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Showing posts from February, 2016

Community and the Practice of Love

I spent most of today’s Quaker meeting in tears. This is a thing that happens to me sometimes. I’m working on not being too self-conscious about it when that happens, or at least not fighting it.  I used to say that I wished I wouldn’t cry when I feel spiritually full–or at least, that I could cry more attractively.  (I’m the sort who gets a blotchy face and a runny nose when I cry.)  These days, I’m trying to be tougher, and more faithful: If Spirit wants me to cry, dammit, I’ll cry.  If Spirit wants me to get a runny nose, I’ll bring a hanky.  (I specialize in big ones.) I’m telling you this because I don’t want you to think I’m a gushing sentimentalist… but maybe I need to toughen up about that, too. If Spirit wants you to see me as a sappy, ridiculous woman, I’ll be seen as a sappy ridiculous woman. So be it. Today was a day my waterworks were turned on. At our meeting, ten minutes into worship is when the little kids leave.  I watched one of our newest

Writing the Spiritual Life

L ast night, as I laid the hearth for my family’s celebration of Imbolc, I found myself reaching for my camera, to take a quick shot of the altar… and then I hesitated.  I’d laid that altar for Brigid; what did it say about me that my instinct had been to photograph it for a blog? Not This Year’s Altar, Cat Chapin-Bishop, 2013. I realized it didn’t feel right to snap a picture of the hearth–that, in a way, it was no different than drinking the offering we’d left there.  The altar was not for me, and it wasn’t even for my community, but for my gods. It felt like photographing the altar would have been a kind of theft. In the end, I left the picture untaken. One of the dangers of writing about my spiritual life is that I risk getting my priorities scrambled.  It’s the “here I am wasn’t I” of meditation raised to a near-infinite degree; by recording my spiritual life, I risk making the recording, and not the life, the center of my acts.  And it is true that in the mid