Liminality

Clarity through the Fog

Liminality by Carrie Newcomer

So much of what we know
Lives just below the surface.
Half of a tree
Spreads out beneath our feet.
Living simultaneously in two worlds,
Each half informing and nurturing
The whole.
A tree is either and neither
But mostly both.

I am drawn to liminal spaces,
The half-tamed and unruly patch

Where the forest gives way
And my little garden begins.
Where water, air and light overlap
Becoming mist on the morning pond.

I like to sit on my porch steps, barn jacket and boots
In the last long exhale of the day,
When bats and birds loop in and then out,
One rising to work,
One readying for sleep.

And although the full moon calls the currents,
And the dark moon reminds me that my best language

Has always emerged out of the silence,
It is in the waxing and waning
Where I most often live,
Neither here nor there,
But simply On the way.

There are endings and beginnings
One emerging out of the other.
But most days I travel in an ever present
And curious now.
A betwixt and between,
That is almost,
But not quite,
The beautiful,
But not yet.

I’ve been learning to live with what is,
More patient with the process,
To love what is becoming,
And the questions that keep returning.

I am learning to trust
The horizon I walk toward
Is an orientation
Not a destination
And that I will keep catching glimpses
Of something great and luminous
From the corner of my eye.

I am learning to live where losses hold fast
And grief lets loose and unravels.
Where a new kind of knowing can pick up the thread
.

Where I can slide palms with a paradox
And nod at the dawn,
As the shadows pull back
And spirit meets bone.

From Until Now: New Poems by Carrie Newcomer. Copyright © 2021 Carrie Newcomer. Published by Available Light Publishing. Check out Carrie’s website, here.

Carrie Newcomer’s latest poem came to my attention this past week. It seemed to echo the energy and feelings of the both/and and an invitation to bridge the duality of light and dark in a presentation. “Bridging the Duality of Light & Shadow in Your SoulCollage® Deck” presentation with Catherine Anderson and Kiala Givehand was one of several workshops as part of a weekend celebration of the 20th anniversary of SoulCollage®. You can read more about the creative, soul tending process here https://listening-heart.com/soulcollage/

The lessons of moving through liminal space and the in-between time was something I thought I had learned several years ago. In fact, I blogged about it. https://wordpress.com/post/listening-heart.com/733 What I’ve discovered in recent months is that was that was then. This is now. This is a new invitation to lean into this liminal time and space and discover new awareness, awakenings and gifts. 

In my experience, there are two moments of each day help us celebrate and go beyond the limitations of our imaginations. They help us strengthen our spiritual muscles to hold tensions and navigate transitions. At sunrise, we breath into and welcome a brand new day of possibilities, of light and of hope. Our day becomes pregnant with events, activities, meetings, gatherings, phone calls, laundry, cooking and running errands. Then, as the sun sets in shades of purple, pink, orange, and and silver light, and the moon rises for it’s night time dance across the sky, we exhale great THANKS and AMEN and let go of the day. 

Both times of the day provide us invitations to bathe in mysterious liminal in between space. In the space between darkness and light is the place where many of us find ourselves today. 

Somewhere in our psyche or our reptilian brains, we’ve learned that darkness was to be avoided – even feared. Greek mythology says Prometheus gave the gift of fire to the ancients ensuring their ability to cook, stay warm and see in the dark. Still darkness, for many centuries, has often been seen as the opposite of light, the place where the divine cannot be found. 

However, darkness has more recently been reclaimed as the place of pregnant possibilities and an opportunity for soul-work and for letting go of the known and leaning into the unknown. St. John of the Cross endured his “dark night of the soul” because he always saw Light in the dark which he named God. This “holy darkness” is a space for deep diving into the soul, a place for wonderment and profound reflection, a space full of hope for what likes beyond. When we view it as a both/and, it is not to be feared but to be embraced for the gift it can and does provide.  Barbara Brown Taylor, in her spiritual work Learning to Walk in the Dark, surmises, “I have learned things in the dark that I could never have learned in the light, things that have saved my life over and over again, so that there is really only one logical conclusion. I need darkness as much as I need light” (2014).

