I cannot resist the urge to spread some love-life around this morning, so this post will include some of my favorite words on the most important topic in the world! Feel free to add to my list in the comments area. Enjoy and please share the love!
To say that I am made in the image of God is to say that Love is the reason for my existence…Love is my true identity…Love is my true character. Love is my name.
The soul is made of love and must ever strive to return to love…It must lose itself in love. By its very nature it must see God, who is love.
Mechthild of Magdenburg
Work without love is slavery.
Love comes out of heaven, unasked and unsought.
Pearl S. Buck
Love is not a mold that makes two people the same person. Love is the dream that enables both of us to be our own best person–together. Love knows that no one can fill up in us what we lack in ourselves.
Between the Dark and the Daylight by Joan Chittister
“There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”
Vincent Van Gogh
“f you ever have a doubt in life, do what’s best for the other person. Take yourself out of the equation and you will see magically, everything will work out.”
These days, this year, 2020! Oh, how we the people, the created ones, we who have seemingly given so little thought to all the many, many days which preceded today. We who have been like sleeping babies, we who are living as though we have been suddenly awakened. And indeed, we have been awakened by the labor pains of our own birthing process. Yes, we are being born again into a brave, new world; a world which has been made by our own sleepwalking lives. Today, yes and every day hereafter, we are living the day as though it is our final exam. We have been tested and are even now being tested and pressed. Look around, our sanity is pulling away from us. We are pulled apart from our better selves and our communal bloodshed testifies against us. What shreds us to pieces? What dislodges us from our moorings, from the safe harbors of our former complacencies? Is it not our combined complicity and greed to blame the other one(s), the other side, those ones outside of our beliefs and traditions, which when combined with our self-righteous, impoverished, and dull thinking only births and extracts more hateful behaviors. Atrocious, stunning, inexcusable, vile. These are the outcomes which abound in today’s headlines.
When the tentacles of hate have reached their full maturity, there can be no more life as we know it. No more civility…no more peace. Hate, fully overgrown into our hearts, the one true source of all cancer, can only go stronger every day in our midst while we demand our rights to be heard and our right to be freed from our past. Hate will indeed choke, blind, and silence us all to the doom of our own making.
It is LOVE, human and divine which overcomes death in nations and generations and in all horrors of our time . Death is given power over everything finite especially in our period of history. But death is given no power over LOVE. LOVE is stronger. It creates something new out of the destruction caused by death; it bears everything and overcomes everything. It is at work where the power of death is strongest, in war and persecution and homelessness and hunger and physical death itself. It is omnipresent and here and there in the smallest and most hidden ways as in the greatest and most visible ones, it rescues life from death. It reaches each of us, for LOVE is stronger than death.
Paul Tillich – The Boundaries of Our Being
Oh, how we are being tested, pressed, and yes even pulled apart from every one of our perceived safe places; our moorings and safe harbors are nowhere to be found. There is only ONE ANTIDOTE…ONE CURE for our current sickness: REFUSE TO HATE the other! Refuse it and we shall make ourselves well. This tonic is not an easy one to take, and we will have to dose ourselves liberally, daily, moment by moment…but take our medicine we must. There can be no other remedy for our survival. We must choose to sacrifice our need to be right in order to become healthy again…otherwise we will be consumed by the monster in our midst. The monster which can and should be slain because it brings us only death and suffering.
What does it mean to be nonviolent? Coming from the Hindu/Sanskrit word ahimsa, nonviolence was defined long ago as “causing no harm, no injury, no violence to any living creature.” But Mohandas Gandhi insisted that it means much more than that. He said nonviolence was the active, unconditional LOVE toward others, the persistent pursuit of truth, the radical forgiveness toward those who hurt us, the steadfast resistance to every form of evil, and even the loving willingness to accept suffering in the struggle for justice without the desire for retaliation.
The battlefield in which we currently inhabit our struggle for well-being is waged in one venue only. Lest we think it is someone else’s fault and not our own. Lest we think and believe this fallacy, then we are without remedy. But if we were to realize that our battlefield engages only one solitary combatant, then perhaps we have found hope for a peaceful future. Our hope may be rescued when each one of us, lay down our weapon of right and privilege. Because our survival (individual and collective) is dependent upon the battle being waged for each of our singular hearts and minds. Wake up we must to the war set before us. The war we wage is fought against and within the confines of our own thinking and believing. On this battleground we must refute the desire and the need to be right whereby we give hate for another any purchase in our thoughts, words or deeds! Check yourself today…check the pulse of your thinking and feeling…of your posts on social media and in your conversations with your close others. Check yourself please, I implore you! There can be no higher nationalism, no better self-indulgence than to love…one another…the good…the bad…the ugly…the undeserving…and yes, even the enemy. How far we have wandered from our homeland…LOVE!
