Morning Bell: when we are gone, the earth

 

This Morning Bell series explores our fraught relationship with the earth. The earth and many of her creatures are under severe pressure. We humans have been at best neglectful and at worst deliberately destructive  – endangering the planet and ourselves. In the Judaeo-Christian stream we are charged with being good stewards of creation. In so many ways we have failed. The text for the series is from Ian’s poem The earth will heal itself  from Running Over Rocks. It’s a bleak poem, appearing to hint that the best hope for the planet may be the  end of the human era.  But there’s hope too. In  the earth’s God-given ability to be ever-creative, and in our potential to make good choices there may yet be a good future for the blue-green planet.

 

Morning bell: when we are gone, the earth series
Morning bell: when we are gone, the earth series

 

Our intention with Morning Bell is for the image and short text to complement each other. We hope that this new series will encourage you to step with us into stillness and prayer each day – and open up new possibilities for action in our caring for the earth and her creatures…

Grace and peace to you
Ian & Gail

There are various other ways to access Morning Bell each day:

Tumblr / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Flickr / Eyeem

Unfurling: poems
Unfurling: poems

Ian’s latest collection of poems Unfurling is out now in paperback and e-format on Canterbury Press, also via your local bookshop, via Kindle and all usual online sources including Book Depository with free delivery world-wide.

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Morning Bell: pilgrimage series – on the Camino

 

This new Morning bell series for Pentecost and the start of the Trinity season explores pilgrimage. The essence of pilgrimage is a physical journey made with spiritual intention. We hope that this series may inspire you to make such a journey – local or far from home, short or demanding. If that’s not possible may you be able to take something of the spirit of pilgrimage into your life at this time.

Pilgrimage series: on the Camino
Pilgrimage series: on the Camino

Photography for the series is by Natalie Baxter Strange, in which she beautifully documents her own experience of joining the famous pilgrimage route to the shrine of St James in Northern Spain – the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. Natalie says ‘while walking on the Camino I discovered the joy of slowing down and taking photographs. When I slow down and look through the lens of my camera, I notice details I would have otherwise missed. Photography has become another way for me to listen to God and to express something of my faith in him.’ Text for the series is adapted from a Pilgrim’s Prayer commonly used on the Camino. If you want to explore more about pilgrimage Ian has written about the practice in Running Over Rocks.

Grace and peace to you for your own experience of pilgrimage this Pentecost and Trinity…
Ian & Gail

There are various other ways to access Morning Bell each day:

Tumblr / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Flickr / Eyeem

Unfurling: poems
Unfurling: poems

Ian’s latest collection of poems Unfurling is out now in paperback and e-format on Canterbury Press, also via your local bookshop, via Kindle and all usual online sources including Book Depository with free delivery world-wide.

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Morning Bell: if I do not love

 

This series of Morning Bell explores the theme of love. For this series we are pondering and re-mixing lines from St Paul’s famous meditation on love in his letter to the church in Corinth (chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians). He begins by suggesting that without love all our best efforts are worthless (If I do not have love he says I am nothing). He then opens up the possibility of love as it is lived, shared and encountered…

 

Morning bell: if I do not love
Morning bell: if I do not love

The theme of Love is developed further in Ian’s book Running Over Rocks – particularly in the closing chapters Face Fear with Love / Embrace Intimacy / and Give Everything To Find Everything. The images for this series are all from street photos Ian has taken in Plymouth.

Grace and peace to you, beloved…
Ian & Gail

There are various other ways to access Morning Bell each day:

Tumblr / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Flickr / Eyeem

Unfurling: poems
Unfurling: poems

Ian’s latest collection of poems Unfurling is out now in paperback and e-format on Canterbury Press, also via your local bookshop, via Kindle and all usual online sources including Book Depository with free delivery world-wide.

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Morning Bell: Facing Monsters

 

There appear to be many monstrous things happening in the world at this time (but was it not always so) – dehumanising the individual, degrading the earth and bringing destruction to society. We might also reflect that we have our own personal ‘monsters’ to deal with. Morning Bell continues through Epiphany, a season of revelation, by exploring how we might face these monsters. The Desert Fathers and Mothers  – the earliest monastics in the Judaeo-Christian tradition – took very seriously the struggle with monsters (or demons as they referred to them) both in the wider world and within themselves. Jesus himself was known as a teacher who faced up to (and faced down) the demons of his time. One of the greatest challenges for us is how to avoid becoming monstrous in the way we respond to monsters…

 

Morning Bell: Facing Monsters
Morning Bell: Facing Monsters

The ideas for this series are developed further in Ian’s book Running Over Rocks – particularly in the chapters Fight Dragons, With Humility / Choose Courageous / and Face Fear With Love. The images for this series have all been made by Ian this past Autumn and present Winter in Devon hollow-ways and creeks.

