Tag Archives: hope

Indivisible, a poem

We are like two countries you and I

Who throughout our history have gone to war

Burning the sacred monuments with our rage

As our children huddle and pray for peace.


We think we are fighting for freedom

As if I could evict you from the places you inhabit

Within the boundaries of my skin

When no bullet, fire or distance could ever extract you from me


As if I could return to the self I once was

Before your love transformed me

And drove me mad

For true love comes at a great price


It costs us everything

For whatever we love

We must lose.

Oh the terror


Of a life without love

And the paradox of it!

For its absence is proof of

Its existence


And though we have mounted love’s causalities,

And grown old with despair

In the rubble of morning light

I still hope.


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The Woman of the Light

EarthCreecher’ features another guest blogger, Mary Ann McDowell,  for our series in Advent reflecting on the incarnation.  If you would like to take some time in this busy season to stop and mediate on the energy and meaning of this season for you, we would love to hear from you too!  Submission guidelines can be found here

Incarnation. I looked at the word on the page.

“Incarnation: a person who embodies in the flesh a deity, spirit or abstract quality.”

Nope. Not me. No chance. This has been a year of change for me. I left an abusive relationship just over a year ago. At this time last year, I would not have named it that, but that’s what it was. A year ago, I was not the woman I really am. I cowered in corners, didn’t speak much, kept opinions to myself. I was stupid, I was weak, I was incapable. These were the voices in my head, and they mirrored the voices of someone in my life. I was terrified. I was convinced that those voices were right. I was going to fall on my face, and fail, yet again. My world was dark, and I was in so much pain, an almost constant dull ache that grew and swelled and subsided, but never really went away. Then something happened.

Through those pains and through the darkness, I could see a glimmer of light, a small pin prick in the distance. I turned towards it. It was far away. I felt the darkness closing in around me as I pushed my way towards that faint glow. It was a difficult road. So often I thought that I would not be strong enough to make the journey. The light seemed beyond my reach. But then, I could see someone in the light.

A woman beckoned me towards her. She was bathed in the light. I was immediately drawn to her warmth, her strength, her compassion, and her beauty. She gave me strength to escape the darkness, and as I did, she folded me into her being. I had given birth, and I had been born.

“Incarnation: a person who embodies a deity.”

No, that word didn’t fit….. My soul emerged from that darkness, into the light of a new day. I was reborn. Although I was still in the same old body, the rebirth of my soul certainly felt like a reincarnation. The world around me had begun to take on a new light, new colours emerged, new beauty. I was very much like an infant trying to make sense of her world. People began to see me in a new and different way; I really was a new person.  And as such, I began to live in new ways.

I began to be intentional in my life and in my living. I reconnected with many from my past who had been important to me, and I connected with others who quickly became important to me. They all saw something in me that I did not yet see, I was still struggling with the old voices; I was still living just on the edge of that darkness. These wonderful people in my life supported me when the darkness called again. They drew me out.  They helped raise this child.

There were times when I could see the beautiful woman from the light, beckoning me once again. She was there only fleetingly, and I began to feel the need to find her. She had rescued me, and I wanted to thank her. Then there came a time when I couldn’t find her anymore. She had shown me the way, and I was grateful to her, but she had disappeared when I emerged. I started to sense her, more than see her. She was with me, still elusive, but with me. The negative voices started to subside – all but one.

This voice was the voice in my head that said that I was unattractive, that I was ugly, that I was unworthy of love. When this voice spoke, all others were drowned out. So many people confronted that voice, and told it to go. It diminished, but it was still there. At times the woman from the light seemed completely absent. I would see her when the voice wasn’t there, but when the voice was strong, it seemed to drive her away. Then one day, quite by chance I saw her out of the corner of my eye, and she was close.

I looked again, and was in disbelief. She was here; she was in my reflection. “That couldn’t possibly be!” I thought to myself. “She is so strong, so compassionate, so warm, so beautiful. She is not me….” And then I stopped. I thought about all of the things my friends and loved ones had been saying. They were not describing the me that I had been seeing; they had been describing this woman who I felt had been eluding me all along. This woman, this divine woman who had saved me – this woman was me. I am the warm, strong, compassionate and even beautiful woman that had been here all along. Incarnation: the embodiment of the divine. Yes, I had given birth, and I had been born. The divine, which dwells in me had been born in me, and I in Her.

Mary Ann is a mom, food banker, part-time student, blogger, and seeker of the divine feminine.  Her blog can be found at mamcdowell416.wordpress.com and you can follow her on twitter @mamcdowell1.

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Filed under american society, feminism, light, spirituality

Death is a Door

But death is just a door through which we all must pass
And it cannot take our love away
No, even there it lasts
Through worlds unseen and back again
Love comes to us once more
Shining on our faces cast
A hope beyond death’s door

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Lie Like a Saint

ImageLast night as I was driving home from another night of Youth Group, I listened to an intriguing story on NPR’s Radiolab called Deception.   Scanning brains, researchers discovered that the frontal lobe of people who easily lied contained larger masses of white matter.  (These people could easily make excuses and escape tight spots where others panic about what to say next.)

