WEEKLY STRETCH – 5-27-16

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This week I find myself feeling a sense of emptiness. It’s not necessarily a negative thing. Rather I think it’s a much-needed time of clearing out and cleansing. I admit there is also a bit of melancholy associated with this emptiness, but in honesty it’s not sadness as much as pensiveness; a time of checking in and noticing – noticing feelings, sensations, qualities – in myself, in my relationships, in the world around me. I’m fortunate to have the time and space to be in this state and I’ve tried my best to use it wisely by working on a painting, planting my garden, sitting in silence, reading and some other solitary pursuits. I’ve taken my current state into account in all of my activities and made self-care a high priority. I also realize that in emptying and clearing out I make room for something altogether new and that knowledge gives me a sense of excitement and expectancy.

STRETCH: Take time to empty. Let your spirit breathe in clear, clean white light and breathe out that which does not serve. Feel the spaciousness within you as you allow yourself to let go. Know that when you clear out the clutter in your heart you make space for something new, something exciting, something wonderful to come in. Breathe in clear, clean white light; breathe out that which does not serve; invite new delights into your life.

WEEKLY STRETCH – 5-19-16 AND CLASS OF 2016

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This is such a wonderful time of year for students all over the country! Graduation. Endings and beginnings. COMMENCEMENT. I’ve attended numerous commencement ceremonies as a dean at a seminary in New York City. And our director often talks about the word commencement The definition of this word is “a beginning or start”. Many of us think of commencement as an ending. Actually it is when we take what we’ve learned and step into life with new information, new wisdom and new discernment.

I have many people in my life approaching Commencement, one of them my own daughter Melissa whose commencement ceremony is tomorrow, honoring her receiving her Master’s Degree. Needless to say we are proud beyond belief. And one of my precious young friends Gemma is graduating high school this year. Both of these women make me proud and give me hope for our future. I see great things for and from both of them.

The energy of commencement makes me think about how I can view my own life from a place of new beginning or change. Of course change is always present, some of it unwelcome. Reflecting on the massive change in my own life in the last few years I realize that while some if it was, at the time, unwelcome, in retrospect it was all in my best interests and contributed to immense growth for which I am very grateful. So today, as so many people are about to step forward into the mystery of the future I take that same step, knowing that the gift of not knowing is at once exciting and a little scary…and making the decision to embrace the mystery with curiosity and hope.

For our grads I offer this beautiful blessing from one of my favorite writers:

May the light of your soul guide you
May the light of your soul bless the work you do with the secret love and warmth of your heart.
May you see in what you do the beauty of your own soul.
May the sacredness of your work bring healing, light and renewal to those who work with you and to those who see and receive your work.
May your work never weary you.
May it release within you wellsprings of refreshment, inspiration and excitement.
May you be present in what you do.
May you never become lost in the bland absences.
May the day never burden.
May dawn find you awake and alert, approaching your new day with dreams, possibilities and promises.
May evening find you gracious and fulfilled.
May you go into the night blessed, sheltered and protected.
May your soul calm, console and renew you.

~ John O’Donohue

Congratulations 2016!!!!

STRETCH: Step out of the old and begin something new. Commence…begin…be brave…be curious. Celebrate your ability to make the choice to move forward with joy and anticipation.

WEEKLY STRETCH 5-13-16

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Photo Franne Demetrician

Walking Sophie this morning my senses were pushed into super-overdrive! The sun was bright and shining its magic light on everything everywhere (an unusual sight this week since it rained for days on end). There was a gentle breeze mingling with the sun’s warmth and I could feel both on my face so that I was at once warmed and chilled. The perfume of Spring was everywhere and I had to stop and take it in several times. I tried to simply rest in the amalgam of ingredients that allowed a moment like this to take place. But I couldn’t rest. It was too exciting. So, I just stood there – in complete awe – aware that my senses were working overtime to absorb it. After days and days of rain, this was the gift, the reward. The other gift is the knowledge that all of that rain and grey-ness resulted in sweet green grass,vivid blooms, budding trees and the aroma of life itself.

STRETCH: In the face of challenges, bumps in the road, inconvenience, and discomfort, take a breath and remind yourself that after the rain comes the sun; after days of murky clouds and turbulent weather come bright blue skies and the sweet aroma of cut grass and blooming flowers. And when you emerge from the storm, celebrate yourself for making it too through.

ON MOTHER’S DAY AND WEEKLY STRETCH 5-6-16

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Painted by Franne Demetrician from an unnamed work.

Author Elizabeth Stone writes: “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

I would have to agree. I am blessed to be the mother of a wonderful young woman. She’s all grown up and has a family of her own. And no matter how old we both get, she’s my baby, my little girl, my child and my heart. I think every mother identifies with Elizabeth Stone’s quote.

On this Mother’s Day, not only do I want to be mindful of my own beloved mother who I miss every day, I want to acknowledge the women who have brought “mother energy” into the lives of so many. The teachers, nurses, caregivers, friends, sisters, aunts and grandmothers. I acknowledge the women in my own life whose nurturing has allowed me to feel held and loved and who are there for me to share in my triumphs and cares.

Motherhood is such an honor, and such a heavy responsibility. We are called to be the “carriers” of both the tiny being inside us, if we are fortunate enough to be able to carry a baby within; and the growing person for whom we are the carriers of “care and feeding” of their unique crawling and then walking being. Balancing the pressures of everyday life make mothering a unique challenge in that our children and family are often competing with many other responsibilities for our attention and energy. Many women feel “mommy guilt” as they try to juggle it all. Many of us fail to acknowledge ourselves for the balancing act we perform every day, attending to everyone’s needs and demands at home and at work, often leaving our own needs unattended.

STRETCH: Mothers…make yourself first! Take time to give yourself a break, any sort of break, be it a massage, a nap, a manicure or pedicure, a 15-minute walk, a quiet cup of coffee or tea, anything that allows you to stop, breathe, and attend to your own needs. Notice all that you do for others and acknowledge yourself, honor yourself, celebrate yourself. Appreciate yourself in any way that you can. Nurture yourself the way you nurture others. You deserve it!!!

Happy Mother’s Day!!