Survival Skills

bowBy Ric Hudgens

I resent your condescending remarks
about my fetal position. I am not overly
sensitive, depressed, incapacitated, nor
escaping adult responsibilities. When
I curve my back, bow my head, pull both
knees to my chest it is not weakness
that bends me so. What you never
understand is that this is my haven
of health, my reservoir of renewal. If
womblike, it is some placenta of hope
that nourishes and sustains me. We
must all find strength where we can.
I will unfold a fiercer soul.

Stewing in Grace and Gratitude

hobo dinners.jpgBy Joyce Hollyday

My memories of childhood family camping trips swirl around discomfort and disaster: rocky ground and a leaky air mattress, a skunk ambling through our campsite at dinner time, the hurricane that pelted us with rain and blew over our tent in the middle of the night, a sneak attack by a swarm of black flies the size of blue jays. But in every summer misadventure, there was always one moment of grace. Amid the endless parade of canned-soup suppers heated to either lukewarm or scalding over the camp stove, there was always a night when we fixed “hobo stew.” Continue reading

Learning from Laughter and the Trees: Yogurt and Blueberries

kiddos-2By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann. Written on January 11, 2017.

11 years ago today, I was heading back to school, to community two weeks after my mom died.
9 years ago today, I was getting off a plane from France having just met the love of my life.
8 years ago today, I was in Washington DC protesting Guantanamo as Obama prepared to take office.
2 years ago today, I was working on a Word and World school in Detroit on Environmental Justice.
1 year ago today, after a labor that was cooped by the medical industry, I gave birth to Cedar.
And today?….

Today I lost the battle to get Isaac to school. I couldn’t get him out the door. Knowing that I couldn’t let him just stay home and have fun if I wanted him to go next week, I told him that I could not play or engage. That this was my working time. I set a timer for when school would end. Told him I loved him and I would talk to him when the timer went off (a mantra I would repeat a hundred times over the next two hours). I handed him a yogurt stick and a box of blueberries and left him alone. After some protesting, he got quiet…so I peaked in. There he was in the living room, using his yogurt stick to make twenty yogurt circles on the floor and carefully putting one blueberry on top of each pile. When his work was finished, he yelled “Mommy!” He was good at this game. He wasn’t going to let us not engage for two whole hours. He was ready to destroy the house if need be. I took a deep breath and told him I would talk to him after the timer. Continue reading

21 Running, Working, Experiential Definitions of Mysticism

meditationFrom Matthew Fox’s The Coming of the Cosmic Christ (1988):

By exposure to each of these “definitions” the reader will begin to feel and make connections with his or her own mysticism, for the purpose of defining mysticism here is to elicit the mystic within each person…

  1. Experience: a trust of the universe, a trust of what is and what occurs to us, yes, a trust of oneself
  2. Non dualism: the end of alienation and the beginning of communion, the end of either/or relationships and the beginning of unity
  3. Compassion: “the keen awareness of the interdependence of all living things which are all part of one another and involved in one another” (Thomas Merton)
  4. Connection Making:  by symbols, stories, myths, music and colors, form and ritual–we connect with one another’s deep and often unspoken experiences of life’s mysteries
  5. Radical Amazement: awe is the opposite of taking life for granted
  6. Affirmation of the World as a Whole:  neither neutral nor bitter or cynical
  7. Right-Brain: synthesis over analysis and verbalization

Continue reading

Tasting and Baking our Call to Discipleship

ira2

Since writing this, my nephew Ira Cole was born on Christmas Eve.

By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

Over the last several weeks, I seem to have developed a chronic chocolate chip cookie baking problem. I would say that Isaac and I are baking a batch almost every other day. And it’s not just the baking that has become chronic, but the eating too. I think it is because I am waiting for my sister to give birth. It could really happen any second. It feels like all I know how to do in the waiting is bake these cookies. Continue reading

They and Us

brother-davidReprinted from an interview Rex Weyler and Catherine Ingram did with Brother David Steindl-Rast in New Age, September 1983:

How can people learn to communicate effectively, without anger or aggression?

That is where we have to work with ourselves. Anger in itself is not really wrong, but we cannot allow our anger to carry us away and make us violent. This I find myself a most difficult task: to always think in terms of “we” and not “they and us.” The moment that you divide people with they and us, you’re always on the right side and they are always on the wrong side, and I find that makes communication very, very difficult. Continue reading