Unfolding, An Advent Meditation

Announcing the publication of my new book of poetry and prayers.BookCoverImage

I know it is a bit early to announce. But if you would like to share this with your community, below is a sample page.

 

Tuesday
For Our Earth
Luke 21: 25-28


Breathe

Unfolding
The earth declares your Wonder,
winds roaring over plains,
snows laden heavy on our land,
waters in contempt of their barriers.

It is in your delicate disclosure
I still myself to hear
the bleat of the infant voice,
the One who will bear us home to you.

Selah
Nature moves with force, but also in whispers. Can you make time today to slow down and notice the world around you to allow yourself to enjoy a bit of nature?

Mantram
Immerse me in your promise.            

Blessing
In praise of sleeping roots wintering
underground, may I take time to rest.
In praise of darkened nights,
may I find peace enough to slumber.
In praise of water icebound,
may I make time for transformation.                                          


Breathe

Unfolding is a daily devotional for the season of Advent. Beginning with the first Sunday in Advent, Lexanne Leonard brings a gentleness to the days through her offering of scripture, poetry, and prayer, ending on Christmas morning. It is a breath and pause to reconnect with the Divine in these busy days of Advent.

Each meditation was written through lectio divina from the lectionary readings for each Sunday of Advent, Cycle C. Every day a piece of the Sunday scripture is expressed through poetry, prayer, and reflection. Also, each day of the week is dedicated to bringing to the forefront compassionate concerns for our world.

Through Lexanne’s own practice of Passage Meditation, she presents a “mantram,” a short phrase, for each week. It can be said throughout the day to bring one back to the present and to draw strength from the scripture passages, poems, and prayers offered in the daily meditation.

“Here, within her words is the rhythm we all may be seeking. Instead of clamor, there is quiet. Rather than over spending in order to give, there is the offering of gift which no money can buy. We will not faint under the pressure to get things checked off a list, but instead simplicity is called upon with bible, candle, silence, and reflection.” – Scott Jenkins, Director, Celtic Way

It is now available at Amazon.com or your local independent bookseller.

 

Someone In Your Name

Nibbles here and there avow success.SomeoneInYourName
Seeds quarried, treasure consumed.
Autumn squirrels breach leathery pods,
mine sweet meat encased until
embryos are undone from their womb.
No spring sprouts for my garden.

Unknowing, the vessel has more
than one purpose I demand,
serves to honor more than I accept.
Envy rends, bit by bit,
until Your nucleus is devoured.
Lost in my narrow sight
a dried husk remains.

In release of exclusive eyes
harvest is abundant,
an unceasing yield by Your hand.
Gleaners in union with our Holy One,
regardless of title or status,
all are sanctioned at Your banquet.

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Author’s Note:

38 John spoke up, “Teacher, we saw a man using your name to expel demons and we stopped him because he wasn’t in our group.”
                                                               – Mark 9:38-50The Message (MSG)

In Sunday’s reading the disciples are upset that there are others, not within their own special group, who are claiming to do works in the name of Jesus. The disciples only see through their narrow vision, not through the wide berth Jesus offers to all.

Envy gets in my way quite frequently. It takes away my focus, doesn’t let me see the whole picture. My ego is exclusive. Passage meditation is one way that helps me loosen that tight grip.

And the weekly newsletter, Word From Below, by Street Psalms always offers clarity. Thank you.

Light Electric

I smell fall in
the rain tonight,
not bright and green,
crisp in spring’s newness
but a little musty,
a gentle touch layered
in seasoned experience.

I think of your smile
not a youthful grin
drunk on life
but a perfected bow
knowing its pleasure
patient in experience

As clouds relinquish
the first lightning on this
passing autumnal equinox,
so I surrender myself to You
ablaze, alive in Light Electric.

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Author’s Note:

This evening of the passing of the autumnal equinox it rained and a rainbow appeared. Later the sky glowed electric with lightning bolts in the distance.

My friend Kathie Kelly, my meditation satsang buddy at A Church of The Holy Family, challenged me to write a poem. I began this poem last evening and tonight’s light show helped me complete it. My apologies to Whitman.

