Monthly Archives: May 2015

Earth: Praying Globally, Invoking Locally . . . Very Locally

Garden AngelA prayer moves on human lips for every world problem.   War.   Hunger. Climate Change. Discrimination. Global troubles confronted by genuine words of faith.   Earth urgently embraced across continents.   Embraced by human Hearts in a consecrated pact of remembered responsibility.

Within my local Ozark stretch of Earth, my friend, Carolyn Amrit Knaus, is inviting congregations, spiritual groups and individuals to participate in Wednesday prayers for Peace during the month of June at the Heart of Many Ways Sanctuary. Amrit is using the phrase “Global Peace. Personal Peace” to frame the gatherings’ intent.  I find this transpersonal/personal integration describes well the challenge of living Heart-fully on Earth at this time.

Holding Earth, Her People and Integral Biology in Awareness through song, visualization, and prayer activates the Heart’s natural powers of Protection and Impetus for Change.   It attunes us to Primordial Planetary Harmonies.   And overtime builds trust in and loyalty to Earth’s Spiritual and Natural Beauty.

Absorbing and blissing in this Macrocosmic Communion is considered by some to be a high point of spiritual service. An ascension bright and expansive with promise and radiatory sharing, which makes the Heart Sing. True. But for me the high point comes later. It comes in the descent.

In the descent of translating the Heart’s Powers and the Desire of our Holy Supplications into everyday, real time, dust, rainy, sweaty human Earth reality. A sacred descent symbolized in prayer and ritual through sealing words of power: “So Be It”   “Amen”   “OM.” A descent actualized through invocative living, that is: keeping faith with cherished Macrocosmic Harmonies through intentional choices about our activities, bodies, emotions, relationships, and thoughts.

Part of our invocative human power lives in the very Earth-like structure of our being. We are a fusion of minerals, flesh, life-preserving instincts, watery emotions and dreams, of the fire of thought and breath, immanent Soul spark, and Spiritual flame.   This synthetic design gives credence to our potent Heart pact to pray globally and invoke locally . . . in the very locality of ourselves.  It reminds that what we do to ourselves, we do to Earth.   And what we do to Earth, we do to ourselves.   What will you do today?

Endurance: Making Community Commitments that Strengthen

Leatherwood CreekBuilding individual endurance for heart-full living involves multiple interwoven commitments. I’ve written about seven of these over the past seven weeks. 1) Refreshing clarity of Purpose and one’s part in Life’s unfolding story. 2) Finding common ground not just in vision but also in relationship. 3) Speaking up. 4) Resting and stretching the Heart. 5) Immersing in Beauty.   6) Drawing on Earth’s regenerative powers. 7) Rooting through action.   I’m certain you have your own trusted favorites discovered and cultivated through your individual studies and lived journey.

 Would the same practices apply to a family or larger community?   Here I find through simple observation and the vicissitudes of my own decade-long intentional community experience that, when entering the realm of “group”, complications necessarily emerge. Complications of diversity, coordination, commitment and conscious intent.

Still I wonder how does a family or community refresh its endurance for healthy, heart-full living?   It’s a question, I believe, that has many answers.   I contemplated its possibilities one evening on the banks of Leatherwood Creek.   Hints of dusk were gathering and the frogs were just beginning their evening song, as the clear water scurried below my bare feet in a rain-fed rush.

Just a few minutes drive from my home down winding Hwy 62, Leatherwood Creek sparkles through Lake Leatherwood Municipal Park on the western edge of Eureka Springs. This city treasure was sculpted from the Ozarks beginning in the 1940’s. Its sixteen hundred acres hold a baseball diamond, soccer fields, nearly 15 miles of wooded hiking and biking trails, camping sites, cabins and an 85 acre lake featuring one of the largest hand-cut limestone dams in the United States.   Not a bad spread for tourist town registering a permanent resident population under 2500.   Popular locals, day visitors and overnight guests, the park’s landscape still invites the experience of feeling as if one “has the whole place to oneself”, while also offering space for group play and adventure.

In Leatherwood’s evening solitude, I realized I was sitting on and in and surrounded by an answer to my question.   A community’s commitments speak to the source, quality, and opportunity that its inhabitants have for building endurance and experiencing renewal. And perhaps even to the question of whether or not the community consciously prefers to endure at all.

I don’t have any scientific studies demonstrating that Leatherwood’s accessible green space, open water, sports fields, and tended trails positively impact the sustaining heart and well-being of Eureka Springs and its residents.   But watching families splash through puddles and gather in good spirits on that Wednesday evening for an informal round of soccer gave me the practical measure of proof I need that this park, this community commitment strengthens and builds endurance of heart and health.

