Heartbeat News

I am extending the deadline to register for the Point of Arrival: Labyrinth and SoulCollage Mini-retreat. Please register here before midnight Saturday, April 24th. Limited spaces available so register TODAY https://listening-heart.com/events/

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If you are unable to make the May 1st Point of Arrival: Labyrinth and SoulCollage workshop, I am offering to book private experiences for a small group of friends, a book club, a faith sharing group, a 12 step program group, who desire to explore a deeper connection with themselves and their spirituality. We have a small labyrinth in our backyard with a backdrop of acres of trees. So if you want to experience the labyrinth or SoulCollage or both together, please contact me via https://listening-heart.com/contact/

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Last weekend I had the honor and privilege to companion four women retreatants on a portion of their faith journey. Spiritual direction during a retreat is humbling. I am able to bear witness to Grace and Light and Love as these retreatants open themselves up spiritually to see how God is present in their lives. I am forever marked by their souls. Thank you ladies. Holding you in prayer.

I have to shoutout to the other directors on staff. I felt supported and enjoyed sharing lots of laughter. Holding you in prayer, too.

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I will be holding several Introduction to SoulCollage workshops via Zoom May 22 and June 26 and Creating Sacred Space – Tending to your Soul cardmaking sessions on April 20th, May 19th and June 30th. Please see Scheduled Events – Listening Heart (listening-heart.com) to register for these. Please make sure you include your email to receive the handouts and Zoom link.

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I am booking mindfulness workshops, labyrinth facilitation, SoulCollage workshops and days of retreat for Fall 2021 and Spring 2022. If you have a preferred date, please contact me soon to get scheduled. https://listening-heart.com/contact/

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Musings of a Pilgrim Soul

Spring is emerging. I’m so very excited about the emerging of this spring. The vernal equinox, which occurred Saturday morning, is supposed to be the “official” first day of spring. I suppose it is one way to welcome spring. Here on the farm, spring began a few weeks ago when my husband started preparing the tractors and planters for the planting season which is still a few weeks away. Like his father, he believes in allowing the ground to warm up a bit so those soybean and corn seeds have a warm bed from which to start sprouting.

Another sure sign of spring for me is the return of BASEBALL. Depending on where you live, college and high school teams are either in mid season or are just starting. I saw my first game in person this weekend at my alma mater in Indianapolis. It was a perfect day! Blue skies, sunshine and a walk off hit win. Glad I had a sweatshirt because that March wind reminded me winter wasn’t quite ready to let go. Invigorating!

It was so freeing to be around people outdoors without wearing a mask. It seems Indiana is well on it’s way to completely opening up. They are hosting all of the NCAA March Madness games throughout the state as well. Way to go Hoosier State!

My local MLB team, the Cincinnati Reds, open their season on April 1st. No opening day parade through downtown and only 30% capacity at the ball park because of Rona.

Spring is alive. This year feels so special probably because the doom and gloom is over. We ARE on the backside of the ugliness of the past year despite what politicians and power hungry government officials tell us. Just my opinion. I think we could have had a parade – just sayin.

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I cannot express fully the depth of gratitude to the Spiritual Direction Internship alumni committee for inviting me to facilitate a labyrinth workshop. We held “Labyrinth, Prayer in Motion” Saturday morning for a small group of fellow spiritual directors.

My experience in the two year internship at Benedict Inn served as the model for how I prepared Saturday’s workshop. Feed the intellect with some knowledge. Nurture the heart space with an experience. Provide a safe and confidential space and time for people to process the knowledge and the experience. Pray. Invite Spirit. Trust in Grace.

It was wonderfully healing to receive and give hugs from friends I had not seen in over a year. Some wore masks, some did not. Most have received a vaccine. Some have not. No matter to me. I’m sooooo very happy I chose to take a risk and receive/give what I have missed for over a year. I’m joyful I saw some of my fellow pilgrims on Saturday.

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I think it’s counterproductive, to remember what was going on a year ago. I’m choosing to look forward. You can’t look to the past. It’s like what my mom always said when folks would launch into the “woulda, coulda, shouldas”. She’d say, you can’t replay that ballgame.

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Sunday became a lazy day, a day to recharge and re-group. I love facilitating and giving presentations. It’s probably the inner teacher in me. I taught high school for a few years. I also taught as an adjunct at the college level. Facilitating adult learners who are present because they want to be there is extremely fulfilling. As an extroverted introvert (yea, that’s a thing), I do need that down time to refresh and regroup. I need time to process and just rest.

