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“The way to maintain one’s connection to the wild is to ask yourself what it is that you want. This is the sorting of the seed from the dirt. One of the most important discriminations we can make in this matter is the difference between things that beckon to us and things that call from our souls.” ―Clarissa Pinkola Estés,

Monthly Archive

 

January, 2018

Meeting Kindness in the Depths of Sorrow.

Our Unity’s La Bendición project has challenged me to reflect on the ways that my life has been changed and transformed by experiences I have had with Guatemala. It started with getting to know Mayan refugees from there. Hearing their stories.  Heartbreaking, devastating stories.

 

Some said that my government was complicit in what was going on. Some said that my church was trying to help; people were working underground, risking prison.

 

I wanted to know more. This led me to take a 3-month journey into the heart of Guatemala in 1987. It was one of the defining experiences of my life.

 

There are themes that come up in our lives. Sometimes they seem to disappear for a while—only to return in some unexpected way and time. Synchronicity reminds us that we are on a pilgrimage. Sometimes I feel like we have pilgrimages within The Pilgrimage.

 

One of the most powerful poems I know is “Kindness,” by Naomi Shihab Nye. It speaks deeply to my soul. It resonates with every cell of my being.

 

Nye’s poem speaks to me of a pilgrimage to Kindness. Guatemalan Mayans have been a big part of my own Kindness journey. On Sunday I want to share some of that story.

 

In deep gratitude,

Peggy

 

Excerpts from Naomi Nye’s poem:

“Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth….

 

“Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you…

 

“Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing…

 

“Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.”

 

 

 

 

 

Peggy Christiansen is the Spiritual Leader at Unity of Fort Collins. She has over 25 years of ministry experience working with diverse populations, a M.Div. from San Francisco Theological Seminary, and a special interest in helping people find and/or develop their unique spiritual paths. Listen to podcasts of her Sunday talks.

January, 2018

¡Presente!

 

As I write, the sun is shining through my window touching my face with warmth and light. Outside it is a frigid 12 degrees.

 

 

But right now I am not outside. I am here, cozy, and warm. Reflecting, writing, being. Quiet and at peace. It is lovely.

 

In a while, I will be somewhere else. I will be involved in a different kind of activity in a different environment. Perhaps I will feel cold. Perhaps the sky will become gray again. Perhaps I will be surrounded by noise. I will be there.

 

In The Book of Awakening, Mark Nepo shares a story about a monkey and a river:

It is said a great Zen teacher asked an initiate to sit by a stream until he heard all    the water had to teach. After days of bending his mind around the scene, a small monkey happened by, and, in one seeming bound of joy, splashed about in the stream. The initiate wept and returned to his teacher, who scolded him lovingly,  “The monkey heard. You just listened.”

 

The theme on Sunday is about being present. Perhaps we can dive into that stream together…

 

Love,
Peggy

 

A quote to ponder:  “These roses under my window make no reference to former roses or to better ones. They are what they are; they exist with God today. There is no time to them. There is simply the rose.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

 

 

 

Peggy Christiansen is the Spiritual Leader at Unity of Fort Collins. She has over 25 years of ministry experience working with diverse populations, a M.Div. from San Francisco Theological Seminary, and a special interest in helping people find and/or develop their unique spiritual paths. Listen to podcasts of her Sunday talks.

January, 2018

Plot Twist.

 

Paradigm shift.

 

The first time I heard those words was in one of my seminary courses. We met a lot of intimidating words in seminary, like “eschatology” and “hermeneutics.” At the time I thought it all very snooty—surely there had to be more plainspoken ways to name a concept! I’ve learned since then, however, that sometimes it takes a ridiculous-sounding word to sum up a big idea.

 

Sunday we will be looking at the story of a journey that is full of plot twists. After all, that’s what makes a good story! It’s interesting to me that I love a good story, but I don’t necessarily welcome the plot twists in my own life!

 

This story is about a pilgrimage. A group of wise travelers, who know how to read the stars, have determined that a new age is being ushered into the world. They set out to find a new king who will bring this all about. One of the plot twists along the way is the discovery that this new beginning has happened                                                 not in a castle,                                                                                                                              not in a temple,                                                                                                                                 not with trumpets and fanfare,

but in a simple home in a wayside village where an ordinary child is found with his peasant mother.

 

And lo, a paradigm shift has been born!!

 

If you want to know more… see you Sunday!

 

Love and Happy New Year!

Peggy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peggy Christiansen is the Spiritual Leader at Unity of Fort Collins. She has over 25 years of ministry experience working with diverse populations, a M.Div. from San Francisco Theological Seminary, and a special interest in helping people find and/or develop their unique spiritual paths. Listen to podcasts of her Sunday talks.

January, 2018

But my Brain had Other Ideas.

 

Join us for this special guest speaker this Sunday for both services. Deborah Brandon, PhD has been a professor in the Mathematical Sciences Department at Carnegie Mellon University since 1991. She is a mother, a writer, and a respected textile artist, as well as a brain injury survivor. She has recently published a book, But My Brain Had Other Ideas: A Memoir of Recovery from Brain Injury. Brandon writes a blog, where often she discusses brain injury and its impact.

When Deb Brandon discovered that cavernous angiomas―tangles of malformed blood vessels in her brain―were behind the terrifying symptoms she’d been experiencing, she underwent one brain surgery. And then another. And then another.

And that was just the beginning.

Her book includes an introduction by Connie Lee, founder and president of the Angioma Alliance.

Unlike other memoirs that focus on injury crisis and acute recovery, But My Brain Had Other Ideas follows Brandon’s story all the way through to long term recovery, revealing, without sugarcoating or sentimentality, Brandon’s struggles―and ultimate triumph.