After reading Carrie’s poem and Barbara’s quote, the image above immediately came to mind. It’s one of my favorite images I’ve captured through a camera lens. I dare say I love it.  It’s our corn field that you can’t quite make out in the distance. It’s the harvest of not-yet and what is to be. I stand in the Now among the trees breathing in their exhalations of oxygen. 

I, too, am drawn to liminal places and spaces as Carrie is. The Celts call them “the thin places”. It is the space where I touch the holy and encounter the divine. On one hand it’s uncertain and scary and at the same time it is exciting when I wonder what lies beyond this time and place.

Perhaps this liminal space of this time – this Before and After – is an invitation to hold the both/and, to be here now in a way where there is no duality, no either/or but a genuine both/and of mind, body and spirit. 

Perhaps Now is the time, space and place to dance in and with the Divine with abandonment, free from judgment, learning to trust that what lies beyond the edge of the fog is Rumi’s field where the soul lies down in the grass the world is too full to talk about, out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing.

Perhaps the invitation is for all of us to meet there as friends.

Blessings ~ Christy

(This was originally posted in the World of SoulCollage, Spiritual Companion Village on Mighty Networks. Edited for continuity.To join the World of SoulCollage, please visit https://community.soulcollage.com/share/0idVEDn9xegF49zM?utm_source=manual )

(This blog is not intended to serve as individual spiritual direction. If you would like to explore one on one spiritual companioning, group companioning, SoulCollage©, the Labyrinth or Reiki, please contact me. If you, your faith group, your church or your book club would like to know more about spiritual companioning, please contact me to schedule an informational workshop. In the meantime, my hope is that this blog, photos, social media postings serve as a pause in your day, food for thought, or just a reminder to breathe in and breathe out all that is holy and good. The Divine Milieu is all around us. Thank you all for prayers, vibes, positive energy and support.)

How Can I Keep from Singing?

(Photo courtesy of Christine Green via Unsplash)

Dory, from Pixar’s Finding Nemo , reminds us to just keep swimming. The birds in my woods remind me to just keep singing.

Do you find it difficult to be hopeful in these times as I do? I sometimes find myself choosing minute by minute to hang on to a tiny thread of hope. It’s not always easy. In fact, I’m at a point again, unfortunately, where I don’t know who or what to believe or where to turn for accurate information. Nationally, voices of doom and gloom filled with fear are again front and center.

Yet, there are other reputable expert voices trying to be heard with a different view which are being silenced. Statisticians review the raw data and draw different conclusions. Other reputable medical professionals tell us of the dangers of vaccines which have yet to be completely authorized by the FDA and they are disregarded. There are severe adverse reactions to some of these vaccines and many grow concerned these vaccines have not been properly vetted and studied. Well known colleges and universities continue to research prophylactic measures imposed last year and have drawn mixed conclusions. Treatments, which proved successful in some cases, are downplayed and even banned from being mentioned. Truly frightening times.

And if that isn’t enough, I’m experiencing some physical and medical challenges. Not to worry. I don’t believe it is serious but it is not without it’s frustrations. I tell myself – and my nutritionist often reminds me – I didn’t get this way overnight. And times as we know them did not get that way overnight.

Again and again, I return to the line in the Serenity prayer to accept the things I cannot change and change what I can. Changing what I can usually involves changing something in myself. Physician heal thyself, right?

I’m very blessed I have friends, family, a great spiritual director and other supportive contacts who DO listen. Spiritual practices like SoulCollage® and walking the labyrinth in my backyard support my navigation through these trying times. My teachers and “gurus” support me through their spiritual writings. I enjoy them all in the sanctuary and refuge of the Double C, named using our first initials. This is my respite and place of peace from the stress and uncertainty of these times. Nature listens and invites me to listen to it.

Here on the Double C, I understand the impulse of the hermit, the Buddhist monk or nun, or the member of the ashram to sit in silence. The introvert within me screams with delight when I’m alone especially walking in the woods. There is life in the most unusual places in the woods and it is peaceful, non-political, polyspiritual.