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I’m really looking forward to spiritually companioning women on a weekend retreat April 9-11th. it is a blessing to witness how Grace touches the lives of retreatants who show up and open up saying “here I am, oh God”. I am grateful for this opportunity to walk with others.

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Christians will celebrate Easter on April 4th. If you are one who celebrates Resurrection Day, may the coming weeks provide you with everything you spiritually need to experience deeply the wisdom and truth of Easter.

As Jews around the globe prepare to celebrate Passover from March 27 to April 4, a holiday in remembrance of being released from Egyptian slavery, may we all remember we are not quite as free as we would hoped we would be by now. As I strap on a mask for the millionth time, I can’t help but think dayenu enough already. I’ve been blessed a few times to participate in the Seder. I love the traditions and the ritual foods. I hope I can enjoy Seder again. Happy Pesach to all!

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I’ve heard this cute and funny blessing years ago. In closing, I’d like to share it with you.

“May the light always find you on a dreary day. When you need to be home, may you find your way. May you always have courage to take a chance, and never find frogs in your underpants.”

Be well, my friends. Take care of yourselves and each other.

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.)

Soul-tending with SoulCollage® and the Labyrinth

As one who engages in accompanying others on their spiritual journey, I know I have a responsibility to do my own work. I was reminded earlier this week by my own spiritual director to do the work. I am grateful for her willingness to companion me and challenge me when I need it. My going to my own director, engaging in peer supervision or even consulting with a supervisor one on one, is doing the work of a spiritual companion. Maintaining spiritual practices and using tools for growth and soul tending are also things of “doing the work” It’s walking the walk. 

Let’s be perfectly honest, though, sometimes its just HARD. It’s like the path on my labyrinth in my backyard. I see the path like I see it on my labyrinth but when I look around it seems lifeless and bleak. I long for the greening of the trees in my yard and woods. I want a spiritual spring doggone it! Even though the sun is staying around longer each day, there is still a chill in the air. The snow is gone but the ground is soggy and cold and appears lifeless. I kind of feel that way. It’s hard work walking the walk.

This past Sunday, I walked the labyrinth, journaled about my thoughts and feelings and then went to my office/studio and created SEVEN cards. I’m not ready to share them publicly yet – if ever. They’re pretty dark. They are what psychologist, Carl Jung, refers to as “shadow.” These cards or “Inners” represent the HARD STUFF I haven’t wanted to face for quite a while. These Inners are aspects of my story not ready for prime time. And that’s okay. They are meant for me right now.

I am incredibly grateful I came across the SoulCollage process. I discovered this process in the fall of 2018 by attending a workshop at a retreat center near me. It sounded like fun – cutting images and pasting them on a 5×8 card. The bonus was the process of asking questions or writing poetry AS IF speaking like the image on the card. I remember my very first card I made. I still look at it and say “wow”.

An even bigger “wow” experience was in store for me when I attended a week long, silent, personally directed retreat at a retreat center in northern Ohio. Through images and sentence completions to “I am One Who” I experienced The Mystery or Spirit in a deeper way and encountered that Spirit WITHIN me. I was captivated by the process and wanted to know and learn more. I wanted to know how to share this experience and process with others. It was fun. It was profound. It contained all the human emotions. So, I took facilitator’s training at a retreat center in Westfield, Massachusetts in December, 2019. (In January 2020, I attended a pretraining for labyrinth facilitation training where we walked a labyrinth then did SoulCollage!)

I am aware sometimes images within SoulCollage cards are darker but I can’t say I was prepared to create SEVEN of these types of cards in one sitting. By creating a card – even a more shadowy, darker card, I am able to bring out that piece of myself and look at it. AND if it becomes too overwhelming, I can turn that card over. By turning it face up again, I can lean into the “hard stuff”, that not so pretty stuff and gently say “hello” to that part of me that needs a little care and tending. I can lean in as much as I want and even turn that card over for a minute or two until I can re-orient, re-group, and look at it again.

It’s been over a year since the world shut down. It was a hard time and continues to be for some. Some places are back on line. Others are not. I, for one, am thankful for SoulCollage. I noticed as I flipped through my deck this past week that I created a number of cards during the darkest days of shutdown. I cannot imagine not being able to have this process.

I am committed to sharing this process currently through online Zoom workshops. Please visit Events on this page for dates. https://listening-heart.com/events/

I am also pleased and excited to announce on May 1, 2021, World Labyrinth Day, SoulCollage® and the Labyrinth: Connections to the Soul Retreat Day from 9a to 3p EST. Please see Events https://listening-heart.com/events/ for details and registration.