We think fear, anger, divine intimidation, threat, and punishment are going to lead people to LOVE. Show me where that has worked. You cannot lead people to the highest level of motivation by teaching them the lowest. The sacred scriptures of all faiths call us to LOVE as we have never loved before. This requires effort, vigilance, and radical humility. Violence is easier than nonviolence, yet hate only perpetuates hate. The wisdom teachings remind us that LOVE—active, engaged, fearless LOVE— is the only way to save ourselves and each other from the firestorm of war that rages around us. There is a renewed urgency to this task now. We are asked not only to tolerate the other, but also to actively engage the LOVE that transmutes the lead of ignorance and hatred into the gold of authentic connection. This is the narrow gate Christ speaks of in the gospels (Matthew 7:13). Don’t come this way unless you’re willing to stretch, bend, and transform for the sake of LOVE.
What we think about matters…alot. In fact, what we think about has the power to change the course of our life as well as the power to improve or destroy the world we inhabit. Over the course of our lifetime, our thinking may literally bring life or death to all those things (people, nature, etc) with whom we relate. While reading my daily devotional (from Fr. Richard Rohr/Center for Contemplation and Action), I was pricked and challenged anew to re-consider my own ‘thinking thoughts’ in relation to nonviolence. The following is an excerpt from this morning’s reading; the colored text is what caught my attention:
What does it mean to be nonviolent? Coming from the Hindu/Sanskrit word ahimsa, nonviolence was defined long ago as “causing no harm, no injury, no violence to any living creature.” But Mohandas Gandhi insisted that it means much more than that. He said nonviolence was the active, unconditional love toward others, the persistent pursuit of truth, the radical forgiveness toward those who hurt us, the steadfast resistance to every form of evil, and even the loving willingness to accept suffering in the struggle for justice without the desire for retaliation. . .
Another way to understand nonviolence is to set it within the context of our identity.Practicing nonviolence means claiming our fundamental identity as the beloved [children] of the God of peace. . . . This is what Jesus taught: “Blessed are the peacemakers; they shall be called the sons and daughters of God [Matthew 5:9]. . . . Love your enemies and pray for your persecutors, then you shall be sons and daughters of the God who makes [the] sun rise on the good and the bad, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust” [Matthew 5:44-45]. In the context of his visionary nonviolence—radical peacemaking and love for enemies—Jesus speaks of being who we already are. He talks about our true identities as if they propel us to be people of loving nonviolence. . . .
If only we could, all of us together, just practice being who we are created to be…LOVE! Just be LOVE in a body with hands and feet, arms and legs, heart and soul; willing to become, to embody and to embrace the essence of life force. If only we could remind each other to stay focused and true to our collective calling and in so doing realize this as our ONE true POWER and FREEDOM. Power and freedom to be pure (love) in motive with kindness towards others.
What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while. Gretchen Rubin
How can we not take a moment, or many moments strung together or apart, for serious contemplation on this matter? Shall we make an effort to engage our thinking? To re-consider or re-arrange disjointed or broken beliefs about ourselves? About who we are at the center and essence of our Being? Shall we together, today, and then again tomorrow and every tomorrow thereafter, PRACTICE BEING LOVE…towards all those things and people and problems which we encounter?
Will you join me? May we make a pact…you and I and us? Shall we do our own little research project for the purpose of practicing authentic nonviolence? May we test the veracity of this TRUTH (practice = becoming = reality)? Shall we begin again together?
I would love to hear from you. I would love to begin sharing and enlarging our collective goodness and creative genius towards our being and becoming…LOVE. There is no better time than now.
The root of suffering is the deprivation of love. Now in reality, there’s no such thing as the deprivation of love, but there is the deprivation of the capacity to experience the love that is never missing. James Finley
There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people. Vincent Van Gogh
By its very design, the physical heart is made to give and to receive. It takes blood in from the body through one side and then pumps it out from the other, circulating it throughout the body. A healthy and open heart center does the same thing with love. It sends love out into the world and receives it in equal measure; it keeps love in circulation. Marci Shimoff
Your True Self is who you are, and always have been, created in the image and likeness of God who is love (1 John 4:8, 16). Love is both who you are and who you are still becoming, like a sunflower seed that becomes its own sunflower.
