Posted in Contributing Writer, find yourself, Spiritual Practice, Terri Stewart

FINDING YOURSELF Part 2: What Story Do You Have to Tell?

What experience of the presence of the divine can you speak to?

Where has grace moved in your life?

Every time I meet with youth in detention, I am interested in hearing their story. Monday, I heard the story of a young man who is extremely disappointed in himself. So we read the Tales of the Pointless People by Dan Ehrlander. Here we explored that the keeping score, comparing, ourselves to other, leads to spiritual death. Holding yourself responsible and bearing guilt beyond your capacity are two separate things.

“Write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.” ― Neil Gaiman

What story do you have to tell?

sailboat

“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain! I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it’s not pretty, every day, and if you can source your own life from its presence.
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I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.”

Oriah Mountain Dreamer*

Shalom,
Terri

* Oriah Mountain Dreamer is the author of several best-selling books: The Invitation (now translated into more than fifteen languages), The Dance, and The Call: Discovering Why You Are Here. Her book, What We Ache For: Creativity and the Unfolding of Your Soul, explores the challenges, rewards, and necessity of doing our creative work. 

mailTERRI STEWART is Into the Bardo’s Sunday Chaplain. You can expect a special post from her each week. She comes from an eclectic background and considers herself to be grounded in contemplation and justice. She is the Director and Founder of the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition that serves youth affected by the justice system. As a recent graduate of Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, she earned her Master’s of Divinity and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Spiritual Direction with honors and is a rare United Methodist student in the Jesuit Honor Society, Alpha Sigma Nu. She is a contributing author to the Abingdon Worship Annual.
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Her online presence is Cloaked Monk.This speaks to her grounding in contemplative arts (photography, mandala, poetry) and the need to live it out in the world. The cloak is the disguise of normalcy as she advocates for justice and peace. You can find her at www.cloakedmonk.com,www.twitter.com/cloakedmonk, and www.facebook.com/cloakedmonk.  To reach her for conversation, send a note to cloakedmonk@outlook.com.
Posted in Spiritual Practice, Terri Stewart

The Bridge

BridgeDuvall, WA
Bridge
Duvall, WA

In my driving to and from the youth detention center, I have discovered that I cross many bridges. I do, after all, live in the Pacific Northwest where it rains and rains and rains. Rarely are the bridges as interesting as the one pictured here. I began to wonder about the nature of bridges. When I look at this one, I see strength, shadow, radiance, and more.

If you took a few moments to enter this photo, what is calling out to you? Where is energy stirring within you? What is shimmering in your body?

Going deeper, now that you are stirring, do you hear an invitation? Seeing anything? Is there a question?

Finally, now that you have felt energy, heard a question, what are you going to do about it? Is there action growing out of your contemplation? Is the action, the act of stillness? An act of justice? An act of compassion for yourself or others? Is the bridge leading you somewhere? Or returning you home?

Random Observation-This particular bridge is found at a round-about. A circular spot in the road that both leads and returns. What if going forward is returning home?

“Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.” -A. A. Milne

Shalom,
Terri

P.S. For a photo of a round-about, go HERE.

mailTERRI STEWART is Into the Bardo’s new Sunday evening chaplain. You can expect a special post from her each week. She comes from an eclectic background and considers herself to be grounded in contemplation and justice. She is the Director and Founder of the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition that serves youth affected by the justice system. As a recent graduate of Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, she earned her Master’s of Divinity and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Spiritual Direction with honors and is a rare United Methodist student in the Jesuit Honor Society, Alpha Sigma Nu. She is a contributing author to the Abingdon Worship Annual.
Her online presence is “Cloaked Monk.” This speaks to her grounding in contemplative arts (photography, mandala, poetry) and the need to live it out in the world. The cloak is the disguise of normalcy as she advocates for justice and peace. You can find her at www.cloakedmonk.com,www.twitter.com/cloakedmonk, and www.facebook.com/cloakedmonk.  To reach her for conversation, send a note to cloakedmonk@outlook.com.
Posted in Contributing Writer, teacher

Radiance

RADIANCE

by

Terri Stewart (Cloaked Monk)

I have been contemplating what it means to carry radiance within. I remember one of my favorite childhood books, Charlotte’s Web, and Wilbur, the pig, was declared by Charlotte to be “radiant.” Such a different way of thinking about a pig! And maybe it is a different way to think about ourselves.

What does it mean to carry radiance within?
How are you changed if you consider yourself radiant?
What does it look like to bear radiance into the world?

Radiance by Terri Stewart
Radiance by Terri Stewart

“In the beginning..
when ray and day hadn’t yet come into existence at all,
there was a kind of radiance that illuminates universe.
That radiance is the light of knowledge and goodness.
That radiance will persistently and consistently shine brightly
even after all the stars and moons in this vast universe died out.”
~Toba Beta, My Ancestor Was an Ancient Astronaut

© 2013, post and photographs, Terri Stewart, All rights reserved

mailTERRI STEWART is Into the Bardo’s new Sunday evening chaplain. You can expect a special post from her each week. She comes from an eclectic background and considers herself to be grounded in contemplation and justice. She is the Director and Founder of the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition that serves youth affected by the justice system. As a recent graduate of Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, she earned her Master’s of Divinity and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Spiritual Direction with honors and is a rare United Methodist student in the Jesuit Honor Society, Alpha Sigma Nu. She is a contributing author to the Abingdon Worship Annual.
Her online presence is “Cloaked Monk.” This speaks to her grounding in contemplative arts (photography, mandala, poetry) and the need to live it out in the world. The cloak is the disguise of normalcy as she advocates for justice and peace. You can find her at www.cloakedmonk.com,www.twitter.com/cloakedmonk, and www.facebook.com/cloakedmonk.  To reach her for conversation, send a note to cloakedmonk@outlook.com.
Posted in Buddhism, Guest Writer

A lovely thought for the journey today from Terri Stewart (aka Cloaked Monk). Her blog is worth your visit. Brief and lovely meditative moments. Thank you, Terri!