This week: 2020 VisionEdited by: Sophy
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Hi, I'm Sophy ~ your editor for this edition of the Spiritual Newsletter.
The Rev. Scotty McLennan, author of the book Finding Your Religion, compares humanity's innate need for spiritual searching to climbing a mountaain. In his view, we are all endeavoring to climb the same figurative mountain in our search for the divine, we just may take different ways to get there. In other words, there is one "God," but many paths. I honor whatever path or paths you have chosen to climb that mountain in your quest for the Sacred.
What is your vision for who you want to be in 2020? What activities do you practice to set your intention and stay on course? What images or ideas or songs or poems help you cultivate the best version of yourself? As we move into a new year and decade, are there aspects of your life that you want to discard, to add, to keep and strengthen? How might this apply to your writing as well as your spiritual journey?
A reporter once asked A.J. Muste, a Dutch-born American clergyman and pacifist who protested against the Viet Nam War, “Do you really think you are going to change the policies of this country by standing out here alone at night in front of the White House with a candle?” Muste replied, “Oh, I don’t do this to change the country. I do this so the country won’t change me.”
That vignette came across my Facebook page a couple weeks ago, and it stuck with me. I’ve thought about it everyday since. It’s a striking image - one person standing by themself as a witness for peace before the seat of power as a catastrophic war raged in the world. There are no illusions of grandeur, no effort to gain attention, no expectation of quick or dramatic results. “I don’t do this to change the country. I do this so the country won’t change me.” It’s noble as much for its humility as for its pacifist values.
Taking responsibility for our own behavior, we begin with the practice of setting our intention for how we would like to operate in the world. For instance, I may set my intention to be respectful and fair-minded - even when others are not so. This doesn’t mean one tolerates abuse or capitulates to unacceptable demands. But setting my intention this way allows me to cultivate clarity and determination about my core values. It summons a sense of identity that guides me through turbulence so I can remain true to my best self. Wherever we choose to invest our attention and thought and energy, we need to be clear about who we are and behave in a way that approximates the best version of who we intend to be.
It’s dark out there sometimes. There are a lot of mean, immature, insecure, greedy, selfish, power-hungry people in the world. Most people who are given to hatred or greed don’t see themselves that way. Evil is seductive, and the ego protects itself. But whatever it does to improve its appearance, there’s plenty of darkness in the world. And not to be dismal about it – there are myriad angels in the world, too. There are friends and family and neighbors, colleagues, sometimes random strangers who remind us that the world can be a kind and beautiful place.
As we begin a new year, we have an opportunity to metaphorically wipe the slate clean and start over - what better way to do that is to take it as an opportunity to set our intention - to face the new year with a resolution, if you will, that helps us stay the course and maintain balance and integrity. Returning to the questions I already posed - What is your vision for who you want to be in 2020? What activities do you practice to set your intention and stay on course? What images or ideas or songs or poems help you cultivate the best version of yourself? As we move into a new year and decade, are there aspects of your life that you want to discard, to add, to keep and strengthen? How might this apply to your writing as well as your spiritual journey?
Share your writings with me and I will share them next month.
Below you'll find some spiritual offerings from other WDC members. Please let the folks know if you read their piece by leaving a thoughtful comment or review. I realize I post mostly poems, but that is because it is tough to find other types of spiritual writing on the site. If you have something you would like me to highlight, please do share it with me, thanks!
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Here are some responses to my last newsletter "Spiritual Newsletter (December 11, 2019)" The Whole Truth:
From ForeverDreamer :
Ruiz's book is very profound.
From Write 2 Publish 2020 :
This my be different take on your NL. I attend a woman's class almost every Sunday morning. We have discussion and participation. I'm pretty vocal in my participation. That being said I also sometime travel with my husband and I may be gone for a few weeks at a time. When I come back I am welcomed. A few of the women who hug me and say "Welcome back. I've missed you in class. You always say just the right thing to explain or help me to understand the lesson." I want God to speak through me and put into my mind what to add to the some of the lessons taught. Not that our teachers aren't good, but some are literal and sometimes, our own experiences help to bring that lesson into our lives in a more personal way. I'm not afraid to share my faults, missteps and victories with my ladies group. We have prayer requests at the beginning of class. Along with praise reports. We are women of faith and prayer.
Sounds like an awesome class!
Thanks for all your comments - keep them coming! Until next time, Happy New Year! Sophy
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