Saturday, January 22, 2011

SOMETHING BETTER: UPDATE

I'm borrowing this from Wayne's website. It gives me great joy in daily thinking of this ongoing work of building a new orphange in Kenya so the children can have a place to stay out of the slums.

They are working on the foundation for the new building.

We just received a check for $7,000 to help with the orphanage construction and with matching gift we are now about $30,000 from our goal, which means we only need an additional $15,000. At a recent prayer gathering in Kenya, the people there gave 36,000 Kenyan schillings in an offering to help as well. These are people who have very little and pressing needs all around them, so this is a significant gift. I am so grateful that they are taking ownership of this process and looking for ways to keep it funded beyond the initial purchase, renovation, and building phase. They continue to express immense gratitude for all those who are helping and providing a detailed accounting of where the funds are going. We also have others nearby who can verify the use of these funds. For more information on our project here, you can read this earlier blog.

If you would like to be part of this to support these brothers and sisters and see the Gospel grow in this part of Africa, please see our Sharing With the World page at Lifestream. You can either donate with a credit card there, or you can mail a check to Lifestream Ministries • 1560-1 Newbury Rd #313 • Newbury Park, CA 91320. Or if you prefer, we can take your donation over the phone at (805) 498-7774.

I am personally grateful to God and overwhelmed at the generosity this project has triggered. Thank you so much.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

IT'S ZEN THERE-NESS


Why is it that we humans waste so much time floundering around chasing elusive (unnecessary) things when we are surrounded by the most beautiful tangible peaceful things already. And do many of us ever even notice that those beautiful things spend no time doing such a thing as waste time? I think it's because we are confused about what is beautiful and confused about what we need.
This scene outside my front door, at least to my eye, is beautiful. But even with such astounding surface beauty around me, I'm not so addicted to that to where I miss an even more important message/whisper being offered to me through it all. And I'm finding that the more I enter into it by slowing the pace externally as well as internally more and more...it continues to give more and more to me of the things I need.

Monday, January 17, 2011

THE FLAW


I just got off the phone with a dear friend. It was good to talk with someone who understands. It's a rare find. It really is.

We are all broken and so we share that in common. I'm coming to understand a bit better though why people choose to live in the illusion. It's a place where people can at least try to hang onto the mistaken notion that there is something out there to be found...the perfect combination of things...that will finally cause the pain and struggle to go away. To enter into the reality of what is, means we must put aside such a search. Most can't fathom embracing such a thing, so they don't. And as a result miss out on the beauty of the flaw. And instead spend the time hanging onto the very things that make them miserable and miss out on what they have...a circle of belonging to enter into that is nothing but confounding. Full of pain? Yes. But also full of joy and peace and rest and contentment.

Part of the pain is the compassion that comes flooding in once we give up the game of trying to be something we are not so we can face up to who we are, and in turn, find ourselves being encouraged by the presence of the Beautiful, who desires to set us free, to take our hands off the throats of those around us we have been blaming for our troubles or at least looking to control and manipulate in an attempt to get the world to revolve around us. A wonderful thing happens when we respond to the advice to let go of throats and our own personal expectations. We begin to be able to see the beauty hidden inside the flaw of others also. There is no way of our eyes being opened to this new way of seeing and us entering into this new way of being and it not carrying with it a measure of pain. There's no way of seeing others struggle and not feel the pain of it. But at least it's real and it's where the Beautiful dwells and invites us to join in there.

This from John O'Donohue fits well here.....

"It is a wonderful day in a life when one is finally able to stand before the long deep mirror of one's own reflection and view oneself with appreciation, acceptance and forgiveness. On that day one breaks through the falsity of images and expectation which have blinded one to one's spirit. One can only learn to see who one is when one learns to view oneself with the most intimate and forgiving compassion. Such a glimpse of one's essence can utterly rejuvenate a life and enable one to find the hidden wisdom in the beauty of the flaw."

