Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Being There

If you find yourself sitting on the edge of your chair and you're not going anywhere it is time to move to your prayer cushion.  I do this all too often.  Call it what you will: stress, preoccupation, anxiety, tenseness, obsession, over-commitment, anxiety, a distracted life...whatever...  When I discover myself sitting on the edge of the chair I know immediately that I'm not at home in this moment.  I'm not relaxed and so, not mindful.  The edge of the chair means I'm not present.  The edge of the chair means I'm kind of nowhere!   
When I find myself sitting on the edge of the chair
 I try to make a change. I've discovered 
that moving away from that unhealthy position 
works wonders for me.
When I return to my project 
it is amazing how much calmer I feel
and how much more presence
 I'm able to bring to the tasks at hand.

So where do I go when I awaken to my lost presence?
Sometimes I move to another chair, 
to a sacred space of prayer, 
or to a window that opens to the earth world.

e.g.  Look at the object below: 
a small green leaf resting on a stone!
Immediately I sense a place of peace within.
Just my simple gaze at this restful image
can restore some kind of normality in me.
I am reminded that deep within is a little altar
where I can place the things that give me anxiety.
The leaf {metaphorically speaking} is my life.

If there is a labyrinth nearby, 
I might walk that sacred journey
bringing to the center my restless inattentiveness.
Movement helps awaken all within me that has
forgotten who I am and what I am about. 

Sometimes I move to a small chapel 
or to a darkened room.
I light a candle and listen with ear of my heart.
It is not the candle that makes God present
but in the quiet I am able to experience
 the One who is always present. 

Or, perhaps, depending on how much time I have, 
I might go outside and find a restful place to just BE.
I ask my thoughts to wait in the wings of my life.
I put my mind to rest.
I abide, dwell, linger, rest, breathe.

It is so simple and so difficult.
The most difficult part is the discipline
to momentarily step away from my distracted life
and obey a deeper, inner presence.

"Silence is like a river of grace inviting us to leap unafraid into its beckoning depths.  It is dark and mysterious in the waters of grace.  Yet in the silent darkness we are given new eyes.  In the heart of the divine we can see more clearly who we are.  We are renewed and cleansed in this river of silence."   -Macrina from Seven Sacred Pauses


  1. Yes, Macrina. Your book, Seven Sacred Pauses, has been one of my teachers in my learning of when I need to step back, re-center, and renew. I often find that just stepping out onto my back patio for some deep breaths and deep listening restores my inner peace.

  2. Thanks! I like the photo of the leaf on the little stone too. I could immediately identify what I wanted to place on that little altar. The waters of grace are indeed both dark and mysterious.

  3. Thank you, Macrina. I have been following the Seven Sacred Pauses this week, too, and am blessed to have a quiet outdoor place in which to do so. I very much like the leaf -- your life -- resting on the Rock. :-)

  4. Thank you Macrina. This is so helpful. I love Seven Sacred Pauses. It lives by my favourite chair.

  5. Thanks for such a beautiful reminder to take a break!!!

  6. Guess where I was when I started reading this? You got it...on the edge of my chair! Thanks for keeping me mindful.