Is there enough silence for the Word to be heard?
July/August 2019 (Vol. XXXII, No. 7 )
Linda DeGraf © 2012

Dear Friends ~ This past weekend we led an intergenerational retreat called "Children of the Earth." One activity was a story or guided meditation about an imaginary hike through the woods to a grove of gnarly oaks, tall poplars, and aromatic pines. At the base of each tree was a backpack with someone's name on it. Wild ones gave earthly gifts to add to the backpacks. Chickadee gave a seed to remind the children of their inner resourcefulness, bear gave mud tracks to remind them of strength and courage to defend those they love, owl a feather to remind them to be attentive to the mysterious wonders of the night. We all need a "backpack" of resources to help us on our path. Contemplation and action, pastoral care and prophetic witness, spirituality and service -we all need both so that the inner wisdom that sustains us and keeps us going ensures that the outer work comes from the heart and is done with love. Here are a few gentle reminders of gifts that lie within and some ways to nurture them.

Linda DeGraf © 2012

The same stream of life that runs through the world runs through my veins night and day and dances in rhythmic measure. It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the Earth into the numberless blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of flowers.

~ Rabindranath Tagore. Read more: The Heart of God: Prayers of Rabindranath Tagore by Herbert F. Vetter

Compassion for others begins with kindness to ourselves.

~ Pema Chodron. Read more: Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chodron

Linda DeGraf 2012

The dream of my life
Is to lie down by a slow river
And stare at the light in the trees --
To learn something by being nothing
A little while but the rich
Lens of attention.

~ Mary Oliver. Read more: New and Selected Poems: Volume One by Mary Oliver

If we fall in love with creation deeper and deeper, we will respond to its endangerment with passion.

~ Hildegard of Bingen. Read more: Selected Writings: Hildegard of Bingen by Hildegard of Bingen

An ecological spirituality needs to be built on three premises: the transience of selves, the living interdependency of all things, and the value of the personal in communion. Many spiritual traditions have emphasized the need to "let go of ego" but in ways that diminished the value of the person, undercutting particularly those, like women, who scarcely have been allowed individuated personhood at all. We need to "let go of the ego" in a different sense. We are called to affirm the integrity of our personal center of being, in mutuality with the personal centers of all other beings across species and, at the same time, accept the transience of these personal selves.

~ from Gaia and God by Rosemary Radford Ruether

We are overdosed on data and underfed on the mysterious. Our brains inflate while our souls wither. Constant interference by interpreting and explaining can distance us from life itself. God woos us into the wildness of unknowing where we are tempted by deeper senses.

~ from All the Days of My Life by Marv and Nancy Hiles

We live in a time when science is validating what humans have known throughout the ages: that compassion is not a luxury; it is a necessity for our well-being, resilience, and survival.

~ Roshi Joan Halifax as quoted in Everyday Gratitude by A Network for Grateful Living

I know not how others see me, but to myself I seem a small child playing on a beach, delighted at the discovery of a shiny

~ Isaac Newton. Read more: Isaac Newton by James Gleick

Linda DeGraf © 2012

"First, my child," said Old Turtle, "remember that there are truths all around us, and within us. They twinkle in the night sky and bloom upon the earth. They fall upon us every day, silent as the snow and gentle as the rain. The people, clutching their one truth, forget that it is a part of all the small and lovely truths of life."

~ from Old Turtle and the Broken Truth by Douglas Wood

Faith is strong trust in self and life even in the face of evidence to the contrary. Like belief, it consists more in love than knowledge, or perhaps it is just that love takes precedence. It is intuitive. It is a power of the soul, not of the mind alone and based on the most subtle of perception. It is born and nurtured in the area of the third eye, the open heart, and the sensitivity of an ear tuned to mystery.

~ from The Soul's Religion by Thomas Moore

Call out to the whole divine night for what you love. What you stand for. Earn your name. Be kind, and wild, and disciplined, and absolutely generous.

~ Martin Shaw. Read more: A Branch from the Lightning Tree: Ecstatic Myth and the Grace of Wildness by Martin Shaw

Every enlightened person on the earth,
everyone who's been liberated has had these virtues.
You cannot be freed without them.
The first one is compassion.
The second one is humility.
And the third one is service.

~ from Silence of the Heart by Robert Adams

I believe that God is in me as the sun is in the color and fragrance of a flower - the Light in my darkness, the Voice in my silence.

~ Helen Keller. Read more: The Story Of My Life - The Classic Autobiography of Helen Keller by Helen Keller

May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day.

~ Native American Proverb

Detail of handiwork from a women's cooperative in India

Love is the root of Life that unites all.

~ from Lumen Christi ... Holy Wisdom by Nan Merrill

What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.

~ by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Read more: The Annotated Emerson by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Keith Jones Pomeroy © 2018
2019 Retreat at Friends of Silence

Sound and Silence 2019 Embodying prayer through the sacred rhythms of drumming, chant, nature and silence with Katy Gaughan and Tracy Seffers Aug 16- 18, 2019 at Rolling Ridge Study Retreat, near Harpers Ferry, WV.

Finding the Gold in the Darkness The Way of the Soul in Troubled Times with Jim Hall and Cheryl Hellner Sept 13- 15, 2019 at Rolling Ridge Study Retreat, near Harpers Ferry, WV.

Mr. Gurdjieff, meet Mr. Teilhard! A practical and intensive exploration of the convergence between two wisdom streams, October 28 - November 2, 2019 at Claymont Society for Continuous Education in Charles Town, WV

Or schedule your own Personal Retreat.

Friends of Silence is devoted to nurturing those who reverence silence, prayer, contemplation, the Divine Guest, and the Oneness of all creation. Personal retreat can be a wonderful discipline for those seeking the life-giving empowerment that derives from the Silence. We have partnered with Still Point Mountain Retreat to be able to offer space for personal retreat for our members, whether you come as an individual, couple, family, or small group. The wilderness setting of Still Point provides the quiet and solitude necessary for an ideal personal retreat experience.

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