When I was on Whidbey Island this summer enjoying my Peer Spirit Circle Practicum I picked up a few of Christina and Ann’s books. As I read The Seven Whispers, short memorable phrases that author Christina thinks of as whispers of spiritual common sense, I made a few notes on the singey stuff. Singey? You know; the words that heated my soul and singed it a bit:
1. Maintain peace of mind
Loved Thich Nhat Hanh’s teaching of one breath to let go, one breath to be here, and one breath to ask now what? To practice this at some point, everyday, because this seems like a good time as any to maintain peace of mind.
2. Move at the pace of guidance
The practice of clearing a space in the day and night, making ready for insight. Chritina practiced this as 15 mintues in the morning and 15 minutes at the end of the afternoon, sitting in silence, with two questions she posed to her soul. A kind of vipassana meditation and returning to the breath. The delicious question “how do I move at the pace of guidance no matter what speed the world asks me to move?”
3. Practice certainty of purpose
The powerful story of the tree of our own life that is growing inside us. If the tree grows too small we shrink and wither around it and turn into a shrub. If the tree is too big it becomes a giant oak that tears us apart. We grow in constant tension so that we and our lives are the right size for each other. Asking myself what is the next right thing?
4. Surrender to surprise
Every day we need to notice when and how spirit is tring to get through our little fantasies of self determiniation with some other message. Chart the day and look for the unexpected. And to help practice spiritual surrender, three responses to surprise: notice what is really happening, work with what is really happening, accept what is really happening. That being spiritual doesn’t save us from anything, but being spiritual allows us to hold whatever happens in a spiritual way. You can only serve the light to the extend you can stand the dark.
5. Ask for what you need and offer what you can
We become spiritual traders of life’s energy, time, abundance, and interrelatedness. Trading is practice in mindfulness. It slows us down so we may notice the opportunity present in the moment. Through acts of spiritual trading we learn to see that everything is an exchange. Christina believes that we in the West will be challenged to look at the question of what we really need and what we have the obligation to offer to re-establish balance in the global human family.
6. Love the folks in front of you
We didn’t grow up together. My people don’t know your people. Our diversity may be obvious or subtle. We are brought together without a sense of choice, for reasons we may not understand, often in structures we did not create. Who are you, and what of who I am will I share with you? Loving the folks in front of us is a practice that lowers our blood pressure, teaches us not to take things personally, and helps to keep our hearts open rather than slammed shut.
7. Return to the world
We cannot bring spirituality into the workplace without bringing Nature in. Christina had an intention statement taped inside her journal and a list of questions to ask God about the next portion of her journey while she was on a vision quest – what is the intention statement and the list of questions I’ll take with me to Bowen Island later this month? And believing that the covenant made with the angel when we are still in the womb is not about leading an ordinary or extraordinary life, but about leading whatever life we have with extraordinary attention to God’s call and our response: our call and God’s response.
And at the very end of this gift of a book, Christina writes
May we be of service
to whatever goodness is trying to happen in the world
in these terrible and wonderful times.