Part 8 – From Spirit to Matter

Grace and Divine Presence

Coming Home

What a surprise it was to end my year of ashram life and enter into a year of residency as a hospital chaplain. Resistance is futile when you’re lead by Grace. I came full circle in my material and spiritual worlds; from almost dying while a hospital patient, to being a hospital chaplain ministering to those suffering various stages of trauma, illness, grief and the dying process. Divine Grace was asking, “You glimpsed the threshold of death, can you be fully present with others as they approach their own mortality?”  The answer was yes, and… as a hospital chaplain I found my experience to be some of the most holy, life-affirming, bittersweet and exhausting work one can do. It required stillness in the midst of chaos, both internally and externally, and mountains of self-care.

Zen seeing too requires stillness and a deep appreciation of every breath. My contemplative spiritual practices offered regenerative energy during that time and kept me grounded. I practiced walking meditation and mantras between patient visits, and I spent my days off in my photoshop/darkroom creating books to help teach others “how to see.” It was during that time that I gave birth to two more photo books, 108 Explorations of Zen Seeing and a collection of B&W Zen Contemplative images.

My spiritual and creative evolution, and the integration of my NDE has felt like an upward spiral, both my heart and mind opening wider as I come home to more of who I am.  Discerning that my path lay beyond the confines of hospital chaplaincy, I now weave spiritual direction into my creative, sacred, healing arts experience, offering individual and group companioning for those seeking deeper connection with their inner and outer worlds during challenging times.

I continue to show up with beginner’s mind, curious and in awe of the possibilities that can unfold. That’s not to say that I don’t experience fear, doubt, anxiety and worry. I absolutely do, and when they require attention, I practice  maintaining stillness amidst chaos, allowing me to return to trusting my Self and the Grace of Divine Presence.

Thank you for reading and witnessing these glimpses into my story. I end this blog series with the following questions for you to contemplate:  “One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, “What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?” ― Rachel Carson

Easter – Passover – Full Blue Moon – April Fools Day

These are powerful and blessed energies that have converged this weekend. Easter, Passover, a Full Blue Moon and even April Fools Day offer us the opportunity for renewal and rebirth; an opportunity to expand our vision and maybe shift our way of seeing. Many people these days are spiritual but not religious, or secular and non-religious. Some have wounds or carry baggage around religion. Some feel the Sacred in nature. I heard this comment the other day and it resonated with me, so I thought I would pass it along and invite your consideration…  “If the word G-O-D triggers you or doesn’t fit your belief system, try replacing it with A-W-E.” I am always looking for new ways to see and experience Spirit in our world. Part of my practice is to be on the lookout for moments of A-W-E and to find beauty in the mundane. When we are able to stop, take a breath and give ourselves a moment to pause and ground, we create space for A-W-E. My gift this very special Sunday is a small collection of photos taken these past few days where I work, at Marin General Hospital.

May we receive this first day of April and every day with gratitude and grace.

Blessings, Rev. Lisa