Grace and peace to you this Epiphany, may you find all the courage and love you need…
Ian

There are various other ways to access Morning Bell each day:

Tumblr / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Flickr / Eyeem

Unfurling: poems
Unfurling: poems

Ian’s latest collection of poems Unfurling is out now in paperback and e-format on Canterbury Press, also via your local bookshop, via Kindle and all usual online sources including Book Depository with free delivery world-wide.

 

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beloved life practices 52: give everything to find everything

 

WISDOM: The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

REFLECTION: ‘One of the greatest (and shortest) of short stories ever told is Jesus’s parable of treasure in the field. The treasure is worth everything. It seems to me that our potential involvement in the bringing of good to the world is truly worth all that we have. That we really need to be ready to Give Everything to Find Everything. And the word give is vital here. Many of these practices rooted in the life and wisdom of Jesus involve a giving away, a letting go, an opening of hands and heart, a dropping away of what we instinctively want to hold close, usually because of fear…’

beloved life: give everything to find everything
beloved life: give everything to find everything

PRACTICE: ‘The practice of Give Everything to Find Everything is about establishing a ritual by which you remind yourself each day of your desire to give everything to find everything, to become the truly human being you are meant to be and to bring good to the world. Only you can decide what your ritual will look like. But I would encourage you to make it physical in some way, perhaps through a gesture or movement, accompanied by words. Make it simple and portable so that you can do it wherever you are…’

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

Look out for short daily posts around the 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!

Unfurling: poems
Unfurling: poems

Ian’s new collection of poems Unfurling is out now in paperback and e-format on Canterbury Press, also via your local bookshop, and all usual online sources including  Book Depository  with free delivery world-wide.

Read More

beloved life practices 51: embrace intimacy

 

REFLECTION: ‘I love you. One simple phrase that is being uttered many times all over the planet as you read this. I love you awakens old dreams, and brings new worlds into being. So much of our possibility as human beings is connected to our desire for intimacy – for the love of another, for connection and belonging, for unity and at-oneness, without defence or fear, without shame or anxiety. Intimacy is vital for our well-being. But intimacy can be demanding. The gifts of intimacy can also be its uncomfortable challenges. Are we up for vulnerability, for letting go of control, for letting the other be the other? The practice of Embrace Intimacy is about (re)discovering the vitality of intimacy for ourselves – intimacy with another human being, intimacy with the earth, and intimacy with God – and allowing that intimacy to enable us to bring good to the world…’

 

beloved life: embrace intimacy
beloved life: embrace intimacy

 

PRACTICE: ‘Begin this practice by reflecting on your own recent experiences of intimacy. To what extent have these been characterized by attention, vulnerability, honesty and tenderness? If you are without a partner your yearning for intimacy must not be ignored. And if you do have a partner true intimacy needs to a reciprocal thing, being nurtured within a wider environment of commitment and devotion. There is currently a great openness, both I think for better and for worse, around sex and sexuality. Within that culture of openness we need, for a better world, to see a renewed emphasis on the nurturing of true intimacy and tenderness. It starts of course, with each one of us. So Embrace Intimacy!

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

Look out for short daily posts around the 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!

Unfurling: poems by Ian Adams 2014
Unfurling: poems by Ian Adams 2014

Ian’s new collection of poems Unfurling is out now in paperback and e-format on Canterbury Press, also via your local bookshop, and all usual online sources including  Book Depository  with free delivery world-wide.

Read More

beloved life practices 50: face fear with love

 

REFLECTION: ‘Fear is, for most of us, a really strong driver. And it can easily come to dominate us. Earlier in this year of spiritual practice we explored the idea of fighting our dragons with humility. We’ve also noted that occasionally the only thing that will enable us to hold on in tough times is to choose to be courageous and to do the right thing. In this practice, one of the final three practices in Running Over Rocks, each exploring the possibility of love, I want to suggest that the most freeing way to live with our fears is to face them with love – the only spirit that truly enables us live as free people. For this reason we might say that the true opposite of fear is not calmness, confidence or even hope, but love…’

 

beloved life: face fear with love
beloved life: face fear with love

 

PRACTICE: ‘A first and necessary step in the practice of Face Fear with Love is to recognize our fears. We can then begin to respond to them with intention, rather than just with instinct (please note that there is still a place for the instinctive response of flight in certain situations – may you know when!) At the end of today ask yourself this (and your answer to this question may come as shock but the insight may be worth the effort and indignity): To what extent have my actions and inactions today been shaped by fear? A next step is to convert the energy of fear (and fear carries a lot of energy) into something more positive. So, try to take the energy that comes from your fear of a certain situation happening and convert it into love for something or someone else…’

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

Look out for short daily posts around the 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!

