Monday, April 28, 2008

"when did you start believing..."

This past Friday I had the opportunity to visit my folks. It had been some time since I had given my undivided and uninterrupted attention to my Mom and Dad. Before Friday, the last conversation I had with Mom was just over a month and half ago. While my Dad was undergoing an out patient procedure My sisiter and I kept Mom company. I intended to be a non-anxious presence for Mom and serve her any way I could while Dad was attended to by the medical staff.
Sometime during Dads recovery we all were at his bedside. Mom began to talk about what was going on at church - some training event led by a (Flavor of the month) nationally celebrated Pastor. Instead of listening attentively- I felt the need to engage in sarcasm and lend my sage advice and opinion in regard to this celebrated celeb. pastor. Anyway, we slid ever so quickly into a debate- at my Dads bedside! I was greatly embarrassed and cut off the rest of the conversation as it now focused not only on -The flavor of the month pastor but everything else including my spiritual journey and my practices in Sufism.
So, I felt the need to give closure to that conversation this past friday with a dinner and afternoon with my folks..
We lunched at a local resturant and then drove out to their house for Coffee and further conversation. Mom began by stating, so what is Siffism and when did you start believing it? Was it during Vanderbilt? Is it from that group you go to in Knoxville? Did they make you believe this stuff?
(As my head began to spin puzzling over where to start I- closed my eyes and laughed out loud) "No Mom, Dad its none of that. Its been a slow and evolving process. It has always been my tendency to search and explore to probe and dig for the truth. You both taught me that- You raised me where I felt freedom to do that regarding nearly everything in my life.
Probably this journey began sometime in my second appointment while I was going through that sour experience with the congregation. I discovered that the Holy was not held captive by anyone doctrine or dogma, group or church. This was a liberating expereince for me. I began to read writings from mystics in the Christian, Jewish and Muslim tradition and Buddhist traditions too. I read mystics like Thomas Merton, Hildegard of Bingin, Teresa Avila, Thich Nhat Hahn, Jalalladin Rumi, Hafiz and others. They were a breath of life and peace for me. To this day I find great comfort, eternal truth and divine inspiration in their writing. As I have studied deeper in the practices of Sufism I have learned more about myself and how I can help others to heal and transform their lives too. So, I guess you could say that is when I started believing.."

Thursday, April 24, 2008

"You don't have to wait.

If your wait until you are perfect,

you will never begin."

Murshida Devi Tide

On the second weekend of October 2007, Murshida spoke these words of introduction at the beginning of a retreat sponsored by the Healing Order of the Sufi Order International. That retreat expereince marks one more stop along the spiritual path I am currently traveling. As a Mureed(student) of Sufism and a newly initiated Healing Conductor, I have a desire to begin to share with others some of the insights and benefits of,

Contemplative Retreats and Spiritual Direction.

This is an invitation to all dear ones who are are striving for renewal and transformation in their spiritual practices and faith journey.

Each retreat will begin as participants arrive and take time to form an intention in their thoughts regarding this time apart.

Participants can look forward to reflection and practices in solitude, or in groups and with partners.

Elements of the practices may include:

  • Reflection on sacred texts and scripture from a variety of faith traditions.

  • Guided imagery.

  • Visualizations, prayers, chants or mantras from Eastern and Western religious traditions.

Spiritual Direction.

We journey through life on a day to day basis. We celebrate, we create, we weep and we struggle. These highs and lows mean something - at least that is our hope. But what do these familiar expereinces mean? What do we do when we can't find that meaning? Is our hope then transient and elusive?

These questions and others reflect the inspiration of Spiritual Direction. Our search or struggle to hold onto hope, to grace, to love, is not a struggle we need to face alone.

Elements of Spiritual direction.

  • Initial interview and statement of intent.

  • Covenant making between director and directee.

  • Regular meetings to share progress and insights and opportunities to ask questions.

  • Collaboration and cooperation.

  • Assessment and evaluation.

Now, this is my sincere invitation to you all -If either of the activities are appealing to you or if you need further information for inquiry contact me today and begin the process of Transformation and healing.

peace and joy to you all,