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Monthly Archive April 2020

What Are You Noticing?

By Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
April 29, 2020

At some point on its journey, the caterpillar heeds the call to spin itself a cocoon or chrysalis where it will stay to undergo the process of metamorphosis. Within the caterpillar are imaginal cells that hold the information of the butterfly. They are latent within the cell until it is time for them to grow.

The entire world is in a cocoon right now.  We are in the middle of our metamorphosis. It’s the stage of what I call the cosmic soup.  We are not what we were and we are not yet what we will be. We aren’t sure what we are becoming or what it will be like on the other side of this, but something in us knows.  We can count on our imaginal cells to grow us.

We’ve all paused and slowed down from the fast-paced living we’ve grown so accustomed to.  The constant movement has stilled, and our consumerism has decreased tremendously, as we are quarantined at home to help flatten the curve of COVID-19.

What stirs me on a deep level is that we are living on the planet together at this time.  We each have a part to play in the evolution of humanity.  It’s up to us to search within to find our purpose.  What is the individual gift that you bring during this time?  How can you be of service?

If you’re feeling down or blue, I invite you to find a way to get into service.  Being in service puts your focus on how you can help and allows you to get out of your way.

I continue to invite the spiritual community I lead to ask the question, what am I noticing?  What am I noticing about myself? My loved ones? The world around me? And the planet in which we all live?

There’s a palpable sense of oneness as the human family walks through this together.  This Divine disruption can be rich and meaningful if you allow it to be.

If you’re feeling tired of the situation, I invite you to shift gears and move away from the sense of fatigue, into recognizing the fatigue as a call for you to stay awake.

There is a song with very relevant lyrics from the Walt Disney film Mary Poppins.  The words of which composed by Richard M. Sherman And Robert B. Sherman and are as follows:  “Though the world is fast asleep. Though your pillow’s soft and deep. You’re not sleepy as you seem. Stay awake, don’t nod and dream.”

What a powerful reminder for us all to stay awake.  Stay awake to the hope for continued goodness, compassion, and loving-kindness we’re now witnessing in our world.  Stay awake to the generosity of the unprecedented sharing of resources, and the palpable, persistent presence of the Divine.  It is here now.  Can you sense the presence of it?  Do you feel it?  Stay awake.

What are you noticing?

And so it is.

On Embracing Change

by Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
April 15, 2020

The only thing constant in life is change. We are taught this when we are very young by our elders to prepare us for the transient nature of life. Sometimes we choose to make changes, and sometimes we are the recipient of changes. I personally like being the chooser of the change the best, as it’s nice to have and know the plan. But what happens when the changes taking place occur without being of our choosing? This is what we are experiencing now as our human family navigates the pandemic of COVID-19.

Now is our opportunity to lean into God, to close the gap of separation by choosing what is, precisely as it is. You may not have chosen this to begin with, but by choosing it now, you are fully accepting what is, and liberation, unity, and wholeness are the result.  You may not like the situation you are in, but it is imperative that you like yourself in it.

What we are not taught at a very young age is that within us is the changeless – the eternal, formless nature of our being. The very essence of life itself is in me, you, and all, and it never, ever changes. It’s also always simultaneously existing everywhere. When I remember this Truth, it brings me joy, for I know that God is also the wave of change that I can lean into it and surf, knowing I’ll be alright.

God’s Presence is palpable during times of change, which makes them holy and reverent moments. Standing on the precipice of our magnificence, choosing what is in front of us in total acceptance, and without looking back, we become free to fly into our future.

I don’t believe we are isolating at home; I do believe we are in the cocoon of transformation.   We are in the cosmic soup of our metamorphosis, which is the place where the caterpillar breaks down entirely so that it might emerge as a glorious butterfly.

I don’t know what life will be like when we emerge from our cocoons.  I do know that the butterfly is not a caterpillar with wings, but an entirely new arrangement of cells in a brilliant form which the caterpillar could not have imagined.

Now is the time to lean toward the God of your understanding, just as tulips lean toward the light.

There is a tremendous rising up of community with sharing of resources and collaboration going on, which is unprecedented, and quite beautiful to witness.  Will you join me in making a note to remember this new way of being, and to carry it forward to the other side of the cocoon?

I believe committing to remember to carry this forward is a better strategy than hoping for it.  We are learning the tremendous good we as a human family are capable of, and it is powerful.  Stay strong in the Spirit, dear ones.

And so it is.

Ask yourself these six questions daily

By Rev. Elizabeth Rowley,
Spiritual Director
April 1, 2020

I recently read an article in the Greater Good Science Center’s online journal written by Brooke Anderson, a Bay Area-based organizer, and photojournalist.  In the article, she encourages us to check in with ourselves regularly as we navigate this pandemic by asking six questions.  While some of us are sheltering at home, others are on the front line working essential jobs. I am so grateful for all the essential workers out there and say prayers for them daily.  If you are one of them, thank you.

I invite you to join me in asking yourself these six questions daily, with the purpose of taking action.

What am I grateful for today?
If you find yourself in fear, going down the rabbit hole of worst possible outcomes, it’s a perfect time to stop, drop, and give thanks.  You can begin with the simple things you are grateful for, like having a roof over your head and enough food to eat.  I like to list ten things I am thankful for before getting out of bed in the morning and before falling asleep at night.  I keep a gratitude journal in my nightstand with a pen to be sure I begin and end my day in gratitude.

Who am I checking in on or connecting with today?
Everyone knows people. Whether you think they are ok or not, or you’re a solitary person who enjoys being alone, it’s essential that you reach out to others.  We are keeping our physical distance to flatten the curve of this disease, not placing ourselves in social isolation.  Pick up the phone, get on a Zoom video conference call, send a text message, an email, or a good old-fashioned card via snail mail. Whoever the person is that you just thought of as you read this, please reach out to them.

What expectations of “normal” am I letting go of today?
We are building a new normal, called to let go of what was, accept what is, and figure out how to proceed from here.

How am I getting outside today?
Can you walk to your mailbox or do a neighborhood stroll while keeping a safe distance of six feet from others?  Maybe it’s as simple as putting a chair out on the front or back patio and enjoying some fresh air.  The point is that you get outside for at least ten minutes.

How am I moving my body today?
Moving your body releases endorphins, which are the quintessential feel-good chemicals in your brain.  Whether you take a neighborhood stroll or take an online exercise class, be sure to move that body.

What beauty am I either creating, cultivating, or inviting in today?
Take a virtual museum tour, be open to viewing art in some other form.  Perhaps you might start painting, coloring, sewing, or writing.  Get creative!

Lastly, please be gentle with yourself and know that you are loved.

And so it is.