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With a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction degree (Goucher College, August 2014), I am looking at a new phase in my life. From 1992 to 2009, I served as Founding Executive Director of Miriam's House, a residence for homeless women living with AIDS. I left this position when Chronic Migraine Disease overtook my ability to do my job. Now I hope that a writing career will both accommodate the migraines and give me a creative, productive outlet. And soon, September 4, I will launch my Inkshares author page in a bid to hit the 1,000 pre-order goal in 90  days. The book I want to publish is "Nowhere Else I Want to Be," a memoir of ten of my years at Miriam's House.

06 January 2013

Reading Mariechild Together: Picking up our Pins with Love

It seems to me that so far Mariechild's book, "Open Mind -- Womens' Daily Inspiration for  Becoming Mindful," has been building her case for becoming mindful. The readings for January 1-4 have been setting the stage by telling us that:
"our minds can open like the wind" (Jan. 1);
it takes "enormous courage" to "look inside oneself" (Jan. 2);
"we are the ones who are veiled" and that it is possible to have a direct experience of the mystery (Jan. 3);
*  and, finally, we can choose to "live into the question" (Jan. 4).

The January 5 reading was new in that, after building her case -- "we pray to open our hearts to spiritual power, the ability to sparkle" -- as in previous posts, Mariechild offers what I call a practice: she suggests that we repeat the Chrystos poem "slowly, several times, allowing the energy to pass through you."

I tried that, last night, and since I was distracted by the pain of a migraine, I augmented Mariechild's idea by using music, something I often do to help lift me above the pain. I put my earbuds in and listened to music I have on my Kindle Fire: Georg Deuter's beautiful "Sea and Silence."

As I let the music fill and relax me, I repeated the poem very slowly, phrase by phrase. Gradually, the muscle tension that accompanies pain eased and I felt my body settling by degrees into the bed, my breathing becoming deeper, the pain becoming less important. And that opened the way to letting the poetry take hold.

January 6: I remember a quote attributed to St. Therese of Lisieux that even picking up a pin with love can save a soul. I think of those words as I read Dr. Thynn Thynn's words and Mariechild's response.

Women's traditional work...is all necessary and life-affirming activities. When done with mindfulness -- that is, care, joy and concern for all -- this is the spiritual life.

It's what Catholic nun, Therese of Lisieux, was saying in the 1890s; what Thynn Thynn, Buddhist teacher, is saying now. It's how we can practice without imagining that to be spiritual we must meditate or pray for a certain number of minutes or in a certain pose or with an expected result. We can let go of thinking that our experience at church/temple/sangha/mosque must make us spiritual or holy or, at least, different somehow.

All we need do is pick up our pins with love.

I would love to hear from you. Please use the Comment box below, or email me at carold.marsh@gmail.com. Thank you.

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