Keep Walking: An Invitation to Pilgrimage with Shalem on the Camino de Santiago

Walking has long been a pillar of my spiritual life. As a child, I remember walking with my grandmother around her neighborhood and mine, noticing the rabbits hopping about and the birds whizzing from feeder to feeder. I recall many walks with my mother at the cemetery, laying flowers on her father’s grave and listening […]

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 […]

Recalibrating Humility

I have been pondering the virtues, those aspects of character that are central to the spiritual life. Gradually, I’ve come to understand that we don’t have a virtue, rather it has us, and the only way to know if the virtue has us is by its fruits. As Paul says, it is by their fruits […]

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 […]

Exhaling My Prayer Breath

On January 29th I received my first Pfizer vaccine shot. On February 19th, I received the second shot. Two weeks later, I could finally begin to breathe deeply again. How long had I been holding my prayer breath? I didn’t realize how long I had been shallow breathing… more than 11 months, beginning when we […]