Even more intriguing, researchers developed a test that would reveal the ability of a person to even lie to themselves.  They hooked up electrodes to their skin and were able to demonstrate that the body reacted to lies (somatic consciousness), but the the information was blocked from mental conscious recognition.

The most disturbing part of the piece was when the researchers revealed that these subjects were the most successful among us.  Athletes are able to lie to themselves, “I’m the best.  I’ll win I know it,” blocking out any information to the contrary, they indeed are.  In the same way, CEOs and soldiers are able to block out the consequences of their actions, and continue to do things that do great harm to others in order to survive.

Conversely, those among us who tend to see the world and themselves more clearly tend to be more depressed.  These are people who behold the suffering of others and are aware of their own weaknesses and willing to talk about their experiences with others.

At the conclusion of the show the narrator surmised that nature had created this capacity to lie so that we would be protected from the frailness of our humanity and go on to live successful lives.  In short:  the liars are the ideal and the compassionate ones are urged to grow thicker skin?  I banged my head against the steering wheel.

Great.  Just what the politicians and ego maniacs of the world need to hear.

But, but, I thought the goal was consciousness…?

No, not for the collective, Jung would say.

So what IS true success?  Surely Plato would have struggled accepting the fact that those who can lie to themselves are achieving The Highest Good–especially if one’s actions do not result in The Highest Good for another too.  Being successful at another’s expense is not really success.  Nor is failing to see how we have hurt one another to maintain our successes.  This is bullying.  And cruel.  Does our society ask us to attain these attributes in order to succeed?  What do you think?  (I’d love to hear your thoughts!)

When the Blue Fairy comes to rescue puppet Pinocchio from the prison he’s gotten himself in from following the crowd, Pinocchio cannot be set free until he stops lying to the Blue Fairy and to himself.  Then he can go on to learn how to become a real boy.

We have to walk a much harder road to earn true success.  Just as Jesus had to leave the mountain top where he was transfigured in glory (like we were in our teenage years) Jesus knew his path lead to the cross, and he dragged Peter back down the mountain to show him that God’s light comes to shine in dark places, even death (where we too must go).

No, people on the road to consciousness do not look like typical success stories.  Often they look like complete failures.  But in their willingness to be adventurous and risk seeing it all, they gain something hard to achieve:  they gain compassion, joy and love.

Granted, lying is just at times.  We lie to maintain relationships.  We shield others from the pain of knowing their new hair cut really does look awful.

“Everything will be okay.”

“I can do this.”

“We’ll make it.”

I would argue that these thoughts that can shape reality are not lies, but faith.  When we hope for ourselves and for humanity, we intentionally create a more equal playing field, where all of us can taste success.

Tomorrow is the last day before the season of Lent begins, a time for reflecting on our lives and what keeps us from being our best self.  I hope we can all be courageous enough to learn from our mistakes, to walk along side of those who are suffering, and to hope for a more just and compassionate world.  I know we can do it.

I look forward to the journey with you!

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Filed under american society, analysis, christianity, culture, jung, philosophy, spirituality

The Feast of Epiphany

Photograph by Kwon O. Chul, TWAN, for National Geographic

The zodiacal light towers over Africa as seen from the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in July 2009. Photograph by Kwon O. Chul, TWAN, for National Geographic.

“Then you will look and be radiant,
    your heart will throb and swell with joy”
-Isaiah 60:5

Where is the light in your life right now?  Where is your joy? For me this is a difficult season because someone I admired very much passed away during this time last year.  In fact, our community has lots of difficult anniversaries to walk through this year since many have so recently left us.  And instead of reflecting on the light, my mind is drawn into darkness.  And I ask the question that we all ask when unexplained bad things happen:  Why?  To which I can find no good answer.  I try to shift my thoughts.  I ask: Where?  Where is the light and the joy?  Let me follow where they lead.  Where can I shine a light today?

Today is the Feast of Epiphany when we remember a bright star that shone in a midnight blue sky, so brilliant that strangers from another land marveled at its mystery and followed it all the way to a distant, strange and humble place.

The light leads us all to humility.  To behold our many mangers.  To unexpected places where love can be born.  Through cities full of raging kings, through the tears of childless mothers, through mobs worried about money, through peoples’ judgements upon our lives, through it all so that we may know that light can shine in all these places.  Here, among us in our bleak midwinter, love is born.

Here is a blessing for you this day:  May you see and follow the light (however small) and the joy (however childish) that is shining in your life.  May you fear not the place to which you are called to go.  May you behold the child in the humble manger–the one with a face similar to yours.  May you hold this child, the incarnate light of God, so that all may see and know that no matter how dark a time is this:  love wins.

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Filed under episcopal, light, spirituality, youth ministry