Author: Loriemartin (page 1 of 2)

New Year Hope – Alienation and Belonging

I am sharing a reflection on the many ways we experience separation and division in our lives and the reconciling hope that I have experienced through my personal soul work, belonging in community, what I offer to those I love and serve as a spiritual companion, and pray we may all carry and deepen into in 2019!

This reflection explores what I understand to be one of the most critical issues of our day: The apparent and experienced division and separateness within ourselves, in meaningful relationships, and in the interconnectedness of all created life. Alienation is deeply affecting the wellness, grounding and flourishing of the human ‘soul.’ 

I see a deep hunger in many people and communities to be accepted with a true sense of belonging. I believe the sense of disconnection and the challenge to live in harmonious relationships stems from generations of dualistic thinking and teaching, some unhealthy cultural belief systems, unhealed emotional and psychological wounding, and underdeveloped spiritual maturity. My deeper reflection in this critical dilemma is to ask where is there hope in this massive sense of separation and how do we heal from this loneliness and sense of lostness?

Catherine of Sienna tells us our deepest self is God which highlights there is no separation in God. She is not saying we are God, she is saying God can not be separated from us, nor we from God. If we believe or sense a separation, it is an illusion.

As a Christian, I rest in the belief that we are one with God. In 1 Corinthians 8:6 I read that there is one God from whom all things exist. I believe we are in God, and God is in all of us, as taught by Jesus when he prays to his Father asking that his disciples be protected so that they may be one with him and the Father even as they are one (John 17:11).

I was raised to believe that we are all born in original sin; we are lost and separated from God before we are found and belong. I spent years trying to measure up and get rid of the sin and separateness in my life, so I could be acceptable, connected and loved by God and God’s family.  I was focused on pulling up the weeds, less desirable parts, in my life rather than allowing this to happen in God’s way and timing (Matthew 13:30).

 I remember the freedom that I experienced when I heard another thought through the work of Matthew Fox – that we are all created as original blessings with the foundational belief that we are cherished by God, regardless of sin or our sense of feeling connected. Of course, some darkness is within us and all around, and we need forgiveness, healing and reconciliation as Jesus tells us in The Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:4), however, this is not our primary position in our relationship with God. What this means to me is that I am created as a piece of God’s divinity, a true belonging child of God, rather than being made by a Creator as a separated being. The essence of this theology radically impacts our sense of one-ness with God.

One-ing is a word Julian of Norwich uses as an expression for our living in an active union with God and the Universe. I am drawn to this term and the hope it holds for all who live in some form of alienation. Her famous declaration that all shall be well is based on her belief in a Force of Love that moves through the universe and of One Who holds us fast and will never let us go.

The Biblical image of Jesus standing at the door of our hearts knocking to come in and eat with us is an image of the ever-present union God initiates with us, as he says, “I am standing”, I am (Rev. 3:20). Another Biblical image is God coming to Elijah in the whispering breeze which I personally experience and also teach in contemplative spiritual practices and work I offer at the Centre for Spiritual Renewal at St. Dunstan’s. I have experienced connecting with God in stillness, silence, and through symbols and images to bring a transformative presence and lasting sense of intimate belonging.

Father Richard Rohr teaches that at 6 years old we develop a sense of our separate self and that we then try to work, earn, or win our way back into our primal one-ness. Using a circle diagram he shows how our small circle self feels like it is outside the large circle of God but in actuality we are not separated. Our task is to come to an awareness and trust that we are always one with God, rather than striving to come back to belonging. 

We can also experience disconnection from ourselves by not being anchored in who we are. Rohr explains that there is a wholeness that holds us, and that we fall into it when we stop excluding – even the “bad” and dark parts of ourselves.  To overcome our sense of a divided and separate self it is necessary to embrace ourselves with awareness, acceptance, and inclusion of our underdeveloped and shadow parts. I call this “coming home” to ALL of me, where I can rest, grow, be at peace, and be recalled to my already true self as my eternal abiding place with God. I have been impacted by this kind of soul work and integration with a Jungian analyst over the past four years.   

