Skip to content

Spiritual Well Being

 

Spiritual well being is experienced as we connect with the Source and Force of Life greater than ourselves, with our deeper selves, and with others; and when we find purpose and meaning in our lives through these connections.

The offerings you find here are presented to support you in exploring and cultivating these connections.


 

 

Let us not allow the virus, which threatens our bodies, creep into our souls.
Chandra G. Irvin

 

 


 

“In times of loneliness and despair,
Consider the lesson of metamorphosis:
All that we endure
Contributes to what we become.
The caterpillar who avoids
The painful isolation of the chrysalis
Will never soar above the earth
On painted wings.
To be safe is to be forever earthbound.
Heaven is the reward of those who risk.”
Karen E. From

 


 

Sounds True presents

Resilience in Challenging Times

Resilience in Challenging Times | Free Mindfulness Courses for Overcoming Fear & Anxiety in 2020

 

 


 

We have an opportunity for a ‘better, new normal’

Eboo Patel

http://ifyc.org/blog/we-have-opportunity-better-new-normal


 

 

It is as important, if not more so, to quiet the inner noises than to isolate oneself from the outer noises.

Howard Thurman

 

 

 


A Message for Our Time

 

We find ourselves in a position we had not imagined just weeks ago.  Yet, here we are.  What is this we are in?  A threat?  A mere pause?  A challenge to puzzle through?  An opportunity?  A threat, a pause, a challenge, an opportunity.  Perhaps this experience, this time we find ourselves in, is all of these rolled into one.

Have you ever received a gift, a surprise, perhaps even a message that you undervalued?  I did some distant years ago when I received my first journal.  My husband gave it to me.  I didn’t know why.  Maybe he wanted me to be more like him.   He was a life-long “journaler.” I was not one to journal and had many good reasons not to.  But the brown, 8 ½ x 11” leather-bound book with the silver clasp was beautiful, so I admired it, thanked him and put it on a shelf where it stayed for several years.

Threat, pause, challenge opportunity – what is this time we are in?  Does it matter how we see it?  I believe it does.

If we see it only as a pause, we will assume we can resume where we left off.  Things will go back to what they were so in the meantime we will just find things, activities, to fill our time.

If we see the time we are in as a threat,

we are likely to do all we can to beat it or outrun it.  I believe we should do all we can in this regard.  Still, if we see this experience only as a threat, we are likely to give ALL of our attention to “it.”  I doubt that is what this time is really about—giving all of our attention solely to the threat.

If we see the time we are in as a challenge (and it is) but if we see it only as a challenge to puzzle through, we will see it in essence as something to figure out, something to get through and be through.  When it is done, we will be done.

This time.  This time.  How will we see this time we are in?  What if we were able to see this time as an opportunity to see in the pause, in the threat, in the challenge that which we have not seen before.  What if this is our opportunity—my opportunity, your opportunity—to not only be in the time we are in but to be more of ourselves in this time?

Who are we really?  Who am I?  What is my essence, my purpose?  Who am I at my core?  What aspect of Divine light am I to bring to the world?  Am I Service, Grace, Peace, Possibilities, Hope, Care?  Am I Honesty, Compassion, Inspiration, Curiosity, Joy, Love, Fun, Generosity?  Who am I?  How is this time of threat, challenge, and pause informed by my expression of who I am?

When my husband gave me that beautiful journal.  I wrote a few entries in it then put it on a shelf.  And there it stayed for several years.  Every now and then I’d look at it then move on.  I didn’t have time to journal.  That was until I came to a season in my life when Life demanded that I take stock of who I was, my purpose, and my journey.  I picked up the journal and began to write.  In the course of writing, I made a discovery.  I had wondered whether my husband had given me the journal so I would be more like him.  As it turned out, it was so I could be more like me.

Friends, I am not suggesting that you journal.  Life speaks to us in different ways and journaling just may not be for you.  I do wonder though whether, in this time of threat, challenge, and what I believe is a pause, if we can see also this time as an opportunity—a chance to explore and cultivate our core selves, and in turn to offer our best selves to God, to ourselves, and to one another.

