Guest Author: 
Lauren Carlson

The recent attack on Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, USA, draws attention to what comedian Jon Stewart called, “America’s gaping racial wound.”

Guest Author: 
Lauren Carlson

What does it mean to be authentic? I like to think of authenticity as the space where I live into God’s desire for my life. However, as a relational creature, I must recognize that my authenticity goes beyond how I express myself. If authenticity has anything to do with living fully as a person made in the image of God, then I must make room for the other—I must receive them as God would receive them. Although I hardly consider myself an expert, I would like to offer three considerations that help me practice authenticity.

Guest Author: 
Kristen Hobby

Cornish College in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia began a Mindfulness pilot two years ago. The focus is to find ways to introduce mindfulness into the curriculum, and encourage teachers and students to find simple and practical ways to introduce quiet and contemplation into their lives. This year, the school participated in a “Mindfulness in May” initiative that involved weekly teacher activities and an invitation to every student to enjoy five minutes of mindfulness three times throughout the day.

Guest Author: 
Kimberly Borin

I recently participated in a retreat at The Bon Secours Retreat Center with the Shalem Institute. On the final day of our silent retreat, all the participants gathered in a conference room. I entered the room and discovered a tea party! The center table was filled with elegant teacups and organic teas. Flowers and fresh scones decorated silver trays nearby.

The sight of the celebration astounded me. What continued to unfold was not just a tea party, but also a tender family reunion. The elements of our unfolding ceremony brought memories of my family and the gifts they offered to my life.

Guest Author: 
Rita Perea

I love the dark hours of my being.
My mind deepens into them.
There I can find, as in old letters,
the days of my life, already lived,
and held like a legend, and understood.

—Rainer Maria Rilke

In my desire to live my life in a contemplative and mindful way, my daily activities are built around reflection. I savor those moments: when the thinking, feeling, and deepest knowing occur, guided by my connection with that which is beyond me.

Guest Author: 
Terri Pahucki

On sunny days, the Hudson River sparkles with light. I walk along the rocky shore, filled with an abiding sense of peace and harmony.

My eight-year-old daughter skips ahead, collecting beach glass. She returns to fill my jacket pockets with smooth pieces of various shapes and colors. These shards of glass have been tumbled and abraded by the brackish waters, transformed into lovely objects by the sand and salty tide.

Guest Author: 
Janice Lynne Lundy

I am a quote lover from way back. I’ve been collecting them since I was a teenager, recording them in my journals. I don’t do anything special with them, simply re-read them on occasion. Though I often find that they initiate a “remembering” in me—the recall of an “important something” that I may have forgotten, like how to stay calm, forgive, or let go.

Lately, I’ve been collecting quotes on listening. On some level I know that while the ability to listen empathetically is often a natural gift, it is also a commodity that needs ongoing attention and cultivation. As spiritual companions, listening is key to what we do. We are “professional listeners.” 

Guest Author: 
Liz Budd Ellmann

Whether you are Roman Catholic or not, Pope Francis’s comments about spiritual direction help every seeker and spiritual director understand the value of spiritual direction today.

Pope Francis clearly stated that women and laity (people who are not priests) may be called to serve as spiritual directors:  

Spiritual direction, the pope said, "is not a charism exclusive to priests. It's a charism of the laity." (Catholic News Service [CNS], 18 May, Wooden)

Pope Francis empowers everyone who senses a call to the ministry and service of spiritual direction to discern the call.

Guest Author: 
Carissa A. Kane

As I sit quietly and think back, I can see the faces and hear the words of those through whom I have experienced hospitality, and those who have taught me to be hospitable to others. I think of my parents. As a child, I recall getting ready for visitors to our home. As we readied the house and prepared what we would serve, there was something greater going on. I felt an excitement in the air that continued throughout the visitors' stay. We were not just opening our home to the visitors but also our hearts. As we all sat together, an energy existed among us—generative love was in the air.

Guest Author: 
Cynthia Winton-Henry

Pictured: Susan Pudelek (Catholic), Chau Nghiem (Buddhist), Barbra Wiener (Jewish)

In my teens, my body snuck up on me as a spiritual guide. Singing in choir and dancing in the sanctuary opened me to the words professed in my spiritual tradition, “You are part of one body.” I felt it!

In seminary, I discovered the key that explained why I get overwhelmed by both love and sorrow.

"If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together."
—Corinthians 12:26

One body? Oh yeah! I pick up others’ feelings in my body.


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