Posts Tagged ‘presence’


It is the Holy Saturday in Holy Week. What does this mean? Is it a Liturgical blank day we have attempted to fill with something? Like has happened recently with the Monday-Wednesday days from Palm Sunday? Possibly, but it is more. It is that time we are to enter into the unknown. It is why concepts like Passion Sunday (instead of Palm Sunday) leave a bad taste in my mouth. It is the idea that all of Holy Week is truncated down to one Sunday Service, and brings you to the empty tomb so you are good to go for Easter Sunday.

It is also, why I love Tony Campollo’s writings, the quip many evangelicals rest on of, it’s Friday but Sunday’s coming annoys the ever lovin’ heck out of me. It removes us from the moment. It removes us from being in the feelings, the mystery. It is like the reader that gets the new mystery novel and reads chapter one, then skips to the end for the solution, or skips to the end of the Murder, She Wrote episode. This is what happens when we skip the day to day mundanity. We miss being in the “now”. It is in that now that many theologians calls us to discover our true selves Rev. Matthew Fox, The Fillmores,  Dorothy Day, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Eric Butterworth, Norman Vincent Peale, Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, to name but a few. It is in the now we realize and actualize our interdependence and connectivity with one another, and within, through and being with the Holy Mystery.

See the source imageThis is why, Holy Saturday, matters. For it is the day of vigil. Waiting. For those in the story nearly 2,000 years ago it was a time of anxiety, fear, mystery, apprehension…wondering what was to happen next. Wait? Where are we in the pandemic now?

But, the question has always arisen in my ministry and practice-that children and youth are incapable of vigil, that those who are exceptionally abled are in able–that they as well cannot simply be, because they are extroverts and it is for introverts (truly, us 25% of the population that are introverted have rocked the spiritual world the best but it is for everyone). Sorry it does not wash. It is called a spiritual practice, because it takes practice, but it is also like self-care. Not every practice is for everyone, it is discovering the practices that rejuvenate, refresh, renew and re-connect you to the intrinsic self, and the Holy Mystery. Which is part of the journey, not always the destination, but the journey of discovery on what works for you.

Some ideas regular readers will have already seen in my writings. I do suggest using movies and television shows as exploration and contemplations, whether independently in journaling unpacking the questions and your responses or in group (see the balance). Sacred scripture such as the Hebrew Bible, Apocrypha, or Christian Testament, daily, with sitting with it and seeing what emerges.

This can be done through a Lectio Divino where you hear the words 3 times, and each time spend in silence seeing what images, memories, and calls come through. Breath prayer/mindfulness, where you breathe in on a count, and breathe out a mantra (such as peace, or hope). You can do this with a count up and count down, 10 is a good number to begin with. Search the internet and use a body scan to reconnect with your physical self. I also suggest journaling, this is not simply writing, it is doodling, poetry, prose, reflective thoughts, drawing, painting, colouring…the key with starting is deciding a time length, say 3 minutes, set a timer, and do not let your journaling stop until the buzzer, keep the pen to paper for the full length, once you start to realize that is not enough time, increase the limit.

I also recommend Jon Kabbat-Zinn’s (1990) Full Catastrophe Living as a comprehensive starters guide to mindfulness practice that can be adapted to any or no spiritual frame work. For those who claim extroversion as their rationale against reflection, Nancy Reeves (2008) Spirituality for Extroverts and those who love them. If you need some structure to begin a day to day practice, I would recommend exploring the Anglican Churches’ Book of Common Prayer or Book of Alternative Services for access to liturgical prayers and lectionary.

The simplest way to start, is presence. Turning off other notifications, setting time to check e-mails and social media, to be present with those you interact with. Turn off the other calls on your time to be in that moment. As Mr. Rogers would do daily then take time to reflect on those you have interacted with, and lift up their name in your form of prayer, for the best for them to come into their authentic selves.

