• Kate Coffey

    • Savannah Kate Coffey is a graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary and Shalem's Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups and Retreats Program. She lives and writes in South Carolina.

Responsibility and Bliss

Today’s post is by Savannah Kate Coffey Years ago, when my son was an infant, the nights often felt endless. One night it was just the two of us in the house and on that particular night I traipsed repeatedly between the rocker in the nursery and my empty bed. I distinctly remember the conflict […]

September 09, 2018 by Kate Coffey
Categories: Contemplative Living, Parenthood, Prayer, and Self Compassion. Formats: Article and Friday Blog. Interest Areas: Friday Blog.

We Belong to Each Other

Today’s post is by Savannah Kate Coffey There is no denying we live under the constant threat of violence. Sunday night, a celebratory Las Vegas landscape was instantly disfigured into carnage. Terror is its own particular brand of horror, causing pain indiscriminately and without warning. Individuals have the power to destroy, but individuals also have […]

October 10, 2017 by Kate Coffey 1 Comment
Categories: Contemplative Spirituality, Loss, Love, and Non-duality. Tags: beauty, Las Vegas, and suffering. Formats: Article and Friday Blog. Interest Areas: Friday Blog.

Minding the Gaps

Each season offers gifts all its own. January’s spare beauty seems fitting after the extravagance of the holidays. Trees have shed every outer expression of the living sap within. Icy streams conceal mottled fish resting below. Snow blankets the fields’ ridges, gullies, and rocks. Winter, in her unparalleled way, changes the view. What was once hidden under canopies of green is now revealed, while the things once readily apparent are now veiled.

Winter is a welcome arrival in the cycle of each year, but I sometimes feel frightened during the winter seasons of my life when “spare beauty” actually seems barren and desolate. I wonder where the vitality has gone. I fret; maybe the inner sap is no longer flowing and the creative stream has dried up. Does my life still hold meaning when I feel stuck and frustrated, my efforts coming to naught?

What is true, life-giving power?

I happened to be watching a home shopping channel the other day for various reasons, none of them particularly grand. In the midst of hawking that day’s best value, the host mentioned she had been talking with her daughters about the meaning of mercy. Surprised, I thought, “Huh, what an interesting word to explore with young children.” I began thinking about my seven-year-old son, Gabe, and our adventures in spiritual formation. Feeling expansive, I decided to choose a “word of the month” to explore and discuss together, not unlike a vendor’s Today’s Special Value, perhaps. I guess you just never know where inspiration will crop up.

In honor of summer’s effulgence and the sun’s ever-reliable gift of light, we began with the word “generosity.” There were many life lessons and examples to share, and inspired by this initial success, I decided to be a bit more daring in my choice for September. I chose “power.”

Our world is full of examples of the abuse and misuse of power, but what is true, life-giving power? Could I explain it, not just in the negative but in a positive way that left a meaningful impression on my son’s young life? I researched examples, stories, and quotations looking for a wise and solid definition, eventually defining power as the ability to take action for good. Such a simple definition, though, belies power’s great complexity. Power certainly conveys a sense of dynamism, but it also includes the choice not to act. Power carries a sense of strength, whole-heartedness, clarity, and resolve. But power is also experienced in vulnerability, tenderness, and tears. Power suggests freedom, but we all know epic stories of those who have been imprisoned and deprived while still possessing great personal power and freedom of spirit. True power holds together freedom and responsibility, strength and wisdom.

October 10, 2015 by Kate Coffey
Categories: Parenthood and Spiritual Deepening. Tags: generosity, life, power, and wisdom. Formats: Article, Article by Shalem Staff, and Friday Blog.

Walk Lightly

What freedom of spirit might come from holding all of life’s experience more lightly! This is not to deny the suffering in our world and the intense engagement required, nor is it to refuse joy’s courtship and lovely gifts. My colleague’s wife is a yoga teacher and she encourages her students to move solidly into a posture, but then to soften just a little and find the ease within the position they have taken. We can embrace the gifts of happiness fully and then find the freedom to smile at ourselves when we realize how tight is our grip and how serious our determination.

The Gradual Greening

Each year I look forward to nature’s transformation in March. I imagine the earth as a reluctant lover, having been cold and withdrawn in the winter months. Now slowly, ever so slowly, she warms again to the sun’s touch, showing her pleasure in the tender shoots of daffodils and crocus, budding dogwoods, and the slightest hint of a southerly breeze.

Hildegard noticed that plants and trees grow into the fullness of their nature according to the capacity they were given. A seed grows into the only plant it can. She believed that healing is really the power of your own nature to be itself—the freedom of the true self to live in unity with the life force that has been given to it.