Inner work is an awkward dance, never a straight tidy line, as we come close to “home”, enter in, wander away, return, and transcend, over and over again.  The spiritual journey of belonging is a gradual transformation into the realization and trust that we are already at home and nothing can actually take us from here.

St. John of the Cross has been an excellent companion while journeying through obscure times of sensing separation from God. I find his work on the dark night of the soul, along with Gerald May, to be invaluable when accompanying people in spiritual direction to reassure them of God’s deep work and presence in our lives when the dawn has not yet appeared.

There is a theory of separation that focuses on psychological pain, interpersonal and existential, that exists and has negative effects on our lives. In my personal life and ministry as a spiritual director I witness interpersonal pain caused by deprivation, violence, and rejection during the early years by family members or other significant figures. The embedded belief systems of aloneness, shame, and abandonment result in an active disconnection from who we really are.

Existential pain refers to the basic problems we face of true aloneness, aging, and death, and other life experiences such as racism, crime, poverty, and political oppression.  Once again, awareness and understanding of these real problems invites us to deal with what is true, accept our realities, let go of illusions, heal and transform with compassionate care, inner soul work, and healthy mentoring and community life.

The ways many people and societies are disregarding and destroying the Earth, and other countries, shows how disconnected our lives can be from our inter-relatedness with all living things.  As we connect with our true one-ness with God, take care of ourselves, and heal with each other, I believe this wellness will ripple out into all that we touch and impact the world.

                Three keys that I believe open hope to alienation are to: come home to our true selves by accepting and healing our underdeveloped and wounded parts, rest deeply in our true eternal belonging in God, and develop safe inter-generational non-dualistic communities where our original goodness is mirrored, and belonging is experienced! I believe as we do our personal and relational work with these ways of belonging, integrate them in our family life and societies, connect and build community life with the next generations, and teach and model resolution in conflict, our individual and universal soul will know her true belonging and thrive.  I would call the door for these keys ‘Reconciliation’ and that this reconciliation comes to us through Christ who has also given us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18.)

            Co-existing in a relationship, family system, or global society where we belong regardless of our differences is significant and necessary to experience an authentic and sustainable belonging. Holding space for our many different views, diverse realities, varieties of cultural norms, and theological perspectives has been a steep learning curve for me; one that has stretched over the past couple of decades. Traversing the challenges of separation and exile from a narrow exclusive experience of God and religion has brought me through painful and uncomfortable shifts that have led me to embrace ecumenical gatherings and engage in interfaith dialogue and relationships. I am more balanced and richer as a person when I wonder and welcome different beliefs, traditions, and interests while keeping what I value and treasure as true, beautiful and sacred.

            Having five teenagers in my 30 years of parenting, accompanying many people as their spiritual director, and passing through the deepest waters of loss and grief, have given me many opportunities to hold space for others to be and think differently. It has been both terrifying and exhilarating to agree to disagree, surrender to the desire for control, and come to appreciate the diversity we all bring to the Table of Life. When we live with healthy pluralism the unresolvable is resolved without being solved and we see ways we complete each other rather than compete with each other.  Looking at differences often bring us to a third way of reconciliation that is more powerful than the way it was before.

May our names for God, and experiences with the Divine, continue to be as varied as the stars in the sky, and yet all shine of the One Holy Light which is where and with Whom we belong as one human family. Happy Epiphany dear friends – Arise, shine, Our Light has come!