Rare Offering

On the table sits a weathered bowl,
chipped with cracks not so deep it shatters
but lets one know of its fragility,
and, yet, a reminder of eternal refuge

Colors composed with discerning eye,
correct dimensions shaped by a perfect hand
sized to hold the right amount,
a comfortable fit

Inside, cupped in this gentle round,
royal grapes, sensuous pears,
tart apples, honeyed sweet peaches,
a legacy of spirit endowed

Present.
Ripe and luscious, each a rare offering
and inside a seed lingers, silent
waiting for the light

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Author’s Note:

What continues to amaze me about all traditions of faith is what we have in common.

In my journey these past two years, shedding the shackles of the Roman Catholic Church, being given the freedom to embrace what has always been inside of me but afraid to acknowledge in fear of…well, I don’t know what, looking to other faith traditions and embracing what they have to offer, I feel a grand freedom and rollick in the wonder of the beauty of our souls, the gift we have been given. (How’s that for a run-on sentence?)

Thank you to those who are walking with me. I am so very grateful.

For today’s light, I honor Fr. Scott Jenkins at A Church of the Holy Family, ECC in Aurora, CO for his guidance and wisdom as we study the Gospel of John.  It continues to present itself to me at every turn, every day.

John 1:9
The Message (MSG)

The Life-Light was the real thing:
Every person entering Life
he brings into Light.

Also, Mother Kedda Keough from Emmaus Catholic Community in Olympia, WA for sharing this video, Quakers and the Light, on her Facebook Page.

Art thou in darkness? Mind it not, for if thou dost it will feed thee more. But stand still, and act not, and wait in patience, till Light arises out of Darkness and leads thee.

James Naylor (1659)

And, of course, to Reverend Kathleen Gorman and the Blue Mountain Center for Meditation and my weekly satsang as follow Eknath Easwaran and Passage Mediation.

If you go on working with the light available, you will meet your Master, as he himself will be seeking you.

– Ramana Maharshi

 

Lent and Sweetpeas

I’m going to grow sweet peas this spring
I won’t allow the busyness of the day to interrupt
I won’t let the excuse of sultry spring sun
and red clay soil divert me from my plans

I can’t remember now
and being there is no one to ask
when I was young
seven
or maybe it was eight
my mother
planted sweet peas in the backyard for my birthday

Were they to be in bloom by my birthday
or did she plant on my birthday
always a few days either side of Mother’s Day

Edging a small patch of grass squared by
Gus’ gas station
my father’s television repair shop
Interstate 70
and Washington Street
she knelt on red clay soil
already sprayed for bugs and weeds
my father’s madness

She planted
I now understand
maybe to forget
mostly to make something pretty
almost certainly to give me hope

To my surprise
surely not her’s
they grew
ruffly pink flowers on twisting stems
twining their way around a chain link fence bordered by
cement
and asphalt
gravel
and thirsty bistre grass still in winter slumber

This year
I’m going to plant sweet peas
in my clay soiled garden
in spring
with hope

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Author’s Note:

I always wonder from where the inspiration will come for my next set of words.

Today is day three of Lent. It snowed. But it rained first. And I revel in the rain. I always see it as a gift from Him, especially on a day off from work. It’s our secret joy.

I am looking at Lent through new eyes this year. I want to move closer to being fully present in my life and not shackle myself with guilt from the past, nor give myself something to fail at so that I can again feel guilty in the future.

I spent sometime on Facebook in the morning and came across this delightful video on Ben Aaron’s LXTV NBC page. It made me feel so very good, I decided to make a playlist with some favorites of mine. A dear friend saw my post and decided to name this “wancing.” Watch the video.

To make a long story a bit shorter, she wasn’t at home to “wance” with me in the snow when I stopped by her house. But on her doorstep I left her her very own copy of my playlist and a chocolate bar. She’s been a bit down lately.

Coming back home, I “wanced” through the entire twenty-three minute playlist by myself in my office and sat again, this time to do a little writing. With a photo of sweet peas in front of me, I don’t know from where that photo came, this poem appeared.

Lent is a time for being present.

It is a time to allow room for His gifts to live and bloom inside of me. It is a time to discover what is right in front of me, hidden deeply, covered by my ego.

It rained and is snowing. I opened myself to be silly and enjoyed being in this fifty-seven year old body. And a profound sadness with new understanding entered, remembering my mother.

