Journey to Rest

One of the set of talks I joined at Wild Goose was on mindfulness. These were helpful to me personally, as I’m going through a period of transition and uncertainty, with my chaplain residency ending without a set job in place to pay the bills yet.
The first talk explored historic Christian mindfulness practices like lectio divina and centering prayer. In it we took part in both exercises and I heard a reminder to balance walking with God, and waiting on God daily so I neither give up nor rush into positions that are not right for me out of impatience.
The other was Scott Elliot’s talk on mindfulness Christianity which gave theology and history for it, including a rooting in the new monastic movement. Father Scott also explored the intersection of Buddhist and Christian mindfulness practice, & what a Christianity that incorporates the best of both looks like.
In facing my own experiences of heartache, deep hurt, & resulting anxieties in life I’ve found mindfulness a powerful approach that has paved paths to healing and peace. Too often as an activist Christian I’ve focused on justice work forgetting without healing what is broken in my soul, the other will just perpetuate new and different cycles of oppression. I am glad Wild Goose this year invited us to, as Jesus said, clean not just the outer glass but inside the cups of our soul.

Here is a poem I wrote earlier this year about my mindfulness practice. How do you cultivate mindfulness in your spiritual life?

And I’m not just whistling Dixie!

Your progressive redneck preacher,


2013-07-10 07.19.16



ImageSometimes stopping can be the most work
When my monkey mind wants to jump,
Screeching for attention,
Climbing the ever growing vines of what-might-be, of worries & concerns
When my soul sets to scrambling upon the treadmill
Not just of tasks that must be done
Like patient visits,
Paperwork to be completed,
Yard to mow,
Laundry to fold,
And dishes to washbees
But also the fear that buzzes
Like a swarm of bees in the distance
Fear that if I am not more
If I do not try harder
I will not make things secure enough,
will not be good enough
And for whom?
The dread angst which causes me to sit
Like a cat about to crouch, ready to spring from some shadow soon falling across the horizon.
rain on tin roofYet beneath it all I hear
The tap tap tap like a million dancers
Feet moving upon tin stage
Of cool spring rain upon the roof.
I smell the crispness of cloud bursts.
I hear a call to sabbath
In the twittering voices of small wild birds at rest upon my balcony railing
And with the chitter of squirrels at play within the overhanging tree branches
Like the babble of the brook I pass
While walking from my bus stop each evening
Where I shake the dust from my day’s work away
I hear them whisper
‘Be still
Be still and know…’
Quietly I breathe in the aroma of fresh coffeecoffee on porch
And know deep in my heart
This is enough
This moment is enough
I am enough
And drink of my now full cup.

One thought on “Journey to Rest

  1. erinrebecca says:

    I really enjoyed learning about Lectio and contemplative prayer at the Goose! I got out of the habit of daily prayer while I was rushing to finish my thesis, and I’ve continued to slack off since graduation. I really felt challenged at WG to make prayer practice a priority again, especially contemplative prayer and journaling. I’ve been creating some sort of doodle with a phrase that I want to meditate on and then writing a bit about what that phrase means to me. It’s definitely something I’m enjoying so far.

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