contemplative alchemy


Only with awakened hearts

are we actually able to fulfill

our purpose within the cosmos and take our place

in that great dance of divine manifestation.

….Cynthia Bourgeault

to be willing to sacrifice being in this world for being in this world with sacred intention… is a calling of humble and epic frailty….they say stability roots us, but it may be something closer to inner destruction…..reaching in to slowly churn the sacred into soft attending, the path toward wholeness….


Inspired by Theo Dorgan’s poem ‘The Angel of Days’

And what did you do on earth?
I descended daily into the hush – if only for a moment,
but sometimes for blessed hours at a time.
I followed the shimmering threads which lured me
into the night, full of wonder at all that was unfolding.
I opened myself wide to gratitude,
to the delight that there was anything at all,
much less pink-petaled peonies
and generous handfuls of red berries,
the incredible sweetness of things,
or the way dawn and dusk could reveal
my own new thresholds,
how a walk by the sea can change
and that I could be so well loved, and love in return,
that I could dance on earth’s forest floor
and say “yes” to life from the belly of sorrow.

And what was the best of it?
I was saved by beauty again and again,
the golden glimmer of sunlight
across wet pavement revealing a luminous world,
and the stone ruins of churches and monasteries,
with their arches of ancient longing holding
ten thousand prayers, ten thousand paths to hope.

And what would you have changed?
Only perhaps to have worried less about what might come, which never did
in exactly the way I imagined.
And to spend less time in front of screens,
offering more of myself to the elements of wind and rain and mud,
to roll with playful abandon in the wet grass, the way dogs do.

And what will you do now?
I will reach across the veil and whisper the word
‘remember’ to anyone who will listen.

…Christine Valters Paintner

stumbling home

Lectio divina is the practice of being present to each moment in a heart-centered way. When we pray lectio we see sacred text as God’s living words being spoken to our hearts in the moment. The practice allows us to encounter God in a active and intimate way. The invitation of lectio divina, therefore, is to cultivate a heart-centered intimacy with the sacred texts that is a different way of engaging them than pure interpretive reasoning. Lectio divina asks us to listen, savor, and respond- not simply understand their meaning. Concern for the heart means concern for the sacred center of our innermost being. Contemporary spirituality author Norvene Vest describes the Hebrew scriptures as speaking of the heart as ‘the locus of the active-receptive relationship with God in spiritual formation.’ For the early Hebrews, the heart was the organ of capacity for God’s very self: It was the locus not only of choice and motive but also of one’s fundamental orientation toward life. In the heart, we are formed and reformed into the person we most long to be…..Christine Valters Paintner

2 thoughts on “contemplative alchemy

  1. This brings to mind Dylan’s song “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” I wonder now if he read The Angel of Days … Surely we live too long indoors, and even in nature we isolate ourselves from the fairies an sylphs … Nature spirits that wait for us to join them in their joy … I honestly believe we could halt storms with love … We have set aside the greater power of the heart, in order to live in the mind …

    • you tap into the power of joy…..Paintner and Plotkin knew this…..and I think when we ‘catch’ ourselves in a pure moment of joy, we remember everything….why we are here and who we are……why we love….may the fairies alight g.f.s…..

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