“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.”
—Karl A. Menniger
“The path isn’t a straight line; its a spiral. You continually come back to things you thought you understood and see deeper truths.”
—Barry H. Gillespie
“What is art but life upon the larger scale, the higher. When, graduating up in a spiral line of still expanding and ascending gyres, it pushes toward the intense significance of all things, hungry for the infinite?”
—Elizabeth Barrett Browning
“Ideally, a human life should be a constant pilgrimage of discovery. The most exciting discoveries happen at the frontiers. When you come to know something new, you come closer to yourself and to the world. Discovery enlarges and refines your sensibility. When you discover something, you transfigure some of the forsakenness of the world.”
—John O’Donohue, “Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong”
“All life has emptiness at its core; it is the quiet hollow reed through which the wind of God blows and makes the music that is our life. Without that emptiness, we are clogged and unable to give birth to music, love, or kindness. All creation springs from emptiness: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void…”
-WayneMuller, “Sabbath, Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives”, p.51
“We inter-breathe with the rain forests, we drink from the oceans. They are part of our own body. “
—Thich Nhat Hanh
“The purpose of life is undoubtedly to know oneself. We cannot do it unless we learn to identify ourselves with all that lives. The sum-total of that life is God.”
Many years ago, when we first found out my husband was diagnosed with cancer, I was suffering from much worry and anxiety while sitting in his doctor’s office. Suddenly, I felt a deep peace descend upon me, calming my anxiety, enabling me to breathe. I took a look at my watch. Later, I found out a friend was saying some prayers for us the same moments I felt the peace in the doctor’s office. Proof to me, the palpable power of prayer, that peace beyond understanding… If we are enjoying peace, happiness, we can offer the fruits of our prayers to others. If someone is having difficulty breathing, we can think of them as we breathe peacefully. As we are all linked, this will help on some level.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”—Philippians 4:7
“Life is filled with suffering, but it is also filled with many wonders, like the blue sky, the sunshine, the eyes of a baby. To suffer is not enough. We must also be in touch with the wonders of life. They are within us and all around us, everywhere, any time. If we are not happy, if we are not peaceful, we cannot share peace and happiness with others, even those we love, those who live under the same roof. If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can smile and blossom like a flower, and everyone in our family, our entire society, will benefit from our peace. Do we need to make a special effort to enjoy the beauty of the blue sky? Do we have to practice to be able to enjoy it? No, we just enjoy it. Each second, each minute of our lives can be like this. Wherever we are, any time, we have the capacity to enjoy the sunshine, the presence of each other, even the sensation of breathing . . . I would like to offer one short poem you can recite from time to time, while breathing and smiling.
Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment
I know this is a wonderful moment.”
—Thich Nhat Hanh, “Being Peace”
“Carpe diem! Rejoice while you are alive; enjoy the day; live life to the fullest; make the most of what you have. It is later than you think.”—Horace
“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.”—Eleonara Duse
There’s a scripture:
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”—Mark 16:15
But I think “The Book of Nature” also has its gospel. I think this flowering dogwood is saying “yes”.
“Dear seasons that pass over our fields and through our hearts, you are the word of God spoken to us from the cathedral of the great outdoors. Stir up our love for life. Fill us with joy and passion, wisdom and stillness. Reveal to us our own endurance, patience, and ability to trust. Lead us into reflection and solitude as we move through the years held in the arms of mystery. Teach us to say “Yes” to the unfolding work of the Creator in our lives.”
—from “Circle of Life” by Joyce Rupp and Macrina Wiederkehr