 

Questions to Ponder:

Who are you bringing to this time? (Who are you at your core?)

As you bring your true self to this time…

What challenges have you, or do you imagine you will encounter?

What have you had to let go (e.g., ideas, approvals, etc.)?

What surprises are you discovering?

How are others being helped?

What joys are you experiencing?

 

Chandra G. Irvin, Executive Director

Center for Peace and Spiritual Renewal

March 18, 2020

 


 

 

Spiritual Resources for COVID-19

From the Earth and Spirit Center

https://www.earthandspiritcenter.org/programs/spiritual-support/spiritual-resources-for-covid-19/

 

 

 


 

 

 

God is Present

Howard W. Thurman

God is present with me this day.

God is present with me in the midst of my anxieties.  I affirm in my own heart and mind the reality of God’s presence.  God makes immediately available to me the strength of Divine goodness, the reassurance of Divine wisdom and the heartiness of Divine courage.  My anxieties are real; they are the result of a wide variety of experiences, some of which I understand, some of which I do not understand.  One thing I know concerning my anxities:  they are real to me.  Sometimes they seem more real than the presence of God.  When this happens, they dominate my mood and possess my thoughts.  The presence of God does not always deliver me from anxiety but it always delivers me from anxieties.  Little by little, I am beginning to understand that deliverance from anxiety means fundamental growth in spiritual character and awareness.  It becomes a quality of being, emerging from deep within, giving to all the dimensions of experience a vast immunity against being anxious.  A ground of calm underlines experiences whatever may be the tempestuous character of events.  This calm is the manifestation in life of the active, dynamic Presence of God.

God is present with me this day.

 

 

 

 


“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled.  For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” 

M. Scott Peck

 


 

Lockdown

Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM

March 13th 2020

 

Yes there is fear.

Yes there is isolation.

Yes there is panic buying.

Yes there is sickness.

Yes there is even death.

But,

They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise

You can hear the birds again.

They say that after just a few weeks of quiet

The sky is no longer thick with fumes

But blue and grey and clear.

They say that in the streets of Assisi

People are singing to each other

across the empty squares,

keeping their windows open

so that those who are alone

may hear the sounds of family around them.

They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland

Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.

Today a young woman I know

is busy spreading fliers with her number

through the neighbourhood

So that the elders may have someone to call on.

Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples

are preparing to welcome

and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary

All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting

All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way

All over the world people are waking up to a new reality

To how big we really are.

To how little control we really have.

To what really matters.

To Love.

So we pray and we remember that

Yes there is fear.

But there does not have to be hate.

Yes there is isolation.

But there does not have to be loneliness.

Yes there is panic buying.

But there does not have to be meanness.

Yes there is sickness.

But there does not have to be disease of the soul

Yes there is even death.

But there can always be a rebirth of love.

Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.

Today, breathe.

Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic

The birds are singing again

The sky is clearing,

Spring is coming,

And we are always encompassed by Love.

Open the windows of your soul

And though you may not be able

to touch across the empty square,

Sing.

 

[The Order of Friars Minor, also called the Franciscans, the Franciscan Order, or the Seraphic Order, has a postnominal abbreviation OFM)

 

Questions to Ponder: 

In the presence of fear, isolation, panic buying, sickness and yes, even death, what words will your soul sing to lift your spirit?

Who might you ask to join in your song?

 

 

 


 

 “…feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.”
                                                                                                                            Pema Chödrön

 


 

A Haiku Inspired By My Church Sister, Maya Angelou

Chandra Goforth Irvin

March 20, 2020

 

In these times we search

The time we have before us

To see what we have

 

To offer this time

Searching for the best in self

To give to others

 

What do we have now?

To ease the journey we share

What can we offer?

 

Among the chaos

Might I offer you some peace?