Types of contemplation and prayer on a day like this can also be singing, dancing, yoga and tai chi are some examples. Things that move the body, connecting your holistic self. Ceremony as smudging as well. Immerse into stories as was noted before to see what truths and questions emerge for you to wrestle through to clarify your own thoughts on topics you may be struggling with, or may have never encountered before but now you are beginning to understand.

As the early friends of Jesus huddled in hiding, trying to sort out what it all meant in the darkness. What the Apostle’s and Nicene Creed’s would frame around the descent to the dead (hell). This scourging happens when we enter into extended times of vigil, fasting from food, technology, luxuriousness, anything that clouds our ability to clearly hear the still small voice within ourselves for our true authentic beings to become relevant, heard, and whole.

There are many resources and books across religions, philosophies, and spiritualities that offer insight into discovering ways to renew your whole being. As one spiritual director would remind me, learn from many and varied traditions, it does not invalidate your own. Rather it opens up the opportunity to see what works for you, to include in your own tool kit and adapt. For what is the history of any religious movement, but rather adaptation and inclusion of varied practices that then are adapted into their own?

This time of Holy Saturday, do not let the idea of vigil scare you. Rather accept it as a day to re-affirm that which works for you to refresh, renew, rejuvenate and reconnect with your own soul, and the Holy Mystery. But also take it as a challenge to try something new in those realms.

For we await in the mystery of the darkness and the uncertainty today, and each day of this pandemic we take moment by moment and day by day,

but we ask ourselves,

what is the journey today, to a piece of hope?

See the source image


 

“I failed; I did not make a difference.”

-My personal sound track entering into therapy on Feb. 14, 2019.

On May 2, 2019 with my PNES therapist I was able to share the work of breaking this soundtrack. It was arduous over the months in therapy, as I asked friends something I never had before. What did they think of me? I began to look back at the thank you notes, and the honours that I had let fade into the background.

An exterior soundtrack began to emerge and take concrete form. It was that I did make a difference. I have a tendency to be overly responsible, and need to figure out where my rodeo ends and the next begins. It is the struggle of not wanting to be the bystander of the bystander effect. It knows what I can honestly give.

Continue Lies of the Heart

Usetacould

Posted: July 20, 2019 by Ty in Spirituality
Tags: , , , , , ,

Toby Keith has a song, As Good as I once Wasas it is a country party song about someone reminiscing to their bad old days of barroom fights we miss the wisdom. Yes, there is wisdom in a Toby Keith song for recovery or living with a chronic illness. It is not simply about aging, and how we change. It speaks of simple things, that as we change, we can be stuck in this grief cycle.

Image result for u theoryIt is part of a learning curve, that I think the U Theory speaks to the best in the stages of change. You are different. You are not the same you once were, and yes as a result you need to refocus. Or as the U shows us, let go of what was, and begin to enter into what will be, and trying out the new yous to see what is truly emergent.

This is where recovery can stall out in the grief stages of hate and anger. We see that at a country level in America, but closer to home in Canada, Alberta has a quorum stalled out in anger and hate, because they are unwilling to let go. Let go of the “usetacould’s” or the “shoulds”…instead of looking at what is remaining of the cornerstone and building from there upwards. In my own journey yes there was high levels of frustration, and anger as I had to figure out what my brain was doing to me, there was also the focus on what mattered, and needing to reconfigure, and take the steps necessary to begin to understand who I was now, not grieve for who I was. As I struggled with focus in October 2017 at 80-90 seizures a day, I could have thrown out writing and reading as too much and just stayed in bed or on my couch. Instead I struggle walked (scared the living s-h-i-t outta my wife) up to the bookstore and bought a Star Trek novel, to struggle through to ensure, even though it was painfully long to read now, that I kept at the skills. To see what they would develop in to.

