Community Conversations

Holy Days

What are we being invited to during these holy days?
Social distancing does not mean we can’t reach out with our hearts
To those we love as well as to the ends of the earth and beyond.

Are we noticing that the sky is bluer than before
The stars brighter
That the dolphins have returned swimming in the canals of Venice?

These are holy days
Can we understand there is a need, and it’s beginning now, for all of life to cooperate with the movement of evolution?
Can we participate in this mutual enhancing relationship with our planet?

These are holy days
As we focus on health and well-being for ourselves and our love ones can we remember that we belong to each other no matter where we live, what we believe in or what the shade of our skin is?

Can we slow down enough to notice the miracles of new life blossoming all around us?
 It won’t happen as we binge on television
Only as we tell a vision
Of the beauty and love unfolding in our lives
Learning and relearning how compelling the world’s power is and how quiet the Divine’s voice is in comparison.
It will happen as we pray for those suffering and as we are grateful for those who are helping us stay safe and caring for us
When we recognize the Divine in our life
And in all of life

How are you envisioning these days as holy?

Patricia Essig


Art in the time of the Corona Virus – We invite the members of the Anawim Arts Community to embrace the vital capacity of art and spirituality to speak to our current situation. The works in this series will be gathered into a special edition of our on-line journal.

We welcome your comments. Please note: To reduce spam or inappropriate comments, comments for first time contributors are posted after approval by the editors.

To Do List

While I Shelter At Home

Celebrate my sixty-fifth birthday
            Apply for Medicare  
                        the whole alphabet of parts
            Take mild insult that regarding COVID-19,
                        I could be described as
                        “over sixty with pre-existing conditions”
            Use that definition to be more patient with myself


Figure out how to set up the lighting and laptop in my study
      so I look professional online
            Hide the clutter
            Lean in close to the screen as I counsel people
                  who had enough to contend with
                        before this virus got into the mix


Teach an online grad course
            Listen to the challenges of students as they rearrange their lives
            Arrange for an extension on their final due date


Spend a surprising amount of time ordering groceries and preparing meals
            Make my own granola and yogurt
            Discover new recipes for using up the quinoa in the pantry
            Order more quinoa


Grieve the loss of time with family
            Cancel two trips to see the grandchildren
            Watch the latest video of the twins at least ten times in a row
            Explain to my father once again
                  why I cannot come and see him in the nursing home


Stay in touch with friends
            Worry about them when they are sick
            Rejoice when they recover


Develop a love-hate relationship with everything virtual
            Attend virtual meetings, classes, family gatherings,
                  church and happy-hours
            Decide it’s like eating half a meal:
                        better than nothing
                        never enough


Spend more time with my husband
            Walk the dogs with him if it’s not too cold or rainy or early or late
            Remind him too frequently to wash his hands
                        listen to him sigh “I know”
            Forgive more easily
            Be thankful that he is not virtual


Order a good set of binoculars
            Celebrate the fact that I live at the edge of a small wetland
                  during Spring migration
            Observe birds through my window
            Identify a Wilson’s Snipe, a Solitary Sandpiper,
                  and White-Throated Sparrows
            Admire a pair of Great Blue Herons
                  as they take off in unison and soar over the pond
            Let my heart follow a couple of Ruby-Crowned Kinglets
                  who swiftly flit from branch to branch
                        and tree to tree
                              definitely not sheltering at home


     Cari Shields

Yellow Bellied Sapsucker from my Window

Art in the time of the Corona Virus – We invite the members of the Anawim Arts Community to embrace the vital capacity of art and spirituality to speak to our current situation. The works in this series will be gathered into a special edition of our on-line journal.

We welcome your comments. Please note: To reduce spam or inappropriate comments, comments for first time contributors are posted after approval by the editors.

On the Wings of this Pandemic

Writing inspired by The Guest House by Rumi

          This being human is a choice I made. I sometimes wonder why I decided to return to this heavy body on earth again. Floating among the stars with God was pure perfection. But alas I had work to do, so I re-entered earth’s atmosphere for another adventure.

          Once I got here and grew and matured, I realized the life I was living was not the one I thought I had signed up for. I imagined a lovely childhood, perfect marriage, kids, home, meaningful work, laughing, fun. That’s not what I received. Many times, I looked back at my contract, thinking I must have gotten the wrong one. Life was hard, none of my perceived dreams had come true.

            But what I found though was indeed I had not chosen wrongly. My contract clearly read forgiveness is your mission this go-round. And you, my friend, will have a lot to forgive. Had I known all of this would I have returned?

          A few years ago, I would have said Hell No. I’m not up for that kind of forgiveness. But now, well, it’s a different story. I have learned to say The End to guilt and shame and poor me. I have stopped the story of I can’t, I want, and this is too hard.