Perhaps grace or space

 

So that you can be

Alarmed, uncertain, afraid

Without my judgment?

 

On our common path

Leading where we do not know

Treading cautiously

 

Halting, withdrawing

Still encouraged to go on

We go forth, go forth

 

Navigating paths

Where we have not gone before

Trusting as we go

 

We are not alone

For you are with me, my friend

And I am with you

 

To encourage you

Grateful you encourage me

As we forge ahead

 

We are not alone

Sacred Presence guides us now

And to us reveals

 

What we have to give

To life and one another

In this and all times

 

It is my true self

I have to offer you and

You I shall receive

 

And “I’ll do my best

Because I am counting on

You counting on me”[1]

 

[1] The final quote, from Maya Angelou, is “I do my best because I am counting on you counting on me.”

 

 


 

 

The Pressure of Crisis

Howard W. Thurman, Meditations of the Heart

When Lloyd George, the British statesman, was a boy, one of his family responsibilities was to collect firewood for warmth and for cooking.  He discovered early that always after a very terrific storm, with high winds and driving rain, he had very little difficulty in finding as much, and more wood than he needed at the time.  When the days were beautiful, sunny and the skies untroubled, firewood was at a premium.  Despite the fact that the sunny days were happy ones for him, providing him with long hours to fill his heart with delight, nevertheless, in terms of other needs which were his specific responsibilities, they were his most difficult times.  Many years after, he realized what had been happening.  During the times of heavy rains and driving winds, many of the dead limbs were broken off and many rotten trees were toppled over.  The living things were separated from the dead things.  But when the sun was shining and the weather was clear and beautiful, the dead and the not dead were undistinguishable.

The experience of Lloyd George is common to us all.  When all is well with our world, there is often no necessity to separate the “dead” from the “not dead” in our lives.  Under the pressure of crisis when we need all available vitality, we are apt to discover that much in us is of no account, valueless.  When our tree is rocked by mighty winds all the limbs that do not have free and easy access to what sustains the trunk are torn away; there is nothing to hold them fast.

It is good to know what there is in us that is strong and solidly rooted.  It is good to have the assurance that can only come from having ridden the storm and remained intact.  Far beside the point is the why of the storm.  Beside the point, too, may be the interpretation of the storm that makes it an active agent of redemption [that it came to save us].  Given the storm, it is wisdom to know that when it comes, the things that are firmly held by the vitality of the life are apt to remain, chastened but confirmed; while the things that are dead, sterile or lifeless are apt to be torn away.  The wheat and the tares (weeds) grow up together but when the time of harvest comes, only wheat is revealed as wheat—and tares remain what they have been all along, tares.

Questions to Ponder: 

  • What are the vital things firmly held in my life that are apt to remain after this storm?
  • What are the things in me that am I discovering are of no account, valueless?
  • What things am I willing to let die during this storm?
  • What things might I find most difficult to let die?

 

 


 

 

What Can I Trust Today?

Chandra Goforth Irvin

March 22, 2020

 

In quietness I wonder, what can I trust today?

In stillness, I realize I’ve already trusted

So much this morning.

The sun warming and lighting the earth though I do not see it.

The food I have eaten

The house that has not fallen in upon me.

This seat that still holds me up

 

Life’s gifts taken for granted

These I should note and then consider

What more do I trust already?

That God hears me as I pray

Sustaining me in my breathing

Caring and engaging me in my quiet

Reminding me this is my day

 

I trust this day is here for me

And I am here for this day

To contribute to its meaning in life

Yet, what meaning could it offer life?

And what might I offer it?

This day in life so vast and eternal

How will it really matter?

 

It will matter to all who find meaning

In the rhythm of its joys, its griefs

Annoyances and pleasantries

Secrets and revelations

Doubts and hopes

Good Morning Day

What meaning can I trust?

URJ Statement: Witnessing Protests, Rage, and Our Torah’s Unbending Demand for Justice | Union for Reform Judaism

RABBI STEVE LEDER ON TODAY SHOW: