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Conversations and meditations to nourish the paradise of your heart

January 5, 2020

Setting the new year on a solid foundation–not resolutions!

January is the time when we think about resolutions for the new year, for a new me. By this time the regular spate of articles debating the worth of making resolutions has just about ended. What I want to offer you are four conversations about setting a solid foundation to a new year, a foundation that focuses on practices for the present rather than resolutions for the ideal future image we have of ourselves. We discuss why resolutions sometimes don’t work, and I share my four criteria for effective resolutions. 

During this month we will be sharing in the podcast some effective practices I’ve started and how they have made a difference almost immediately in my live. And we’ll explore new perspectives from poets, authors and saints that will help us retain the newness of the New Year. 

Enjoy this conversation between Jeannette and I. Welcome to the New Year 2020. May it be filled with much grace.

December 29, 2019

Easter in December

Okay, I admit that the title for this article is a little startling. We are celebrating Christmas, right? Check your calendars. It is still December. Look outside. The liturgy is talking about Christ’s birth and the stores are boasting Christmas specials. 

But I couldn’t resist not sharing with you an insight into the glory of Christmas that I discovered in a very old book The Mass Through the Year by Aemiliana Lohr.

Sharing this is important to me because after reading the reflection, I am finding myself saddened that our Christmas celebrations never stretch us beyond “remembering” and “re-enacting” the first Christmas or drawing some comforting or, less often, a challenging application from the Christmas narrative for our own lives. Many present-moment Christmases disappoint as we recall the memories of Christmases of happier years or sorrow through Christmases that now are marred by anniversaries of losses we still regret. 

We are not the shepherds who were startled from sleep by choruses of angelic delight eagerly awaking a slumbering world to the unexpected and truly wondrous news that the mighty Savior lay waiting for them in a manger. No. We have read the Gospels. We know Jesus’ story. We’ve heard his parables over and over again. Each Lent and Easter we’ve commemorated his death and resurrection, and in Baptism we’ve died with him and have risen with him….

The Church can’t see the child in swaddling clothes laid in a manger without remembering the memorial of his other birth from the tomb. 

The solemnity of the birth of the King Christ was in view of the day on which his power and rule would be solidified as he rose from the dead and ascended to his place beside his Father in heaven. ...

December 22, 2019

Christmas Lights

It was just a small photo my dad texted me the other day. Around the tiny pine cone tree that stood proudly on their kitchen table he and mom had strung an equally tiny string of white lights. For what is a Christmas tree without lights?

What is Christmas without the star blazing in the night, announcing the glory of the news of the Messiah’s birth?

As we drove home after dark Sunday with strains of music from the Christmas concert performed by our choir still in my heart, I felt an almost child-like wonder at the lights that stood as solitary sentinels in the darkened windows of the homes in our neighborhood. House after house was trimmed in light. In just a few days we will decorate our own convent with nativity scenes and a tree, with symbols of the Christmas story…and with light.

I still remember near our convent in Metairie Al Copeland’s house on Folse Drive that attracted carloads of visitors from near and far in December to see the thousands of lights that filled every inch of their yard. The owners moved out in October while their property was prepared by a professional Christmas decorator with a unique theme for this December extravaganza of light which brings out the wonder in both kids and adults alike.

Light.

We turn on the lights after dark. Lights are more visible in the night. It dispels the night. Stars are only visible in the night sky. So even as Christmas is celebrated with lights, on a deeper level it is so because there is darkness.

St Augustine wrote:

Wake up, O human being! For it was for you that God was made man. Rise up and realize it was all for you. Eternal death would have awaited you had He not been born in time. Never would you be freed from your sinful flesh had He not taken to Himself the likeness of sinful flesh. Everlasting would be your misery had He not performed this act of mercy. You would not have come to life again had He not come to die your death. You would have perished had He not come....

 

December 22, 2019

When it is hard to be joyful at Christmas

Christmas. The most wonderful time of the year. When tidings of great joy were told to the shepherds about the birth of the Son of God, the Prince of Peace. But what if we can't hear those tidings of great joy this year, in this world, in our world? What if we are carrying around a sorrow that makes us wonder if it is possible to even believe that Jesus' birth made any difference? Do we live in a future that is mystery or enigma? In this podcast I reflect upon how to see the mystery of Christmas when one's heart is sad.

