Monday, December 22, 2008

Peace comes not from the absence of conflict,
but from the ability to cope with it.

photography by permission

Monday, December 15, 2008

“I am not alone at all, I thought. I was never alone at all. And that, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the world seemingly most indifferent. For this is still the time God chooses.”
~Taylor Caldwell

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I believe in going away from Christmas as the wise men went: "another way." I want to be different when these days are past—more centered, more thoughtful, more caring.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rumi and Rassouli

The mystical art of Rassouli graces many of our pages
throughout this Spirit First website, and we are grateful for
such breathtakingly beautiful art.

You can now enjoy the beauty of Rassouli along with
empowering messages of one of our greatest mystics
in a Rumi 2009 wall calendar: Rumi, The Journey of the Heart.

Spirit First has several copies of this recently released calendar, so we will be giving one to supporters who donate $50 or more during the next month. Please let me know if you are interested in receiving the calendar.

Thank you, Rassouli, for your beauty and your grace, and for the light you share with the rest of us.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Silence is the language of God...
all else is poor translation

art by permission

Friday, December 05, 2008

Try pausing right before
and right after

undertaking a new action,
even something simple
like putting a key in a lock
to open a door.

Such pauses take a brief moment,
yet they have the effect
of decompressing time

and centering you.

~A life practice from Br. David Steindl-Rast

photography by permission

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Only one thing has to change
for us to know happiness in our lives:
where we focus our attention.
- Greg Anderson

photography by permission

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Spirit First seeks to provide a home...

Every one of us needs a home. The world needs a home. There are so many young people who are homeless. They may have a building to live in, but they are homeless in their hearts. That is why the most important practice of our time is to give each person a home.
~ Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh

photography by permission
cindy lee jones

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

more on thanksgiving...

On Thanksgiving Day I posted a writing of my experience with giving thanks, and I pondered the appropriateness of my post in light of present difficult economic times. I went ahead with the posting despite its reference to our living in abundance because, as it seems to me, most of us even in stressed financial times have far more than most others in the world. For many our life is one of abundance by simple comparison.

Again and again in my life I have turned to the practice of giving thanks when I have faced difficult circumstances such as financial stress, depression, loss, et cetera. When I feel undone I begin to say aloud the many things I am thankful for. It might be while sitting at a red traffic light, lying in bed in the sleepless hours of 2 and 3 a.m., or walking several miles on a day's trek. "I'm thankful for my car that runs well...I'm thankful for the breakfast tea that still feels warm in my belly...I'm thankful for the scent of lavender on my skin...I'm thankful for my warm coat on this cold day...I'm thankful for..." and I would continue my list. Sometimes I would write down as many answers as I could write in a two- or three-minute fragment of time. Sometimes I would make up new answers while
standing in the shower (which, of course, I am also thankful for!). I practiced, and continue to practice, the giving of thanks.

I think one cannot be thankful and sad at the same time.

I expanded my practice of thankfulness to include looking for all the things in my world that I have in abundance (and please don't joke with your self about having an abundance of bills or an abundance of troubles...). I would begin my list..."I have an abundance of soap (people often give gifts of exquisite soap and I always seem to have lots of soap--and that includes sweet little soaps picked up in hotels during business travels)...I have an abundance of toilet paper on the shelf...I have a full tank of gas (a wonderful abundance)...I have an abundance of jars of jelly...I have an abundance of candles in the house..." I learned to stalk my own abundance in my giving of thanks, and I learned to include such things as my unlimited long-distance calls on my telephone, the sounds of birds and crickets and cicadas, and the abundance of ideas and opportunities.

For those who seek to create an abundant life, remember that creating comes from seeing. If all you can see around you is lack and insufficiency, you will have difficulty creating wealth. Begin by seeing the abundance you possess and learn to practice thanks giving.

During these difficult times and no matter what perils seem to cross your path, I wish you joy, peace, and the ability to see your abundance and feel gratitude. (I would love your comments about what is abundant in your world...)

written with Love
diana christine
photography by permission

If your cup is small,
a little bit of salt
will make the water salty.
If your heart is small,
then a little bit of pain
can make you suffer.
Your heart must be large.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

photography by permission

Monday, December 01, 2008

is not what makes us grateful.

It is gratefulness
that makes us happy.

~ David Steindl-Rast
A Listening Heart

photography by permission
cindy lee jones