A Deep Surrender Into Love

I had the honor of spending time with Rod Janz – fuelradio.com to share pieces of my story and the hope to offer healing, hope, and restoration to those with longing, grief, or a desire to connect with God. First connections to spirituality. Why contemplation? Spiritual Direction and practices. What happened on the “Shack” film location? Now involved in St. Dunstan’s Centre for SPIRITUAL RENEWAL.  Thanks for a great visit, Rod.

fuelradio.com/blog


December 13, 2018|Spirituality, Grief, Contemplation

With special guest Lorie Martin 

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See Lorie Martin’s ‘Shack’ story here Youtube

Be Born in Me

 

O Loving God of All,

 

 Be born in me

Amidst this pain, pressure, and the complexities of life

Be born in me

The living seed of the Holy Kiss has been planted long ago

Silently and secretly being formed and shaped

Breath after breath, pulse upon pulse

Unstoppable formation of The Living One in me

Even me

In the dark of unknowing

In the simplicity of the tucked away place

far from the busy streets

sheltered under the stars that shine of Grace

Amidst the winds of change – fierce yet warm

O Gentle Spirit of Hope

be born in me

O Deep Forging of Trust

Be born in me

O Sacred Energy of Courage

Be born in me

O Faithful Friend of Light

Be born in me

O Ever Embracing and out stretched Arms of Love

Be born through me in this darkest light

You are always present

touching my skin, seeing my face,

and welcoming me into the Forever Mystery

of being born

 

©Lorie Martin Advent Prayer 2017

This Beautiful Love

     This Beautiful Love

 

 

 

 

This Beautiful Love is the only force that

comforts my sorrow

settles my wrong

orients my fear

holds me in the truth

radically transforms me for wellness

flows and fills each momentary breath with Grace,

And, compels me forward to carry and share

This Beautiful Love

To Adriana

Love, Your Mama – May 2017

The Grand Embrace

“The Grand Embrace of Love”

Pain blocks love – and then becomes a doorway for love to enter in.

 

I See Papa’s love for the me who is in MacKenzie,

Take after take, stab after stab,

Grace upon grace

 

I Hear Her truth of being for me in everything,

I never left her, I never left you

I never leave

 

I Feel MacKenzie’s fury and desperate wrestle with the senseless and the crazy,

The agony of unanswered questions

Glare meets gaze

 

I hold “The Great Sadness” as it shuts me down and wipes me out,

Clipped wings, unable to fly

Resistant to being loved

 

I know I am stuck in the knothole of pain as I hang on my cross,

I twist, I turn,

I resign

 

I Acknowledge the reality of being helpless, seeming hopeless, in

Pain and death, suffering and sorrow, anguish and agony

A gut-wrenching scream, “Get me out of here!”

How can I ever get through to the “other” side? A whisper comes – I must.

 

I Let Go into the wild power of not knowing,

Yielding as I melt and awake to what is. Here. Now.

Some how I trust in the flow of forgiveness and freedom.

My silent Yes surrenders into the simple astonishing love that has always echoed in me.

 

I receive “The Grand Embrace” of relentless affection for She is awfully fond of me.

I am wrapped in a beautiful enveloping that sheds the illusion of separateness.

I expand to hold what is most precious to me, and am sustained within and all around.

I am recalled – to the radiant freedom of a life of love – recalled to know who’ve I’ve always been.

I am Home with Love

Reflective Poem & Photos by Lorie Martin


Perfect Parent – Perfect Wisdom – Perfect Peace

One early morning in December my body was wrestling with sickness and I lay alone in the dark on the good old couch. It was that time of year, plus a few other complications, and in this state of YUK my inner pains joined along with my body aches and it seemed darker still; a bit of despair and anguish lingered near. As the familiar warm tears of sorrow broke through the normal wellness dam I was met by a surprising Sound. The Voice whispered a secret medicine directly into my story.

From my journal Dec 3/16 @ 7:50 am.

I’ve just been given an amazing gift!!! I am still sitting in the midst of it.

I have been lamenting the death of our Adriana and now another loss with a MattersMost situation. I’ve been beating myself up as a parent. I’ve been in tremendous pain. As I was looking at my life with some despair. I sensed God showing me Jesus’ life and how it wasn’t a glowing report of everything looking perfect around him on earth all the time either. He suffered a lot.  And then ….. I had The Words come…..  the disciples spent three years with God-in-flesh, up close and in their faces, and when push came to shove in overwhelm they all went  to their various ways of being; one even ended his own life. They were with Perfect Parent (The Father and he were One), Perfect Truth. Perfect Wisdom. Perfect Friend, Perfect Peace, Perfect Guide, and Perfect Love for 3 years day and night, city to city,  miracle after miracle, hearing powerful preaching and life-changing stories. And yet they …..