December 15, 2019

Be the Christmas You Celebrate

I think about the Christmas season's tug of war over the rights of the public visibility of Christmas language and display, as well as people who feel their rights to express their faith openly are being taken away. I wonder if we Christians are missing the point altogether.

As Christians who reverence the Other who accepted and forgave us, experiencing the other as a good and not a threat should be the hallmark of our common living. It is true we now live in a society where we cannot assume that others share the same foundational beliefs about the good of humanity as we.

Nevertheless, it has always been the human experience that many different voices need to converge in a dialogue in which we consider the "Other" one with ourselves, a dialogue in which we are all together trying to come closer to truth. Christmas teaches us that truth, more than each group vying for power in an argument, is more correctly seen as a relationship.

 

ENJOYED THIS PODCAST? HERE ARE 4 WAYS TO GO DEEPER…
God has amazing ways of knocking on people's hearts, awakening desires, arousing questions, provoking an unexpected spiritual fire. If you have enjoyed this article, and are ready to embark on a sustained spiritual journey, here are 4 ways you can join me on the journey. You can learn more about them at touchingthesunrise.com.
- Join my private Facebook Group and walk the road of healing with a great group of people. I offer a half-hour live spiritual conference here Tuesday evenings at 7pm EST.
- Sign-up for my letter Touching the Sunrise. I write a letter a couple times a month from my heart to yours to support you along the way.
- Explore my books: Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach; Reclaim Regret: How God Heals Life's Disappointments; Just a Minute Meditations Deeper Trust and Inner Peace.
- Become a part of the HeartWork Community, a place where you can ask the hard questions and find a path to a life that is free, fulfilling and fruitful.

 

December 8, 2019

5 Learning for Midlife: 5 - Leave the door open into the unknown

In our conversation today we explore the new energy that allows us to step back, reflect and create a vision of the rest of our life. Using St Teresa's Four Ways of Watering a Garden we explore how prayer deepens during our middle years helping us to see our life with new eyes.

 

December 1, 2019

5 Learnings for Midlife: 4 - Expect grace and generosity of spirit…in yourself and others.

There is so much about our faith that centers on generosity, especially the abundance of love we receive from God unconditionally. We know fundamentally we are blessed. But even so, it takes some effort to cultivate our attention to finding—and keeping—a continued awareness of the presence of God in daily life. This awareness makes us more open to seeking God’s hope and his guidance for us in all things, from great and small wonders to the realities of the poor and vulnerable.

Using James Fowler's stages of faith, we explore in our conversation practical ways to grow in generosity of spirit in our middle years.

Belief, hope, and the spirit of generosity come together to make people more effective. It’s not hard to figure out that the more people believe in what they’re doing, the more they have hope for the future. The more hope they have that tomorrow will be better than today, the more likely they are to be generous of spirit in all they do. The more generous they are, the more everyone around them is likely to believe in the greatness of the community. The more they believe, the better their lives will be.

 

ENJOYED THIS PODCAST? HERE ARE 4 WAYS TO GO DEEPER… God has amazing ways of knocking on people's hearts, awakening desires, arousing questions, provoking an unexpected spiritual fire. If you have enjoyed this article, and are ready to embark on a sustained spiritual journey, here are 4 ways you can join me on the journey.

You can learn more about them at touchingthesunrise.com. Join my private Facebook Group and walk the road of healing with a great group of people. I offer a half-hour live spiritual conference here Tuesday evenings at 7pm EST. Sign-up for my letter Touching the Sunrise.

I write a letter a couple times a month from my heart to yours to support you along the way. Explore my books: Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach; Reclaim Regret: How God Heals Life's Disappointments; Just a Minute Meditations Deeper Trust and Inner Peace. Become a part of the HeartWork Community, a place where you can ask the hard questions and find a path to a life that is free, fulfilling and fruitful.

November 24, 2019

5 Learnings for Midlife: 3 - To go forward we must stop looking back.

Today is our third conversation about midlife learnings. In our conversation today Jeannette and I explore how the Holy Spirit knows that dream God had when he created us, that God still has for us, and that God will faithfully bring about in us. The Spirit knows how to pray best for this because the Spirit is always in harmony with God's desires and ultimate will. We talk about how we can embrace these middle years so that we can stop looking back and keep walking forward into God's beautiful dream for our lives.

