The Trees are Changing

By: Jenni Taylor

“Oh, what do the trees know,
Oh, letting their leaves go?
Oh, what do the trees see?
Oh, that is beyond me…”–Laleh

I live in a country where the day and time you were born is believed to set your course in the stars. Being born in the Chinese year of the snake, they say I was given bright eyes and the ability to shed my skins, slither out of houses and homes and countries and places and change my scales at will. I look back and I see my layers spread out across the mountains and plains, only as strong as my memories or writings or letters from friends who know what I am despite my many faces.

The sermon on the mount tells me to be meek and merciful, salt and light, a lily of the field and a rock foundation. It’s not shedding skins- it’s putting new ones on, layer by layer, pieces of creation teaching us lessons and molding our spirits like the very air we breathe.

“Good tress bear good fruit,” he says, and I think of the roots deep in the ground and of the fragile leaves that can be plucked by any passing hand. I think of the colors changing and the rings being added like new life veins every year, each one telling a story, each one reminding me the trees might have a better understanding than I do of spirituality and change and strength and weakness wrapped into each other like DNA strands.

I breathe deep and reach into myself to find that strong foundation, the hymns buried in me singing of God’s everlasting love and faithfulness. I look to the times when I was the most child-like in my wonder and belief in good, and I know that is when the bigness and smallness of the sermon on the mount is beginning to touch my insides and mold me into something new.

I embrace the antonyms and realize the human spirit is allowed to be controversial, because it’s simply big enough to be everything at once. So I decide to be a snake, and a tree, and a human being, and learn the lessons set out before me.

Poetry of Change

Today we would like to share a lovely post by a member of our community who has chosen to remain anonymous. This short poem touches on the changes of life and death, and the ways our life changes are reflected in the natural world that surrounds us all.

Logos

Leaves drying, dying
Dancing to eternity
Winter strips them bare
Time: the constant change
Opposite to opposite
From life into death
Where a sun may set
Or a moon may rise, striking
Silence answers all

Seeking Submissions: Change

The season of change is upon us. School years starting, seasons changing, lives changing.

We want to hear about how change has changed you. We want you to submit your thoughts, ideas, posts, and pictures on change and your spiritual journey.

If you need help getting started, try and answer one of these questions:

  1. How did I envision my spiritual life as a child? How is my reality different than that vision?
  2. How have major life changes, like moving, marriage, loss, divorce, birth or death, shaped my spiritual journey?
  3. How have the changes I see in the world affected my journey?

We can’t wait to hear from you!

With Wisdom, Love …and Lint,

Autumn and Jenni

A Prayer for Moving On

By: Autumn Elizabeth

I am getting ready to move on again. I am moving from one European country to another. Leaving friends I love behind, hoping to meet new ones. During times like these, you know, the stressful ones, full of bittersweet emotions and a need to let go, I find myself turning to prayer. So here is a prayer I wrote to help me move on, from a bad situation, or a good one. It is about movement and about change.

 

A Prayer for Moving On

Dear Spirit of Movement,

Let me embrace the new movements in my life,
help me release the past’s grip on me,
so that I may find space to embrace a new future.
Bless my new path with relationships that sustain me,
wisdom to guide me,
and love to empower me.
Help me find the strength to move on,
from this place, from this time,
into the bright unknown that is my future.

Amen.

A Prayer for the Movement

There has been a lot of violence in the world lately. It seems that the efforts of peacemakers, equality seekers, and  justice sojourners are being required everywhere this month. So today we offer up a prayer for the movement–the movement of people working together to seek a more peaceful and just world, the movement of people working against racism and sexism, agasint violence and destruction. This is for all of us…this is a prayer for the movement.

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Dear Spirit of Merciful Peace,

We ask you to sustain us
as we work together
across lines of race and religion
through differences of creed and culture,
towardsa world of  peace and love.

We ask that you help us help each other
during these times of darkness and pain.

We ask that you help us open our eyes
to see the beauty and hope in one another,
even when our differences seem vast.

We are each a part of this world,
and we need strength and wisdom
to be part of the movement of peacemakers and healers,
to live with compassion and work for justice.

We pray together,
for ourselves.
We are the movement.

Amen

 

Movers and Shakers

By: Jenni Taylor

We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.
-Arthur O’Shaughnessy

I move. I shake. I dream. I forsake. I take trains and take chances, I make mistakes. I’ve lived in small rooms and big rooms, rooms with toads and stray cats, rooms with candles and comfort. I’ve been skinny Buddha and fat Buddha, the equivalent of Paul being content in all things, all places, at all times.