SPRING IS COMING


This morning as I drove Ellie into work something stirred my mind in such a way to where I could feel its presence on my skin and hear its music in my head. The coming birthing of spring. It's one of the things I appreciate about the memory of beauty and the wonder of possibility beauty inspires in us. Nature's tender side and her vulnerability does that to me, and even while within different seasons the remembrance of the other seasons travel with me and speak to me.

Without beauty it's understandable why humans have such a difficult time maintaining the presence of gentleness. This also leaves me confounded that so many who have immense beauty right in front of them instead seem to want to hang onto a world created out of a paradigm of aggressiveness that tramples beauty underfoot. Humans seem to be very skilled in twisting things around in such a way that allows them to justify and defend that which can't be justified or defended. We all are poorer for it.

So as Blaise Pascal encourages us to do....let us always keep something beautiful in our mind. And let us allow a dangerous wonder defined by gentleness capture our hearts and minds. And in the spirit of prophetic seeing, let us allow our imaginations to come alive in a way that would lead us to sacrifice for something better then what is now the reality of this aggressive world we live in. And if we can...we might just find ourselves caught up in the dream of the one who set this whole thing in motion. I would rather live my days caught up in that and risk being called naive as to live a life caught up in the the mess created out of the hijacking of that dream.

It's been a very cold and relentless winter season. But without a doubt...I know spring is coming and will not be denied.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

A CELTIC BLESSING FOR BEAUTY


May you be blessed with the sense of beauty
and may beauty come and visit your life.

May you be given the grace of recognition
so that you may learn to see in a new way
all that is beautiful about you.

In the light of that beauty
may you gain a new respect for the eternal
that is alive in your, feeling, thought and action.

May you look again at the icon of your own face
and may you see there the tender and poignant presence
of an intimacy that is beautiful

When you turn your gaze inwards
may it be a kind and healing gaze

May you be gifted to be gentle so that the shy beauty
that hides in so many of the chambers of your heart
may come out and gather and focus to make a bouquet of blessings
around your head and around your life.

May you look reverently at those that are close to you
and if you have forgotten in their familiarity
the beauty that is about them
may you learn to see it again
and may you celebrate with those you love
the beauty that brought you together

May you also enrich your soul
with the beauty of great art and music

May you take your clay home, your body,
out into the generous world of nature and allow
the longing of your senses to unfurl
across the magnificent beauty
which the Divine Imagination offers to your imagination.

May you seek the truth but may you always remember
to walk hand in hand with beauty

Because beauty is truth
And truth is beauty.~~~JOHN O'DONOHUE

Thursday, January 06, 2011

YOU HOLD THE KEY


Your life longs to be freed
From the controls of the world
And it's conditioning.

And only you have the power, the key,

That can open the door
To let your caged life go free.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

MORE GRACEFUL THAN MOST YET KNOW






It's such a privilege to be alive. And a human life passes so quickly.

I watched the opening of the day this morning as the sun in her trustable way, gently, and with such grace, pushed the darkness away. And in an equally trustable way, I just watched her once again as she always does, at the end of the day, gracefully give way to the... darkness. Or so it seems. Tonight as I took a moment to step out of the day's other activities so as to quiet myself, this sense of ease and order of the cosmos just opened up a deeper and more peaceful mindful presence and appreciation of the privilege of being alive and of it's brevity. Our time in beautiful earth school is limited. And it's good for us humans to remember that.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

BE/LONGING
















It's what stirs at our deepest core.
It's what makes us most vulnerable.
And what ties us to ultimate meaning.

No one escapes it.
Many manipulate it.

This most ancient desire becomes prey
In a world created out of a twisting
...of this longing.

And the soul in its search for meaning
Instead, learns to hide...unknowingly
Behind the masks of false belonging
Believing them to be true.

At first convinced it has found freedom
The false self plays and explores
With new excitement
In realms of conformity or rebellion.
And at terrible cost the hunger is veiled
..by new levels of falsity

The paths we all traverse, are all
Paths of the long surrender

Defined by our choices
Driven by our desire to belong.
That most ancient desire...longing
Crying out from within, for us to learn
To just be who we are
...we already belong.