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  • dbb@findingmyreal.com

The Sacred Ordinary



Daily walks in my very hilly neighborhood are part cardio, part nature hike, and all meditation. Hidden surprises lie over each hill to awaken my spirit to Earth-life, to Spirit-life. This is my life, too. A small herd of deer – a four-point buck with two does and their fawns all spindle legs and spots. A village of mushrooms that surely is home to faieries, unseen by these human eyes. Varieties of ferns illustrating just how many colors green can be. Shadow lace on the road to the lake. Wildflowers. These mysteries of ordinary holiness are found in every lily of the field, every feather that floats to the grass, every turtle who wanders along the rock wall.


A shaft of unexpected sunlight deep in the darkness of trees captured my attention and imagination one recent morning. A light in the forest, a wormhole that beams me to another place and time. Celtic spirituality would call it a Thin Place, a point where an effortless connection between Heaven and Earth has opened.

I am told that every culture has a word for Spirit, for that essence we feel so deep inside that no words can describe it. Spirit breathes beyond the senses as we humans define them. It has the poignancy of grief and the tenderness of joy wrapped together in a paradox of untouchable, yet divinely known realness.

I caress Spirit in the stillness of soul. I find Spirit in quietude of contemplative meditation. This is the Valley of Receptivity I read of in the Tao Te Ching. The place of being Still and Knowing God that the Psalmist sings.

Over the years I have experienced many Thin Places and I have come to realize that they can be any where and any when. It is my open soul that allows a shaft of light to reach into obscure shadows to make me aware of the link between my spirit and Spirit, the Ground of Being. I carry the possibility with me across space and time. All places in this universe are sacred and holy. Select sites, however, seem to become consecrated by some power or beauty that calls us to awareness. A collective energy of mindfulness then draws more to it, like a spirit magnet.

And your point, Dorothy? you ask. That each breath, each thing, each step I take, each place in this Universe that we experience is sacred in its very ordinariness. I want to walk softly in awareness that adds peace to our Earth.

I sadly do not always meet my own expectations. I walk in a bliss only to stumble on my own arrogance, or blindness. But the great teachers of faith and spirit-life tell me to keep living. Not so much to try as simply to be. Allow what our culture defines as failure to be a lesson, say thank you for a new understanding, and move on.

There is a fragile, yet powerful holiness in these mindful walks. Fragile in the sense that it is elusive when I try too hard to see. Powerful because the deep safety of the sacred is right there, in me and around me. There is God to be found on our journey of ordinary sacred days and places.

Walk and touch peace every moment. Walk and touch happiness every moment. Each step brings a fresh breeze. Each step makes a flower bloom under our feet. Kiss the Earth with your feet. Print on Earth your love and happiness. Earth will be safe when we feel in us enough safety.

From “Walking Meditation” a poem by Thich Nhat Hanh

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