I'm Listening to Your Heart

 


I had a routine visit with my primary care doctor recently. She's exquisitely quiet, calm, and gentle. Placing the stethoscope on my chest she said,
"Deep breathe in...again...Ok, now I'm just listening to your heart."
And I thought, Ah, there it is, Spiritual Direction. The invitation to breathe deep, the offer to listen to another's heart. Yes, there it is.
May you breathe deep today,
and again. May you remember
to listen to your heart.
With love and joy,
Kelly

The Courage it Takes



The COVID-19 pandemic has pulled back so many layers of denial and illusion in our corporate and personal lives. In the forced slowing, in the unexpected losses, many of us have discovered new truths not just about the world, but about our deepest selves. In this time of revelation, some of us are realizing that "the life I am living is not the same as the life that wants to live in me (Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak)."

The challenge we now face is this: what will we do with what we now know to be true?

The Courage it Takes is a small collection of poems illuminating the courage necessary to live a life where inner and outer truths align. With one ear to the natural world and the other ear to the heart, these poems will be both resonate and revelatory for anyone sensing an invitation to a more authentic way of life. The collection is now available for sale in paperback format on Amazon and will soon be available on Kindle. Or, local folks, can contact  me to purchase a paperback copy. 

With love and joy,
Kelly 

Courage is contagious. - Brene Brown

Contemplative Journaling/Coloring Prompt for Fall: Letting Go

 


With the advent of October, many of us find ourselves shifting gears toward the last quarter of the year. We may be taking note of what has or has not been accomplished so far. We may be taking a clear-eyed look at what can reasonably be attained in the traditionally-busy months ahead. We may be wondering how to lighten the load, that we might travel with ease and clarity. 

I want to offer you a FREE downloadable coloring/journal page that invites reflection on the question: What am I invited to let go of in this season? 

Simply visit the link here to download or print the document. (Note: Your printer may say the margins are outside of the printable area. No worries, just click "ok" and go ahead and print as-is.)

I hope you enjoy this contemplative prompt and, if you find you'd like to discuss your experience, please reach out to schedule a time to talk: Chripczuk.kelly@gmail.com . 


On Love and Willpower


"Only love is capable of genuine transformation. Willpower is inadequate. Even spiritual effort is not up to the task. If we are to become great lovers, we must return again and again to the great love of the Great Lover." - David Benner in Sacred Companions

Be still, and let God love you.

With love,
Kelly

On Seeking and Finding Contemplative Experience


I write for a local ministry's newsletter once a month. For awhile now, I've looked back through old writing and offered that for their publication, but this month I wanted to share something new. Problem was, I didn't have any "fresh" contemplative experience to speak of (it's a contemplative newsletter) and I realized you can't force contemplative experience, you can only make yourself available. Sometimes, even that feels like it's asking too much.

In the end, I ended up sending this poem I wrote the other day. It seems that one key to contemplative awareness is the willingness to show up where we are, as we are.

With love,
Kelly

Some mornings, it’s easier
to fill the bird feeder
than to fill my soul.


I’d rather trim
the rose bushes
than prune
my heart of its
unnecessary
attachments.


So, I do.
And when
I’m done,
the window
in front of my desk
is brighter,
more open,
and my heart
holds hope


yesterday’s
cardinal will return
and I will
watch him
as he watches
me.


-K. Chripczuk


Question to carry: What task, right in front of you, can you make yourself available to today? Is it possible you might find meaning and presence there?

1


For When There Is Fear


 

"I will always have fear, but I need not be my fears, for I have other places within myself from which to speak and act." - Parker Palmer

"More than anything, fear blinds..." - Mark Nepo

To be a person
of faith, is to consent
to life lived blind as a bat,
to be a people of light
walking in darkness.

Faith will teach you
what you need to know
about soaring at night,
listening for the echo
of your own prayers
reverberating back to you.

The way forward is revealed,
always, in relation to the
place where you are.
- K. Chripczuk

I have felt a heaviness of fear lately. Fear for my not-old-enough-to-be-vaccinated-yet children who are back in school. Fear that schools will not be able to stay open as the Delta variant sweeps through. Fear of the life choices I've made - the way they've produced their own unyielding realities. Fear for the level of chaos, death, and destruction rampant in the world today. Maybe you have been feeling it too?

Yesterday, my thirteen-year-old son said it feels like the world is falling apart. My fifteen-year-old daughter replied, "It always feels like to world is falling apart."

He is right. She is right. It is both - the falling apart and the fear of falling apart and the reality that both are and ever shall be. And, so, we acknowledge the fear that is with us, like the sleeping cat in the chair beside me.

But, as Palmer says, we don't have to speak from that place. We don't have to live from there either. While fear may be present and it is not good to pretend it isn't so, it also can be a blinding and binding place to live from. As so, we're invited to step out, even in the midst of great darkness. To beat our wings and soar as though even darkness cannot separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. Or, to put it another way, the darkness cannot separate us from the love of God that is with us and for us.

So, name your fears Little Ones, then set them down to rest on the table or chair beside you. Do not be afraid to step out into this dark night, for you were made to shine.

With love & joy,
Kelly

Love Leads Us Out, Love Draws Us Back Again



* This piece of writing is 6 years old. Much has changed in those years and much has stayed the same. 

All four kids took turns rummaging through the large metal pot that my husband uses to store old nuts, bolts, washers, and nails. After choosing their wares, they made robots, tiny friends composed of wing bolts and screws. They each made three or four and named them based on appearance and abilities. 

Then Solomon made a “weapon,” something like nunchucks, by tying nuts on either end of a piece of string. He practiced throwing it until he could get it to wrap around a tree. Then, the other kids joined in with their own string and nut creations. Later, Solomon tied a washer in the middle of the string and, pulling the two ends taunt, observed the washer spinning first in one direction, then another.

This fall, my four kids will be spread among three different schools. Two will climb on separate buses within minutes of each other, heading in opposite directions. Then the other two will ride with me in yet a third direction for drop-off. 

I have three separate Back to School nights listed on the calendar, all requiring babysitting. There are two other Meet the Teacher events that include some, but not all, of the kids. I have large sheaf of papers pinned to the bulletin board filled with teachers’ names, room numbers, and other essential information.  

I feel a bit like that nut tied in the middle of the string, spinning first in one direction, then another, as my kids fly out into the world. How lucky we've been, piled together for the summer, like those nuts and bolts in that old, metal pot. We've clattered around the house and yard together, merging and separating at will. With fall, we're all flung a bit wider, but I'm grateful, always, for the bonds of love and mercy that draw us back together again.