Friday, September 17, 2010

Think wild thoughts and sing, Sing, SING!

Ana Hernandez and Brian McLaren will be in town next Tue and Wed (9/21 and 9/22) singing and talking to Episcopalians about crazy church ideas and crazy worship music ideas.  The events are free and open to all. 

More info on times and locations, see http://episcopalspirit.com/

Today's dam bursting line: do not be afraid...

Attended a Taize prayer service out at the St. Paul Monastery in Maplewood which the Benedictine sisters do monthly on the third Friday.  I was late trying to wrap up some work before I'm in class all weekend and feeling a bit anxious about the roller coaster of life I've been travelling on lately. 

I walked in during the reading, one of my favorites, from 1 Corinthians 13.  You know the one ... read at weddings a lot ... the one that ends with "and the greatest of these is LOVE."  It seemed especially prayerful, especially holy tonight and I felt buoyed by all who were there.  Like every one of these persons knew intimately, or were striving to know and practice the unconditional agape love Paul is writing about.  A safe place where all were accepted. 

We ended with three chants and during the second one is when it happened. 
"In the Lord I'll be ever thankful, in the Lord I will rejoice!
Look to God, do not be afraid.
Life up your voices, the Lord is near ..."
It was probably the fourth or fifth time, I don't know I wasn't counting, that I realized which words I was just saying and which words I meant.  I got to "do not be afraid" and the dam burst.  Tears started streaming down my face.  In that moment I realized how much I was embodying the opposite.  Acknowledging the fear, I couldn't hold it anymore and it flooded the plains and found its way into the valleys and river deltas.  Releasing the fear, I was able to be at peace. 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Peek-a-boo Joy

I've been working hard lately.  And not feeling much return on my investment.  A conversation with a friend reminded me of the balancing act of giving to others and self-care -- you can only give so much to others before your own self suffers.  And then I realized my practices of centering prayer, journaling, walking labyrinths, singing, moving were less present lately. 

Yikes! How did that happen?

Somewhere it seems my focus shifted to "I have to get this done!"  It creeped in when the tasks were few and I was feeling confident and sure.  And then behind the veil of certain confidence, the practices started to disappear.  Like a land during a drought the faucet of rejuvenation had be turned off.  Cracks appeared and thoughts started to worm their way into my brain.  How did all this noise get in here?  Where did all the lush calm mentalscape go? 

I was able to turn on the faucet from time to time a bit this week.  Watched a usually straight-laced guy boogie it down with Motown tunes yesterday and that brought a smile.  I allowed myself to attend a folkdance and song group meeting tonight and gave myself permission to concentration my attention only on what was present in the room.  I noticed my mind became more restful kindly gazing into the eyes of the other dancers, moving gracefully in time with the songs we sang.  Reminds me of computers that need to be restarted from time to time. 

Joy was returning, showing glimpses of her dazzling self. 

Peek-a-boo. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

There is in Her a Spirit

I'm really excited about an upcoming event hosted by the Episcopal Diocese of MN called "There is in Her a Spirit."  Why?  One of the presenters, Ana Hernandez, will be sharing "All the tunes you can eat" and hosting "An Evening of Heart Songs."  Doesn't that sound exciting?  (okay, so I am a little biased ...) 

Fall 2010 Sing Heavenly Harmony Dates!

Woohoo!  The dates for upcoming Sing Heavenly Harmony, a.k.a. SHH! in the Library have been set!  Mark these in your calendar and invite friends who will enjoy making a joyful noise for an hour or two of their day. 

WEDNESDAYS, noon-1 p.m.
- Sept 15
- Oct 13
- Nov 10
- Dec 22

SUNDAYS, 1-3 p.m.
- Sept 26
- Oct 24
- Nov 28
- Dec 12

The location to meet is the beautiful O'Shaughnessy Room in the O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library at the University of St. Thomas' St. Paul north campus. 

Unless there is a big event on campus, you'll be able to find parking on the street around the library (northwest corner of Summit and Cleveland Aves) on the weekend.  For the mid-week, mid-day sings, I highly recommend parking in one of the parking ramps on campus (for a fee) OR plan time for a little stroll through the lovely residential neighborhood of Merriam Park-Macalester Groveland -- on-street parking near campus is primarily permit based and reserved for the early arrivers (and lucky). 

Future dates will be posted on the "Public Events" link (see the right margins) while all events are subject to change. 

Cheers!  Conie