Silence and Journal Work

"The only map that does the spiritual traveler any good is one that leads to the center, The journal is one way of drawing this map in which you order experience by putting it into words. Prayer or meditation is another kind of map in which you put words aside for silence. The journal of the spiritual quest is inspired by silence. Through the desire to bear witness to experience, the journal makes form, story, and meaning out of silence. There are limits to what words can convey about unity, but like a photograph that is able to transport you back to the scene, once you've been there the words of a journal are able to recreate experiences of unity in you mind.

"Silence is important because it provides direction. What waits for you in silence is the insight and direction you need to determine the next step in your quest. Silence is the source of knowing what to do, or what not to do . . .

"Contemplative silence is necessary for the spiritual journey. A pilgrim who travels without inner stillness puts him/herself in danger. Without the centering guidance of silence, you cannot be sure how to respond on a spiritual level. Silence is rich with spontaneous offerings. You may function well for a very long time, but if you are cut off from the 'still small voice' of inner guidance, you will be more fearful about the decisions you make. Many people try to lead sane, healthy, reasonable lives without being in touch with silence. They don't understand that the resource they most need is the simple silence they're missing."
Life's Companion: Journal Writing as A Spiritual Quest

Calling a Circle

"Circles appear wherever we call them. I called a circle as part of my twenty-fifth college reunion. Circling was still such a new concept, I wanted to see if the readiness I felt in other groups was also present among women who had mostly grown up in the middle of the Middle West. One early evening in June of 1993, we closed the doors to the girls' dorm, and twenty women from Macalester College, Class of '68, looked at each other anew. On a coffee table, I laid out a Balinese cloth, candles, and a basket that travels with me. To this centerpiece, each woman contributed an object that symbolically represented her life now: photos of family, a favorite book, an identification badge from work, a running shoe, a rock from Lake Superior. We lit the candles and looked at each other in the flickering light, seeing remembered twenty-year-old faces in our forty-seven year-old eyes. We opened the discussion and began sharing all the things we don't always take time to speak about in the busyness of our days, It had been a quarter of a century since we came of age: now what? As we went around the group, each woman held her object, said what she had come to say. It took three hours of close attention."
Calling the Circle: The First and Future Culture

Maybe God is Calling You

"Sometimes I think of the connection to spirit as being like a phone line. The connection is always open: it's our half of the relationship to stay available for incoming calls. Sometimes I turn the ringer off. Sometimes I ignore the ringing. Sometimes I pick up the phone with suspicion. Sometimes I hang up in anger. Sometimes I get impatient at the interruption. Sometimes I have no idea how to respond. The problem is not in the sending, but in the receiving. And unlike a lot of other calls, the one from spirit is the one we are hoping to receive.

"One time, having tea with a friend, we were in deep conversation when the phone rang. I ignored it, thinking I was being polite. Jerry stopped his thought mid-sentence and asked, 'Aren't you going to get the phone? Maybe God is calling you.' I looked at him I amazement, reached for the receiver, and tentatively said, ' hello?. . . " I don't remember who was calling, but I have never forgotten Jerry's message to stay curious, to see if I can decode the Divine in everyday interactions. We have in ourselves some mysterious ability, in ordinary moments and moments of extreme, to speak with the voice of God-like the man who phoned from the World Trade Center with one last, brilliant message."
The Seven Whispers: Listening to the Voice of Spirit

The Stories of Our Lives

"There are seven billion story-filled people in the world: all of us talkers, all of us listeners. We live in a breadth of conditions almost unimaginable to each other. Yet if we can find a common language in which to communicate, we can find the commonality in who we are, Embedded in the narrative of our lives are common human values, impulses,
and longings . . .

"Among Hasidic Jews, when a child first approaches the Torah to study the history and wisdom of 'the law,' the rabbi puts a drop of honey on a tiny plate and sets it on the page. The child licks the honey from the holy word so she or he will always associate sweetness with learning. In Islam, references to honey, and the sweetness of paradise, sing throughout the Qur'an. And among the Tzutujil Indians of Guatemala, their parting blessing to each other is expressed as a wish for 'long life, honey in the heart, no evil thirteen thank-yous."
Storycatcher: Making Sense of Our Lives Through the Power and Practice of Story