A walk in the woods is freeing and time for play. My Curious Child emerges and discovers the natural world of interesting fungi, a snail shell, a turkey feather or the orange flower of jewel weed. Sunlight through the trees warms my hurting heart. Cricket, cicada, and birdsong are the instruments of nature’s symphony.

Colorful fungi 8/4/21 – Applephone

And it is the birdsong in particular that brings me back to center. Birdsong reminds me to keep on singing. I remember the old hymn “How Can I Keep From Singing” by Baptist minister Robert Wadsworth Lowry and I particularly recall the version arranged by Christian singer, Ed Gutfruend, from his album “From and Indirect Love.” It’s one of those songs from my guitar group days of the late 70’s and early 80’s. I haven’t heard it in years.

        My life flows on in endless song;
	Above earth’s lamentation,
	I hear the sweet, tho’ far off hymn
	That hails a new creation;

	Ref: No storm can shake my inmost calm 
	While to that rock I’m clinging. 
	Since Love is lord of heaven and earth,
	How can I keep from singing?

Who or what is your rock? What song do you sing? What practices, writers and people help you navigate these difficult times? Who and what is a source of hope? How do you feel when others do not share your feelings and beliefs about the current state in which we find ourselves?

I encourage you to contact me if you want to be heard, need to mull over and explore your spirituality in these trying times or you are searching for ideas for spiritual practices to support you. I offer a sacred, confidential, non-judgmental and safe space for you in-person at the Double C or online via Zoom. I encourage you to read my page containing information on spiritual companioning https://listening-heart.com/spiritual-companioning/ then message me to set up a free 30 minute Q&A session.

Ram Dass said, “we are all just walking each other home.” I would be honored to walk with you on your journey.

Blessings ~ Christy

(This blog is not intended to serve as individual spiritual direction. Spiritual direction and spiritual companioning are typically done face to face in a confidential setting or via Zoom or other virtual platform. If you would like to explore one on one spiritual companioning, group companioning, SoulCollage©, the Labyrinth or Reiki, please contact me. If you, your faith group, your church or your book club would like to know more about spiritual companioning, please contact me to schedule an informational workshop. In the meantime, my hope is that the photos and this blog serve as a pause in your day, food for thought, or just a reminder to breathe in and breathe out all that is holy and good. The Divine Milieu is all around us. Thank you all for prayers, vibes, positive energy and support.)

Trust the Slow Work

Monument Valley October 2019

Our visit to Arizona and New Mexico in 2019 continues to nourish me spiritually, psychologically and emotionally. While while on retreat in northern Ohio last month, I recalled those experiences as a backdrop for integrating my soul journey I’ve traveled the past five years.

I’ve evolved and grown. I’m different and I see myself differently. I want to say I’m “better” but that seems to be a judgment of some kind which doesn’t always serve me well so I will leave the “better/worse” evaluation alone for now. I’m my harshest critic and sometimes I need to quiet that voice.

My retreat spiritual director provided the structure and the “container” I needed to do my soul work. My retreat time was like packing for trip to a place I didn’t know much like my packing for the journey by train to Arizona. I had to decide what to take and what to leave behind. On this retreat, I had to go through five years of spiritual, psychological and even emotional “stuff” I’d packed away. What should remain packed for unpacking later, what needed to be discarded and released, and what do I need for the upcoming journey.

I chose the photo above to share because I remember taking it in the morning atop a butte just at the start of sunrise. The light in some places is clear and bold. In other spaces it is a bit more shadowy and dark yet, illuminated. Sitting on top of that butte and watching the sunset the night before and sunrise the following morning was an incredible experience in a truly sacred place on this earth – Monument Valley, Arizona. It is the land of the Dine (Navajo) people. I can’t put into words what I felt, as if I were one with Place.

On retreat, I reconnected to Place through reflection with words like play, compassion, love, tenderness, joy, faith and honesty etched in terra cotta hearts I selected at the end of each companioning session. Those words prompted connections to other words, ideas, feelings, and in some cases, images which became SoulCollage® cards. They continue to feed me and nourish my soul much like the experiences of the desert southwest.