           I’ve swept the guest house floor clean of sorrows, resentments, judgements and have opened the doors to desire, delight, forgiveness, and a new way of living that arrived on the wings of this pandemic. Guilt, pain, and anger are not worth holding on to. The man behind the curtain has been exposed. No longer will I believe in his lies. But spend my days going forward, welcoming Peace, Love, and Joy, for that is who I am.

Jamie Lyn Weaver


Art in the time of the Corona Virus – We invite the members of the Anawim Arts Community to embrace the vital capacity of art and spirituality to speak to our current situation. The works in this series will be gathered into a special edition of our on-line journal.

We welcome your comments. Please note: To reduce spam or inappropriate comments, comments for first time contributors are posted after approval by the editors.

Birthing Paradox

there is hope
in the dynamics of death,
and the miracle of re-birth.

in labor pain
followed by the joy of life.

in caterpillars eating mindlessly,
weaving a web of transformation
and a cocoon of possibility

in humanity.
consuming voraciously,
to fill its immature desires,

while seeking more,
a deep call,
Within the mystery of the heart

Ah, the heart of humanity,
born to reflect
the glory of it’s maker,
the beauty of love

the call to birth a new
consciousness in our midst.

Pat Irr, osf


True Medicine:  There is the hope that what must die is the immaturity of humanity in order that the metamorphosis will yield new life.   The birthing of  consciousness requires the labor pains of our day.


Art in the time of the Corona Virus – We invite the members of the Anawim Arts Community to embrace the vital capacity of art and spirituality to speak to our current situation. The works in this series will be gathered into a special edition of our on-line journal.

We welcome your comments. Please note: To reduce spam or inappropriate comments, comments for first time contributors are posted after approval by the editors.

Pandemic Puzzle

April 2020

Everything broken
              open    
                             pieces
              like a jigsaw puzzle

with no box,
               no beautiful picture

of what the world will look like
   when
              this is finished

Not even a promise of a finish

no guarantee that all
              the pieces
                             are there

We live these days suspended

the dump of the puzzle pieces
             was sudden

Some days I struggle
to force the pieces together
              to get to the end
but my heart knows
to let go of the old way
              of thinking

Appreciate the pieces of today
trust that a new vision
is taking shape
just beyond our view

Karen Hurley Kuchar


Art in the time of the Corona Virus – We invite the members of the Anawim Arts Community to embrace the vital capacity of art and spirituality to speak to our current situation. The works in this series will be gathered into a special edition of our on-line journal.

We welcome your comments. Please note: To reduce spam or inappropriate comments, comments for first time contributors are posted after approval by the editors.

Breathing

My yoga teacher starts yin classes by stating, “Make these the best breaths you take all day.”

I try to remember this advice when I stroll…I used to walk, but I felt like I missed too much, so I have regressed to strolling, and I am quite happy with my step backwards.

Picture and text by Gail Hoffman

I am fortunate to live within walking distance of a river, a river that ebbs and flows depending on the rain.  A river that invites me to breathe deeply and smell it.  Breathing and smelling the river brings me to my happy place.  Watching the spring slowly creep into view is the bonus for my breathing and smelling. 

Slowly, miniature grape hyacinth pop up.  Daffodils, crocuses, checked lily, and snowdrops each make an appearance.  Right now forsythia, dogwood, and tulips are showing their true colors.

I trace my love of breathing and smelling to having grown up on the ocean in Rhode Island.  My beach has a saltwater smell, and a slightly decaying fish aroma mixed with beach grass and beach rose wafting in summer only.  I prefer beaches off season because they are pristine and wild both at the same time.

My love of breathing dates back to my father slowly dying of COPD and my childhood wish to breathe for him.

Right now, my brother is in stage four COPD, and I have the same irrational wish. 

I think of those suffering with the labored breathing that appears to be a hallmark of this horrible COVID and I treasure my own deep breaths knowing each one is a gift. 

Once again, I am that small child, convinced that I can loan the suffering my breath. 

Art in the time of the Corona Virus – We invite the members of the Anawim Arts Community to embrace the vital capacity of art and spirituality to speak to our current situation. The works in this series will be gathered into a special edition of our on-line journal.

We welcome your comments. Please note: To reduce spam or inappropriate comments, comments for first time contributors are posted after approval by the editors.

Awaken

In this moment of history when
both the  corona virus
and
uncertainty
present themselves,
I invite us to look to the image of
our sun for the wisdom
it teaches us.

In every second
the sun transforms four million tons
of itself to become energy
for the food
that sustains us.

Such beauty and self-giving
calls us to
AWAKEN
and to TRUST that life, itself, will
TRANSFORM US.

S. Pat Irr, osf


Art in the time of the Corona Virus – We invite the members of the Anawim Arts Community to embrace the vital capacity of art and spirituality to speak to our current situation. The works in this series will be gathered into a special edition of our on-line journal.