Most of human history has called the True Self your “soul” or your participation in the eternal life of God. All you can do is nurture your True Self, which is saying quite a lot. It is love becoming love in this unique form called “me.” Richard Rohr
I am proud of my Oracle Community…and of those who serve it via the Oracle Community Center! Thank you for your giving-ness to others…not only during this Thanksgiving season, but also throughout the entirety of this past year! Your giving hands and servant’s heart will surely grow a harvest of blessings for all who dwell here. DEBreen
The whole universe story has come into being because God is a hidden treasure who longs to be known. If it takes a whole village to raise a child, it takes a whole cosmos to bear forth the depths of divine love. Cynthia Bourgeault
What if there were a way of radical grace and truth through a post-Christian landscape? It could lead us to prioritize the breaking of bread with people, the breaking of cynicism to give thanks, the daily gift of being broken and given to the people around us. What if the body of Christ recaptured its vision? Recaptured its vision as the only collective in the WORLD that exists for its NON-MEMBERS!
What if the body of Christ became a community that lives its calling to such offensive grace that it looks like we’re soft on truth, routinely accused of being gluttons and drunkards because the King of our kingdom lived around addicts, prostitutes, and shady tax collectors, the broken-down, the busted-up, and the religiously disdained. And He never once explained Himself, only continually gave of Himself.
What if the body of Christ became a community that will not dish out condemnation but courage, that will lean in and listen long and love large. What if the body of Christ defines success as showing up and bending down, serving well over debating well, serving after the lights go off because there’s a light in us? Ann Voskamp ~ The Way of Abundance
God wants creation to become fully conscious that it is imbued with divine love and living in that love. This final outcome is what Teilhard called “the Omega Point” and St. Paul called the Pleroma. Louis Savary and Patricia Berne
I am running, consuming breath, consuming wind, yet I am renewed!
For the love of living whisks me into mystery; into possibility;
So onward as pursued and pursurer I pleasure…Love!
And the mystery I perceive when I run?
There is no end…Love…there is no end!
I’m still on an emotional ‘high’ after finishing my first marathon (Marine Corps Marathon) on Sunday, October 28, 2018. The following words from these others capture perfectly the waves of emotion I am riding to the shores since crossing that line.
“there’s something about the marathon. whether you’re running against the clock, against your previous self, in memory of someone you love, to celebrate or fight against cancer, to prove to yourself what you can do—it’s all about love.” CarlySheree 2018 NYC Marathon finisher
The day will come when, after harnessing space, winds, the tide and gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, [humanity] will have discovered fire. Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955)
Love [people] even in [their] sin, for that is the semblance of Divine Love and is the highest love on earth. Love all God’s creation, the whole and every grain of sand in it. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you have perceived it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love. Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
“When you don’t challenge yourself, you miss out on so much.” Denise Sauriol ~ Chicago-based running coach (the marathon whisperer)
“People sometimes sneer at those who run every day, claiming they’ll go to any length to live longer. But don’t think that’s the reason most people run. Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you’re going to while away the years, it’s far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive then in a fog, and I believe running helps you to do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that’s the essence of running, and a metaphor for life — and for me, for writing as whole. I believe many runners would agree”. Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
“What do I want my one life to really be about? What you most want is what you most love. And what you love is what you’ll ultimately have for all eternity”.Ann Voskamp
“They say a good love is one that sits you down, gives you a drink of water, and pats you on top of the head. But I say a good love is one that casts you into the wind, sets you ablaze, makes you burn through the skies and ignite the night like a phoenix; the kind that cuts you loose like a wildfire and you can’t stop running simply because you keep on burning everything that you touch! I say that’s a good love; one that burns and flies, and you run with it!” C. JoyBell C.
Catch me if you can…Love!
I am running, yet you pursure me..Love!
For the love of living does chase me down with relentless passion.
This one and only life I have been given, it demands to be fully liven!
So to the full I will live it, I will love it! I will run it!
And with overflowing gratitude will I give it.
I am running, consuming breath, consuming wind, yet I am renewed!
For the love of living whisks me into mystery; into possibility;
So onward as pursued and pursurer I pleasure…Love!
And the mystery I perceive when I run?