 

ENJOYED THIS PODCAST? HERE ARE 4 WAYS TO GO DEEPER…
God has amazing ways of knocking on people's hearts, awakening desires, arousing questions, provoking an unexpected spiritual fire. If you have enjoyed this article, and are ready to embark on a sustained spiritual journey, here are 4 ways you can join me on the journey. You can learn more about them at touchingthesunrise.com.
Join my private Facebook Group and walk the road of healing with a great group of people. I offer a half-hour live spiritual conference here Tuesday evenings at 7pm EST.
Sign-up for my letter Touching the Sunrise. I write a letter a couple times a month from my heart to yours to support you along the way.
Explore my books: Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach; Reclaim Regret: How God Heals Life's Disappointments; Just a Minute Meditations Deeper Trust and Inner Peace.
Become a part of the HeartWork Community, a place where you can ask the hard questions and find a path to a life that is free, fulfilling and fruitful.

November 17, 2019

5 Learnings for Midlife: 2 - Be attentive to pockets of possibility.

Today we're having our second conversation on my "midlife learnings." Be attentive to pockets of possibility. Jeannette de Beauvoir and I explore Daniel Levinson's stages of adult development and how we can lean into possibility, lean into transformation.

All of our life we’re made so that we lean into possibilies. We have the ability to catch that moment, that spark, that pocket and have it guide us forward.

 

ENJOYED THIS PODCAST? HERE ARE 4 WAYS TO GO DEEPER…
God has amazing ways of knocking on people's hearts, awakening desires, arousing questions, provoking an unexpected spiritual fire. If you have enjoyed this article, and are ready to embark on a sustained spiritual journey, here are 4 ways you can join me on the journey. You can learn more about them at touchingthesunrise.com.
Join my private Facebook Group and walk the road of healing with a great group of people. I offer a half-hour live spiritual conference here Tuesday evenings at 7pm EST.
Sign-up for my letter Touching the Sunrise. I write a letter a couple times a month from my heart to yours to support you along the way.
Explore my books: Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach; Reclaim Regret: How God Heals Life's Disappointments; Just a Minute Meditations Deeper Trust and Inner Peace.
Become a part of the HeartWork Community, a place where you can ask the hard questions and find a path to a life that is free, fulfilling and fruitful.

 

November 10, 2019

5 Learnings for Midlife: 1 - We have to get lost in order to find ourselves.

Today we're starting a series of five podcasts on my "midlife learnings." The first one we take up today is about getting lost. These middle years can leave us feeling lost at times as we transition from who we have been to who we are to become.... Jeannette de Beauvoir and I take up this conversation of why it is important to get lost sometimes. "Being lost is challenging. Dante wrote about his traveler finding himself 'in dark woods, the right way lost' when he descended into the Inferno, and that’s what it can feel like, being in dark woods. You don’t know which way to take to get out. You don’t know what tomorrow will look like. You wish you had what you lost, even if it wasn’t good for you. You might even feel like God has abandoned you. But that’s when he’s closest. That’s when he’s saying, 'Take my hand. Trust me. I love you. I’ll show you the way out.' "

ENJOYED THIS PODCAST? HERE ARE 4 WAYS TO GO DEEPER…
God has amazing ways of knocking on people's hearts, awakening desires, arousing questions, provoking an unexpected spiritual fire. If you have enjoyed this article, and are ready to embark on a sustained spiritual journey, here are 4 ways you can join me on the journey. You can learn more about them at touchingthesunrise.com.
Join my private Facebook Group and walk the road of healing with a great group of people. I offer a half-hour live spiritual conference here Tuesday evenings at 7pm EST.
Sign-up for my letter Touching the Sunrise. I write a letter a couple times a month from my heart to yours to support you along the way.
Explore my books: Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach; Reclaim Regret: How God Heals Life's Disappointments; Just a Minute Meditations Deeper Trust and Inner Peace.
Become a part of the HeartWork Community, a place where you can ask the hard questions and find a path to a life that is free, fulfilling and fruitful.