Blessings all around.

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My “wancing” playlist.
Linus and Lucy by Vince Guaraldi Trio
Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen
I Feel The Earth Move (Live) by Carole King & James Taylor
Physical by Olivia Newton-John
Birthday by The Beatles
Dusquesne Whistle by Bob Dylan

Sound Cloud: Listen to me saying this poem!

Discernment

It doesn’t happen in late winter all at once,
there is time for some discernment. When cold

winds from northern plains sweep down to
join south’s humid air, and snow adrift through

mountain valleys streams up and down peaks
onto western prairies, there is still time for early

season buds to ready. When frigid gusts cavort
with spate and flakes after days of temperate zeal,

fog plays hide and seek with aurora sun on
Smokey Hill between suburban houses neatly

rowed and patterned. Winter thunder startles.
Rain begins its fall and northern squalls call

partners to the dance to coat fresh buds, an interval’s
stinging warning. Ice cocoons bare limbed trees,

chandeliers clink in glacial flurry. There is time
for limbs to stretch and drip, reveal burgeoning

essence in afternoon’s late sun. Patience is required
to quarter in spring’s germinal unfolding.

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Author’s Note:

Discernment.

This is a new word in my vocabulary – discernment. It sounds so serious, and yet there is a beauty, almost an echoing exhale and resting inside, deep down. Exactly what it means.

There is a calm that sweeps over me when I think about it. I relax. Odd, I usually don’t do that when I have to make a decision. But using the word discernment seems to assure me that I don’t have to hurry. I can take my time. The answer will come if I quiet my thoughts and listen.

However, putting myself into discernment doesn’t mean I will be lazy and expect that through some magical voice the answer will arise. Discernment is active. I have things to do, been given, because I asked. I usually panic here, also.

I worry that I will make a fool of myself. Prove that this was a mistake. People will say, “Yep, that’s her, biting off more than she can chew. Thinking she can, when she really can’t, or shouldn’t. Who does she think she is?”

But that’s not what I hear now.

A little over a year ago I started Passage Meditation. Small changes happened, almost imperceptibly. The most important thing that happened was when the first realization bubbled to the top and asked, “Did you just see what you did?”, it wasn’t in judgement. It was truly a voice simply asking if I noticed. And the next time, or maybe a few times later, my thoughts echoed along with the voice, “I saw what I just did.” And maybe, down the line, and only once or twice in this year or so, my voice led, “I know what I am going to do.” And thinking the better of it, I didn’t.

So with this new awareness opening a place inside, deep down, I sink into discernment. I quiet myself to listen. I take up the tasks to complete and not judge.

I am at peace with waiting for the thaw.

Marl

DSCN4526

My window fills with golden light.
Leaves illumined in sun twist,

pirouette and shimmy
in the breath of the invisible,

gyrate in sudden squalls
ready to release their grasp.

Then tumble back to earth and, like
bones weathered in sun,

crumble into morsels mixed with
marl. Substance of the nucleus.

Nourishment for the whole.
In praise of the infinite.

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Author’s Note.

I cannot yet move on to the next theme from this Sunday’s homily at my sweet Church of the Holy Family, ECC. Sharon Taylor gave us a beautiful insight into quiet and the importance of meditation. However, I feel the need to continue a little while longer exploring the theme of gratitude.

If I am grateful, it is not because I simply recognize the gifts I am given.

I can only be truly grateful when I use those gifts, release my grip of my expectations, my needs and wants.

My gratitude shines when I learn to love myself, the beautiful gift I’ve been given.

My gratitude glows when I use those gifts and not hide them in fear of, well, in fear of all those things I fear. I cannot worry about what has happened or what will happen. I cannot be anxious about what people will think or say about me. I must live in the present, in the moment.

Well, ta da! Here I arrive at Sharon’s suggestion of working quiet and meditation into our lives, something that grounds me into the present moment. It has been through my practice this past year of Passage Meditation with Kathleen Gorman and the amazing people who make up our small group satsang at my church, that I am coming to understand the importance of meditation in my life.

Trust, release, love, and sharing awakens gratitude. Learning to be present in the moment of life is the inroad.

Enjoy this moment, it is our gift.