This word – overwhelm – has been on the lips of so many people in my life these days. They seem to be describing a collective experience of suffering – too many tragedies, too much suffering, too many demands, too much rancor and division in the public sector. And many people also speak of the challenge of taking time to stop and care for themselves. It seems to be a toxic mix of overscheduling, physical exhaustion, emotional depletion, and guilt which stands in the way of pausing to rest, reflect, and rejoice in the precious moments that move through our days. These moments are crowded out by urgency, anger, competition, and isolation.
A wise colleague and friend recently said that he thinks the traumas we have recently witnessed – in Charlottesville, Las Vegas, Washington, DC, North Korea, NYC to name just a few – are really spiritual problems at their root. I couldn’t agree more. As spiritual beings having a human experience (Teilhard de Chardin) how do we, can we, respond?
More than ever, I believe, we need to take time to find and nurture connection – with self, with one another and with Divine Presence, however you experience this.
What feeds your soul? Being in the natural world? Listening to music? Creating art? Preparing a meal? Take a few moments to get clear on where your soul comes alive, and do more of that. Schedule time every day – even for 5 minutes – to feed your soul, your deepest self.
Who is your ‘village’? Identify the people with whom you feel safe, cared for, heard, affirmed. Spend time with them. Be intentional – in whatever way works for you – in scheduling time to be with your village. Care for one another.
How do you experience Divine Presence? God? Through prayer? Song? Reading? Silence? In community? By yourself? When and where have you felt a closeness with the world where “God shimmers in all things?” (Teilhard) How does your daily/weekly/monthly schedule reflect and make space for time with Divine Presence?
A couple of weeks ago, while on retreat, I attended a Contemplative Eucharist service at Bethany House of Prayer in Arlington, MA. The generous welcome, the deep silence, the space embedded with prayer, were a welcome balm to my soul. As we moved toward the altar to receive the bread and wine, we chanted these words –
Return again, return again
Return to the land of your Soul
Return to what you are, return to who you are
return to where you are
Born and reborn again
The simple melody, the direct invitation, has been singing in me ever since. Return to what I am, who I am, where I am. Born . . . and reborn.
When overwhelm hits – when the aching of the world feels like too much to bear – return to the land of your Soul. Take time to turn your heart toward all that enlivens you, that frees you to see the ‘shimmering presence of God in all things’ . . . even you.
Click HERE to listen Return Again!