Showing posts from July, 2013

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam - All For the Greater Glory of God

"Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam." All for the greater glory of God... This is a simple reminder to find God in all things and it was a favorite saying of St. Ignatius of Loyola whose Feast Day is today. I have a certain fondness for Ignatius. I went to a Jesuit University for grad school and my son went to a Jesuit grade school and high school. I like to think these fine institutions played a major part in his formation. Certainly he forged life long friendships within them... This summer has been filled with the mundane - many unexpected house repairs changed the expectation I had of a lazy summer of reading and some travel. Instead, I have had to stay put, and be flexible to whatever the moment offers and to whenever contractors can come do the needed work. And while I would have preferred to simply have been a contemplative all summer, Ignatius reminds me to find contemplation in action. Things rarely go the way we want or expect. Yet, to offer everything for the greater

Living with Depression

Sometimes depression comes into our lives for a reason... And sometimes, it stays with us for a season... But sometimes, depression takes up residence in our our hearts and souls for a very long time... And some of us struggle with depression our whole lives... I have not been able to stop thinking about Cory Monteith, the talented young actor from GLEE. He engaged in a life long struggle with drugs that began very early for him and that finally took his life. He might have struggled with depression too. I don't know. Sometimes addiction and depression go hand in hand.  I'm sure many fans of GLEE were shocked upon hearing of the death of this young man in the prime of his life. I was. I am "almost" twice his age, and while I've never struggled with a drug addiction like Cory did, I think I know a bit of what he may have felt... Often, when these tragedies occur, many do not see it coming - especially those who are its victims... A couple of years ag

A Dance of Transformation and Joy

The last couple of weeks has brought its shares of challenges, blessings, and insights... I more or less had certain plans for the month which had to be abandoned as I was faced with several unplanned house repairs. In many ways, these needed repairs mirrored issues within my own soul that needed attention. A house has always been a wonderful metaphor for my soul and the work that it must do... Last week, as I left my acupuncturist, after having discussed with her some of the issues and decisions I was facing, I was greeted by a beautiful tiger swallowtail butterfly, that reminded me so much of the blue butterfly whose path mystically intersected with mine on a walk last fall.  Butterflies are symbolic of change, freedom, creativity, and joy. In ancient cultures they were also regarded as a sign of impending rebirth - of renewal or of a new beginning on a higher plane of existence. The various life cycles butterflies go through are indicative of questions we might need to ask our

Insights and Answers from Unexpected Places

Sometimes, insights and answers come from unexpected places. They will come to us if we quiet the voices within that often drown out the stillness so that we can truly listen and take heed... Welcome insights and answers can come to us in messages we receive from friends - in an email, or a call, or a Facebook post, or simply through our observation and appreciation of the wild life all around us - or the beauty in flowers and vegetation. For the last several weeks on my walks, I have been invariably visited by exuberant robins manifesting out of heavy canopies of draping branches that then proceed to "walk"  on the path, right in front of me. They gayly hop a few steps forward, then slyly wait for me to catch up to them. I follow at a safe distance, until they decide to start hopping again. Sometimes we play out this little ritual for few minutes. So finally today, I decided to look up the meaning of robins on my favorite animal totem site: "A Robin totem will s

Keeping an Open Heart

Just a few days ago, I read this excerpt in Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott, and I've re-read it several times: "We try to do our best, and then a whole snowy hillside buries a thousand people. Life is eruptions, spasms, just as in our families. If you keep your heart open, these traumas beat you down. But against all odds, something emerges from the wreckage in our hearts, so we can bear witness... Love falls to earth, rises from the ground, pools around the afflicted. Love pulls people back to their feet. Bodies and souls are fed. Bones and lives heal. New blades of grass grow from charred soil. The sun rises." If we keep our hearts open, we will be hurt. But, if we keep them closed, we never truly live or experience the joy of loving... I remember thinking in my mid 40's, that I had done a pretty good job avoiding severe pain in my life. Up until then, I thought I had lived a pretty easy and charmed existence. Not that I had ne