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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Discovering the Spiritual in the Everyday
Hidden Spring 01/02 Paperback $14.00
Gunilla Norris lives in Mystic, Connecticut, where she works as a writer, meditation teacher, and psychotherapist in private practice. In 1991, she gave us one of the best books ever written on the practice of everyday spirituality. It has now been reissued, a cause for celebration in itself.
Norris takes us through an ordinary day beginning with awakening (“Let me be wildly present / to living the gift of time”) to day’s end with entering rest (“You are the Holy Mystery I surrender to / when I close my eyes”). In between, Norris tutors us in the spiritual practices of attention, being present, connections, gratitude, love, openness, teachers, wonder, and mystery. The extraordinary photographs that accompany her meditations are by Greta D. Sibley.
Similar to Celtic Christians, Norris opens her eyes and her other senses to the lessons and the liberations within ordinary activities. She communes with her experiences and savors the graces that come. For instance, while washing, the author prays, “Help me scrub my face free of its masks / so I can return to the true self you gave me.” While looking at herself in the mirror, Norris hopes she will be able to mirror the will of the Holy One. While arranging flowers, her dialogue with the Creator turns to thoughts of how she and the flowers share the states of blooming and dying.
One of our favorites is “Dusting” where Norris envisions this chore as “a kind of lovemaking . . . the chance to appreciate by touch / what I live with and cherish.” Taking out the trash reminds the author that waste is inescapable, and mending reveals that everything gets frayed over the course of time. We also loved the image of a nest of papers on the desk as being a place where we can nurture new things.
As Jesus reminded us with his mustard seed vision, it is always the little things that matter in the spiritual life. Being Home by Gunilla Norris enables us to savor the vast love that flares up in the midst of the most bromidic tasks in our daily rounds.
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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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