Endurance: Energize the Root of Being on Earth

rootsWhen you sketch a tree, do you show the detail of the branches?  Do you differentiate each leaf?  Does the trunk rise straight or with graceful curves?  Is there fruit? Do you powerfully depict the spreading presence of the roots, penetrating, reaching, nutrifying, stabilizing broad and deep into the soil?

A friend and I spoke recently about the interpretative symbolism of tree drawings. We remarked on the number of trees we have seen drawn or have drawn ourselves without including life-sustaining below-the-ground roots.   Roots, we commented between ourselves, are essential to life, but often forgotten or cut short.

Taproots, the deepest primary roots, emerge from the seed. Several of my Ozark favorites such as white oaks, hickories, and walnuts are known for strong, plunging taproots. Others like the red oak and sycamore grow thick heart roots that send out secondary roots to source for water.

Primary and secondary root systems support and influence human lives as well. Genetics. National and regional origin. Family lineage and community culture: from food to core values to employment to generational skill-sharing, and relationship norms.   Religious tradition and spiritual ritual passed down and adapted through centuries.   Decisions.   Habits.   Some might be better trimmed back. Others energized and enhanced.

I hold the hypothesis that the deepest, most energizing, and grounding root we possess in today’s increasingly virtualized, technified world is the Core Self in Action, the Heart engaged in   creative endeavor, with all the responsibilities, hurdles, connections and joys this brings.

Perhaps like many inherited roots, this vital root of practically Being on Earth, cannot be escaped. Perhaps whether we want to accept its challenges or not, it will eventually sprout and grow in us. However, for those on the path of goal fitness, this essential root is neither forgotten nor a “perhaps.” It is progressively energized and drawn into the picture of a life intentionally lived.  A source and result of endurance, it is etched on life’s canvas through healthy choices and active commitment to the Core Self – the Heart Self – and efforts that matter.

Endurance: Draw on Great Powers

violetsBirthing great goals necessitates calling on great powers. Not powers separate from ourselves.   But rather pulsing reservoirs of creativity and vitality existing beyond our self-defined ring-pass-not’s.

Reaching into such reservoirs means trespassing beyond self-circumscribed notions of personal intellect, desire and strength. Stretching into the unpredictable wild of energetic interplay. Adventuring into intimate co-inspiration and opening to exponential uplift. I find this broadening applies equally to the completion of finite projects and pursuing long-term aims, such as living a transformative life rich with challenge, friendship and meaning.

Mother Earth is perhaps our most natural, go-to beyond-self resource. Simply touching Her with bare hands and feet pulls us into Her replenishing circulation and eases us out of our modern electro-magnetic overload. Plenty of “Earthing” websites will attest to this renewing phenomena, but how much more potent to check it out for oneself: squishing toes into a humble patch of untreated row house lawn, resting full body amongst the season’s lush wildflowers (mind the ticks and chiggers), or plunging waist deep into a brisk spring river. Moment upon moment of earth-touching recharges our endurance and boosts hope, courage and the sense of possibility — all essential to great pursuits.

I’ve applied this principle in a small way, as the weather has warmed, shifting to practicing karate barefooted on a stone patio interspersed with vigorous violets. I know my workday technologically-taxed mind and middle-aged body need the balancing, vitalizing terrestrial input if I’m to carry the strength and vigor necessary for my upcoming yellow belt test.

Earth also gifts other powers. She welcomes dynamic creative communion.   In concert with our eyes, our ears, taste, touch, smell and intuition, She widens, encourages and hones, inspiring authentic sculpture, cookery, and poetry among other arts. My friend, Lorna Trigg Hirsch, paints vibrant feminine images with expansive names like Cloud Flyer and Shooting Universal Stars; each a heart-sourced expression conceived through interaction with lake-sculpted stones, local caves, and plants.

In addition to the Earth’s biology and creative spirit, trans-personal power resides in the very intent of our goals themselves. This is the power of goodwill. A convergence of heart-held commitment and action dedicated to the good of another or to shared good. A power which, I have found, connects the human heart and effort to greater evolutionary forces and results in a cycle of tremendous creative outflow and renewing centripetal inrush.   Invocation and Evocation so to speak.

My friend, Miguel, playfully reminded me of the power of goodwill this week when he set out to make a unique birthday video card for a young relative. You can check out his unverified world-record-tying results here.