A SINGLE STEP
It is most often rendered as “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” or "A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step".
These are the wise words of  Lao Tzu (老子), found in the Tao Te Ching. In Chinese, I am told, it is expressed thus:  千里之行 始于足下
Literally translated, this would read, "The journey of a thousand miles starts from beneath your feet."
REMEMBER
Where are you standing? Feel the ground beneath your feet and remember … that is the sacred spot where your journey - no matter how long or short, straight or meandering, uphill or downhill - starts.
Quotation | Lao Tzu (Author), Stephen Mitchell (Translator), Tao Te Ching: An Illustrated Journey (Frances Lincoln, 2009) Chapter 64.

A SINGLE STEP

It is most often rendered as “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” or "A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step".

These are the wise words of  Lao Tzu (老子), found in the Tao Te Ching. In Chinese, I am told, it is expressed thus:  千里之行 始于足下

Literally translated, this would read, "The journey of a thousand miles starts from beneath your feet."

REMEMBER

Where are you standing? Feel the ground beneath your feet and remember … that is the sacred spot where your journey - no matter how long or short, straight or meandering, uphill or downhill - starts.

Quotation | Lao Tzu (Author), Stephen Mitchell (Translator), Tao Te Ching: An Illustrated Journey (Frances Lincoln, 2009) Chapter 64.

THE FOLLY OF MINDING ONE’S OWN BUSINESS

A group of people were travelling in a boat. One of them took a drill and began to drill a hole beneath himself.

His companions said to him: “Why are you doing this?” Replied the man: “What concern is it of yours? Am I not drilling under my own place?”

Said they to him: “But you will flood the boat for us all!”

Here’s a slightly different version:

A group of people are sitting in a boat. One…

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THINK LIKE A TREE 
Soak up the sunAffirm life’s magicBe graceful in the windStand tall after a stormFeel refreshed after it rainsGrow strong without noticeBe prepared for each seasonProvide shelter to strangersHang tough through a cold spellEmerge renewed at the first signs of springStay deeply rooted while reaching for the skyBe still long enough tohear your own leaves rustling
Source | Warren Jacobs and Karen I. Shragg (editors), Tree Stories: a Collection of Extraordinary Encounters (Sunshine Press, 2002)
Photo | Christoffer Relander

THINK LIKE A TREE

Soak up the sun
Affirm life’s magic
Be graceful in the wind
Stand tall after a storm
Feel refreshed after it rains
Grow strong without notice
Be prepared for each season
Provide shelter to strangers
Hang tough through a cold spell
Emerge renewed at the first signs of spring
Stay deeply rooted while reaching for the sky
Be still long enough to
hear your own leaves rustling

Source | Warren Jacobs and Karen I. Shragg (editors), Tree Stories: a Collection of Extraordinary Encounters (Sunshine Press, 2002)

Photo | Christoffer Relander

ON BEAUTY
"This world in which we live needs beauty in order not to sink into despair. It is beauty, like truth, which brings joy to the heart of women and men and is that precious fruit which resists the wear and tear of time, which unites generations and makes them share things in admiration."
Pope Paul VI | Address to Artists at the closing of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council (8 December 1965)
Portrait | Paul VI by Giovanni Conservo  (1935 - 2010)
 

ON BEAUTY

"This world in which we live needs beauty in order not to sink into despair. It is beauty, like truth, which brings joy to the heart of women and men and is that precious fruit which resists the wear and tear of time, which unites generations and makes them share things in admiration."

Pope Paul VI | Address to Artists at the closing of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council (8 December 1965)

Portrait | Paul VI by Giovanni Conservo  (1935 - 2010)

 

IF YOU WANT PEACE, WORK FOR JUSTICE.
Recite the above statement like a chant over and over so that it will become instilled deep in your heart and inform your actions: If you want peace, work for justice.
The statement is a call to action, a challenging invitation to help heal the world and make it a better place. 
The statement is a call for all of us, called to be instruments of peace, to reflect on what we are already doing and what we can do more  -  in our homes, in our families, our workplaces, our places of rest and recreation  and in the wider community - to work for justice and to build peace.

Quotation | Pope Paul VI in his message for the Day of Peace, 1st January 1972.

IF YOU WANT PEACE, WORK FOR JUSTICE.

Recite the above statement like a chant over and over so that it will become instilled deep in your heart and inform your actions: If you want peace, work for justice.

The statement is a call to action, a challenging invitation to help heal the world and make it a better place. 

The statement is a call for all of us, called to be instruments of peace, to reflect on what we are already doing and what we can do more  -  in our homes, in our families, our workplaces, our places of rest and recreation  and in the wider community - to work for justice and to build peace.

Quotation | Pope Paul VI in his message for the Day of Peace, 1st January 1972.

DAILY BIRTHING
"Human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves."
How comfortable are you with the notion that we are always in a state of becoming, a work in progress an unfinished symphony?
What are you doing on a daily basis, to give birth to yourself?
Quotation | Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera(Vintage; Reprint edition, 2007) page 199.

