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While quietly sitting with my calico cat curled up on my lap, I reflected on the peaceful scene outside my window.   My reflection led me to write this prayer psalm.

Bless the Creator, O my soul!

O Holy One, you give us beauty in colorful nature.

I praise you for the hungry goldfinches eating thistle seed,

their gold and black feathers highlighted in the sun.

I praise you for the energetic humming bird

flying among the purple and pink petunias and deep red geraniums.

It’s rapidly moving wings keeping it steady

as it drinks the flower nectar.

I praise you for the silver leafed maple tree,

the solid oak tree and the multi-branched elm tree.

Each provides a different emerald background for my brilliant balcony flowers.

I praise you for the luminous sunlight

around the white fluffy clouds

below the light blue sky.

O God, how wonderful is all your creation.

May we always respect, value and appreciate all you have made.  Amen.

August 1, 2016 0 comment
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I first became aware of the spiritual value of dream work during a directed retreat many years ago.  I was having a hard time focusing on how God was a part of that retreat.

The retreat director suggested I put pen and paper by my bed each night and record any dreams I remembered.  During the rest of that retreat I remembered three dreams each night.  Discussing those dreams with my spiritual director helped me focus more on how God was working in my life.  This started my dream work spiritual practice which I’ve continued in my own spiritual journey.  I also invite those who come to spiritual direction to consider dream work as a spiritual practice.

After that retreat I began exploring the importance of dreams in my life.  Several books helped me deepen this spiritual practice.  Morton Kelsey wrote a small book Dreams, A Way to Listen to God.   He and John Sanford, author of Dreams and Healing were among the first of contemporary Christian authors to write dream books for the general public.  Each has written many books on the topic.  The books of these Jungian authors were invaluable in my process.

I had the privilege of attending a workshop which Morton Kelsey presented in Minnesota.  I remember his saying that many of the major events recorded in the Acts of the Apostles were results of dreams or visions of the early Christian leaders.  This led me to reread that book of Scripture.  I’ve also become more aware of how often dreams and visions are in the Bible.

I’ve continued the practice of recording my dreams, praying about them and reflecting on the symbols within them.

Dreams often seem strange to our waking minds for they are very symbolic. It’s important to identify our own dream symbols and explore their meanings for us personally.

Many books are written about dream symbols.  However, I believe we learn more by reflecting on our own individual associations with the symbols.  For example, I remember a dream in which I was teaching people to polka.  As I reflected on the dream, I realized I needed to be more playful or light-hearted.  Had I just looked up polka in a dream symbol book I might not have reached that insight.

By recording my dreams, reflecting on and praying about them, I find they truly are a  way for me to listen to God.

 

 

June 6, 2016 0 comment
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Retreat has many meanings in today’s society.  It sometimes means to back away, as in a battle.  In many businesses, a retreat means a time away from the business place to gather for future planning or for community building.

Even mentioning a spiritual retreat brings a variety of ideas to mind.  It might mean a day, weekend, week or more in a specific place for a group of people or individual to pray, share their thoughts on Sacred Writings, relax and perhaps play.  Another type is to have time away, listen to a speaker present some spiritual reflections and time for individual spiritual reflections and/or discussion.

The type of spiritual retreat most meaningful for me at this time of my life is a private, directed retreat.  During this time I am alone except for my cat.  I rest, relax, reflect on how God is with me, or perhaps how I’ve not been aware of God’s help.  Once a day I share with my spiritual director my thoughts and feelings about my relationship or lack of relationship with God.  This helps me stay focused and spiritually attentive.

My director doesn’t actually direct but reflects back to me what he hears me say.  My director may ask questions which help me clarify my situation or relationship with God.

What has led me closer to God?  Where have I been resistant?  Where have I experienced joy, peace or sadness?

A spiritual retreat is a time of renewal, reflection and prayer.  Each retreat is unique.  I seem to have different spiritual needs each time, though the focus is always for a deeper relationship with God.

In each retreat there are ups and downs, consolations and desolations, peace and struggles or struggles in the midst of peace.  Recording and sharing my night dreams is also a part of my retreats for they lead me to new spiritual insights.

The focus of one retreat was to start a blog, something I’d resisted for some time.  Writing for me has usually seemed a chore or drudgery.  Yet, my night dreams were directing me to what seemed like an additional burden to my busy life.

Thus, I was surprised that the joy of that retreat was how easily I put words to paper.  That was a sure sign for me that blogging was God’s direction.  The writing also helped me become much more God focused and more grateful for the simple gifts of life.

 

 

 

 

 

May 31, 2016 0 comment
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