Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Centering Wheel

It is nearly impossible to create a strong vessel from an un-centered lump of clay. And in many ways, that is what I have been this winter and spring. I have experienced a great deal of spiritual confusion and questioning.  The darkness of the Northwest crashed in on me mid-January and I was weak to hold it back.  My knees wobbly beneath the weight, I walked slowly, one foot in front of the other. 

 In the midst, we experienced great loss and tragedy, death has been near and around us.  Emotions have bubbled to the top of my cup, running over without explanation: confusion, anger, fear, discontentment. 

I have missed this space, visiting mostly to settle into the writing of other blogging friends. Overwhelmed by all that has happened, unable to feel centered to create peace out of chaos in my heart.

Writing is my centering wheel, my steady revolving energy, ever-widening and centering: a foundation for creating. 

And so I begin again,  with gratefulness and fearless love.  My hands are open, willing to receive and to share. 

Tonight, I am listening to Jon Foreman , the lead singer for Switchfoot.
My husband and I stumbled upon his incredible 4-disc CD: Spring and Summer, Fall and Winter.  The combination of  earthy, honest voice, steady guitar, haunting cello, and ethereal background piano is exquisite. We are drinking in the melodies, a backdrop for our last few days. 

On the album "winter" there's a song called "somebody's baby" that always awakens deep compassion in me.   The words are basically, "she's somebody's baby, somebody's baby girl..." And tonight as I listen, I am pulled from selfish preoccupation to think about the pain of the last weeks, the pain in the world around me that nearly crushes me somedays. 

We are all babies, somebody's babies. I have wandered the downtown eastside of Vancouver's streets saying something similiar in my heart.  The brokenness is palpable: drug-laced arms laying listless beside unconscious human forms. Young girls smoking joints in top thigh skirts, extending a provocative swing of leg at corner-cruising cars. 

They are babies, somebody's babies.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I assisted a friend as she grieved the loss of her husband to suicide. We were there just after he made the choice to leave. The vision of him hanging by the neck from a chain, gone from this world, nearly crushed us. It was the ultimate vision of powerlessness. He is somebody's baby. He is nestled into his Creator Father's arms, finally at peace. Creator God's baby.

Tonight as I reflect, I nestle into the safe arms of Creator God, and I rest.  I am centered when I relax into a speed of wheel I cannot create myself. It is the centrifugal force of Divine love, drawing me out of myself and thus into myself more completely.

This week, I received three gifts.  And in this way, I will start my gratefulness journal of 1000 things. I heard of this idea from Ann Voskamp at Holy Experience

1-re-finding my spiritual core book No Man is an Island by Thomas Merton.
2-a loving card from my husband "i'll be there with my umbrella..."
3-a gift from a st.matthew's friend Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas.

Tonight is like shrapnel on the page, a smattering of thoughts and musings from this slowly centering heart.  Before I sleep, I want to record some of Merton's  fresh thoughts that awakened my spirit 15 years ago--

"I consider that the spiritual life is the life of man's real self,
 the life of that interior self whose flame is so often allowed 
to be smothered under the ashes of anxiety and futile concern.
We cannot find ourselves within ourselves, but only in others, 
yet at the same time before we can go out to others we must first 
find ourselves. We must forget ourselves in order to become
 truly conscious of who we are."

And that about says it all--

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


We have some dear visitors arriving tomorrow in their veggie-powered RV. I am excited to welcome Matt and Sara Janssen  to our bungalow in Mission.  

If you haven't heard of them yet, please take a look at their websites:

They will be with us for a few days and we are very excited to meet them in person and to hear of their stories from the road--