It is not all that easy to share ourselves and our experiences with others, but it is necessary for connection. Amidst all of society’s weights, imposed norms, stereotypes, power dynamics, and increased elevation of individualism, this man trusted enough to share a bit of his story with me, and that means a lot.
When clinicians and other care providers who are part of the circle of care for others are willing to communicate with each other, the impact is astounding. Not only are medical and therapeutic outcomes maximized, but there is also an increased likelihood for deep and lasting bio-psycho-social-emotional and spiritual transformation for the client/patient.
It may sound strange for us to use such a technical word to describe a spiritual reality, especially when most people think about car tires when they hear the word alignment...
Being spiritually aligned means being attuned to your truest and deepest self and acting in our day-to-day lives in line with what is within us.
A lot of people think of Lent as a time of the year to test our willpower, asking what things in our lives can we give up – chocolate, Facebook, soda, or swearing. This season at Still Harbor we are inviting each of us to consider a deeper spirit of Lent as something we are taking on. Join us this Lenten season for a time of reflection and meaning.
When we work with people who are considering contemplative practices, one of the tools we use is this "Tree of Contemplative Practices" put together by the Center for Contemplative Mind and Society...check it out.
Accompaniment is an ancient contemplative practice that spans many different religious traditions. It involves the attention we give to one another as we work to make sense of the experiences of our lives. Accompaniment is not fixing or rescuing, but the opportunity to explore life’s spiritual questions and be challenged to live out our spirituality.
I write now with the month of May having swept me by in a way that I can hardly remember. For me, this has been a month of planning and of preparation, which has meant a certain degree of living in the future at the expense of the present. While certainly we have to plan and prepare, I am working very hard in my life to experience what is happening around me right now.
I would like to suggest that Leap Day—today February 29—become a celebration of alignment. This “extra” day, tacked on to the end of February every four years, exists to compensate for the extra five hours and 46 minutes of our annual journey around the sun that is not taken into account in our regular 365 day calendar year. In other words, Leap Day is the day that we allow the earth to catch up with us.
A few of us at Still Harbor have been reading a book called Falling
Upward by Father Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest who has written
extensively on spirituality and who founded a Center for Action and
Contemplation in New Mexico. In the introduction, Rohr writes:
“If there is such a thing as human perfection, it seems to emerge precisely from how we handle the imperfection that is everywhere, especially our own… In fact, I would say that the demand for the perfect is the greatest enemy of the good. Perfection is a mathematical or divine concept, goodness is a beautiful human concept that includes us all.”
Do you ever have that feeling of panic when you realized you haven’t done something on time … and furthermore there is no real space to do it with any urgency? I woke up yesterday morning, realized November was over, and felt that kind of pang. For me, the feeling is always quickly followed by some mild berating and judging of myself—assuming that I’ve disappointed everyone and that I’m not good enough to gain back their approval.
In the northeast of the United States, we are now fully in the season of fall. It is a time where the leaves on the trees die, when grass stops growing, flowers stop blooming, and essentially all of the wonderful foliage around us begins to appear dead. Wherever we are living in the world, we are most likely able to embrace that the plants around us go through cycles with the seasons and through the stages of their growth and maturity. We even recognize that they need us to tend to them despite how they may appear during dormant seasons or particularly vulnerable or unwieldy times in their growth.
More and more people across diverse professions and walks of life are realizing the fundamental human need for space. As human beings, we seek quick easy connection everywhere. We find security in our inboxes or in the constant stream of virtual social interactions we create. But in doing this, we are doing our imaginations and the still undiscovered solutions to the world's most pressing problems a disservice.
A couple of weeks ago, I went to see the new Terrence Malick film, The Tree of Life. Malick’s technique, in part, I would argue is for the movie to be experienced as life is, rather than told as stories are, which keeps viewers confused and questioning throughout. He uses this approach as a way of grappling existentially with one of life’s biggest questions: why do the righteous and innocent suffer?