I grieve what I had to discard in the past five to ten years. I let go of who I was and the roles I was required to play. Some were good experiences, some not so good. I’ve packed away things some would ask “why are you keeping that, it wounded you?” “Because,” I tell them, “in the wounding is where I learned compassion, tenderness, honesty, faith and love. In the darkness, there is light.”

I feel I’m at the threshold of something I’ve longed for and dreamed of. I sense I’m emerging into a new way of living, and working in the world. Trust the process that voice inside me says. Trust in the slow work of God. I truly love what I do which in a nutshell is share the Light and Grace, help people see their own inner wisdom and journey with them a while by deeply listening and seeing who they are as spiritual beings.

The photo I chose to share with you is an image of what I feel is happening. The Light peaks over the horizon and illuminates the dark places making them less scary for me and more approachable and appreciating the beauty of the wisdom of the shadows trusting the slow process, the slow emergence of the Light. In a minute or two the scene changes ever so slightly and illuminates what needs to be discovered, learned, embraced or discarded.

I am reminded – again – of the letter Jesuit priest, Teilhard de Chardin wrote to his nephew.

“Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give our [God] the benefit of believing
that [God’s] hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.”

Try a lectio divina with the words of Teilhard de Chardin. Read the letter. I encourage you to read it out loud. Simply read and take in what was written. Next, meditate or ponder what Teilhard de Chardin wrote to his nephew. Is there a phrase or word which stands out? Why? You may have some strong emotions about a word or phrase and that is okay. Now read the passage out loud again. Reflect and pray how might Spirit be inviting you to respond to that word or phrase that is impacting you. Do you feel encouraged? Challenged? Loved? Finally, read the letter out loud again and this time contemplate. In this step of the lectio divina process we contemplate and open ourselves to change and transformation of mind and heart. I like to add an additional step to lectio divina by looking at how we live our transformation in the world. Through lectio divina we experience Light, Grace and Love. It is important that we share what we have received from Spirit Source with others.

Blessings,

Christy

This blog is not intended to serve as individual spiritual direction. Spiritual direction and spiritual companioning are typically done face to face in a confidential setting or via Zoom or other virtual platform. If you would like to explore one on one spiritual companioning, group companioning, SoulCollage©, the Labyrinth or Reiki, please contact me. If you, your faith group, your church or your book club would like to know more about spiritual companioning, please contact me to schedule an informational workshop. In the meantime, my hope is that the photos and this blog serve as a pause in your day, food for thought, or just a reminder to breathe in and breathe out all that is holy and good. The Divine Milieu is all around us. Thank you all for prayers, vibes, positive energy and support.)

Emerging

Checking in with all of you! How are you doing? Are you now engaging in activities that were shut down last year? It seems we can attend once again attend graduations, weddings, ball games, visit family and friends and enjoy seeing faces again! I have so much joy and hope!

I haven’t blogged much but I continue to engage in my own spiritual practices. I write in my journal and create SoulCollage and walk the labyrinth. I feel we’re finally emerging out of our cocoons like the Brood X cicadas in my locale.

Some think cicadas are kind of creepy so I chose to not lead with a big photo of one! Here’s a not so large and not so creepy image of a member of Brood X, the 17 year cicada, emerging from his exoskeleton. I think Tony Stark looks better than this guy, don’t you?

Here are some questions for you to ponder, pray with, reflect about, write, sing, dance or whatever!

How are you emerging and shedding of your exoskeleton? What discoveries did you make about yourself during the lock down and isolation last year?

How did you relax, refresh and rejuvenate during the past year? Did you experience a loss of someone or something which made it difficult for you?

What were the joys and the disappointments of the past year? What did you discover was important and what wasn’t?

Did you, experience a loss of relationships over differing views on how you or your family handled the disruption and chaos?

As you ease back into socially interacting, are you more risk adverse or less risk adverse? Do you allow for other people to have their own views, opinions or doubts without feeling a need for confrontation?