How can this be? In a way I could relate to Jesus as a parent/teacher giving my love, pointing to Divine Grace as best I knew, being capable  and incapable, loving as fully as capacity allowed  ….. yet hard things happened. Confusing things. Painful things. Awful things.  It happens. And in the twelve!!! Resounding in my heart, mind, and body and singing through my soul is “EVEN IF you’d have been perfect….. you don’t know.”

STILL The Holy With Us One is for us in all and is redeeming all things in the end and along the way. He gets my hurting heart. I’m broken wide open at this gift of mercy with out flowing tears.  I guess I am invited to a new place with some of this.”

I asked my trusted friends and companions:  Does this make sense? It’s quite impacting. I don’t remember ever hearing this before. They reassured that it has the embrace of the Spirit being utterly sweet and kind. The message given was/is powerful and is healing more of my wounded heart, but the most powerful piece of this is that I was given The Word of Life to the exact pin point of pain that I couldn’t even articulate in this state. Healing Love met me on my bed of sickness and pain AGAIN! What wonderous Love!

Surely This One Who Loves You Most is there with you at every moment. What might The Whisper be to you today?

LOVE ALLWAYS,   Lorie

To Sister Sara in San Fran.

Photo from Lindell Beach/lm 2014

 

Strength in the Storm

Strength in the Storm

 

You are in this boat

With me

With us

O Great Thankfulness

You pull us in to yourself, your embrace

You tuck us in tightly face to face

Your strength surrounds us

Your sure-ness enfolds us

We are safe in your holding love

We are safe.

Though the storms rage all around

The waves slap at us as they are

You calm the inner storm and wave

O Great Thankfulness

O Holy Touch beyond compare

O Sacred Hold through all

O Blessed Peace beyond understanding

O Great Thankfulness

As I wrote this in my journal this morning Psalm 18 came to mind – It is an old favorite of mine. As I turned the very thin pages of my extremely worn, almost disrespectfully so,  NIV Bible I found it marked and circled with sketches of lightening bolts running down the margin.  An old remembering met me there – a mysterious reminder of what had been given many times before. I re-entered her captivating message and was once again re-called to how my voice goes into God’s ears and how God draws me out of deep waters and takes me to a spacious place as I am delighted in. I forgot how extremely long this Psalm is but I read it in it’s entirety even in the midst of the longest to-do list EVER!  As if that wasn’t enough I felt drawn to read it again in Nan Merrill’s Praying the Psalms where her intimate language drew me even deeper into THIS GREAT LOVE and TRUTH – My Center, my Home, my Beloved.  Another invitation to be held so tightly and taken to spacious places.

With Love,  Lorie

Labyrinth Center Photo taken @ Stillpoint/Bellingham Jan 2017 lm

The Dark Night and the Illumined Light

The sun set at 4:11 pm. Really? It seems like the day was just getting going. The shortest days of the year are here and the long dark nights. And now the very cold, at least for those of us in the valley that aren’t used to the sting of below zero frost on our cheeks when the wind pushes her bitter chill into our tender pores.

Have you experienced a Dark Night of the Soul? Or a few?  Or have you felt pangs of despair around a deep sorrow that is staring you in the face; a new dilemma in our world or that old haunting sad tired from the tragic moments of long ago? If so, you likely know the loss of a felt sense of God’s presence. “God’s ‘visible absence’ (or so it seems for sure) makes it hard for us in our (difficult) times to celebrate his ‘invisible Presence‘  

I received this piece of a letter from a friend at a poignant dawn that came to me. I’d like to share it with you. I’ve (adapted) it a tiny bit:

