Gathered Wisdom, Sept 21

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let dead things go.
– Author unknown

This week:

  • Today is World Gratitude Day
  • Dance With Life
  • How to Age Gracefully
  • Commandments for the Long Haul
  • “Death Doulas” Provide Aid at the End of Life

Today is World Gratitude Day

Diana Butler Bass reflects on how the practice of gratitude got her through the past 18 months. She writes, “Gratitude is resilience of sorts, the defiance of kindness in the face of anger, of connection in the face of division, and of hope in the face of fear. “ 

Read the reflection.

From The Cottage.

Dance with Life

“If we can just take the intelligence we have and temper it with wisdom . . .” In this lovely video from Green Renaissance, Sue Swain dances with trees and reminds us that “we have been blessed with an incredible planetary home.” 

Watch the video.

From A Network for Grateful Living.

How to Age Gracefully

Writing in the New York Times, author Jane Brody makes some decisions about aging. She has stopped dying her gray hair and using makeup. “Wrinkles be damned. I’m proud to have them.”

Read the article.

The New York Times.

Commandments for the Long Haul

Fr. Ron Rolheiser of Oblate Seminary in San Antonio, Texas, offers some practices for living long lives of faithfulness: “Give yourself permission to be inadequate.” “Be sufficiently loving and critical at the same time.”

Read the rest of them.

From the blog of Ron Rolheiser.

“Death Doulas” Provide Aid at the End of Life

While we spend a lot of time preparing for a birth, as a society we shy away from discussing death or preparing for it emotionally and spiritually. Hence the rising interest in end-of-life or “death”doulas who become companions to the dying, sitting with them, listening to them, helping them write their life stories and plan their own end-of-life memorials. 

Read more about “end-of-life” doulas.

Found in Daily Good.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives.

If this post was forwarded to you, sign up to receive Gathered Wisdom in your email by subscribing at wisdomyears.org.

To learn more visit our website.

We support St. Mark’s Bookstore through Bookshop.org, an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores. We encourage shopping at https://bookshop.org/shop/stmarksbookstoresa. Or find your own local, independent bookstore at Bookshop.org

Gathered Wisdom, Sept 14

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

We seek perfection in our days, always wanting more for ourselves and our lives, and striving for goals unattainable . . .
Where does it come from, this strange unquenchable human urge for “more”? . . .
Learn to value the small as well as the great.

-Kent Nerburn, Small Graces: The Quiet Gifts of Everyday Life

Found in Well for the Journey Daily Faith Reflections, September 8, 2021

This week:

  • Encountering God in Everyday Life
  • When You’re Afraid to Get in the Boat Who Soothes You?
  • How Small Moments of Empathy Affect Your Life
  • Participating in Original Goodness
  • Fire

Encountering God in Our Everyday Life

Many of the spiritual disciplines are like taking out the trash, says Joanna Seibert. The disciplines “are simply to clear our minds so we can hear God speak to our lives.” 

Read the rest of the reflection.

Found in  Joanna Seibert’s Daily Something.

When you’re afraid to get into the boat who soothes your fear?

“ I DON’T WANT TO GO” screamed the little boy who really didn’t want to get into the boat. The boy’s dad was beyond coping, but Grandpa could step in calmly with a fresh voice and fresh love. Everybody needs a grandpa.

Read or listen to the reflection from Heather Plett

More about Heather Plett.

How Small Moments of Empathy Affect your Life

On average, a person receives about nine opportunities to empathize with others and about six opportunities to receive empathy in a 12-hour period of daily life. Studies show that people who are empathetic are more likely to be generous and altruistic and less likely to be prejudiced against others. So what does that mean for our everyday lives?

Read the article by Jill Suttie.

Found in Daily Good.

Participating in Original Goodness

Everyone and every thing is created in the “image of God,” says Fr. Richard Rohr. Our part is to participate in this core identity by saying yes to it. Image must become likeness.

Read the full reflection.

Found in Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation from Center for Action and Contemplation.

Fire

A poem from Judy Brown

What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.

Read or listen to the entire poem.

Found in Awakin. 

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives.

If this post was forwarded to you, sign up to receive Gathered Wisdom in your email by subscribing at wisdomyears.org.