As I work on the sequel to Soul Ripples in real time, I asked some good friends to provide a forward, reflections on what this time was like. One good friend shared how I had never lost hope that I would get through it, and what was to come. In the moment I may not have realized it, but I did know change was happening and unconsciously was working through it. My PNES psychologist was shocked with the way I took to the treatment, it was due to a courageous safe space created by her and her student, but also this knowing of hope and wanting to see what was to emerge. It was relational based, like those who stuck by me and my family during this continuing journey (y’all are now family, not just friends by the way).

On day 101 of seizure free, I do not know what the future holds. I am still with my PTSD treatment in the letting go phase, and letting come of the U, but there is, and always has been, hope.

How different would our world be, if we let go of what we used to be, or the could’ve beens, and presence in the NOW for who we, and our world is? What has to be let go of? What has to let come? What is being prototyped? And what is being crystallized?

What happens when we live in hope?

 

 

 


Scattered. Unsure. Confused. Scared. Not knowing what comes next. Nothing written in stone as to how to act out in the darkness awaiting.

Vigil Saturday is a hard concept for the modern Christianities.

Why?

We already want to move beyond Good Friday and jump right into Easter Sunday and the resurrection. How can we understand the waiting? We speak of the journey, but we hold in our hearts the outcome so it is a false journey.

It is much like the concept of a prequel. How can the viewer/reader truly enter the story, knowing the next step? Take the Star Trek spin-off Enterprise. This was its living conundrum for the writers. How do you present the early days of the Federation when everyone already knows things as laid out by Kirk, Picard, Sisko and Janeway?

Yet it was also the sequel to Star Trek 8: First Contact. For those who have not seen, this movie was a sequel to the Star Trek: The Next Generation cliff hangar, Best of Both Worlds. Where the Borg are tired of attempting to assimilate earth in the 24th century, they travel back in time to before First Contact. That is before Zephram Cochrane took the first warp flight into space and the Vulcans contacted humanity…which spawned the Star Trek Universe.

Enterprise begins after this. As humanity works with the Vulcans who appear to be holding them back. A Klingon turns up in a farmer’s field and needs to be taken home. Captain Archer (and his beagle), Sub-Commander T’Pal, Trip, Yoshi, Reed to name but a few of the characters take the NX-01 Enterprise (this is even before the Federation) into space on a mission of mercy. Once out there, this short lived 4 season series enters the awe of space exploration.

A series where the writers were in tension of what was known, what could be used, what needed to be held off on, how to use time travel, and how to use the idea of lost logs to cover continuity gaps for they needed the familiar, yet the challenge of it being new and would this survive. How do you get from a ship of humans with two other species (a Vulcan, and a Denobulan Doctor (Chief Medical Officer)—never mind the challenge to the idea of human based binary marriage Dr. Phlox’s people brought). Also, what happens with a crew of experts that begin to let themselves be more than simply individuals? As interdependence grows? As community blossoms? As their sense of belonging breaks beyond their own attested to or implied labels to something beyond themselves.

As Captain Archer in one of the early episodes phrased it, and summed up where the series was at in Trek Lore:

One day there may be a prime directive of some kind to follow, but for now all we have is our own compass on what is right.

For the modern Christianities this is what makes Vigil Saturday so hard, much like the Trekkie’s mind during Enterprise. We want to skip to the end of the story. We want to cling to our institutions, our doctrines our creeds and our completed and shiny Bibles…so we cannot understand the fleeing, the hiding…the venturing forth, the open questioning and challenging.

When in the midst of the chaos…there was no hard and fast what was to happen, there was a question on how to belong, and how to act towards each other: Who is my neighbour? But had it truly sunk in as the darkness descended and the awaiting began.  Was it there, when the women took the first steps out in the darkness bravely towards the rising son.

Or as a ship launched on a mission to return a lost soul not knowing what awaited beyond the sun…

Vigil Saturday is about letting go of what we know, and where we are comfortable.

It is sitting in the dark.

Not knowing what will be there if or when the sun rises.

Or our next First Contact?

Or knowing the form our neighbour will take…

Can you wait… and be present?