Happy New Year!
“There are two ways of telling your story. One is to tell it compulsively and urgently, to keep returning to it because you see your present suffering as the result of your past experiences. But there is another way. You can tell your story from the place where it no longer dominates you. You can speak about it with a certain distance and see it as the way to your present freedom. The compulsion to tell your story is gone. From the perspective of the life you now live and the distance you now have, your past does no loom over you. It has lost it’s weight and can be remembered as God’s way of making you more compassionate and understanding toward others.”
~ Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love
Start looking at your own story with less interest. Everyone has a story and yours is but one of an infinite number of pathways leading to the same destination. I mean no disrespect as I am also speaking to my own fading desire to “tell my tale.” Is it really that interesting to keep feeling wounded? That’s what we are doing every time we accept an old “storyline” as something new or present.
Remember fondly the path that led you to Freedom and feel blessed to be here. Pay attention to the now and get excited. The best is yet to come!
“You are confronted again and again with choice of letting God speak or letting your wounded self cry out. Although there has to be a place where you can allow your wounded part to get the attention it needs, your vocation is to speak from the place in you where God dwells.
When you let your wounded self express itself in the form of apologies, arguments, or complaints – through which it can not truly be heard – you will only grow frustrated and increasingly feel rejected. Claim the God, in you, and let God speak words of forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation, words calling to obedience, radical commitment, and service.
People will constantly try to hook your wounded self. They will point out your needs, your character defects, your limitations and sins. That is how they attempt to dismiss what God, through you, is saying to them. Your temptation, arising from your great insecurity and doubt, is to begin believing their definition of you. But God has called you to speak the Word to the world and to speak it fearlessly. While acknowledging your woundedness, do not let go of the truth that lives in you and demands to be spoken.
It will take a great deal of time and patience to distinguish between the voice of the wounded self and the voice of God, but as you grow more and more faithful to your vocation, this will be become easier. Do not despair; you are being prepared for a mission that will be hard but fruitful.”
~ Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love
“God came to us because he wanted to join us on the road, to listen to our story, and to help us realize that we are not walking in circles but moving towards the house of peace and joy.
This is the great mystery of Christmas that continues to give us comfort and consolation: we are not alone on our journey. The God of love who gave us life sent us his only Son to be with us at all times and in all places, so that we never have to feel lost in our struggles but always can trust that he walks with us….
Christmas is the renewed invitation not to be afraid and let him–whose love is greater than our own hearts and minds can comprehend–be our companion.”
~ Henri Nouwen, from his book, Gracias! A Latin American Journal
“One increasing consensus among scholars and spiritual observers is that conversion or enlightenment moves forward step by step from almost totally dualistic thinking to non-dual thinking at the highest levels. We call that higher way of seeing and being present contemplation. If this ancient gift could be clarified and recovered for Western Christians, Muslims, and Jews, religion would experience a monumental leap forward. We could start being present to one another. We could live in the naked now instead of hiding in the past or worrying about the future, as we mentally rehearse resentments and make our case for why we are right and someone else is wrong.
Good religion is always about seeing rightly: “The lamp of the body is the eye; if your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light,” as Jesus says in Matthew 6:22. How you see is what you see. And to see rightly is to be able to be fully present—without fear, without bias, and without judgment. It is such hard work for the ego, for the emotions, and for the body, that I think most of us would simply prefer to go to church services.”
~ Richard Rohr, Adapted from The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics
“I have found it very important in my own life to try to let go of my wishes and instead to live in hope. I am finding that when I choose to let go of my sometimes petty and superficial wishes and trust that my life is precious and meaningful in the eyes of God something really new, something beyond my own expectations begins to happen for me.”
~ Henri J.M. Nouwen, Finding My Way Home