“I have to look for cracks and crevices. Don’t tell me how God’s mercy is as wide as the ocean, as deep as the sea. I already believe it, but that infinite prospect gets farther away the more we mouth it. I thank you for lamenting God’s (seeming) absences — absence from marriages going mad, our sons dying young, from the inescapable terrors of history: Treblinka. Vietnam. September Eleven. (May I add Aleppo, Syria.) God’s visible absence makes it hard for us in our (difficult) times to celebrate The Beloved’s invisible Presence. This must be why mystics and poets record the slender incursions of splintered light, echoes, fragments, odd words and phrases like flashes through darkened hallways… The thin and tenuous thread we are held by, so astonishing, is the metaphor I need at the shoreline of all those immeasurable oceans of love.”  – From a Letter to Lew Smedes about God’s Presence by Rod Jellema

Cracks and crevices, the slender incursions of splintered light like flashes through darkened hallways, O Glorious Light shimmering in the cold short days of life, Awaken us.    Pause

Recently, as I lay on my bed of sickness and tears, surrendering to invisible Presence, an Echo of Love came and touched a tender place in my heart bringing illumined whispers of grace to some darkness where I was held hostage. I know dark; I know REALLY dark. But I also know light –  and the Sacred ILLUMINED light that is too difficult to dismiss as anything other than a ‘splintered light’ of a grace explosion . She often comes with the peek of tender dawn; silent dawn upon lengthy ever-coming dawn. And then, shocking, but true, she sometimes comes and kisses you smack in the face and it’s hard to breathe for a moment or two and one can’t see straight for a while. Astonishing. The surprise of it grabbed me unaware and the lingering of it warmed me for hours and days; perhaps for this lifetime.

I forget, do you?  We share in forty days of our Lover’s suffering and four weeks of Advent waiting. May we also consent to enter forty days, at least, in the glorious resurrection truth in this life, and on into the one to come, and enter Christmas with good tidings of great joy that is for all people. God has come, LIVE – IN PERSON, and wanted to!!!  May we celebrate the personal and up-close coming of God in just a few days. For OUR LIGHT has come, is coming, and shall always come again. Light changes everything; a flower blooms, a bird sings, a wanderer finds their way, and a child dances! Hope is imparted morning light after morning light; wave after lapping wave.  May we know afresh, and perhaps deeper still, that we are held by that “thin and tenuous thread” at the shoreline of “all those immeasurable oceans of love.

My prayer is that dawn after dawn, and grace upon grace, will continue to invade each crack and crevice and darkened hallway of our lives such that we melt into surrender, and can no longer deny or diminish her fragments that touch us moment by moment, tear after tear, and envelope us in the beauty and goodness that God has come ~ and always will.

Lorie ~ December 17, 2016

Photo LM ~ Willband Bird Sanctuary, Dec 16/16

 

 

 

 

 

A Light for Aleppo

A LIGHT FOR ALEPPO   http://www.alightforaleppo.org/ img_3646-3

A candle will be lit at upcoming Contemplative Evening Prayers  NOVEMBER 20th @ 7:30 pm

St. Dunstan’s Anglican Church 3025 – 264th Street Aldergrove/Langley

Lorie Martin and Cathy AJ Hardy

In addition to the Contemplative Evening Prayer Gathering on Nov. 20th we are joining the Light for Aleppo gatherings around the world. Our sung prayers will hold with hope the hearts and lives of those who suffer. Truly Hope is Deeper than Despair. May it be so. Painting attached: Light Overcomes the Darkness by Herta Klassen.com

Will you join us by lighting a beacon on Sunday 20 November to help raise awareness for the crises in Aleppo?

The beacons can be as simple as lighting a candle in a window, though we are also hoping for a number of community gatherings and the lighting of fires with churches and faith communities being integral to this vision. People feel so helpless and frustrated about what is happening in Syria. We hope that this initiative will help the movement for peace in Aleppo and let the people, aid workers, charities, and victims of war know that they are not forgotten. We have already heard from people in parts of the UK and in other countries who intend to join in. In this way, a path of light might well reach from here to Aleppo, or at least to Syrian borders, and spread hope, and may even help save lives.  Warm wishes, Ali Newell   Associate Chaplain at Edinburgh University

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