On Prayer and Beauty

I’m totally lifting from a friend, Katharine Weinmann’s recent blog post. She wrote on alchemy, which is a topic and focus that I find very attractive and helpful. Take some time to read her post — I love her thoughtfulness and heartfulness.

What I’m lifting are two short poems. The first my Mary Oliver.

“Praying. It doesn’t have to be the blue iris, 
it could be weeds in a vacant lot, or a few small stones; 
just pay attention, then patch a few words together 
and don’t try to make them elaborate, 
this isn’t a contest but the doorway into thanks, 
and a silence in which another voice may speak.”

I love the way that Mary Oliver pulls us into the sacred and the noticeable through the ordinary and sometimes not-super-noticeable. “It could be weeds….”

Because, I find that I’m a student of noticing rather profound things through such normal things. The green tomatoes that are now reaching for the lessened sun of autumn with 50/50 chance of ripening to red on the vine. Ah, the journey of ripening in any of us to become what we are meant to be, or to discover that we are meant for other things too. Or, the normal of the small amount of leftover pasta that now becomes mid day meal. Ah, sustenance. Or, ah, using what is available in a simple way. Or, ah, the corn ready to be picked in late summer. Ah, fruition. Or fulfillment. Or simple offering that is a couple ears of corn for any of us.

“…it isn’t a contest but the doorway into thanks…”

And then this short poem, again lifted form Katharine’s post, from Rumi the 13th century Persian poet,

Let the beauty that you love be what you do.

Oh, to further clarify our lives, any of us, as further commitment to beauty, love, and doing. There is a discipline in this, right. I kind of joyous discipline to first notice what we love (or find love in what is ordinary), and then to do it through love.

Like tending to the garden patch overrun with those now grown tall weeds that are going to seed. There can be love and beauty in that. Like offering format and design for an upcoming gathering of ten people on a team, that are seeking to reconnect with the heart of their work and the hearts of themselves.

Let the beauty that you love be what you do.

Love and beauty seem to have much to do with alchemy. Turning straw or lead to gold. In the inner and in the outer. In the times that we live in. I have the feeling each of us can be helpful by starting with love and beauty, making it what we do in the great changes about us.

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