I only agree with Paul to a point. Contentment is oil for squeaky wheels, and I like being squeaky. Discontent- discontent is gas for the engine. It’s energy. Fire. Passion. Movement. Be content being uncomfortable. Be content wandering lone sea breakers and sitting by desolate streams.

But don’t be content with the way the world is. Move it, shake it, dream it into a new reality. How can we lose the world, forsake the world, be in the world but not of it? I suggest the very difficult task of uncurling your fingers around whatever you want the most. Let go, be free. Choose loneliness, because only in the quiet can your heart begin to grow, expand, move within your chest and burn with new fire.

Choose silence first, then as your heart begins to mold to a new form, go. Move. Dance. Put yourself in the world and smile like it’s the last day of your life. Give. Look into the eyes of everyone on the street and see their needs, bright and open and wounded. Sometimes, by choosing loneliness for yourself, you can eradicate it for others.

Everyone is a bit lonely, but that does not make them world changers. Set yourself apart, embrace your discontent, dance to your own beautiful music. Then see the world move, shake and crumble into loveliness.

Seeking Submissions: Movement

Welcome to August!

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This month we are focusing on the wisdom and love found in moments of movement.

We can’t wait to read your submissions. Tell us how your faith moves you, how moving has changed your faith. Show us and the world how you have moved on your spiritual journey.

We need your voices, your stories, your wisdom, and… whatever lint you find in your wise pockets.

A Prayer to Keep Us Rooted

Roots are our foundation, our past, and all the things we have buried. Here is a prayer for those special things that keep us rooted.

Dear Spirit of the Past, Present, and Future,

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Photo of “Submerged Motherlands” by Swoon

No matter what kind of past I have come from,

I know the spirit of universal love still surrounds me.

Some days I feel blessed with strong roots, strong support,

and some days I feel disconnected and disheartened.

Help me to add to my foundation only that which will make me stronger,

help me feel rooted to faith, love, and community.

I know that as I explore the spiritual mysteries of this world,

I am finding deeper connections to everyone.

Help me explore the present with grace and mindfulness,

help me find the wisdom and let go of the pain in my past,

help me breathe love into the future.

 

Amen

Roots, Old and New

By: Jenni Taylor

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A wise person once told me to live in a place like my gravestone will be next door. You claim it as your own, make yourself part of the whole, and dive in with everything you’ve got.

When you give to people, you are giving to the place, too. Tears, laughter, blood from broken bones or broken hearts- it all spills into the ground and becomes food for roots. Relationships are tangible things, leaving vibrations in the air and under your feet long after you’ve gone.

Traveling, I set down roots. I make myself a part of that place. There are swing sets in Chicago, trees in Saint Louis, malocas in Peru, and dumpling vendors in China where I have left fingerprints and feelings and memories. Each new place I find myself, it becomes home.

I find myself home now. Not the physical house I grew up in, but surrounded by family and soon to be surrounded by friends. I am returning to old roots for a moment, for a breath of fresh air, of life and energy poured into my somewhat tired soul through the hugs of people I love dearly. I find myself blessed, with conversations and laughter that mean the world to me. I refresh myself before diving back into my new home with new roots reaching out ever so slowly in the jungle of Shanghai. I reach my roots out all over the world, feeling the community of individuals, families, teachers, friends, all who have made my life so incredibly rich.

I love my worldwide roots. Don’t be afraid to jump out, to find a new home, start something new. The ones you love will still be there for you.

Deepest Part of Love

Today’s post is from Shaza Askar, Syrian women currently studying, living and loving in Europe. Today she shares with us a poem about the roots of her love. We are very honored to share this glimpse into the deepest parts of love.

Imagine

Imagine I kiss all the bits
you thought were not beautiful.
Imagine I rest my fingers on them
and move them not, so that
my warmth will join yours
and you forget there was ever air
between our skin.
Imagine I show you new images of you,
images you started avoiding in the mirror.
Imagine I say all they say is untrue
and fill your ears with honest words
in an ancient language.
Imagine I plant white daisies
in the places you frown at,
and they bloom as you smile.
Imagine I told you to look after them
and let them brighten the way
as you go through your life.
Imagine you forget for a fleeting moment
you were ever anything other
than beautiful!

(Dedicated only to you)