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Manic Monday: A busy week in and around Albany

Hey, gang. What a beautiful week to be from New York’s Capital Region. No, seriously, I’m not kidding about that. For once. These days I am loving my adopted hometown more and more. Maybe because Dennis and I are regularly abandoning our children to hang out in pubs and parks, and did I mention pubs?

And this week we had the added bonus of tulips, tulips and more tulips in Washington Park, which happens to be right across the street from the offices of the New York State Catholic Conference, where Dennis spends his days. We skipped the overcrowded Tulip Fest yesterday and instead opted for a trip to Cardona’s Italian Market for Mother’s Day lunch fixings, but Dennis and I celebrated our own small-scale version of Tulip Fest at lunch time today. Lots of photos this week, lots of photos… Read more

Brokenness lets us see where true beauty lies

My “Soul Seeing” column, running in the current issue of the National Catholic Reporter:

If you look around my office prayer space or on my bedroom dresser, you’ll notice one constant: broken conch and whelk shells everywhere. Small and blue-gray, large and sun-bleached, twisting, turning, spiraling in that gorgeous and mysterious way that seashells do. Although I have one perfect channeled whelk shell that I purchased in Cape May, N.J., years ago, my prized possessions are broken shells of every shape and size because, as far as I’m concerned, they are far more beautiful than the ones that are perfectly intact and so lovely on the outside. Read more

Moving Meditation: the sacred rhythm of raking

I love to rake. I love everything about it — the sound of the rake scratching against the earth, the smell of the autumn air, the pre-winter peacefulness that seems to be settling into all of nature at this time of year, the crispy brown oak leaves swirling against a steely gray November sky and filling my path as fast as I try to clear it. Read more

‘We are travelers on a cosmic journey…’ What a long, strange trip it’s been.

So a few months ago I came across this quote and fell in love with it:

“We are travelers on a cosmic journey, stardust, swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of Infinity. Life is Eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in Eternity.” Read more

Convergence, coincidence, and cosmic connections

If you go on silent retreat, or spend any serious amount of time in deep and quiet prayer, you’re likely to find that some new synapses are firing. Suddenly it’s as if you’ve discovered a previously dormant channel in your brain. Read more

Lessons from Brother Sun

So much happens on silent retreat, even though nothing at all seems to be happening. No talking, no reading, no writing, no casual eye contact. Doesn’t sound like much could be happening, does it? But, let me tell you, there is so much energy and movement and chatter going on under the surface, it’s hard to contain it. At one point on the first day, as I let go of everything that was going on in my head and heart, my interior was actually shaking, almost like I was shivering, but I wasn’t cold. Just a flood of feelings and emotions and questions that came rising up to the surface after being pushed down day after day by the normal events of life. Read more

Into great silence, Adirondack-style

I am so honored and humbled by the many, many prayer requests that have come pouring in from friends on Facebook. I asked people to send me their special intentions so I can carry them with me on silent retreat this weekend, and I now have three full pages — and I’ll be adding to the list right up until I leave at 3 p.m. in case you want to email me or leave an intention in the comment section before then. What a beautiful thing, to have people trust me with their worries and needs. I promise I’ll honor all of them. Although I’m not supposed to read on this silent retreat, I will make an exception for my prayer list so I don’t forget or miss anyone. Read more

Ready to paddle my way to an unknown adventure

Ever since moving to upstate New York almost 13 years ago, I’ve wanted to try kayaking. Finally, earlier this year, I got my chance when we took Chiara’s Brownie Troop camping up near Lake George. Little Girl Scouts aside, it was so peaceful and lovely as I quietly paddled around in the sunshine, and I knew I wanted to do it again. And I secretly thought, Wouldn’t it be fun to have my own kayak? But how was that ever going to happen when I don’t know the first thing about kayaks? Read more

Broken and beautiful

If you look around my office prayer space or on my bedroom dresser, you’ll notice one constant: broken conch and whelk shells everywhere. Small and blue-grey, large and sun-bleached white, twisting, turning, spiraling in that gorgeous and mysterious way that sea shells do. Although I do have one perfect channeled whelk shell, which I purchased in Cape May years ago, my prized possessions are the broken shells because, as far as I’m concerned, they are far more beautiful than the ones that are perfectly intact and so lovely on the outside. Read more