#Holy Leisure

The Seed Cracked Open

On a recent retreat after a brief morning teaching, we were asked to take a long contemplative walk anywhere on the 600 beautiful acres of the retreat center. The retreat leader gave us this poem from Hafiz called “The Seed Cracked Open.” It caused me to think that God is always inviting us to new spiritual horizons and that dance can be lively and fun as we serve the world together. “It used to be that when I would wake in the morning I could with confidence say, “What am ‘I’ going to do?” That was before the seed was cracked open. Now Hafiz is certain: There are two of us housed in this body, doing the shopping together in the market and tickling each other while fixing the evening’s food. Now when I awake all the instruments play the same music: “God, what love-mischief can ‘We’ do for the world today?” What love-mischief have you and God been doing for the world? Let me know.

by Cathy

Summer Senses

God is calling me outside.  The summer is just beginning and creation is beckoning its familiar sights and sounds. As I venture out one morning for my beach run, I pause at my usual turn around place and step further down to the familiar stairs that looked so inviting this time. I am in awe as I see the budding of leaves and blossoms, the fresh morning light rising in between a few scattered clouds. Birds are sweetly rehearsing their arias and my senses are alive at that very moment. I am in gratitude for these simple creations that delight me so. I am fully in the ‘moment’ of all that is around me. I have a simple consciousness of God saying out loud, “Welcome to my Kingdom on earth.” All that I see, hear, taste, smell and touch is God’s spiritual body wrapping me in His world full of His love and light.  I will, in turn, breathe in all the senses of God and walk back the way I came to a new day, emitting light and love to whomever crosses my path. Oh, happy summer day!

by Liz


Deep Time

This past Sunday was Father’s Day. For many of us dads the day is difficult to get through. We strive to be the perfect father. Most of us fail. We never live up to the responsibilities. So when a day comes along to honor us, we feel unworthy. We enjoy Mother’s Day because we can take charge. In Richard Rohr’s book, “Falling Upward,” he discusses a concept he calls “deep time.” There is no definition of this term but it seems to carry a message us Dads should consider. As fathers, we have only one responsibility and that’s to love our family. This is a responsibility we can actually accomplish. If we can find our way into a deep time with the ones entrusted to us, we can find peace. When we find peace, we become worthy. When men are in the arena of work, we often approach it with a competitive, winner-take-all attitude. In family life, it’s different because a Father must give his family deep time, not prime time.

by Diego

Keeping It Simple

Summer means salt water, sailing, surfing, snorkeling and beaching it.  As a boy, it meant days of collecting Bubble Up and Coke bottles found on the beach to turn in for candy money at the store on 62nd street out on the Long Beach Peninsula.  It meant the first peel of skin after a sun burn and a thickening of calluses on my always bare feet.  It was about chatter with pals in the small shore break, laying down wet on hot sand and pulling out splinters from running on the boardwalk.  It was a season of innocence and play and the great adventure of growing up; puffing tobacco for the first time, holding a girl’s hand and evening fires on the beach. To this day the smell of camp fires takes me back to the sweet and carefree days before the rigors of adulthood. Keeping it simple this summer.  Long summer days with God and you. Weiner roasts and s’mores sounds just about right.

by Andrew

Holy Driving

Ever since I got my license I have loved to drive. I’ve made two solo cross-country trips and I frequently look at the photos I took on my travels. The last trip I made, last summer, I took the northern route. I’d never been to Colorado, other than a layover at the Denver airport. It took me almost a full day to make it from border to border, not because of traffic, but because I felt compelled to stop at every scenic overlook and marvel at God’s creation. The Rocky Mountains, over which I’ve flown probably a hundred times, look a whole lot different from the ground. The forests were especially lush because of the wet winter and in some places I would just breathe in the clean mountain air. At every day’s end, when I said my evening prayers, I always included a special thank you to the Lord for having blessed us with so much beauty.

by JAM

Go On A Retreat

I recently spent three days at the Sacred Heart Retreat House in Alhambra leading a retreat for Directors of Faith Formation. As soon as I entered the grounds, I felt my soul sigh with relief for this opportunity to experience holy leisure. Trust me, I have done literally hundreds of  retreats in the past thirty years in ministry. There is simply nothing compared to leaving daily routines behind and simply “wasting time” with God. Suddenly, I can shut off my electronic devices without guilt and breathe easy again. I can give myself the gift of listening deeply to the inner Spirit who surrounds me with love. I know there are many people out there who think this sounds great but never open themselves to the experience. Others say they want to do it but are afraid of what might happen. In the words of Jesus, “Do not be afraid.” Better than an expensive vacation, the inner journey with the Holy One as your guide will be a decision you will never regret.

by DC

Experiencing the Sublime

This week has been about singing Gustav Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony with Pacific Symphony. The work is a tour-de-force engaging two hundred fifty musicians, including singers and orchestral players. The music sublime, the last movement in which the chorus sings, depicts the heavens opening up as a soul ascends. The music swells in a crashing crescendo of power and joy. Now that may not sound like “holy leisure” to you and there is certainly nothing serene about it! However, as a performer, the exhilaration from singing at the top of your lungs on sustained notes, creating achingly beautiful chords over the orchestra as it explodes in the fireworks of the finale, does create a place of deep reverence in the soul. It begs the question, what if every soul is embraced into heaven on a fanfare of welcoming power and joy and celebration? I am humbled by the thought. Please enjoy the last four minutes of Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony with conductor Leonard Bernstein.


by Gracie

Cathedral of Nature

“The aspect of nature is devout. Like the figure of Jesus, she stands with bended head, and hands folded upon the breast. The happiest man (or woman) is he or she who learns from nature the lesson of worship.” Ralph Waldo Emerson (paraphrased)

I have long believed that for me nature is my cathedral. When I am enveloped in the majesty of creation, it’s as if the sky is the dome and the trees form the foundation. The sun streams through the branches as if they were the stained glass windows softly allowing the rays to land where they will. A tree trunk is my pew seat as I sit and wait for the homily of the singing birds that speak to me of simplicity and trust and the assurance that I will have all that I need. It feels like home. In a recent TED talk Anne Lamott said, “Everything will work again if you unplug it-even you. Go “unplug” this summer in the cathedral called nature, there’s some important homily waiting for you!

by Cathy