Christin's Words from Sunshine Hill

If it is to be music
you must be present to it, must offer to it
a profound self-remembering.
-from Altar Music

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Casa Chiara

Last night I was so excited I could barely sleep. Little Mo didn't help much either; at bedtime he scrambled under the bed and refused to go outside, so at midnight just as I was drifting off, he did his little panting routine and I got up again--bathrobe, slippers, lucky about the full moon--to take him outside. But he must have wanted something else, like to snuggle next to me in bed. No way! Back in bed I thought again about Casa Chiara and John's and my new blog. I'd spent the evening designing it and then all day today re-designing it. Now I think I've got it!

John and I both are excited about our new Casa Chiara Hermitage. Now that we've spent two years together, we're seeing our way forward through our second half of life, and wouldn't you know, we've come full circle around to where we began -- (but with more wisdom, I hope). As teens both of us entered the monastery/convent, then left to search along other paths. Now we search together for that ineffable Center of Being and Creation that many call God.

In Italy last year we were steeped in the intense and creation centered spirituality of saints Francis and Clare. The places that were sacred to them also became sacred to me--they were already sacred to John who wrote his internationally best selling novel about the Franciscans. The caves, the simple structures where they lived in community with others who shared their devotion and dream. In Italian Clare is Chiara. Light. We've long called the place we live "Sunshine Hill." Now the house is dedicated to Clare and Francis -- her house -- Casa Chiara--House of Light.

Since both of us are writers, what better way to share our journey than through the word -- and these days that means through a blog. So in addition to my regular blog--this one--
I've set up another devoted to our inner journey. Hopefully the short entries will carry the fruits of our contemplation, our care for this beautiful land, our study, our inspirations.

We hope that you will subscribe and through the words we write accompany us on this path. It is a solitary way, and you are a friend.

Here's the link to the new blog:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Dreaming Far and Deep

Think mist. Think veils of fog caught on the tips of pine needles in hollows of mountains. This is the look of morning. Wash everything in rosy light. Let winds blow traces of purple and lavender. We light the small fireplace in the morning room and enter our day of prayer, study and contemplation--our weekly retreat on this Feast Day of Christ the King.

I've had a flurry of long involved dreams in the past four days, and I've been recording my dreams since the 1960's, though I remember some from as far back as my second or third year. If I could decipher those accurately, would I have the secret to my childhood? Once I considered returning to the first of my journals and culling from the pages every dream, in order, through the fifty or so years of recording, just to see if I might have in them a symbolic map of my soul. The task was overwhelming. I copied about twenty dreams into a computer file and gave up. But I'm tempted at least to read them. There will be themes--of this I am sure. There will be paths, challenges. Was it Swedenborg who traced his spiritual autobiography through his dreams?

On the other hand, why do that? In the early 1980's I made a retreat with Trappist Father Thomas Keating. His belief (unlike that of Carl Jung) was that the dream takes care of itself. Dream images, he said, are like a detritus of leaves on the river bottom floating up into dream conscious. That's enough. Upon waking all that is necessary for us to do is let them float away. The emotion they held, the terror, the delight, the insight--none of it needs to be understood by the mind. The event integrates the experience we buried at the river's bottom into the wholeness of our being. My curiosity, though, forces me to take a second look.

I didn't intend to write of dreams. It was Christ the King on my mind. What might we name the feast if it didn't already exist? After I finished journaling the four pages of my dreams from the past nights, I looked through my bookcase for Matthew Fox's THE COMING OF THE COSMIC CHRIST. I read much of this book when it was released in 1988--but I find that books yield up deeper meanings as I acquire more experience. This time I will take a more contemplative approach. I'm barely into the first chapter, but I can see that "King" could be replaced in my mind by the "Connectedness" that fills the Universe. "King" has such a sense of ruler, and ruler carries a feel of domination. Way back in University, in a class on Christology, we discussed the relationship between the Historical Jesus and the Christ of Faith. What were the connections between the Gospels of the life of Jesus, and the Letters of St. Paul? Paul has little to say of Jesus, but places intense focus on faith in The Christ.

Fox asserts already in his prologue that "The coming together of the historical Jesus and the Cosmic Christ will make Christianity whole at last...Cosmic Christ, the 'pattern that connects' all the atoms and galaxies of the universe, a pattern of divine love and justice that all creatures and all humans bear within them....What is needed if there is to be a twenty-first century for Mother Earth and her children is a spiritual vision that prays, celebrates, and lives out the reality of the Cosmic Christ who lives and breathes in Jesus and in all God's children, in all the prophets of religions everywhere, in all creatures of the universe."

I'm pondering. If "King" is understood to mean "Loving Unifier" or "Compassionate Connector" of the whole realm, then "Cosmic--(as opposed to chaotic) Christ" could well be a profound way of understanding what we mean by Christ the King.

Thanks, Matt Fox, for dreaming far and deep--and for writing it down!