? Trust that.
Where are my loved ones? Why am I so tired all the time? My god,
why do I work here? What have I been doing?
Everything shifts, shakes loose, and your sight is clear,
right through to the cratered center of your life. For a flash,
you know what it all means. Hang on to that. Don’t you dare forget it.
It’s why Rumi says plainly, Don’t go back to sleep. Remember now
how the thought of stillness, even…