To learn more visit our website.

Gathered Wisdom, Sept 7

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

I have been a seeker and I still am,
but I stopped asking the books and the stars.  
I started listening to my soul.
– Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī (1207-1273).

This Week:

  • Spiritual Compass
  • Shifting in Overhead Bins and within Our Souls
  • A Communion Paradigm
  • The Great Gesture that Unites Us
  • See More

Spiritual Compass

Over the years, our experience makes our spiritual compass – the one that points us toward God -even more accurate and sensitive, says Bishop Steven Charleston. Picking up on this, Joanna Seibert compares it to a GPS, a God Positioning System.

Read the reflection.

From Daily Something.

Shifting in Overhead Bins and Within Our Souls

“Items will shift in overhead bins,” the airplane flight attendant tells us. Just so, Jamie Osborne finds that there has been a lot of internal shifting and movement in all of us over these past months. “The turbulence, the bumps, and the sudden drops in altitude have displaced the internal cargo. I am not the same person I was. I’m beginning to realize that I’m profoundly different than I was at the beginning of 2020. I think we all are.”

Read the reflection.

Found in Grow Christians.

A Communion Paradigm

When, in a community, we hold each other in positive regard, the community reaffirms that each person is absolutely equal and absolutely unique. Thus the community becomes the “outreach” of God – the very presence of God as world.  

Read more.

Found in Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations.

The Great Gesture that Unites Us

Gratefulness is a spiral, says Brother David Steindle-Rast, in which the giver receives thanksgiving  and thus becomes the receiver. A passage has occurred, says Brother David. “We start out with giver, gift, and receiver, and we arrive at the embrace of thanks expressed and thanks accepted.” Brother David Steindle-Rast is the founder of A Network for Grateful Living

Read the entire reflection.

Found in Awakin.org.

See More

by Jean E. Taddonio

In the broken place
where we live,
hope can be found
in the cracks

Read the rest of the poem.

Found at A Network for Grateful Living.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives.

If this post was forwarded to you, sign up to receive Gathered Wisdom in your email by subscribing at wisdomyears.org.

To learn more visit our website.

Gathered Wisdom, Aug 31

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

To be a Christian in our culture is no easy thing, because it demands of us to live in faith, instead of fear; to live in hope, instead of despair; to live in love, instead of enmity. The narrow gate is difficult to pass through because it is so much easier to live in fear than faith. But that is not the invitation we have received, for the One who invites us to follow through the narrow gate is the same one who promises abundance of life to those who do follow.

-Br. James Koester
Society of Saint John the Evangelist

Can You Still Find Joy When it Feels like the World is Ending?

It’s bleak out there: wildfires in the west, hurricanes in the south, political unrest resulting in 13 more dead American military men and women, a pandemic that simply won’t go away and communities in uproar because of it.  Ingrid Fetell Lee shares five tips for easing our current events-related anxiety and holding both the difficult and the joyful things in life together. From The Aesthetics of Joy. 

Read the essay.

Find Ingrid Fettel Lee’s book Joyful – The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness on the Wisdom Years reading list at St. Mark’s Bookstore.

Five Things to Know About Lament

Our current crises are unexplainable, says N. T Wright. But Christians are not supposed to explain it. Rather, we are called to lament. Wright turns to the ancient psalms, written by a people who knew deep suffering, to ferret out 5 ways to embrace lament at this time. From N. T. Wright Online.

Read the essay.

Response is Different from an Answer

In the vein of Rilke’s admonition to “live the questions,” Rabbi Ariel Burger suggests we celebrate questions even when we do not have answers.  This requires both humility and tenderness balanced by ferocity. From Global Oneness Project, found in Awakin.org.

Read the essay.

When Crisis Comes

In her understanding of crisis contemplation, Barbara Holmes says, “Mysticism reminds us that the boundaries between this life and the life beyond are permeable, and that our power is not seeded in what is bestowed by politicians and society, but to everyone willing and ready to recognize the moves of an active Holy Spirit. . . .” From The Center for Action and Contemplation Daily Meditation, July 30, 2021.

Read the meditation. 

It Might have been Otherwise

by Jane Kenyon

Found at Poets.org

I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.

Read the rest of the poem and a note from our chaplain.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives.

If this post was forwarded to you, sign up to receive Gathered Wisdom in your email by subscribing at wisdomyears.org.

To learn more visit our website.

Our Fall Book Discussion Starts Sept. 9

Time to order your book and reserve your space.

September 9 through October 28, 2021
Thursdays, 4 to 5:15 p.m. (Central time)

“In a world of speed and distraction, pace of guidance invites us to combine the practices of measured movement and listening.” – Christina Baldwin, from The Seven Whispers

In The Seven Whispers, our fall discussion book, author Christina Baldwin invites us to clear away the clutter and seek the inner voice of wisdom from our own souls. Through seven phrases or whispers, we will find that it is our souls that connect with the Spirit and can teach us much.

Baldwin is a pioneer in the circle method of learning, through which participants claim their own discoveries and insights, a model The Wisdom Years follows.

Discussion sessions will meet by Zoom on Thursdays at 4 p.m (Central time) for 8 weeks. Participants will need to buy The Seven Whispers by Christina Baldwin. To purchase from St. Mark’s Bookstore, an independent bookstore affiliated with Episcopal Booksellers Association, visit St. Mark’s Bookstore or contact Carla Pineda.

To save your space in the book discussion, or for more information, send an email to Marjorie George at marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com. There is no charge for the study. If you need financial assistance to purchase a book, do not hesitate to contact us. There is scholarship money available.

For more details about this book discussion, see this page.

Gathered Wisdom, Aug 24, 2021

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

The healing of our present woundedness may lie in recognizing and reclaiming the capacity
we all have to heal each other,
the enormous power in the simplest of human relationships:
the strength of a touch,
the blessing of forgiveness,
the grace of someone else taking you just as you are
and finding in you an unsuspected goodness.

-Rachel Naomi Remen, Kitchen Table Wisdom

From Well for the Journey. Thought for the Day, Aug 13, 2021

This Week:

  • Is there More Kindness or Evil in Our World?
  • Letting there be Room for All of This
  • Dad talks about COVID
  • My Enemy is My Friend
  • On the Edge

Is There More Kindness or Evil in Our World?

If there are more good people than evil people in the world, why do we feel so overcome by tragedy and destruction right now? Maybe it’s because we don’t notice the kind acts all around us. From Daily Something by Joanna Seibert, Aug 22, 2021 

Read the meditation.

More from Joanna Seibert.

Letting there be Room for All of This

If we could only fix the problem or find a solution everything would be OK, we think. But we can’t, and maybe we shouldn’t. At least for a while.  Maybe recognizing the uncertainty with which we live is how we get through. By Courtney E. Martin In The Examined Family.

Read the essay.

More from Courtney Martin.

My 94-Year-Old Dad Talks About COVID 19

Writer Abbey Algiers wondered how her father, who lived through World War II and polio, compared those traumas to the one we are in today. So she interviewed him. From Daily Good, Aug. 21, 2021

Read the article.

More Daily Good

My Enemy is Now My Friend

What happened between the Palestinian woman and the Israeli woman after the conference was much more important than what was agreed to during the conference. Read this piece by Joan Chittister in the current issue of Kolbe Times

Read it.

This edition of Kolbe Times focuses on peace and justice with several good articles worth reading. Find it here.

On the Edge

She found herself at the edge of the mountain, and she is deathly afraid of heights. Then she remembered a conversation with Archbishop Rowan Williams who said that the hope for the church is to be found at the edges. We are all on the edge just now.

By Diana Butler Bass. 

Read it.

More from The Cottage by Diana Butler Bass

Gathered Wisdom is from The Wisdom Years, a ministry that invites older adults to deepening spirituality in the last third of their lives. If someone forwarded this to you, learn more about The Wisdom Years and subscribe to the site at ww.wisdomyears.org. Or send an email to Marjorie George at marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com

Our Fall Book Discussion – The Seven Whispers

September 9 through October 28, 2021

Thursdays, 4 to 5:15 p.m. (Central time)

Most of us thought we would be done with Covid by now, and yet we find the virus surging and strong reactions continuing to tear apart our communities. Discussing how we foster peace of mind through these disheartening times may be the welcome respite we need.

