Friday, November 23, 2012

New relationships, new gifts

It is interesting how love inspires us to love more, and loss heightens the sense of love mixed with longing, propelling us forward--eventually--into the possibility of loving again.

Recently my youngest son Cameron brought his new guinea pig home for me to meet and babysit for two weeks. She is the calmest, sweetest guinea pig I have ever known. Her name is Penelope. She is still a baby, likes to be held, and joyfully jumped her way through an obstacle course we constructed in the spare bedroom. When Cameron took her back to school (it was one of his roommate's turn to take her home), we missed her. And two days ago, I decided (with my daughter, grandson, and my daughter's friend) to stop by a pet store to take a look at their guinea pigs.

But none of them were Penelope. They were all grown and pretty ordinary. None seemed to have her spirit--or her coloring. She is a pretty mix of orange and white, with lots of orange with big blots of white and a hundred cowlicks. None of these ho-hum shorthairs held a candle to her.

But then we walked back through the store, and met this different-specied guinea pig:

Hi. I'm Olive.
And after holding her and playing with her, we knew we had to bring her home.

Ever since, I've been discovering that from that moment of love joyfully overflowing, lots of results emanate. This means life changes for my two older dogs, Georgie (a very senior citizen) and Pearl, who is two-and-a-half and a true pacifist (and not used to a puppy biting her feet and hanging on to her tail). For me, this also means back to puppy potty training, puppy proofing wires and such, and learning once again (and once again and once again), how to let love guide me through days that turn out differently than I plan.

Love brings incredible blessings, and it also asks us to expand and open and be more flexible and trust that Love really is the Answer. This is sometimes asking a lot, especially when we were happy with our settled, known, controllable lives and are being stretched and expanded to welcome more, and more, and more love into our lives. :)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Lessons from the garden hose :)

As I care for my gardens in the hot-hot-hot of this summer, my garden hose is teaching me about working in cooperation with the flow of life. For instance:
  • One little crimp in the hose can completely stop the flow. When we get knotted up about something--the way he said that, what she did, what I wished I had instead--the flow of peace in our life gets damned up while we fret and stew about whatever issue has temporarily crimped us.
  • The best way to uncrimp the flow is to move the hose *in the direction of* the crimp. This seems important to me because when I have a problem in life I sometimes resist it or ignore it or try in some way to negate it (by pushing the other direction). When I push the hose in the direction of the crimp, I am accepting the situation and putting my energy and focus where it needs to go to solve the problem, and the crimp releases easily and the flow continues unobstructed, almost like it's cooperating with me. Ahhh.
  • Crimping builds up pressure which will need to come out sometime. Sometimes when I move the sprinkler from one spot to another, I temporarily stop the water flow by folding the hose in on itself. But then, after I put the hose down and release the crimp, the water flows with twice the energy it had before it was damned up, which usually means I get wet. I can see that in my life, keeping energy, faith, love, honesty, and trust *flowing* is much better and healthier for me than saving it up, moving it around, judging where to let it out. That creates a kind of unnatural pressure that may cause it to gush out with abandon when that's not what I intended. I think an even, natural flow, with no damning, is a beautiful thing.
Happy watering today! :)


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Eco-Spirituality Convergence :)

If you are drawn to a closer understanding and practice of the organic of eco-spirituality, you might be interested in the Summer Symposium on Religion and Environmental Stewardship being offered by Yale Divinity school in June (June 5-7, to be exact). The subtitle for the conference is "Environmental Education for Clergy, Lay Leaders, and Seminary Faculty Bringing Together Science, Theology, and Ethics." Doesn't that sound fascinating?

I am planning on going myself...if your soul is stirred by this subject too, take a look at the link below! Here is info provided by the Forum on Religion and Ecology:

Summer Symposium: Religion and Environmental Stewardship

Environmental Education for Clergy, Lay Leaders, and Seminary Faculty
Bringing Together Science, Theology, and Ethics

June 5-7, 2012
Yale Divinity School, 409 Prospect Street, New Haven CT

Sponsored by:
Yale Divinity School
Berkeley Divinity School at Yale
Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale

Dear colleagues,

We invite you to join us for a conference that the Forum on Religion and Ecology has organized between the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Yale Divinity School from June 5-7, 2012 on Religion and Environmental Stewardship.

The program is listed below and the URL for registration is

Please note that students can participate free of charge.
We look forward to seeing you there!

With all good wishes,

Mary Evelyn Tucker & John Grim
The Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale

Monday, April 2, 2012

The blessings of snow (when you're a mouse)

"The mouse is a sober citizen who knows that grass grows in order that mice may store it as underground haystacks, and that snow falls in order that mice may build subways from stack to stack: supply, demand, and transport all neatly organized. To the mouse, snow means freedom from want and fear."

Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There (NY: Oxford University Press, 1949), pg. 4.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Simple Guide to Eco-Spirituality coming soon!

Last night my sons and I went to dinner to celebrate the completion of A Simple Guide to Eco-Spirituality, available March 1 (!) from Luminis Press. I absolutely loved writing this book. I used a similar approach to the topic that I offer in the graduate-level course I teach in Eco-Spirituality at Earlham School of Religion. Here's an idea of the types of topics we cover:
  • Finding your own Earth story
  • Exploring your family geography
  • Looking at Earth care through the lenses of different faith traditions
  • Connecting with reverence in the here-and-now
  • Exploring eco-justice and spiritual balance
  • Moving toward sustainability
  • Advocacy and blessing
The book includes ideas, exercises, and resources and I hope it will inspire you to continue learning more about this important, dynamic, and ultimately loving connection of spirit, self, and planet! I've also started a new blog, called Simply Eco-Spiritual, which offers posts, tools, and resources (like free downloadable presentations) so you can continue to spread the world and help educate your family, friends, and community. Thanks for loving the planet! I'll post a PDF sample when one is available (if the publisher says it's okay).

Smiles and blessings, Katherine

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Blessing the space

I've been thinking a lot lately about what the power of our blessing can do when we bring it into spaces that need healing. Perhaps an area has been overrun with flooding, or something tragic occurred on the land. Or perhaps there is a controversy about what will be done with a landscape, as is the case in this Tennessee town where an ecumenical gathering of townsfolk have begun praying for the protection of a local mountain ridge.

I believe our connection with the land and our prayers, meditations, and actions on its--and our--behalf can really do something. Blessing the land before changes begin, asking that animals with homes in that area find just the right new places, asking that the growth in that area be prepared for change, asking that the land be understood as an appreciated and welcome partner in the coming changes are good, positive efforts that bring a sense of awake love and awareness to all participants in the change. When these changes come, it's not simply humankind acting on an object--nature. It's a partnership that is unfolding and it could be a co-creative, respectful relationship, if we approach it with open eyes and hearts, and our blessings.