Friday, May 22, 2009

"...I know that it's time for a cool change.."

"If there's one thing in my life that's missing
It's the time I spend alone
Sailing on the cool and bright clear waters
There's lots of those friendly people
Showin' me ways to go
And I never want to lose their inspiration

But, it's time for
a cool change...
I know that it's time
for a cool change
Now that my life
is so pre-arranged
I know that it's time
for a cool change..."

Cool Change"
- The Bellamy Brothers
(click on the title above to hear the song)

Changes are in the air...and they are cool...and wonderful.  Graduations, weddings, new jobs, promotions, babies, travel.  Cool changes. 

Someone recently asked me, "If you could give only one gift, the same one to each person making a life transition this month, what would it be?"

It was easy.  The space to be alone, to be still, and to listen in that silence for the voice of the Divine, God, Allah, Jah, Supreme Being...or whatever you call Her.

This is the most valuable part of any day for me.  It is the "one thing" I cannot live without.  I can do without food, water (for a time), conversation, friends, books (this one is hard...but not impossible), the company of my loved ones (even harder)...but I cannot live without the space to commune with God.

It is a change of direction that I seek throughout my days when everything points towards tasks, deadlines, timetables, and schedules...outcomes and accomplishments, to stop and turn away from that momentum and be still.

It is a cool change.  It is refreshing, invigorating, soothing, and inspiring.  It feeds me and cleanses my palate all at the same time.  It is wonderfully simple and deeply complex.  It is richly sumptuous and pure light coincidentally.  It is what gives me the kind of joy that none can take away.

Whether it is your wedding day or your first day of work at the most wonderful new job you could imagine...the birth of your first child or the launching of your catamaran out to sea after retiring from a long illustrous will never be more glorious than hearing the voice of God in the silence of your own heart...inspiring you, giving you encouragement, direction, guidance, solace.

It has taken me many years to more fully develop a practice of silence and deep listening that sustains me.  And the more I practice it, the more I hunger for it.  And that silence doesn't require a closet, a church, or a sanctuary...boat alone on the sea, or a chapel in the woods.  It can be practiced in the midst of a concentration camp (as proven in the lives of thought luminaries like Corrie TanBoom and "Jeremy"), a prison cell (think of Paul, Ghandi, Mandela), a war-torn desert, a large family, a high school cafeteria, a wedding reception, or even a rock concert.  As the word practice implies, it takes practice...but that's the fun of it. 

Start out with silent places (church, your bedroom, a garden) and work up to carving out silence spaces...within the midst of more stimulating places -- it .  

I wish I could give each of you one hour a day alone within the sanctuary of your own consciousness...the province governed by the divine.  But this is not a gift anyone can give is a gift you must give yourself.  But it is not a selfish gift.  It is a gift that, when practiced, can't help but bless others in ever-widening circles of love and inner peace.

When you walk away from a confrontation, an event...even a joyous one, the demands of a busy schedule, and re-calibrate yourself in alignment with the Source of your divine nature and purpose, everyone is blessed and benefited.

Imagine you are in the middle of your wedding reception and you step away for a moment or two...into the garden, in the stairwell, behind the center your heart on God's hand in your life, your new marriage, your purpose, to give thanks, to ask, "How can I most serve You in this moment?" and then listen for the answer.  Imagine the look of peace that you will radiate from your entire being when you return to the festivities.  Imagine the tone you will set...much like a tuning fork sets the perfect pitch in tuning a piano.

A few weeks ago I had the privilege and joy of attending a James Taylor concert in a small concert hall with a generous friend.  Time and again during the concert (an event I had waited since 1970 to experience...JT up close and personal...oh my goodness!!!) I was called away by my phone for a conversation and then to pray...or to pray during the conversation.  It was my favorite part of the realize that as much as I loved JT's voice, his songs, his lyrics...I loved the voice of God even more!!  I never once felt "interrupted" by a call, but it felt as if the calls were making the concert more wonderful, more rich, more sacred.  Each call was a reminder that God's voice was my
favorite voice. 

So, as we all enter this season of cool changes, I pray that we each love ourselves enough to give the bride...the new mom, the recent graduate, the concert-goer, the healer...within ourselves, the gift of silent spaces with God. 

"...If there's one thing in my life that's missing
It's the time that I spend alone
Sailing on the cool and bright clear waters
It's kind of a special feeling
When you're out on the sea alone
Staring at the full moon like a lover

Time for
a cool change...
I know that it's time
for a cool change
Now that my life is so prearranged
I know that it's time
for a cool change..."

dearest love...hopes, and dreams each of you,
Kate Robertson, CS

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