DAILY BIRTHING

"Human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves."

  • How comfortable are you with the notion that we are always in a state of becoming, a work in progress an unfinished symphony?
  • What are you doing on a daily basis, to give birth to yourself?

QuotationGabriel Garcia MarquezLove in the Time of Cholera
(Vintage; Reprint edition, 2007) page 199.

HOMOSEXUALITY AND HOMOPHOBIA
In response to my previous two blog-posts, three good friends of mine from different parts of the world - as if in some form of strange synchrony - sent me this same image. The caption - “Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is only found in 1” caught my attention, and reminded me of how important it is to look at everyone and everything through a wider, more compassionate lens, always withholding judgement, and remembering my radical kinship to all that is.

HOMOSEXUALITY AND HOMOPHOBIA

In response to my previous two blog-posts, three good friends of mine from different parts of the world - as if in some form of strange synchrony - sent me this same image. The caption - Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is only found in 1” caught my attention, and reminded me of how important it is to look at everyone and everything through a wider, more compassionate lens, always withholding judgement, and remembering my radical kinship to all that is.

DRAWING LARGER CIRCLES
He drew a circle that shut me out -Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.But Love and I had the wit to winWe drew a circle and took.
What are your preferred labels of exclusion? Maybe it’s not “heretic” or “rebel”. Here is a sampling of labels some people still use to exclude: gay, Muslim, liberal, conservative, divorced, convict, alcoholic, non-catholic, atheist, agnostic, non-christian … and the list goes on.
Draw the circle wide, draw it wider still…
Poem | "Outwitted" by Edwin Markham in Best Loved Poems of the American People (Doubleday; Reissue edition, 2008) page 67.
Art | Rev. Shawna Bowman

DRAWING LARGER CIRCLES

He drew a circle that shut me out -
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win
We drew a circle and took.

What are your preferred labels of exclusion? Maybe it’s not “heretic” or “rebel”. Here is a sampling of labels some people still use to exclude: gay, Muslim, liberal, conservative, divorced, convict, alcoholic, non-catholic, atheist, agnostic, non-christian … and the list goes on.

Draw the circle wide, draw it wider still…

Poem | "Outwitted" by Edwin Markham in Best Loved Poems of the American People (Doubleday; Reissue edition, 2008) page 67.

Art | Rev. Shawna Bowman

WELCOMING OR PROVIDING FOR?
Words are important. They are pregnant with meaning and they have the power to break or make. A case in point is a headline that caught my attention this morning: "Vatican changes translation from ‘welcoming’ to ‘providing for’ homosexuals in Synod mid-term report."
The word in the original Italian document is “accogliere.” 
The two reporters who raised the issue emphasized the importance of the distinction. The Associated Press’s Nicole Winfield said - employing a rather appalling use of metaphor - “that one “provides for” a stray dog by throwing it some food, whereas “welcoming” it means it’s allowed in the door.
Something worth thinking about! Words are important. They are pregnant with meaning and they have the power to break or make.
Word art | philip chircop sj

WELCOMING OR PROVIDING FOR?

Words are important. They are pregnant with meaning and they have the power to break or make. A case in point is a headline that caught my attention this morning: "Vatican changes translation from ‘welcoming’ to ‘providing for’ homosexuals in Synod mid-term report."

The word in the original Italian document is accogliere.” 

The two reporters who raised the issue emphasized the importance of the distinction. The Associated Press’s Nicole Winfield said - employing a rather appalling use of metaphor - “that one “provides for” a stray dog by throwing it some food, whereas “welcoming” it means it’s allowed in the door.

Something worth thinking about! Words are important. They are pregnant with meaning and they have the power to break or make.

Word art | philip chircop sj

A NECESSARY AUTUMN INISDE EACH
You and I have spoken all these words, but as for the waywe have to go, words
are no preparation. There is no getting ready, other thangrace. My faultshave stayed hidden. One might call that a preparation!I have one small dropof knowing in my soul. Let it dissolve in your ocean.There are so many threats to it.Inside each of us, there’s continual autumn. Our leavesfall and are blown outover the water. A crow sits in the blackened limbs and talksabout what’s gone. Thenyour generosity returns: spring, moisture, intelligence, thescent of hyacinth and roseand cypress. Joseph is back! And if you don’t feel inyourself the freshness ofJoseph, be Jacob! Weep and then smile. Don’t pretend to knowsomething you haven’t experienced.There’s a necessary dying, and then Jesus is breathing again.Very little grows on jaggedrock. Be ground. Be crumbled, so wildflowers will come upwhere you are. You’ve beenstony for too many years. Try something different. Surrender.
Coleman Barks, The Soul of Rumi (HarperOne, 2001) page 21
TAKING IT FURTHER
To encounter more of the depth and intensity of this lovely poem by Rumi,  I propose that you read this poem slowly three or four times.  Take deep breaths in between.  Rest with the words that touch you. Gently … slowly … heed the advice of the master: 
Be ground.  Be crumbled.Try something different … surrender.
Painting | TabSquaredWord art | philip chircop

A NECESSARY AUTUMN INISDE EACH

You and I have spoken all these words, but as for the way
we have to go, words

are no preparation. There is no getting ready, other than
grace. My faults

have stayed hidden. One might call that a preparation!
I have one small drop

of knowing in my soul. Let it dissolve in your ocean.
There are so many threats to it.

Inside each of us, there’s continual autumn. Our leaves
fall and are blown out

over the water. A crow sits in the blackened limbs and talks
about what’s gone. Then

your generosity returns: spring, moisture, intelligence, the
scent of hyacinth and rose

and cypress. Joseph is back! And if you don’t feel in
yourself the freshness of

Joseph, be Jacob! Weep and then smile. Don’t pretend to know
something you haven’t experienced.

There’s a necessary dying, and then Jesus is breathing again.
Very little grows on jagged

rock. Be ground. Be crumbled, so wildflowers will come up
where you are. You’ve been

stony for too many years. Try something different. Surrender.

Coleman Barks, The Soul of Rumi (HarperOne, 2001) page 21

TAKING IT FURTHER

To encounter more of the depth and intensity of this lovely poem by Rumi,  I propose that you read this poem slowly three or four times.  Take deep breaths in between.  Rest with the words that touch you. Gently … slowly … heed the advice of the master: 

Be ground. 
Be crumbled.
Try something different …
surrender.

Painting | TabSquared
Word art | philip chircop

MISTAKING THE GOOD FOR THE BEST

Herman closed the front door gently, took off his coat, and hung it in the closet. He unzipped his overshoes, first one and then the other, slid them off, and bent down to put them in the closet. There a wild jumble of boots and rubbers confronted him. Muttering under his breath, he began to sort them out and arrange them two by two. Then he carefully placed his own side by side in the last…

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AS THOUGH I HAD WINGS
“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable and beautiful and afraid of nothing as though I had wings.” 
ONE PRACTICE FOR TODAY
Indulge yourself today. Dream big. Imagine wildly. Spend some time completing the sentence: “I WANT TO … ”  Craft your own poetics for a life worth living, then get going!
Quotation | Mary Oliver, from “Starlings in Winter” in “Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays" (Beacon Press, 2003 ) page 57

AS THOUGH I HAD WINGS

“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable and beautiful and afraid of nothing as though I had wings.” 

ONE PRACTICE FOR TODAY

Indulge yourself today. Dream big. Imagine wildly. Spend some time completing the sentence: “I WANT TO … ”  Craft your own poetics for a life worth living, then get going!

Quotation | Mary Oliver, from “Starlings in Winter” in “Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays" (Beacon Press, 2003 ) page 57

TERESA OF AVILA
Today is the feast of Teresa of Avila , the first woman doctor of the Church. Here’s one quotation to contemplate:
"I am amazed by how much can be accomplished on this path by being bold and striving for great things. Even if a soul is not quite strong enough yet, she can still lift off and take flight. She can soar to great heights. But like a fledgling bird, she may tire herself out and need to perch for a while."
SOME QUESTIONS TO PONDER
When was your last bold attempt to strive for great things? 
What kind of perch have you found? 
When is your next flight and what do you hope to accomplish?
Quotation | Mirabai Starr, Teresa of Avila, Teresa of Avila - The Book of My Life (New Seeds, 2007) page 85.
Image | Colonial Mexican carved Teresa of Avila

TERESA OF AVILA

Today is the feast of Teresa of Avila , the first woman doctor of the Church. Here’s one quotation to contemplate:

"I am amazed by how much can be accomplished on this path by being bold and striving for great things. Even if a soul is not quite strong enough yet, she can still lift off and take flight. She can soar to great heights. But like a fledgling bird, she may tire herself out and need to perch for a while."

SOME QUESTIONS TO PONDER

  • When was your last bold attempt to strive for great things? 
  • What kind of perch have you found? 
  • When is your next flight and what do you hope to accomplish?

Quotation | Mirabai Starr, Teresa of Avila, Teresa of Avila - The Book of My Life (New Seeds, 2007) page 85.

Image | Colonial Mexican carved Teresa of Avila

WISDOM FROM A CAGE
This morning I woke up considering these few life-giving suggestions for a life worth living. The suggester: John Cage, an eccentric, influential innovator in the field of music.
Which is your preferred rule? Why?
If you were free to add one other rule, what would it be?

WISDOM FROM A CAGE

This morning I woke up considering these few life-giving suggestions for a life worth living. The suggester: John Cage, an eccentric, influential innovator in the field of music.

  • Which is your preferred rule? Why?
  • If you were free to add one other rule, what would it be?