As I’ve mentioned here before, one of the richest memories of my life is how I used to get up at 5:30 in the morning with my dad. It was our time. We’d eat GrapeNuts and tell each other about the miracle(s) we’d seen the day before. I still try to like GrapeNuts and I still try to look for miracles every day.
Finding the miracles has been harder for me lately. I might notice (my word for 2015) lovely people, places, or things, but I’ve allowed circumstances, over which I feel powerless, to cloud my ability to recognize them as miracles. That’s gotta change.
Here’s how I’m going to change it. Yes/And. I completely accept the reality that YES there are many things going on the world, over which I have no control. AND while I continue to attend to what I can, I’m going to focus on the light, the good, the possible, along with the people doing the light, good, and possible.
YES, the divisions, gloom, fear, and darkness will still be around. My focus, however, will not be as glued to it, as it has been lately. I’m going to focus on the power of miracles. When I find myself tempted to dwell in the negative longer than is necessary, I’m going to seek out AND people, places, and things. AND people, places and things are the miracles Daddy and I used to share with each other daily. I’ll share some of them with you here.
Yes, there are heartbreaking events happening around the world at.this.moment. And there are events like the Contemplative Leaders Exchange, which begins tomorrow in Snowmass, CO.
Margaret Benefiel, a friend, the Executive Director of the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation, and world-shifter/people-weaver describes this gathering best:
What is the Spirit doing now? This question frames the New Contemplative Exchange, a gathering of 19 young contemplative leaders with Thomas Keating, Tilden Edwards, Richard Rohr, and Laurence Freeman, occurring next month at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado.
Fifty years ago, the Spirit stirred Freeman, Keating, Rohr, and Edwards (pictured below) to a rediscovery of contemplative
prayer in the West. While Eastern forms of meditation had begun to come to the West, they discovered, each in their own way, that their own Christian tradition contained a contemplative core. They began to spread this message and to invite others to join them in contemplative practice. Their individual journeys led to the creation of Contemplative Outreach (Keating), the Shalem Institute (Edwards), the Center for Action and Contemplation (Rohr) and World Community for Christian Meditation (Freeman).
Now, these leaders feel, the time has come for them to support young contemplative leaders, who, like themselves 50 years ago, are experiencing fresh winds of the Spirit for our time.
I am honored to have been invited to facilitate this gathering, and am excited to see what God is up to. We will gather to notice and name the Spirit’s movement. We will celebrate what God has done in the renewal of contemplative prayer in the past 50 years. We will celebrate what God is doing now.
What new forms are emerging that invite people into contemplative practice in this time and place? What new life is springing forth? How do we nurture this new life? These are just a few of the questions we will ask.
Based on the premise that contemplative practice serves as the vital grounding of Christian life and service, the gathering will explore how prayer moves us to respond to the urgent social and spiritual needs of our time. We will ground our time together in prayer, seeking to explore our questions through a heart-centered approach, listening for God’s voice in the midst of our conversations. We will take time for silence as needed, seeking to go deeper in our listening. Above all, we want to hear and respond to God, willing to let go of our own agendas.
I hope you will join us in prayer as we listen. I hope you will help undergird our contemplative grounding. We know our gather contring will only ultimately be worthwhile if we listen deeply. If we respond to the Spirit’s stirrings in our hearts rather than the machinations of our minds, the fruit that is borne will remain.
The young contemplative leaders joining in this exchange are:
Sabina Alkire; Sarah Bachelard; Adam Bucko; Thomas Bushlack; Sicco Claus; Leonardo Correa; Rafael Dickson; Phileena Heuertz; Stuart Higginbotham; Mark Kutolowski;
Justin Lanier; Bo Karen Lee; Mark Longhurst; Rory McEntee; Kirsten Oates; Karen Pedigo; Jessica Smith; Brie Stoner; Vladimir Volrab; and Matthew Wright. I don’t know much about these young leaders, nor how they came to be invited. I look forward to how they’ll continue to lead change in this world. I also look forward to following and supporting their efforts, as I have Freeman, Keating, Rohr, and Edwards.
I’ll join them in spirit and prayer, from my home, as they they listen. Hope you will join them, too.