In The Seven Whispers, author Christina Baldwin invites us to clear away the clutter and seek the inner voice of wisdom from our own souls. Through seven phrases or whispers, we will find that it is our souls that connect with the Spirit and can teach us much.

Baldwin is a pioneer in the circle method of learning, through which participants claim their own discoveries and insights, a model The Wisdom Years follows.

Discussion sessions will meet by Zoom on Thursdays at 4 p.m (Central time) for 8 weeks. Participants will need to buy The Seven Whispers by Christina Baldwin. To purchase from St. Mark’s Bookstore, an independent bookstore affiliated with Episcopal Booksellers Association, visit St. Mark’s Bookstore or contact Carla Pineda.

To save your space in the book discussion, or for more information send an email to Marjorie George at marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com. There is no charge for the study.

For more details about this book discussion, see this page.

Gathered Wisdom

August 17, 2021

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

.

“Wisdom is radiant and unfading,

and she is easily discerned by those who love her,

and is found by those who seek her.

She hastens to make herself known to those who desire her.

One who rises early to seek her will have no difficulty,

for she will be found sitting at the gate.”—Wisdom 6:12-14.

From Daily Something by Joanna Seibert. Read the rest of Joanna’s meditation. 

This Week:

  • The pillars of wholehearted living
  • What attitude should we adopt now?
  • During a crisis, slow down
  • Dealing with judgmentalism

Six Pillars of the Wholehearted Life

“Take everything that’s bright and beautiful in you and introduce it to the shadow side of yourself… When you are able to say, ‘I am … my shadow as well as my light,’ the shadow’s power is put in service of the good.” – Parker Palmer in a commencement address at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.  Found in Daily Good, November 3, 2015

Watch the address or read the transcript.

More about Daily Good.

A Christian Attitude Toward the World

“Where is God now?” has become the cry of many, even faithful Christians. How can God allow the injustice, the suffering, the hatred that has infected our society? But Fr. Ron Rolheiser insists that God still loves the world. Our part is to “comfort it in its pain, affirm its goodness, and help it direct its powerful life forces and energy towards the transcendent, towards God, towards community, towards justice, and towards compassion.”

Read the essay.

From Fr. Ron’s blog.

Crisis Contemplation

To slow down and enter a contemplative attitude when the instinct is to run and hide is counterintuitive, says Barbara Holmes in her essay from the Center for Action and Contemplation. Contemplation, says Holmes, helps us to retreat from the frontlines of life.

Read the meditation.

More about the Center for Action and Contemplation.

Removing the Log from our Eye

Are there people who just make you crazy? Do you wish they would go away? Of course there are, and you do.  Brother David Vryhof of the Society of St. John the Evangelist has a three-step process to deal with your judgment.

Read the essay.

More about Society of St. John the Evangelist.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives. Sign up to receive Gathered Wisdom in your email inbox or to learn more about us at The Wisdom Years. Or send an email to Marjorie George.

Gathered Wisdom, Aug. 10

August 10, 2021

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

There is no telling where God may turn up next–around what sudden bend of the path if you happen to have your eyes and ears open. 

-Frederick Buechner, Eyes of the Heart

From Well for the journey

This Week:

  • Bodies may give out, but souls don’t wrinkle
  • Elders can bring a divided world together
  • From the Olympics, keep running
  • 70 as a welcome time
  • The brain helps us age

Souls Don’t Wrinkle

Older women have the luxury of shedding excess baggage: pride of looks, what others think, looking foolish. But the biblical Sarah and Elizabeth show us that souls don’t wrinkle. Read more.

From Joanna Seibert in Daily Something.

Elders Are Bridges

The archetype of the elder – who stands with one foot on the ground of survival and the other in the realm of great imagination – is needed more than ever as the world becomes increasingly divided. Read the essay.

By Michael Meade in Mosaic Voices.

Get Up and Go On Together

The take-away from the Olympics for Diana Butler Bass was when Sifan Hassan fell, got up, kept running, and finished first in the qualifying heat of the women’s 1,500 meter race. Our communities need that kind of resilience, says Bass, if we are going to meet the crises of these days.  Read the essay.

