Digging Deeper in Turbulent Times
By Rev. Elizabeth Rechter, Executive Director
It has been a hard several days for our country and especially those touched physically by the violence in Orlando. The trauma of these kinds of events ripples into our own hearts and all the lives that touch ours, making the work of deep listening and contemplative living all the more essential.
So, we strive to go deeper; and last month we did just that. Not only did LalaRukh Khan lead us in "A Celebration of Divine Love" through the work of Rumi, but we also graduated and welcomed a cohort of individuals into the Spiritual Direction community through our Art of Spiritual Direction (ASD) program. These individuals are now prepared to hold a safe, sacred space where others can dig deeper, voice and wrestle with their own traumas, and make meaning of it all in the narrative of their sacred story.
Below you will see photos from both the Rumi retreat and our ASD graduation ceremony; a reflection written and delivered by one of our recent graduates; and Executive Director Elizabeth Rechter emphasizes the importance of "tapping into" the deeper waters of our being for stability and growth. We hope these images, visual and verbal, will help you journey deeper into the mystery of God's presence, especially in the midst of times as turbulent as these.
As We Walk, We Are Called
By Rebekah Brandt
Art of Spiritual Direction Graduate
As we’ve walked this path these past two years, we’ve discovered gifts we never knew we had. A lightness and and immense space within, a capacity for receptivity that we may offer to others. A strong core of integrity that allows us to ground our perspective while stepping back to view the bigger picture. A woundedness that is beautiful and sacred, that allows the light of compassion to shine through as we walk with others in their suffering. A well of inner silence, deep, still, and dark, that like the earth below, can receive what seems dead, and compost it into something green, alive, and growing.
As we’ve walked these past two years with our teachers, directees, and one another, we’ve woven together a community for untangling life’s knots. We’ve surfed the waves of anxiety as we expose our raw vulnerability. We’ve basked in the warming glow of true connection as we’ve been met with empathy and understanding. We’ve experienced the joy of participating in another’s growth and healing. In receiving one another’s differences of presence and expression, we learn to love our own, and see that the light which illuminates is never whole without all the colors of the rainbow.
As we walk forward into the future, we are called by a voice that lies beyond and yet within. We are called to hold a sacred space for those in transition and in pain, for those who have no other space in which they can learn to come home to the safety of their own spirits, souls, and bodies. We are called to emerge forth, into the full blossoming of our gifts and abilities. We are called to trust and surrender as the journey takes us places we never dreamed we would go, or feared that we might. We are called to participate in the great becoming, that the hidden wholeness lying latent in each and every person may finally see the light of day.
By Elizabeth Rechter
Stillpoint Executive Director
Two years ago my brother planted some trees on his property where he lives on the coast of Washington State. On my visits there I have looked at these trees with great hope for their lives. But over the past two years, I've seen little change. In my longing for them to grow, I have wondered, are you real? Are you alive?
In May, I visited again. The trees are the same size, but they are not the same. For the first time, I can tell they are on their way to the sky. Their tree bodies are different ... something about their color and the shine of their young needles. Their tap roots have finally found water. It changes everything.
In order to thrive, our tap root must find water. There must be an open route between my soul and the source of life. Without it, I will wither. I cannot grow. I will stay small.
I just finished leading a Stillpoint Spiritual Journey class. It is an eight-month journey in tap root work. Living in a rhythm of silence, prayer and sharing, we dig deep into our stories and what we understand God’s presence to be. We read and write together, and we learn the careful craft of listening deeply to God, self, and to each other. At our final class, we all looked the same as when we began, but we were not the same. On our journey, we each tapped into the living water. We are a little sturdier, and our needles a little shinier.
I am already looking forward to next year’s class which will begin in September. I wonder if you know someone who is ready to go deeper in their spiritual journey. I hope you will encourage them to consider this care for their soul.