Rev. Catharine Is Currently
On Medical Leave

Don’t Always Go Forward

Don’t Always Go Forward

I am not fully healed.
I am not fully wise.
I am still on my way.
What matters is that
I am still moving forward.

–Yung Pueblo


Dear ones –

I am definitely not fully healed.

I am definitely not fully wise.

I am indeed on my way.

And I am not at all sure that what matters is that I am still moving forward. Sometimes, moving forward is not what is called for.

The quotation above from Yung Pueblo came from my morning meditation, the Daily Calm. I had a pretty strong reaction to it, so I’ve been sitting with it a bit, continuing to breathe and to look at where reactivity is coming from and how I might respond.

I think part of what comes up for me is that not only am I not fully… well, much of anything… but that I think moving forward is not how this life, this practice, this existence goes. My universe, spiritual and otherwise, moves in spirals and fractals, not in straight lines.

What that means for my spiritual practice is that I don’t always know–almost never know–what the ultimate meaning of my current direction is. Spiritual practice is much more like a labyrinth than a straight line headed for the Great Beyond. My theology is not so much about winning a race, getting to Heaven, achieving…well achieving anything, really.

For me, spiritual practice is about aligning myself with what is.

The multiplicity of Oneness. The destruction that is essential for creation. Human failure and forgetfulness as well as beauty and peace-bringing. The dark depths of creative beginnings as well as the shining heights of harvest and completion.

Spiritual practice is about coming to know myself better, as well as I possibly can, really, so that I can both ask more love of myself and forgive myself when I fail to offer that love to others.

There is a time and a place to sing, “Gonna keep on moving forward / never turning back.” When it comes to human, animal, Earth-ly dignity, those words are essential for the struggle. We must keep trying to move forward, certainly.

But I am not fully wise, and yet I believe that becoming wise demands that we go over familiar ground sometimes. That we sit and wait out our fear and anger until we can find the peace that shows us the way to move.

So if you feel as though you are not moving forward–if you feel mired and stuck or like you’re losing ground–maybe cut yourself a break. There is a time for everything under heaven, no? Times for reaping and for sowing. Times for folly and times for prudence. Times for moving forward and times for curving, curving, turning, turning, spinning, spinning.

And times when it’s so important not to just do something, but to stay there, as it were.

Remember, that when you cannot hear/see/perceive the way to go, the answer may be to wait. The answer may not be to move forward.

Today, I invite you to honor wherever you are in the spiritual life…which is to say, in life writ large. Honor your place as a valued one, wherever your momentum is taking you. Acknowledge that you are not yet fully healed, not yet fully wise, not yet fully compassionate, and then just attend, pay attention:  What is the next right thing?

And do that one thing.

I love you


Beautiful Dog Days

I cannot say how delighted I am to report that Making Hard Choices: The Art of Discernment, the class offered through The Way of the River this past month, has been a great success. The Dog Days of the northern hemisphere summer have been filled for me with fun, learning, and joy in learning more about some of our comrades.

The participants in the class have given themselves wholeheartedly to the process of learning about discernment. They/you have given time, energy, focus, care, compassion, and courage to the class as a whole and to one another. Thanks to this “beta team,” I’ve been able to offer a class I’ve longed to share for years.

We begin meeting this week–each participant has a 45-minute call they can take with me during the month of September–and I look forward to getting some valuable feedback and deepening our connections.

For those of you who may be interested in honing your skills at discernment, the art of making good decisions, feel free to look at the Making Hard Choices page, where you can sign up for information about the class that will gather in February.

I Need Your Help

Hail to the Mighty Dead!

Hail to the Bright and Wise Ancestors Who have brought us to this moment!
Hail to the Unseen Descendants!

Hail to Those Who will carry forward with the tools we use them!

This coming Samhain, Turning the Wheel will offer a ceremony for the Ancestors and Descendants.

What will it look like?

What will it include?

What will its intention be?

The answers to these questions remain to be seen, and depend in large part on who answers the call of their heart and steps into the Circle to help.

Is it you? Is your heart nudging you to be part of putting together the next Turning the Wheel ceremony?

Have questions, concerns, or wonderings? Reply to this email and let me know. I want to work with you!

Head over to the Turning the Wheel page for details.


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