Spoil Yourself

Finally, in your effort to appreciate all that is in your life, include yourself. Spoil yourself with gifts of time — time to know yourself better and time to love and appreciate those who are part of your life. Or just plain indulge yourself in ways you have always wanted to but for which you never gave yourself permission. Wander off your beaten path.

— Caroline Myss, PhD, Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can, p. 192

Thriving in the Desert

God takes everyone he loves through a desert. It is his cure for our wandering hearts, restlessly searching for a new Eden. Here’s how it works.

The first thing that happens is we slowly give up the fight. Our wills are broken by the reality of our circumstances. The things that brought us life gradually die. Our idols die for lack of food….

The still, dry air of the desert brings the sense of helplessness that is so crucial to the spirit of prayer. You come face-to-face with your inability to live, to have joy, to do anything of lasting worth. Life is crushing you.

Suffering burns away the false selves created by cynicism or pride or lust. You stop caring about what people think of you. The desert is God’s best hope for the creation of an authentic self.

Desert life sanctifies you. You have no idea you are changing. You simply notice after you’ve been in the desert awhile that you are different. Things that used to be important no longer matter….

The desert becomes a window to the heart of God. He finally gets your attention because he’s the only game in town.

You cry out to God so long and so often that a channel begins to open up between you and God. When driving, you turn off the radio just to be with God. At night you drift in and out of prayer when you are sleeping. Without realizing it, you have learned to pray continuously. The clear, fresh water of God’s presence that you discover in the desert becomes a well inside your heart.

— Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life, p. 184-185

A “Yes” in Disguise

In cozy retrospect, it is often very clear that the “no” that we received was actually a form of spiritual protection, not merely a deliberate and flippant thwarting of our will. When we receive a “no” from God, it is often actually a “yes” in disguise. Instead of focusing on what we cannot have, we need only turn our attention toward that good which God is moving forward in its stead.

— Julia Cameron, Faith and Will, p. 176

Wyverns and Girls

A Wyvern’s body is different from the body of a young girl’s in several major respects. First, it has wings, which most young girls do not (there are exceptions). Second, it has a very long, thick tail, which some young girls may have, but those who find themselves so lucky keep them well hidden. Let us just say, there is a reason some ladies wore bustles in times gone by! Third, it weighs about as much as a tugboat carrying several horses and at least one boulder. There are girls who weigh that much, but as a rule, they are likely to be frost giants. Do not trouble such folk with asking after the time or why their shoes do not fit so well.

— Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, p. 57

Unconditional Love

Jesus touched and healed anybody who desired it and asked for it, and there were no other prerequisites for his healings. Check it out yourself. Why would Jesus’ love be so unconditional while he was in this world, and suddenly become totally conditional after death? Is it the same Jesus? Or does Jesus change his policy after his resurrection? The belief in heaven and hell is meant to maintain freedom on all sides, with God being the most free of all, to forgive and include, to heal and to bless even God’s seeming “enemies.” How could Jesus ask us to bless, forgive, and heal our enemies, which he clearly does (Matthew 5:43-48), unless God is doing it first and always? Jesus told us to love our enemies because he saw his Father doing it all the time, and all spirituality is merely the “imitation of God” (Ephesians 5:1).

— Richard Rohr, Falling Upward, p. 103

One Great Aspect of the Goodness of Life

Over the years I have collected so many books that, in aggregate, they can fairly be called a library. I don’t know what percentage of them I have read. Increasingly I wonder how many of them I ever will read. This has done nothing to dampen my pleasure in acquiring more books. But it has caused me to ponder the meaning they have for me, and the fact that to me they epitomize one great aspect of the goodness of life.

— Marilynne Robinson, When I Was a Child, I Read Books, p. 19

The Practice of Gratitude

Few practices soothe our spirits as much as gratitude. Feeling appreciative of all that life has given us and continues to give us makes life thrive in our systems. Make gratitude a practice. Do not look for only the large and obvious as a reason for gratefulness. Learn to see your life through a wide-angle lens that includes every detail.

— Carolyn Myss, Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can, p. 192