March 16 – Saying “Yes”

Monday  March 16  –  “. . .  did Yes get born right then and did you weep?

Paying attention has a lot to do with noticing which places in my world invite me to stop and wait for mutuality.  Which places to notice and wait for and which to overlook, without contempt, just making necessary choices; you can’t make everything important.

{Years ago a student, having trouble with the weekly quiz, stopped in the office to ask for advice about how to prepare.  I asked him how he prepared now:  “I read each reading, I highlight . . . “   Then he showed me a reading he had prepared; almost every word was highlighted . . .  .“I think I can help you,” I said, next time, don’t highlight anything in the first paragraph. Then stop and think until you can decide which one word to highlight.  Highlight it.   Then begin the next paragraph.”}

Where to stop and where not to?  — inside joy;  inside fear;  inside grief; inside laughter?  I’ve come to think of attentiveness as the heart of prayer.  Today’s poet, Nancy Shaffer, is new to me.   She writes well about attention here.

Best to read out loud, with pauses; perhaps after “seeking one lost sock?” or “planting radish seeds”;  lots of places to pause.

Have a blest week.


john sj

p.s.      Maybe the snowdrops in our back yard will start to show off by mid-week, some more warm days with a little rain added  (“snowdrop”

If you get close to where they grow up in the grass you can see lots of them just getting started on their spring.  Even, last evening, one very tiny white beginning of a flower.


Today’s Post:    “Calling” 

When you heard that voice and
knew finally it called for you
and what it was saying—where
were you? Were you in the shower,
wet and soapy, or chopping cabbage
late for dinner? Were you planting radish
seeds or seeking one lost sock? Maybe
wiping handprints off a window
or coaxing words into a sentence.
Or coming upon a hyacinth or one last No.
Where were you when you heard that ancient
voice, and did Yes get born right then
and did you weep? Had it called you since
before you even were, and when you
knew that, did your joy escape all holding?
Where were you when you heard that
calling voice, and how, in that moment,
did you mark it? How, ever after,
are you changed?

Tell us, please, all you can about that voice.
Teach us how to listen, how to hear.

Teach us all you can of saying Yes.

“Calling” by Nancy Shaffer. Text as published in Instructions in Joy: Meditations (Skinner House Books, 2002).


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