There is no end…Love…there is no end! DEBreen
SEEK TO PLEASE ME above all else. Let that GOAL be your FOCAL POINT as you go through this day. Such a mind-set will protect you from scattering your ENERGY to the winds. Jesus Calling ~ Sarah Young
Above all else…this is a high standard! Seeking to please HIM! In EVERYTHING! This means I will think first on HIM and of HIM. I will consider my thoughts, my words, my actions..first…for His sake. This seems a most difficult, lofty task, and yet when I consider how being ‘in love’ with someone makes even hard things easy. Then after all, this does not seem such an extraordinary request…for myself or any of us others who claim to love and follow Jesus.
As I consider this appeal from the perspective of my running life, I acknowledge the value and power of keeping my focus. And as a runner, the finish line is a mighty enduring focal point. A finish line, any finish line really, provides immense purpose and drive to keep one’s momentum moving forward. And today, with this devotional reading appearing before my eyes, I am reminded again that the great I AM desires to be at the center of my focus: SEEK TO PLEASE ME ABOVE ALL ELSE!
This is an energetic goal to train towards, is it not? To give the Divine One our attention and preference? This goal alone can consume one’s entire life’s purpose. If ever I considered myself an ‘athlete’, how now would I train myself to succeed in achieving such an ambitious goal? What sort of athletic maneuvers does one perform to become strong towards this end…to seek His pleasure above all else? When I contemplate this imperative, perhaps this task is not too difficult when love is at its core.
Focus your attention on the path just ahead of you and on the One who never leaves your side. Jesus Calling ~ Sarah Young
To please the One who is above all and above all others simply requires my trusting focus; narrow my attention to the path just ahead. Never forget His promise, “I will be with you always”. Yes, of course, this makes perfect sense. Isn’t this what I do when I run a race or run a long distance? Isn’t this how I stay above the fray of defeating thoughts when I am weary and full of worry and feel faint. When I lose heart and breath, this is my sign to focus on the path just ahead…not a mile ahead…not 10 minutes ahead. Just focus on the present moment…just attend to the rhythm of my moving feet, beating heart, breathing lungs.
POUR ALL YOUR ENERGY into trusting Me. It is through trust that you stay connected to Me, aware of My Presence. Jesus Calling ~ Sarah Young
When I consider my true reality, that I inhabit any present moment in the confines of time and eternity simultaneously, I wake up to my strength in the ETERNAL ONE, because I am body, soul, spirit. I felt that strength on Sunday last. I felt it while I was slogging through mile 13…mile 14…mile 15…the steps toward the end were painful indeed. BUT when I thought of the One who lives and moves in Me, of how time and eternity co-exist in ME, I felt energized and lifted up towards the object of my goal…the finish line. For those present moments, I was able to transcend the momentary discomforts of putting feet forward. When I focused on my present reality, my weakness became my strength because His presence gave vigor to my breath and joy to my pain.
And now you know what I know; now you know what kind of thoughts give me GO and FUEL my fire. These kinds of thoughts propel me towards a seemingly un-obtainable goal…running for 26.2 miles…in ONE DAY. These kinds of thoughts fueled me forward last Sunday; even though the thoughts sputtered and flickered off and on, in and out. These thoughts of the ONE…ABOVE ALL ELSE…nourished my flagging reserves.
To think of His Presence…in Me…beside Me…lifted me onward and upward into something like bliss. Those last miles taught me, educated me, via aches, pains and fears of every imagining, that ultimately all things are possible when a mind and heart are focused…ABOVE ALL ELSE!
Matthew 6:30-33The Message (MSG)
30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.
Jennifer Lee, filmmaker
What sets my soul on fire? Wow…what a question to wake up to this morning! I found the above quote in my inbox compliments of the Runner’s World daily newsletter. Honestly, I am surprised that this quote received such a reaction from my 5am, pre-caffeinated mind. Why does a soul on fire intrigue me so? Does that intrigue you?
So intrigued, I continue to wonder…what does a life (soul) set on fire look and feel like? Have I ever experienced such a thing in my life? Have I ever pursued such a condition for myself? Does a soul on fire burn slow and steady or rage flaming? Surely a fire must be continuously stoked? How does one keep or find the combustible material(s) for said soul fire? Do I fearlessly pursue anything? So many questions…not so many answers; but it is early in the morning!
