Two Prayers

All These Things Dear Lord, help me to remember that you gave me life. Thank you for the gift of life. Teach me to slow down, to be still and enjoy the pleasures created for me. To be aware of the beauty that surrounds me: the marvel of mountains, the calmness of lakes, the fragility of a flower petal. I need to remember that all these things come from you. Consciousness Help me, Lord, become […]

The Awareness Prayer

This post is based on Week Two of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. What does it mean to “find God in all things”? We’re all familiar with spiritual literature that speaks of finding God in nature, in art, in the birth of a child, and in many other concrete examples of creation—most of which we take for granted. The graces we pray for each day this week of our Ignatian Prayer Adventure emphasize a much deeper […]

Go for Wonder

Sometime this weekend, do something that fills you with wonder. Allow yourself to experience awe. This can be one of the best medicines for whatever ails us. I present workshops and retreats to writers and other artistic types, and I tell them that the best way to fill up a creative well that’s gone dry is to do something that fills you with wonder. Witness something that fills you with wonder. Let your heart be […]

Awareness of God in All Things

This post is based on Week Two of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. My mom and dad are avid gardeners. On many occasions growing up, my weekends included a chore in the yard—raking leaves, weeding (my least-favorite job in the world), deadheading flowers, or picking up branches. My dad, especially, had this way of noticing the beauty that was unfolding right in our backyard, that I often missed because my attention was focused on getting my […]

Self-Awareness: The Oxygen of the Spiritual Life

In one of my recent classes I mentioned the term “self-awareness” and discovered that most of my students did not know what it meant. We interestingly live in a culture of self-absorption—of selfies and self-centered Facebook posts—but lack a healthy awareness of self. Many of us grew up in an environment where talking or thinking about one’s self was bad. We just didn’t do that. Sitting and reflecting on our interior life might have been […]

Sabbath as a Gift

This coming academic year, I have a sabbatical from teaching at my academic institution. I’m thankful to have long periods of time to work on a research project without interruption, when normally I must try to discern how to juggle teaching, service, and research. The term “sabbatical” is rooted in the notion of Sabbath or Hebrew shabbath, to rest from work. While I have already begun writing, I have also been exploring more deeply how […]

Hearing Places

I heard it before I quite realized what was happening. A brief slurp, a quick sucking noise, and my right leg was swallowed up to the knee. A few weeks ago my husband, Victor, and I were winding our way up to the top of a 300-meter cliff on the northwestern Irish coast. The path near the top was muddy and torn up by mountain bikers. Not quite long-legged enough to step over a large […]

Little Things

Andy Otto writes about noticing, awareness, the details–the key to discernment and deeper prayer.  (A fine movie clip illustrates his point.) Detail in life is oft overlooked but isn’t it the tiny things that make things whole? Isn’t it the little nicks and scratches and experiences and talents and histories that have contributed to what makes me me? God’s universe is designed in this way, that the whole, the larger, is made up of smaller […]

Mad Men’s Lesson on Ignatian Awareness

Ignatian spirituality seems to be all about looking. We look for God in the ordinary, in our feelings, in the people and things around us. But sometimes we look too hard for God rather than being aware of the surprise moments God’s presence is made known. In the premiere episode of this season’s Mad Men, Peggy is trying to recover from a failed tag line for a TV commercial created for a set of headphones. […]