Tag Archives: holy time

Autumnal Amazement

Autumn amazes me. The blackbirds and sparrows fly like piece of fabric on the wind – one plane but undulating like a wave, turning as precisely as if they had internal GPS. gettyimages-com-uk The geese fly in formation, and land as one choreographed chorus of dancers on the river.   The deer begin to group up into small herds.  How it they know to do that, automatically?

The leaves change from a deep green to vibrant yellow and red.  The constellations move in such a way that we miss familiar “faces” for a time.  We lose two minutes per day of daylight until March, like clockwork. How does that happen?

rockland-luhudblogs-comI know, I know, it can be explained easily by science and chemistry. But knowing how it happens in detail doesn’t take away, at all, from the sheer magical experience of noticing it.  Experiencing the Holy in it.

Noticing changes transforms how I relate to this time of year.  From “brrr…do I have to get out of bed?!” and cries of “argh – where’d I put my longjohns?!” becomes “oh. my. Just look at that palette of colour!”  The fire-engine red of the sumac tree in my yard always brings a smile to may face, and the orange of that hedge shrub makes me feel “everything’s going to be alright”.

I, too, lament that the sun doesn’t have that kiss of warmth in it.  I, too, don’t like the fact that, sooner than I consciously think, it will be dark long before my supper’s out of the freezer.  Yes, I, too, don’t look forward to feet and feet of snow to shovel. bio-brandeis-edu

But when I just stay noticing what is around me, how the animals behave in this time of change, how the earth and sun move and change,  I am stopped short with Awe and Wonder and Gratitude.  It becomes one of those “take your breath away” moments.  A Timeless Now.

No matter what else I may be lamenting this week (and there’s lots to be sad about if you listen to the news, and look around our province), this glory of Autumn makes me feel that it’s going to be ok.

My work is to Be Aware; call it “mindful”, maybe.  Whatever, I am to Be Amazed, Be Grateful, and let that lead me to caring for the bit of land and air that I have to steward.

Maybe it’s enough to recognize and be part of this Holy Time.


Many thanks for the great photography of gettyimages.co.uk, rockland.luhudblogs.com, and bio.brandeis.edu


Time stands still

I was at a conference during which we were asked to team up in pairs, and ask each other some of those Big Reflective Questions in life: when did you feel most alive? what is something in your life you are proud of? is there anyone you would want to apologize to?  We didn’t know each other and here we were, giving up some of our most vulnerable memories. After the exercise, we were asked to reflect on the experience; one of my colleagues said “This was holy time”.

Holy Time. The person who said that was a spiritual care worker; I wanted to ask others what word they would use to describe that experience. Over lunch, I asked a people in other professions and they all said, though “holy” wasn’t part of their professional (or personal) vocabulary, it was “exactly the right word to describe it”.  I agree with them; of course, I asked why.

I’m still reflecting… I can’t report word-for-word, but we shared a general sense that each of us was “right there” with the person telling the story.  We weren’t distracted, even though we were in a noisy room.  When we were Listener, it felt important, the stories “weighty” and precious; we were aware that these stories may never have been shared before.  When we were Teller, we were Heard.  We were truly present to one another; all that existed was the other person speaking and us listening.  We saw, we heard, we held their soul – and they ours.  Holy time.

It was as if time stood still; holy time becomes wholly Time.

My yoga instructor used to make our class holy time by reminding us “there is only here, only now”, and that in this time we had set apart we had “no where else to go, nothing else to do but to be here”.  Holy means “set apart”.  It is when we are fully present, focused, on where we are and what we’re doing. That what we are engaged in is important enough to set aside distraction.  Holy time.

I experience such holy time when I focus on what, or who, is before me.  goldfinch gardenofaaron com.jpgWhether it is watching the birds, or listening to the lawnmower next door, or sitting on an amusement ride, I realize that I am not individual, but am Connected.  That in this moment we breathe the same air, are occupying the same moment in time together, that the same Life-force runs in every living thing.  It’s like I am turned inside-out – I am not just me, I am Part of It All, and It is Part of Me. We are Connected at a molecular level.  In that moment of awareness, I am touched by a sense of the Divine Present with me.  Holy, Awe-filled, God-filled time.  It is a blessing beyond words.

It sometimes happens when I am intentionally meditating and mindful.  Sometimes it takes me by surprise (like yesterday, when through the fine mist of rain the neon brightness of a male goldfinch in the deep green of freshly mown ‘grass’ jumped out at me)*.  Holy Moment.  God was Present.

May you have many holy moments during your summer-time.  And may their blessing infuse you with Life in its Abundance, just like Jesus promised they would.

(*As I’m no photographer, thanks to gardenofaaron.com for a similar experience.)