Tag Archive | creativity

Loved for Who I Am

meditation image In my dream this morning, I was with my youngest daughter and parking my car when I discovered I’d gone down the wrong street – I had mistaken the way back to my own home! So I parked and got out of my car and ten minutes later, I couldn’t find it and couldn’t even remember what it looked like! To me, my vehicle and my home are dream symbols of my life. And right now, I am feeling a little lost, a little off course. I am working very hard at my new job, and I am not taking the time I need for myself. As I give my job my everything, my personal life disappears from view. But identifying this imbalance is the first step to helping me find what I need to restore the balance. Daily meditation is key. The Divine Mother grounds me because She is right within me. I lose sight of that truth in the whirlwind of daily pressures and tasks. In meditation, I take the time to listen, to be in Her presence, which is also my unguarded presence. I create the quiet where She can enter, and I feel myself loved not for what I do but for who I am.

Lana Dalberg, author of Birthing God: Women’s Experiences of the Divine

BIRTHING GOD: WOMEN’S EXPERIENCES

“Birthing God. Kenosis.” These three words come to me in the middle of the night. The first two words provoke an apt title for my book. But the third stumps me. Not remembering “kenosis” from my seminary daDark madonna & childys, I fling back my covers to look it up and discover that it signifies self-emptying in ancient Greek. Back in bed, I try to sleep, but the notion of self-emptying echoes inside me, reminding me of the Buddhist concept of no-self: not a cipher or empty sack, but a receptivity to Spirit that makes incarnation possible.

Women, I realize, empty themselves all the time, making room for the spouse or the child and his or her attendant needs. I think of Mary—an unwed woman, a girl. What is her response to a divine being who tells her that she is pregnant when circumstances dictated that she could be stoned for that condition?

“Let it be to me according to your word,” Mary is said to have responded, opening her life to the risk and the potential of divine inspiration. Receptivity, desire for connection, making room for another: these attributes express women’s most fundamental ways of being in the world.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In preparing for this book, I interviewed many women, and everything they shared reinforced one simple treasure: however we name Spirit, we receive it with deep-hearted openness. Our receptivity is active, recognizing the value we bring to relationship by trusting and honoring the God within; by experiencing Spirit as soul mate; by glimpsing the Divine all around us; and by allowing God to cradle and nourish us. At the same time, our spirituality is a process, unfolding and growing with each passing day. Our spiritual stories are full of missteps and unabashed celebration. They are narratives of suffering and of hope; lessons in shedding fear and learning to love ourselves.

Ours are embodied stories that begin with emptying so that we can glimpse the Holy Other, this Light who appears in ways unplanned, unexpected, and unsettling. Our lives are the surprise that begins with the response, “Let it be.”

Excerpted from Birthing God: Women’s Experiences of the Divine.  Order it now and share as a holiday gift!

Daily Meditation: A Dance of Gratitude and Trust

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Sitting still, letting go, I entwine myself in the ever-swirling dance of life. Breathing in, breathing out, I tap into the energy that flows in divine oneness. If I can relinquish the need to hang on to the worn-out story of my life, I can trust in the wider, fuller Divine that I am a part of, and I can set adrift the constant inner dialogue. Releasing the illusion of control—indeed my thoughts rarely control anything—I sink to the depths and rebound happy, or at least at peace.

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Meditation helps me experience life in the present moment, where there is no old me to cling to, but simply each breath: an offering of gratitude, an intake of joy.

POEM FROM AN EMPTY NEST

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A redwood tree shades the slender daughter shooting up from her side: an apt metaphor, I think, or at least one that calms my heart. In a few weeks, my youngest child will leave home for college. I both hate and welcome this change. Every few days, a sudden nostalgia pulls at me when I am least prepared. The faint tunes of a familiar merry-go-round make my eyes tear up. My throat tightens when I pass the pumpkin patch lot, now empty. The playground nearby is newly remodeled, but I still hear the thrill in my young one’s voice calling out, “Look at me, mom! I’m flying!”

Leaning against the redwood’s scruffy bark, I blink away tears. The tall, quiet tree and the younger redwood growing from her side enlighten me. I cannot cling to the past, to the small warm fingers that reached for mine or the upturned face that beheld me as all-capable. The redwood trees, mother and daughter, anchor me for my task at hand: to applaud the young woman who I have nurtured from her tiniest beginning within me. I weep and I praise her both, for now I know. Entwined at the roots, we each reach for sky and light. We become, each in keeping with her dream. But the rootedness remains. For that I can be glad.

Lana Dalberg 6/24/2014.

 

This summer, give the gift of Spirit-connected musings! Click to order Birthing God: Women’s Experiences of the Divine

 

Reawakening

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I pray for the earth’s healing, just as I also thank her— for pines, poppies, sparrows, and cottontails. In observing their beauty, I am restoring my own vitality, taking into my being their light and energy and balance. A cottontail knows how to be a cottontail. Hearing me, it dives into the underbrush. A cypress shares energy drawn from the sun. I lean my back against its trunk in wistful gratitude.

The afternoon passes. Before long the blush from the setting sun deepens the lake’s hues. Like pepper scattered in the sky, the starlings have taken to swirling. How do they swoop of one accord, a body of many? They must be attuned at a different level, synced in, like voices harmonizing and riffing and pulling together again.

Thank you, Gaia, for these daily miracles that offer their grace to me. Strengthen my desire to serve the whole—to cultivate an awareness of not just my collusion in destruction but also my participation in reawakening the truth that we are part of you, Gaia, one planet, Earth. In loving you and braving the consequences of defiance, we can we shift the consciousness of humanity, person by person. That is my prayer. That is my task.

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Drumming for Mother Earth

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“I drum for Mother Earth,” says Dionne, one of the women interviewed in Birthing God: Women’s Experiences of the Divine. Of Yurok-Karuk descent, Dionne has been a drummer since she was ten and has felt the pulse of the earth in her blood.

We all can be drumming for Mother Earth – in the drum circles that Dionne leads at herchurch*, but also in our lives, by attuning ourselves to others and by listening and responding to the rhythm of this planet. We begin by celebrating the rhythm of our own bodies as part of planet earth’s mega-rhythm. The beating of our heart. The rush of our lungs. The swish of our gait. Listen. Tune in. Awareness is the first step. And prayer is the second. “I pray for mother earth with my drumming,” says Dionne. I echo her sentiment: I pray for mother earth with my breathing. May each inhalation, each exhalation be a “thank you” borne of awareness and a desire to live attuned to those around me, all throbbing in harmony and the will to do good.

*Women’s drumming at herchurch (678 Portola, SF) is on every third Wednesday from 5:45 – 6:45 p.m. Feel free to drop by! Drumming every first and third Sunday during 10:30 a.m. Sunday service also.