Circumference

Circumference

By Layton E. Williams Recently, in announcing a summer sabbatical for her team, Brené Brown referenced a quote from British actress, director, and screenwriter Michaela Coel that says, “Do not be afraid to disappear, from it, from us, for a while, and see what comes to you in the silence.” When the pandemic began, my world got very small. I moved into the detached guest suite over my brother’s garage for the first 4 or 5 weeks of “lockdown.” At the time, we didn’t know if South Carolina would issue a full stay-at-home order and if they did, I didn’t want to be totally alone (my...

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The simple (but not easy) things

The simple (but not easy) things

“The higher goal of spiritual living,” writes Rabbi Abraham Heschel,” is not to amass a wealth of information, but to face sacred moments.” Our study, our practice, our rituals, our beliefs–all of little ultimate value if the knowing and doing is not enfleshed in our being, creatively luring and aligning the structure of our days with the sacred architectures of slowness, breath, and depth connection. In our last Moment for Common Nourishment, Holden Cession avowed how our wellness and futures depend upon slowing down and moving beyond words with our people. Slowing down opens spacetime for...

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Can we just slow down?

Can we just slow down?

By Holden Cession The arrival of Spring signals to us an end to hibernation, a time of rebirth, and a season of action. While I love seeing the flowers bloom and feeling the shift in weather, I find myself still longing for the slowed pace of Winter. We’re less than halfway through the year and the lingering question “can we just slow down,” lingers in the air. I realized that this question was about more than the pace of my days and the organizations I’m in. It was about the pace constructed by a society conditioned to move like a machine, always in motion and doing something. While I enjoy...

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To spring, to rise, to move-again

To spring, to rise, to move-again

By Anna Blaedel On the first day of Spring, I walked down the block to thank the crocus, sprung from the thawing soil the week before. Little patches of purple, emerging from melting snow and decaying leaves. Color returning to the greyscale of Iowa’s winter palette. Day and night, dark and light–rebalancing, and finding new alignment. Lent comes from lengthen, the lenten season marked by lengthening days. In the 1300s, lent was often called springing time, the season when plants and all sorts of lifeforms, dormant over the fall and winter, begin to grow again, springing from the earth. To...

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Why are you pouring from your own cup?

Why are you pouring from your own cup?

By Olivia Kamil Smarr I love a good analogy. I process the world in visual, kinetic ways, connecting my reality with other realities, thinking of my own experiences in relation to other processes in the universe. It’s helpful for me to understand life through comparisons between concepts that make them more palpable. One analogy that I think of often is “You can’t pour from an empty cup”. This poignant statement is about needing to take care of yourself first before you can help others. It’s about making sure that you are renewed and refreshed, that you have enough energy before you give...

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spacious practices and rhythms that center

spacious practices and rhythms that center

By Rev. Anna Blaedel Growing up, my family of origin never missed church. Every Sunday, we were in the pews, in the sanctuary, in Sunday school, in worship, in collective practice. Even during summers, even on vacation. (Wednesdays, usually, too–for choir practices and community meals and small group studies and such.) I confess, much of this I did not love. But I did enjoy, even then, and far more so appreciate now, the strong sense of Sabbath rhythm ingrained in me early on. After church, after lunch, my dad would take a nap, my mom would get on the phone, exchanging “Sunday calls” with...

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