How are you know at feeling out of control in situations? What person, place or words of wisdom helped you navigate? Continues to help you navigate?

Were you afraid this past year? Matter of fact? Resigned? Did you become more rigid or more free?

What were the invitations for you? What are growing edges for you?

Where was the One or God – whatever name you identify with – in the past year? Has your faith changed? Are things which used to be important still important or has something changed?

These questions are not meant to be an exhaustive list – just seeds to generate self reflection for you. My hope for you is joy, health and wellness and continued spiritual growth.

***********

GREAT NEWS!

I am so very pleased to tell you I have been able to secure a 36′ Chartres-style portable canvas labyrinth (see the photo above) that can be used for labyrinth events at a variety of locations like schools, colleges, hospitals, hospices, mental health and addiction treatment facilities, sobriety groups, grief support groups, and businesses. I am able to design and plan with you and for you a labyrinth experience to meet the needs of your organization or business. As a trained Veriditas labyrinth faciliator (https://www.veriditas.org/) I am able to meet your needs and intentions for a special labyrinth experience.

The labyrinth is a universal symbol that is thousands of years old recognized in cultures world wide. It has been walked for health and wellness, meditation, or to symbolize a walk to the holy land for Christian pilgrims. The more well known labyrinth is the one located in Chartres Cathedral in France believed to have been built around 1194. https://listening-heart.com/labyrinth/ The American Psychological Association has a labyrinth at their offices in Washington, D.C. So does the Washington National Cathedral. Numerous universities, churches, city parks, hospitals and private individuals have labyrinths. I encourage you to explore where one may be located near you with the World-Wide Labyrinth Locator – Welcome or to contact me about additional information.

Be well. Blessings

Christy

This blog is not intended to serve as individual spiritual direction. Spiritual direction and spiritual companioning is typically done face to face in a confidential setting or can be done via Zoom or other virtual platform. If you would like to explore one on one spiritual companioning, group companioning, SoulCollage©, the Labyrinth or Reiki, please contact me. If you, your faith group, your church or your book club would like to know more about spiritual companioning, please contact me to schedule an informational workshop. In the meantime, my hope is that the photos and this blog serve as a pause in your day, food for thought, or just a reminder to breathe in and breathe out all that is holy and good. The Divine Milieu is all around us. Thank you all for prayers, vibes, positive energy and support.)

Policy Update

Because the government has lifted certain restrictions and mandates in recent weeks, I wanted to update my policies for spiritual companioning, in-person workshops, and Reiki sessions.

First of all, I believe and respect an individual’s freedom to make personal choices. Your medical information is personal and private and not my business. Therefore, I leave it up to you to decide whether you receive one of the emergency authorized vaccines, whether you continue to wear a cloth mask after such vaccination – or even before – and whether you choose to disclose that information to me or anyone else.

I believe it is up to the individual to make their own determination of risks. Naturally, if you are more risk adverse, you might feel you must take more precautions. Similarly, if you are less risk adverse, you might not take any precautions or receive a vaccine. It is your choice and I respect your right to choose. More and more information is being discovered and disclosed about the nature of this current situation. More and more studies are being done. Information which was believed true 6, 10 or even 16 months ago is being called into question.

At no time will I request personal private medical information from you. Your health and vaccination status is your business. My reasoning, based on my research and consultation with experts, is I believe it is a violation of medical privacy laws to ASK for vaccination status of an emergency authorized vaccine and therefore, I won’t ask you!

I properly sanitize meeting spaces and my Reiki table before and after sessions with clients. I value providing a psychologically safe and confidential space as well as one that is clean and tidy.

We have emerged from a very difficult time for all of us. It is vital, in my opinion, that we set aside differences in opinions and views and treat each other with respect, kindness and patience maintaining the dignity and autonomy of the person.

If you have questions or want to discuss this further, please let me know. I will continue to provide companioning sessions and workshops via Zoom if requested.

I am currently accepting new clients for spiritual companioning and Reiki. Message me to schedule an appointment.

Blessings and good health to all,

Christy 

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