Unfurling: poems by Ian Adams 2014
Unfurling: poems by Ian Adams 2014

Ian’s new collection of poems Unfurling is out now in paperback and e-format on Canterbury Press, also via your local bookshop, and all usual online sources including  Book Depository  with free delivery world-wide.

Read More

beloved life practices 49: blessing (become blessing)

 

REFLECTION: ‘The final act of Jesus, the Gospel writer Luke tells us, was to bless his followers. And this rag-tag group went on to change the world. The final act was thus just a beginning. And the blessing may not be incidental to that outcome. In the ancient and unfolding Jesus tradition there is an undeniable sense that in the act of blessing something shifts around us. A blessing is more than the words that are voiced, greater than any gesture made. Possibilities are being opened up in an ever-moving cosmos…’

beloved life: blessing (become blessing)
beloved life: blessing (become blessing)

PRACTICE: ‘The practice of Blessing (Become Blessing) is about about nurturing the act of blessing in our daily lives. And it’s about letting the act of blessing change both the giver and receiver so that we become blessing in our very being. Look for an opportunity each day to offer a simple action or phrase to someone that will be a blessing to them…’

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

Look out for short daily posts around the 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!

Unfurling: poems
Unfurling: poems

Ian’s new collection of poems Unfurling is out now on Canterbury Press,  also via your local bookshop, via Kindle and all usual online sources including Book Depository with free delivery world-wide.

Read More

beloved life practices 48: sacramental life (live the brilliant future now)

 

REFLECTION: ‘Bold shapes, sweeping lines, strong colours. I love the art of my sometime-collaborator Alison Berrett. Her work energizes me, the story she paints is full of hope and makes me feel that I can do pretty much anything, however tough, improbable or even impossible the future task might seem. One of the core practices for those who set out on the Jesus path is the nurturing of a human life that in itself pictures and carries a story of hope. A life crafted like this becomes a kind of sacrament – at the same time both a sign of hope and a coming-into-being of the reality of the hope to which it points…’

beloved life: sacramental life
beloved life: sacramental life

PRACTICE: ‘At first stage, seeking the spirit of Live the Brilliant Future Now, this practice is about finding ways to explore and articulate how you experience the gaps between the ways things are and the seemingly impossible future for which you might dream. Look for your own way – in words or in art perhaps to – to explore this gap. Ask these questions of yourself and others: How would you like the world around you to be different? And crucially, how could that change begin to take shape first in you?’

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

Look out for short daily posts around the 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!

Unfurling: poems
Unfurling: poems

Ian’s new collection of poems Unfurling is out now on Canterbury Press, also via your local bookshop, and all usual online sources including Book Depository  with free delivery world-wide.

Read More

beloved life practices 47: reconciliation (reconcile, be reconciled)

 

REFLECTION: ‘We seem to be in thrall to the destructive twin powers of shame and blame. Whatever the mistake, crisis or disaster, our desire to find someone to scapegoat seems to be very strong at this time. I sense that this is often a search for someone or something onto whom we can transfer some of our own shame, a search for someone whose wrongdoing (we convince ourselves) is always greater than our our own. This destructive cycle of shame and blame is a problem, and it needs addressing. I hope that the practice of Reconciliation (Reconcile, Be Reconciled) may be one step in this direction…’

beloved life: reconciliation
beloved life: reconciliation

PRACTICE: ‘The possibility of a deep reconciliation that deals with shame and blame runs through Jesus’s teaching and practice. His focus seems to be on the restoring of communion with other human beings, with the earth and with God. If reconciliation is for Jesus always the bigger picture, the starting point is often around some act of forgiveness – and in turn forgiveness becomes part of something much bigger. So the smallest act of forgiveness is a re-imagining and re-making of the world! This needs to begin in the small things. In the daily irritations and in the mundane conflicts – in the jostle for a parking space and in the debate over who does the washing up. This is where the practice of forgiveness begins to find its shape. This must be the starting point for all of the wider reconciliations for which we are yearning. There are no short-cuts!’

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

Look out for short daily posts around the 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!

Unfurling: poems
Unfurling: poems

Ian’s new collection of poems Unfurling is out now on Canterbury Press, also via your local bookshop, and all usual online sources including Book Depository  with free delivery world-wide.

Read More