Full Circle

For E, with love, who encouraged me to keep writing.

Today, the Feast of the Assumption, calls me back to a much earlier and formative time – my Catholic childhood. And, although I left the RC Church decades ago, and subsequently joined the Episcopal Church, certain remembrances have resonance with me from those early days.

My recollection is that there was a special devotion to Mary, often observed by women in the church, especially by my Father’s mother, also named Mary. There were yearly ceremonies, such as the May crowning (May being dedicated to Mary), which held a reverence and solemnity that was joyous and moving.

For me, now, it is not important to hold firmly to an assertion that Mary was bodily assumed into Heaven. Today, this feast day brings me back to the Annunciation.

The Day of Yes. Where it all started, according to the recountings.

These two moments, Annunciation and Assumption, frame a lifetime. And, they both represent, for me,  transition and expansion. In the first instance, an expansion that only “Yes” can bring. “Yes”, when uttered in a moment of possibility that seems so terrifyingly right, can be the most transformative word in our language. Terrifying and freeing. “Yes” can set into motion powerful changes, some quick, some glacial. Whereas “No” constricts, “Yes” releases.

“Yes’, in the right moment (and moment after moment), allows us to participate in the kenosis, or self-emptying, practiced by all the spiritual masters. For Christians, Jesus is the Master of this Way. You may know of, or revere, others.

Death, the other transition and expansion, frees spiritual energy from the material body, allowing it to become more greatly accessible. Many have witnessed to this. Hence, death, as well as “yes”, has transformative power.

Many of us have experienced one, or more, “little deaths” on this plane of existence that have created greater space and smoothed the transition to newer life. Saying “yes” to a “little death” may be preceded, at least in my case, by years of clinging to ways that didn’t work or weren’t honest (and aren’t those often the same?); holding tight to things or people I didn’t really need; and/or without the belief that Life will provide what is best for me.

I have come to see that saying, “yes” to life is also saying, “yes” to death.


“Die before you die,” said the Prophet


Have wings that feared ever

touched the Sun?

 I was born when all I once

feared – I could


From Die Before You Die, by Rabia Basri,

Female Sufi saint (717 – 801)

About Soul Intention

"Spirituality is, ultimately, about what we do with...desire. What we do with our longings, both in terms of handling the pain and the hope they bring us, that is our spirituality." from The Holy Longing by Ronald Rolheiser. Paraphrasing what Gerald May has said, in his book Will and Spirit, spirituality is our experience and interpretation of our relationship with the Sacred. The intent of this blog is to explore for myself, and to invite others to explore with me, just what is it we do with our desire? What is our spirituality? Mine has been shaped by many things...in my formative years, by the Roman Catholic church. In the last decade, by the 12 steps. Most recently, by the Episcopal Church. And, always, always, by the sense that Nature helped to reveal the Great Mystery, of which we are all a part. So, my spirituality includes concrete practices, like the Steps, as well as probing more philosophical matters. I was certified, in January 2011, as a Spiritual Director by the Haden Institute. During those 21 months of study, which included a broad range of topics from Celtic Spirituality, to the Christian Mystics, to Jungian Depth psychology, I was given the space and time to ponder my own spiritual journey, hear about others' paths, and benefit from participation in an intentional community. My hope is that this blog can engender a similar conversation. Peace, Paul
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2 Responses to Full Circle

  1. Elizabeth says:

    YES! Thanks for blessing us by writing more, and by being a new kind of “yes man.” 🙂

  2. Joyresor says:

    I love this post of yours, Paul, and I applaud all your yesses and little deaths leading you on to grace the world with your gifts, talents, and love. To your expansion and offerings! Love, Joy Resor

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