Intention

tearmann

Breathing in, breathing out, feeling resentful, feeling happy, being able to drop it, not being able to drop it, eating our food, brushing our teeth, walking, sitting — whatever we’re doing could be done with one intention. That intention is that we want to wake up, we want to ripen our compassion, and we want to ripen our ability to let go, we want to realize our connection with all beings. Everything in our lives has the potential to wake us up or to put us to sleep. Allowing it to awaken us is up to us.

Pema Chodron, Comfortable with Uncertainty

I had lunch yesterday in the coffee shop run by the Camphill Community  in the lovely village of Kilcullen, County Kildare, about 25 miles south of Dublin.  It was about 10 years since I was last  there  but I found it as inspiring and nourishing –  in every sense – as before.  The Camphill communities focus on creating meaningful and inclusive lives for people with intellectual disabilities and special needs, where everyone contributes at the level of their ability, and where the contribution of everyone is valued. As the Henri Nouwen quote this morning reminds us, our value resides more in what we are, even though we frequently seek it in what we do.

The apt name of the coffee shop is the Gaelic “An Tearmann” which means “Refuge” or “Sanctuary” and it raises funds that support the community living and working near Kilcullen as they work towards creating an environment for healing and development. I was struck by some words on the front of the menu, where they thanked visitors for their support in the creation of an “intentional community”. It reminded me that every moment, even lunch or a cup of coffee, can be made more intentional or conscious, and that we are challenged to reflect on the overall direction or intention of our lives, and what values our choices support.

Balance…. interior and exterior

Light-shining

If we become addicted to the external, our interiority will haunt us. We will become hungry with a hunger no image, person or deed can still. In order to keep our balance, we need to hold the interior and exterior, visible and invisible, known and unknown, temporal and eternal, ancient and new together. No one else can undertake this task for you. You are the one and the only threshold of an inner world. This wholesomeness is holiness. To be holy is to be natural, to befriend worlds that come to balance in you.

John O’Donohue, AnamChara

A quiet day…taking time to rest ….

In the traditional Christian understanding, this Saturday – between Good Friday and Easter –  is the day of growth and hope hidden deep in our existence, despite  all evidence to the contrary. It is a day for patience and quiet reflection. And indeed, despite all the work we do, and our best efforts, much of life remains unresolved, incomplete, frustrating and un-reconciled. We do not see all the answers or why some things are as they are. That is why days which encourage us to be silent and to wait – to get used to this in-between state –  are useful. They balance the desire of the mind to know everything and to be in control.

It’s important to be heroic, ambitious, productive, efficient, creative, and progressive, but these qualities don’t necessarily nurture soul. The soul has different concerns, of equal value: downtime for reflection, conversation, and reverie; beauty that is captivating and pleasuring; relatedness to the environs and to people; and any animal’s rhythm of rest and activity.

Thomas Moore

The work within us

Real growth in life is slow and can sometime pose its challenges. It requires that we keep the  space within us open in face of the unknown and move towards being comfortable with that. Often this means that we have to keep our heart curious and vulnerable, resisting the impulse  to close down the experience by putting labels on it,  or on ourselves. When faced with the unknown, the temptation  is to put on armour in case  we will be hurt. And our experience now can often bring us back to where we were once wounded or where our needs were unmet and release old fears. However, it is by having a conversation with the unknown in our lives that we can clarify what we need to hold on to and what we need to let go of. Only then can we take the next step on a journey into something bigger,  into who we can become, into where our life actually is now.

The work of the eyes is done.

Go now and do the heart-work on the images imprisoned within you.

Rilke