beloved life practices 16: sit with the darkness

 

REFLECTION: ‘The practice of Sit With the Darkness is about giving ourselves to the darknesses that come our way. Making a decision to live with them, to live in them, to live out from them. This is how healing, hope and light may eventually find their way back to us. There is no short cut to light. And there is no easy way to discover the wisdom of sitting with darkness. We have to enter it, we have to experience it for ourselves. But we can prepare ourselves for it. And we can be with others who are experiencing darkness…’

 

beloved life: sit with the darkness
beloved life: sit with the darkness

 

PRACTICE: ‘Begin by allowing your own losses, griefs and darknesses to find a space. They and you have to be given room to find each other. Find your own way to do this, perhaps in an act of creativity or in a conversation. Allow the feelings, images or actions to take shape in a way that is not damaging to the people around you, but very real about what you are feeling. The practice then takes on a new and generous quality by finding ways to be with the people around you in their darknesses. Look for the right time to be a quiet presence with someone in their suffering…’

©Ian Adams 2013 ‘Running Over Rocks: spiritual practices to transform tough times’ (Canterbury Press)

Look out for short daily posts around this week’s theme on Facebook and Twitter. We’ll be doing the practices wherever we are, and we’ll look forward to hearing how you get on – do let us know!

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morning bell: the creative spirit

 

A new series of morning bell beginning 26 February is an exploration into the creative spirit. Creativity in any field seems to be at the heart of the experience of what it means to be truly human. Stillness (always the starting point for Morning Bell) and creativity are essential companions, encouraging each other, and taking us back to the root of creativity. In the Judaeo-Christian tradition the source of all creativity is God, and in our own creativity we are somehow entering into the experience of the Divine. The source is the Source! And in being creative we are truly entering into mystery.

 

morning bell: the creative spirit
morning bell: the creative spirit

 

The images are of a recent experience I had of making a piece of art. The link to painting is an obvious one – but this series is about creativity in all areas of human experience. So whatever you do, whatever you make, whatever you hope for, may this series nurture you and your creativity. If you want to explore further there’s a chapter in Running Over Rocks: spiritual practices to transform tough times’ devoted to the creative spirit:  ‘To be creative is to step into our own mystery, and to sense our deep connection to the sacred…’

There are various ways to access Morning Bell each day:

Tumblr / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Flickr / Eyeem

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beloved life practices 15: let go (keep on letting go)

 

REFLECTION: ‘This next series of practices (15 – 21) helps us to negotiate the tough times whenever they come, as come they surely will. Descent is one of the realities of existence. But it contains within its harshness the possibility for our flourishing. This is not just about surviving the tough times but about learning to stay with them, to receive their learning, and to find the means to be ready for an ascent when that becomes possible…

 

beloved life: let go (keep on letting go)
beloved life: let go (keep on letting go)

 

PRACTICE: ‘Let Go (Keep on Letting Go) is about nurturing a sense that the first step towards changing something difficult is to accept that it is real. And then realizing that however bad it is, it does not have to destroy us.

Here’s a way into the practice of Let Go (Keep on Letting Go). The next time that you have a descent experience, in your imagination try to step outside of yourself and notice how you react to it. Pay close attention to how it makes you feel physically. Then see how it might work not to suppress this, but to allow the physical feeling to happen, trusting that you will be held. Like the causes of the descent, the symptoms of the descent may not be pleasant. But it may be possible, with courage and practice, to learn to accept, and even to befriend those sensations. This is not about welcoming whatever has caused the descent. But it is about letting go of our resistance to the physical feelings the descent seems to create in us…’

©Ian Adams 2013 ‘Running Over Rocks: spiritual practices to transform tough times’ (Canterbury Press)

Look out for short daily posts around this week’s theme on Facebook and Twitter. We’ll be doing the practices wherever we are, and we’ll look forward to hearing how you get on – do let us know!

