This evening marks the important Celtic feast of Samhain which starts winter and we enter the “darker half” of the year, a theme which is somewhat reflected in the celebration of Halloween. However, the ancient idea was far deeper, as we are invited to go inside and imitate the landscape in slowing down. Some element of darkness is present in all our lives. Modern society has enough elements to keep up distracted, but inevitably, from time to time, we are confronted with life’s fragility and we are invited to welcome its lessons. Moments such as these help burn away what is not essential and bring us back to our foundations. We see what really matters and realize that searching outside of ourselves is not the way:
How many nights must it take
one such as me to learn
that we aren’t, after all, made
from that bird that flies out of its ashes,
that for us
as we go up in flames,
our one work is
to open ourselves, to be
What in your life is calling you…
When all the noise is silenced, the meetings adjourned…the lists laid aside,
And the wild Iris blooms by itself in the dark forest…
What still pulls on your soul?
Things are changing all the time. This makes us seek who and what will anchor us in all of this change:
Life is precious. Not because it is unchangeable, like a diamond, but because it is vulnerable, like a little bird.
To love life means to love its vulnerability, asking for care, attention, guidance, and support.
Life and death are connected by vulnerability.
The newborn child and the dying elder both remind us of the preciousness of our lives.
Let’s not forget the preciousness and vulnerability of life during the times we are successful and popular.
Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey
When we love and allow ourselves to be loved,
we begin more and more to inhabit the kingdom of the eternal.
Fear changes into courage, emptiness becomes plenitude, and distance becomes intimacy.
John O’Donohue, AnamCara
Go inside and listen to your body
because your body will never lie to you.
Your mind will play tricks,
but the way you feel in your heart, in your guts,
is the truth.
We must remind ourselves that, though our lives are small and our acts seem insignificant. we are generative elements of this universe, and we create meaning with every act that we perform or fail to perform.
It is here, on this earth, in the day-to-day, on our street corners, at our evening table, in the homes of our friends, at the bedside of the sick, in the warmth or sadness of our child’s days, that the universe is being formed.
Kent Nerburn, Make me a channel of your peace