Deep Reading For Courageous Living

The writing of some author’s deserves to be slowly digested; it seems every sentence of John O’Donohue’s Walking In Wonder: Eternal Wisdom for a Modern World is an invitation to sacred reading. The ancient name is lectio divina where, contrary to modern reading to master information, we read to be re-shaped and re-formed by it. Here is an example of several sentences that O’Donohue weaves together that could each be deeply pondered anytime but in this Advent Season it can become a way to be aware of the “wildness” Holy Spirit is inviting us to birth: 

If we can somehow bring the difficult things with us into the realm and light of our souls, it is unbelievable the healing that will achieve itself in us. I think that we are infinitely greater than our minds and we are infinitely more than our images of ourselves. One of the sad things today is this so many people are frightened by the wonder of their own presence. They are dying to tie themselves into a system, a role, or to an image, or to a predetermined identity that other people have actually settled on for them. This identity maybe totally at variance with the wild energies that are rising inside their souls. Many of us get very afraid and we eventually compromise. We settle for something that is safe, rather than engaging the danger and the wildness that is in our own hearts. We should never forget that death is waiting for us. 

– John O’Donohue, Walking in Wonder, p. 12 

I may never get through this book! Looking for a good book to start the new year? Here is my suggestion 

Seeds, Weeding and Tempting Shortcuts

I am the farthest thing from a gardener that my father could imagine. He was born in 1898 and lived most of his life in rural Kentucky and moved to Northern Indiana when I was just 2 years old. He did not farm but he was a farmer at heart who loved gardening “ tilling the soil with a push cultivator, planting seeds, weeding and watering, and finally harvesting. We always had a huge garden and it required a lot of time and work in the hot sun. I confess that I did not wait patiently and ate some of produce before it was really mature. Tomatoes off the vine were so delicious.

Gardening may seem a very different offering spiritual direction and personal growth coaching, leading Contemplative Paths or Transformational Enneagram workshops, however, there’s a lot more similarities that might at first meet the eye. Just like I wanted a magic harvest to quickly enjoy without the hard-work and patient waiting, most of us secretly hope there is a magic fix for our most life challenges. We want to use an unhealthy spiritual fix to microwave transformations that require the slow-cooking of healthy spirituality to avoid creating bigger challenges for ourselves.

Let me share a way to distinguish between “Unhealthy and Healthy Spirituality:  Continue reading “Seeds, Weeding and Tempting Shortcuts”