The Gift of Being Here

Opening the kitchen door to gauge the morning’s suitability for an early walk, I inhaled quickly and held my breath in reverence and awe. Cool refreshing air slid over me after days of stifling heat. Huge, puffy clouds rose in the bright blue sky. Even from my city view, obstructed by buildings, wires, and trees, […]

Five Gathered

Reflection on the Experience of a Group Spiritual Direction Workshop at Shalem Institute. I had the bountiful blessing of making four very close friends at the Group Spiritual Direction workshop on Zoom last June. It was not your typical friendship. Five individuals gathered together in faith, in silence, in prayer, and in profound empathy. The […]

Grounding in Gratitude

World as Lover, World as Self: Courage for Global Justice and Planetary Awakening 30th Anniversary Edition by Joanna Macy Edited by Stephanie Kaza Excerpt from Chapter Two The root of joy is gratefulness . . . It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful. —BROTHER DAVID STEINDL-RAST We have received an […]

Come Away

Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while. Mark 6:31 For the past six weeks our home has been filled to overflowing with the presence of our daughter, her husband and our 19-month-old granddaughter. For several of those days, another of our children, just back from two years in Australia, joined […]

Wider Than the Sea

As I pondered and prayed about my experience in Shalem’s new Heart Longings program, a familiar hymn came to mind, and the melody would not go away. As I listened to the tune in my head, I realized it provided the answer as to what I wanted to share about my experience. The hymn with […]

Let the Door Close Behind You

I cling to the image of Mary Magdalene running out of the dark cave early on what we now call “Easter morning.” I carry it with me, believing it will help me leave my own cave that has become a tomb of Netflix evenings and Zoom days. I entered my pandemic cave by choice, but […]

Summer Resources for Spiritual Sustenance

As we move into the long days of summer, some of Shalem’s board and staff have put together a list of books, movies, poetry and other resources that are contemplatively grounding and inspirational.  Enjoy! BOOKS Tilden Edwards (Founder and Senior Fellow) When Faith Becomes Sight: Opening Your Eyes to God’s Presence All Around You by […]

Desmond Tutu as Christian Mystic

The three-fold division of Christian mysticism (purgation, illumination, and union) is essential in understanding Desmond Tutu’s life. Purgation exemplifies Tutu’s formation as an institutional church leader, illumination exemplifies Tutu’s role as confessor, and union exemplifies Tutu’s elder years as sage. As Tutu’s life proceeds through purgation, illumination, and union, not only does mysticism describe Tutu’s […]

Life Goes Wide Within Me

My Lenten roses (hellebores) are in full bloom now in what I lovingly call my “anti-depressant garden.” All the flowers in this garden bloom early, usually starting right after Christmas. During the pandemic, my garden has sustained and still sustains me—anything that would grow was a friend, and almost every petunia or geranium, plants usually […]

Love, Not Atonement

This year in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar, the feast of the Annunciation falls just a few days before Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week. (This isn’t always the case since Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox.) The proximity of the two feasts […]