Tag Archives: compassion

Ruminate, Recalibrate, Renew

compass wendybattino comI know I’m not the only one, but I have times when a day is so “busy” I can hardly remember what I’ve done in it, which end is up; times when I wish I slow down the pace of life so I can take a deep breath and take stock.  Sometimes I wish I had the time and the energy – at the same time – just to chew on an idea that’s been floating in and out of consciousness.  I want to step out of “regular time” with all that “has to be done” and be in a different kind of time,  in which I can just Be.

I do have those moments – when I remember to make time for them, when I am willing to let go of what I have become convinced are “have-to-dos”.  They give me a sense of connection to all that is; touch the infinite.  In these moments everything is whole and balanced, (sometimes it’s called ‘kairos’ time)*.  You probably have them too.  That quiet of the very early morning, sitting at night watching the stars, a child sleeping.  It’s that moment at the end of yoga, the ‘resting’ pose.  In kairos time, I remember, as a colleague once put it, that I am “a  human Being, not a human Doing”.

Lots of images: compasses need to be re-calibrated to True North. Wilderness time to let go of distractions that hold one captive. Leaving a field fallow to give the land a chance to renew.  Making Sabbath – a time to “do no work” – those chores that lead us into that go-go-go pace – and reorient to the vision of how the world could be if Compassion was our guiding principle for our actions.  Steeping oneself in Living Water, being nourished by Bread of Life.  A time to understand the holy message: Do not fear.

So this leave I am on is your gift to me of time away from “regular duties”.  It am offered the freedom to make space for this kairos time.  It’ll be like slowing down the merry-go-round – not because the ride isn’t enjoyable, but to see who else is on it, explore what other features there are, be fascinated by the tune of the calliope. A time to reboot, to nourish my spirit, mind and body which (like most other people) the run-of-life interferes with.

The “plan” is to ruminate on ideas I’ve only had a chance to skim; literally to chew on ideas that are trying to germinate.  To renew some disciplines in order to harness my energy differently so I can use it more effectively in my service here. To clear out some of the physical and internal detritus that makes me feel separated from the Holy, that inhibits me (or at least makes me unsure and unsteady) “shining my little light” in a good way. To recalibrate to my call of being here.

You folks of Cornerstone have given me this gift of sabbatical time; I do not take lightly.  I am profoundly grateful for this time to renew, to reboot, and be ready to come back to the work that I am called here to do.  Thank you.

~ ~ ~

*Mckinely Valentine has a great blog on “Kairos time”, which she describes as “the moment  after you’ve inhaled and are just about to exhale”; check it out mckinleyvalentine.com/kairos

** Image from: wendybattino.com




Oh, Canada?

I was running errands around Brandon last week and was surprised to find many stores red maple leaf commons wikimedia orgopening Canada Day on ‘holiday hours’.  This spring I listened to people on both sides of the question of making the English words of O Canada gender-neutral. (Of note: the English words are nowhere close to the original in French, and I learned that the words “in all thy sons command” first showed up in 1914 to encourage young men to volunteer for service in World War 1. )  The original, French-language, version is purely a hymn to the country, no sons, daughters, or commands present. And nothing about hockey or “That Doughnut Chain” in either language…

So this started me thinking about what it means to be a Canadian.  Are the values that we all share? Do we see each and every person – regardless of skin tone, ethnic heritage, gender expression, sexual orientation, religious identity, place of residence – as equal?  For me that’s the place where spirituality becomes a point of challenge and gift: how do we see “the other” as part of “my family”, as my sibling or parent (or in the words I first heard from Rosanna Dearchild, host of CBC radio’s Unreserved, “hey, we’re all cousins here”). (more: http://www.cbc.ca/radio/unreserved)

I grew up with the Canadian mythology (the good kind) that we were a “mosaic of people”, that differences were part of our strength, that being homogenous meant only one group got to set the standards and if you didn’t fit then you didn’t belong and wouldn’t that be shame? Not to mention boring.)  I like that myth.  I like that we can build on one another’s perspectives and ways of doing things instead of insisting that we all be the same.

The challenge, of course, is to set aside the notion that “the way we do it” is the “way it ought to be done”.  The spiritual challenge is to keep asking “is this the way that most people will benefit?” And though someone will “lose” something in the process (as always happens), we need to ask “who” is losing out, “what” are they losing, “why” are they losing out, and does their losing out make this great country of ours more just, more compassionate, and therefore more successful?

(So I ask, as examples: Will men lose anything by allowing the word “us” to be sung? does making that word gender-neutral space for others to feel that they belong more? Does it make space for those who do not identify with one gender to feel they belong more? OR what happens to us as a community when our “national day of pride” becomes simply a short commerce day?)

And, as a Jesus-follower, I realize that sometimes I need to lose out a bit in order to make space for me to truly “love my neighbour as myself”.  And that is where I find the Holy present.

It’s summer. It’s a holy-day. It’s enough.  Enjoy the diversity that is Canada. And find its holiness.