From The Cottage

The Joy of Being a Woman in Her Seventies

When we say, “I’m not old,” we generally mean, “I don’t feel old, I don’t fit the stereotype of what it means to be an old woman.”  We hesitate to admit we are old in the ageism culture of our society.   Read the essay. 

By Mary Pipher found in Daily Good.

Keys to Aging Well

Aging does not have to be a period of decline and loss and irrelevance, says Daniel Levitin in a PBS interview. It can be “a period of potentially renewed engagement, energy and meaningful activities.” Levitin,  a neuroscientist, examines what happens in the brain as we age and finds good news. Watch the video or read the transcript.

Found in Daily Good.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives. Sign up to subscribe to Gathered Wisdom and learn more about us at The Wisdom Years. Or send an email to Marjorie George at marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com.

Gathered Wisdom

August 3, 2021

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

Not an Option

Surrender is not an option. I cannot imagine giving up my faith In the real presence of a loving Sprit who is with us on this long walk we call life. I know goodness is there, kindness is there, compassion is there, no matter how final the triumph of fear may seem nor how great the power that holds the  human heart down. I will not abandon my belief in the coming dawn just because I dwell in the midnight hour. All the more reason to proclaim hope when hope is scarce among the waiting crowd. All the more reason to keep singing, to keep working, and to keep helping the wounded to walk. Surrender is not an option – not for those of use who have seen the light to come. – from Bishop Steven Charleston. Bishop Charleston is a Native American elder who also serves as a bishop in The Episcopal Church. This selection is from his book Ladder to the Light (Broadleaf Books, 2021). 

This week:

  • An amazing video of children coming together to sing “We Are the World”
  • Why are we afraid of solitude? – words from Richard Foster
  • How do you hear God? – listening like Samuel did
  • New on our website – we’ve added some pages

From the mouths of . . .

All 500 students from Clarksville Elementary School in Indiana worked with their music teacher over the course of the pandemic school year to create this heartwarming music video to showcase their talents and to bring smiles to the world. The exuberance and enthusiasm of these young singers remind us that they are the world, they are the future, and we can all make a better day when we stand together as one. Watch the video.  From Daily Good.

Facing the Fear of Solitude

Richard Foster

Why are we so afraid of solitude? Is it that we might find ourselves wanting in the company of God? Or do we believe the world really can’t get along with us, even for a short time? Richard Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline and founder of Renovare, offers thoughts about solitude along with several short practices for entering into it.  Read the essay. From Renovare.

Listening to God

Brother David Vryhof

“The voice of God is a persistent voice; it’s a voice that comes to us not just once (lest we should miss it) but again and again, until at last we are ready to grasp its meaning and respond to its call. So often, when we finally arrive at a place of clarity, we recognize that this call has not come to us in an instant, but has been gradually growing inside us and has finally come to its fullness.” Brother David looks at the call of Samuel as a way we might really (yes, really) hear the voice of God. 
Brother David is a member of the Society of St. John the Evangelist.
Read or listen to the entire essay. Learn more about SSJE. 

New from our website

Three new pages from The Wisdom Years website that offer wisdom for the spiritual journey in the last third of life. All include a reflection plus resources for your own investigation.

Becoming Elders – In her book The Grace in Aging, Kathleen Dowling Singh calls elders to be placeholders in society. “There is no more noble way to spend these years,” she says, “than to become an elder, to bear witness to the world as placeholders for peace, love, wisdom, and fearlessness” Read more.

Crossing Thresholds – Some thresholds are predictable and even chosen; others are thrust upon us – retirement, end of a marriage, loss of a relationship. All invite us to stop and consider rather than rush through the time of change. Read more.

Passing on the Blessing – Old Elizabeth can speak to young Mary about that which Elizabeth has witnessed over her long life: that God will reveal God’s self in the communion of two people coming together seeking God’s blessing. Read more.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives. Sign up to subscribe to Gathered Wisdom at wisdomyears.org. Learn more about us at The Wisdom Years. Or send an email to Marjorie George at marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com.