Brave Thoughts

So I went as I was to the annual gathering of SoulStream, our dispersed contemplative community. In an afternoon session, Andrea, one of SoulStream’s founding partners, read this quote from Gregory Boyle‘s Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion.

You stand with the least likely to succeed until success is succeeded by something more valuable: kinship. You stand with the belligerent, the surly, and the badly behaved until bad behaviour is recognised for the language it is: the vocabulary of the deeply wounded and of those whose burdens are more than they can bear.

Father Gregory Boyle stands surrounded by former gang members who have become his friends, employees.

Father Gregory Boyle stands surrounded by former gang members who have become his friends and employees.

Andrea let that sink in. Let our imaginations picture ourselves standing with the hopeless people in our lives. Let us imagine how kinship–acceptance, love, and belonging–might succeed success. Let us feel the expansiveness of that divine thought.

Then she said, “Can you stand with yourself that way? What would it be like to offer kinship to yourself?”

I sat quietly with her question, and a thought that was never allowed to be heard took a brave step forward. What if I’m never successful at losing weight? What if I never again enjoy the body I once had? What if I’m never freed from my compulsion to overeat? Can I befriend myself and let that friendship be more dear to me than success?

Gail and meAs I held these questions, I recalled the comment my friend Gail Koombes (right) added to last week’s post. She wrote, “Remember that there is always someone, myself for one, that would love to be your winter weight.” I thought of all the overweight people reading my blog. I wondered if they were thinking: Wow, if she dislikes herself for being fat, what must she think of me?

Well, I’ll tell you. When I think of Gail my heart goes mushy. She’s feisty, fun, compassionate, loyal, and wise. When I see Gail, I see someone beautiful.

“Bella,” a SoulStream partner said to me as we embraced before parting. Bella. He called me beautiful. Another brave thought made its way forward: he sees me the way I see Gail.

As my kin stand with me, I am learning to stand with myself and embrace bella me.

The Lover, God, says to you and me,

My dove,
hiding in the caves high on the cliff,
hidden here on the mountain,
let me see you,
let me hear your voice.
Your voice is so pleasant,
and you are so beautiful!
Song of Songs 2:14 (ERV)

Thorny Beauty∗ ∗ ∗

Love Mischief for the World

11950161_10207032887196167_7095044902446166170_oAt our SoulStream partner gathering, Dave and Shauna Gill of Kaleden, B.C., told me about the ginger snap cookie bake-off they hosted. Shauna said, “The panel of judges was well represented with a father and son who required gluten-free, a chef, Dave, and the fifteen year-old-girl who babysits the kids, cats and chickens for many in this group of neighbours. The judges were blindfolded and subjected to slow, serious tasting with sips of water to cleanse the palate. One woman phoned ahead, needing to know many minute details about the competition. She seemed quite nervous. In the end, it was her gluten-free entry which won that category, and her smile at winning the bottle of wine went from ear to ear. A great time of kinship ensued, and there is more comfort and friendliness that passes between us all whenever we run into each other in the neighbourhood.” I had to ask, “Who won the competition?”  “Shauna won the regular snap,” Dave said proudly. “Although the gluten-free one was really good too.”

What love mischief are you and God doing to care for the earth?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References:
Photo of Father G. and friends by
“Thorny Beauty” by Stuart Williams. Used with permission.
Photo of Gail and me by Fred Hizsa. Used with permission.
Photo of Dave and Shauna Gill used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2016.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016.

About Esther Hizsa

Esther is a spiritual director and writer. She lives in Burnaby with her husband, Fred, and they have two grown children and two grandchildren.
This entry was posted in Overeating, Poverty of Spirit, Reflections, Stories and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Brave Thoughts

  1. Gail Koombes says:

    I like;~)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gail says:

    Esther…thank you for bringing “who you are” to the gathering!

    Liked by 1 person

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