I just don’t understand people not being passionate about something. Just have passion in what you do, and do it with all your heart. Jon Sutherland ~ run streaker (17,721 days straight of running)
Okay, so with a little more caffeine in my system, I begin to see that perhaps I do have a few things I pursue with some amount of energy and frequency in my life. When I consider how I gravitate towards several activities repeatedly, on purpose, for personal satisfaction or enjoyment, and that I am not easily discouraged or distracted from engaging in said activities on a daily basis (running, writing, reading, motivating others to become more active, etc.), then I realize that I may indeed be living as one who has a fire kindled at her center…maybe not a raging conflagration, but a fire burning is a flame by definition regardless of its burning intensity.
Human beings are so made that whenever anything fires the soul, impossibilities vanish. A fire in the heart lifts everything in your life. That’s why passionate leaders are so effective. A leader with great passion and few skills always outperforms a leader with great skills and no passion.
John C Maxwell
Fully awake now, I feel the warmth from center ooze into the extremities of my mind and body. I am beginning to understand my initial attraction and resistance to this morning’s quote in my inbox.
The light switch just flipped on when I realized that I resisted the idea of passionate pursuit because it just sounds like so much hard work and effort. A fearless pursuit of anything requires dedication, determination, drive and singularity of purpose. Considered from this perspective, it sounds like another job…ugh…who needs more work? Not I!
BUT WAIT, when I go about my day engaged in those things which I’m passionate about, these things are not like work to me. HELLO! My PASSIONS = My FUN and fun is not hard! Fun is easy! I love to do my fun things! Isn’t that true for all of you too? Oh my, but I am finally, fully alert. Now I see why this morning’s quote caught my attention. Now I understand how and why I mustfearlessly pursue those things which kindle my soul to fire.
Only one thing is needful for a happy, healthy, life…and that is Love. Love for the Divine One, Love for ourselves and Love for others. At first glance this seems like a list of 3 needful things, but in reality, love administered to any one of these three, is love administered to all. How can that be? Because when love is transmitted, from one entity to another, it flows where it goes; it cannot be controlled or directed or restrained. When love flows, it flows like water; like wisps of wind, its course cannot be shunted, dammed, directed or diverted, because Love Exists…unbidden…it simply Is.
Your beliefs and thoughts are wired into your biology. They become your cells, tissues, and organs. There’s no supplement, no diet, no medicine, and no exercise regimen that can compare with the power of your thoughts and beliefs. That’s the very first place you need to look when anything goes wrong with your body.
A physician can help you monitor symptoms of imbalances and pay attention to signs that you need to do more to enhance your health, but it’s the Creator working within you that heals. Real health comes from Divine Love and infuses your body with vitality. Christiane Northrup, M.D.
Love is viral! When Love flows from one life to another, it cannot be contained or quarantined. Love is no respecter of person or station. Love is not dependent on our ability to understand or comprehend it. Love IS…whether we perceive it or not, Love Remains as our only true Reality. Our awareness or lack of awareness does not affect Love’s potency or its ability to heal our injuries. Love Endures all things (yes even war, hate, and fear) and is able to wash away our grief, suffering, and disappointment. Love wraps and draws all creation close to her breast; we feel the wind and are reminded that Love’s breath is our breath, our essence, our Love. We only need to awaken from our nightmare, and realize that Love Is With Us; Love Is In Us; Love Is For Us. Love never fails or disappoints. Love always wins…
Let everything that has breath and every breath of life praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Hallelujah! (Psalm 150:6 ~ Amplified Bible)
Sigh, without making a sound in the vocal cords, and imagine an all-compassionate presence of Yah. Imagine that each breath is itself a blessing. Yah holds and embraces us, Yah is our inner source of strength, and in each breath, we bless Yah for as long as we live, which is our “forever.”
(Ecstatic Kabbalah ~ David A Cooper)
This is the air I breathe, This is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me This is my daily bread, This is my daily bread
Your very word spoken to me And I ~ I’m desperate for you
And I ~ I’m lost without you (Breathe ~ Lyrics: Michael W Smith)
Focus your attention on your lungs, as if only your lungs exist. Feel the pleasure when your lungs expand to fulfill the biggest need of the human body – to breathe. Take a deep breath and feel the air as it fills your lungs. Feel how the air is nothing but love. Notice the connection between the air and the lungs, a connection of love. To breathe gives us much pleasure. Just to breathe is enough for us to always be happy, to enjoy life. Just to be alive is enough. Feel the pleasure to be alive, the pleasure of the feeling of love…
(The Four Agreements ~ Don Miguel Ruiz)