What's a nice Jewish girl like me doing at a Catholic seminary in Mundelein, Illinois? I'm attending the national gathering of facilitators from the Center for Courage and Renewal.
Being in the dining hall for meals has been very entertaining; I'm not sure the seminarians have a clue what we're doing here. Lots of crucifixes, photos of old white men in collars on the walls of every building, and tater tots at almost every meal!
The theme of the conference is Continuity and Change, and I spent some time today reflecting on these two themes, specifically the relationship between them.
Continuity, the threads that run through the seasons of our lives, that which is a continuous or connected whole. It's a flow, a pulse, a sense of connection from one moment to the next, from one life experience to another. Continuity is about relationship; and so is change.
Change is about renewal, revitalization, transformation; it is also about loss.
This week I am learning a great deal about what inspires people to change, and about the threads of the spirit that provide sustenance and continuity.
First there is the folding in,
To gather light and dark to you,
The journey down so far that it,
Has nowhere else to go but through.
—Carrie Newcomer, from "The Clean Edge of Change"
Carrie Newcomer is a great friend to Courage work, and to Parker Palmer, the teacher whose spiritual journey and writings are the inspiration and leadership for the Center for Courage and Renewal. She actually gave a live performance tonight and her warmth and talent reminded me of the importance of music and song to nourish the soul through times of change and uncertainty, whether personal, communal or political.
What has nourished your soul through times of change? Perhaps it's music, or the people you love, or gardening, or walking your dog.