Often when we look back on our lives we see that the chain of seemingly disparate events have formed patterns. These are formed by our practices, our habits, our mistakes, our relationships, our dreams — no matter what the separate events are, the patterns reveal that we were on a path all along.
Being aware is one way the Spirit works in guiding us. Because we’re living fully engaged in our lives each day, it’s hard for us to notice this or that pattern. We’re too close.
This is why taking time for a retreat, a space to slow down and spend time in quiet to pray a bit and listen more, we begin noticing how God has been at work in us. Amidst the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations, the season of Advent gives each of us a good reason to step back and take some moments of quiet, allowing us to see, appreciate and give thanks for the unique work of God in our lives.
God dwells within us and is present and active in our lives through our everyday experiences. It is important that we exercise a self-presence that pays close attention to our bodily, emotional and intellectual lives. Only by being present to ourselves can we be truly present to God, to other people and to all of creation.
Today, I focus on making friends with our feelings through self-compassion. Because some of our feelings are so painful, we avoid them, suppress them, sedate them or do whatever we can to distract our attention from them. The problem is, that when we close our hearts to our feelings, we constrict our relationship with ourselves, with others and with God. If we can get better at feeling our feelings, we can learn to love and accept ourselves unconditionally as God does.
Medieval Sufi mystic and poet, Rumi, expresses this point in his poem, “Guest House”:
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each quest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
Share your feelings with God’s gentle Spirit and allow yourself to be wrapped in love. By befriending your feelings you will experience greater joy and freedom in your life of discipleship.
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Sister Tarianne DeYonker, OP
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Adrian Dominican Sisters
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Get out your bell-bottoms and platform shoes, because DISCO is here!
Okay, so it's a little less dancing, a little more talking... Sisters Lorraine Réaume, OP, and Sara Fairbanks, OP, have a new video series called DISCO (Discernment Conversations): Dancing with the questions of life!