 

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beloved life practices 14: into the music

 

REFLECTION: ‘Music has a capacity to bring something new, unknown or forgotten into being. This is a mysterious and wonderful thing. Sometimes a piece of music comes our way that seems to know something about us that we perhaps suspected but didn’t know, or felt but couldn’t name…’

 

beloved life: into the music
beloved life: into the music

 

PRACTICE: ‘The practice of Into the Music is about entering the wonder, the wisdom and the wildness of music. At one level it’s simply about engaging with the music that we love (or may learn to love). ‘Bathe yourself in the healing power of music‘ writes my co-director of the StillPoint project, Matt Rees. But beyond this it’s about entering the deeper life-music into which this heard-or-played music is taking us. ‘Allow it‘ continues Matt ‘to name and give voice to your inner world…

©Ian Adams 2013 ‘Running Over Rocks: spiritual practices to transform tough times’ (Canterbury Press)

Look out for short daily posts around this week’s theme on Facebook and Twitter. We’ll be doing the practices wherever we are, and we’ll look forward to hearing how you get on – do let us know!

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morning bell: St Patrick’s Breastplate

 

The new series of morning bell beginning 10 February is a daily meditation on part of the prayer or hymn known as St Patrick’s Breastplate and attributed to the great Celtic-era saint Patrick. In these much-prayed and long-pondered words there’s a striking sense of the challenges of being human in an unpredictable world – and of the goodness of God.

 

morning bell: St Patrick's Breastplate
morning bell: St Patrick’s Breastplate

 

The images for the series are by photographer and artist Steve Broadway – our second collaboration on Morning Bell.  All the images were taken at Bristol harbourside, close to where Steve lives. Steve posts a daily drawing, artwork or photo at One Day Like This.

There are various ways to access Morning Bell each day:

Tumblr / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Flickr / Eyeem

 

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beloved life practices 13: love your roots

 

REFLECTION: ‘We need roots sing the English folk duo Show of Hands, expressing a common sense of loss that many experience in a globally-connected-but-disconnected world. The song continues: ‘And we learn to be ashamed before we walk / of the way we look and the way we talk / Without our stories or our songs / how will we know where we’ve come from’?’

Within the bigger picture of becoming goodness – of becoming truly human – the practice of Love your Roots is about nurturing awareness of the streams that have shaped you and your people. It’s about cultivating a sense of the giftedness in those roots and looking for ways to allow those gifts to be shared. It’s also about deciding to reject or reshape whatever may be the opposite of gift, the difficult aspects of your tradition that damage and dehumanize. And it’s about respecting people of other roots and engaging with them in a spirit of honour and friendship.

 

beloved life: love your roots
beloved life: love your roots

 

PRACTICE: …Love Your Roots begins with reflection. Where are your roots? How has the identity of your people (or peoples – if like me you can identify various strands of belonging) been formed? How have those roots shaped your own story? Now look for ways to step with humility and strength into the best of your tradition, and pray for grace to hold in tension the difficult things in that tradition that can no longer be changed. A sign of maturity in this area may be our ability to honour the roots of others as much as we love our own roots…’

©Ian Adams 2013 ‘Running Over Rocks: spiritual practices to transform tough times’ (Canterbury Press)

Look out for short daily posts around this week’s theme on Facebook and Twitter. We’ll be doing the practices wherever we are, and we’ll look forward to hearing how you get on – do let us know!

 

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beloved life practices 12: live transparent

 

REFLECTION: ‘Live Transparent is a stance of stillness and movement for a life to bring good to us and to the world around us. It’s about living with openness. Most of us have probably found ourselves at some time living without transparency. Keeping the water cloudy. And it doesn’t feel good. Lives and societies that bring good thrive on openness. Living transparent doesn’t mean that we have to put everything ‘out there’. There will be private things, precious things, intimate and tough things that need to be held just by us and by the people we love and the people who love us. But this stance is about setting out to live in a transparent way. Could transparency become our first instinct rather than our last recourse?

 

beloved life - live transparent

 

PRACTICE: …Whenever you make a statement about yourself today, in word or action, online or in person, ask yourself how you might do this with (appropriate) transparency. Will those receiving whatever you are saying or doing recognize something that is truthfully of you in this…?’

©Ian Adams 2013 ‘Running Over Rocks: spiritual practices to transform tough times’ (Canterbury Press)

Look out for short daily posts around this week’s theme on Facebook and Twitter. We’ll be doing the practices wherever we are, and we’ll look forward to hearing how you get on – do let us know!

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