Blessings,

Christy  

What are you grateful for in the past year? How do you handle the “hard stuff”? What spiritual practices sustained you through this past year? What practices changed? What sustains you know? How do you “walk the walk” of your calling? of your profession?

(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.)

15 Open Hearted Questions for the New Year

So many people start the New Year with a resolve to change their lives in some form or fashion. And many start out with lots of energy but about now, the allure of being “different” in this new year has waned.

So, I’ve gathered several questions from different sources for your contemplation as invitations throughout the year. They are the type of questions you might write a response in a journal, create a SoulCollage® card, carry in your heart as you walk a labyrinth or just sit with in contemplative silence.

  • Who am I?
  • What is my destiny – where am I going?
  • How do I find out who I am?
  • What makes my heart full?
  • What breaks my heart?
  • When do I experience joy?
  • When I am still, what arises within me?
  • When I am in nature, what arises within me?
  • How do I serve others?
  • How do I listen to others?
  • How do I like others to listen to me?
  • Who is a true companion to me?
  • How do I companion others?
  • What makes me feel dead inside?
  • What is life-giving to me – body and soul?

I invite you to use these questions in whatever way works for you. If you want to explore them with a trusted companion and deep listener, I am here for you. Please email or call me.

Continue to be well, be safe and be blessed –

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.)

Thresholds and Transitions

I recently had a virtual conversation with a good friend. Even though we live about 2 hours apart, we have refrained from getting together for our usual Mexican food and drinks for almost a year. I haven’t eaten out inside a restaurant for almost as long. I miss conversations with my friend so we decided to catch up via a face to face platform.

We always seem to talk about things of substance and this time was no different. Yet, it seemed the conversation always came back to COVID19, how we were doing, what changes we made, what we missed, how we felt, plans for next year, and so on. No matter what we talked about we always seemed to end up mentioning it in some fashion although we had acknowledged we were tired of talking about it.

COVID19 and its implications seem to pervade every aspect of our lives like the proverbial elephant in the room – always there and present even if we don’t acknowledge it. I told my friend that I missed certainty and stability and mused are we ever truly certain and stable.

In the grand scheme of the Universe are we collectively at a threshold for “something”? Are we at the threshold? In liminal space? Many people much wiser than I seem to think so and point to all kinds of evidence observed in politics, technology, sociology, spirituality and religious institutions.  I feel like a Forest Gump “well, I don’t know about that.”

In many respects, I don’t know. I theorize and ruminate on things I see. I bemoan and grieve loss and change. In my best moments I am able to navigate my ship into uncharted waters full of anticipation for the adventure which awaits. I’ll be okay. I’ll manage. All things will be made new and this old world will pass into a new one.

And in those moments when I’m not as aware or mindful, my ship seems to be anchored off shore lacking a spirit filled crew while it’s captain (me) hides alone below deck in the dark grieving for what was. I know I cannot return to the safe harbor because it is not there. I am adrift in a sea of loss and uncertainty without an anchor. Life as I once knew it is forever changed.

Being on a spiritual path does not prevent me from facing uncertainty and insecurity – even darkness – but the spiritual path teaches me how to use those things as tools to grow. I may not always engage in those practices and I have those who love and care about me to remind me to do them!

So, I breathe. I return to the most simple and basic form of prayer and meditation I know.  I notice my breath, the feel of it through my nostrils and throat and chest and take it down into the depth of my being. I “breathe” into key energy centers, the chakras, connecting myself to the energy within. Sometimes I feel a need to chant Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God” allowing it to flow into and through my body.

            Be still and know that I am God

            Be still and know that I am

            Be still and know

            Be still

            Be

It becomes my safe harbor and anchor in the present moment. It is Certainty. It is Present Presence. In the quiet stillness all which is known and needs to be known is the great I Am.

Threshold. Liminal space. Transitions, Change.  Movement toward the unknown. Letting go. Free falling. Working without a net. Adrift.  

What feelings do these words evoke in you? What are you called to let go of at the end of 2020 in order to embrace 2021?

I invite you to sit comfortably for just 5 minutes and breathe. Notice your breath. Simply breath as you normally would taking the in breath through your nose and down into your lungs. As you exhale, feel the breath flow out of your lungs, past your through and your lips. Whatever thoughts and feelings arise, let them pass by. Often a sacred word or a piece of scripture provides a bit of focus. Yah-whey and ru-ahh are two Hebrew words which I use as breath prayers. Yeshu-ahh, the Hebrew form of Jesus is another.

Breathe and let go and just be.

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.)

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