Monday, January 04, 2010


As I began to post the events and learnings of the past year, I realized that I had not included the spiritual learnings which emerged from those events, so I went back over my year and have done that thinking as well. As Robin and Miss Kitty have mentioned in their comments, every event in a human life may have a spiritual component. But they aren't always immediately obvious. So, okay, here it goes (OHIG).

First, though, I want to note the elements of my spiritual experience, as I have come to understand them. These characteristics may not be the same for others; that's okay. You may think of some I have missed; that's okay too.

I find spiritual experience in connectedness, whether that is in worship, or grief, or meaningful conversation or excitement, or just plain goofy fun. I find it too in solitude, a sorrow explored alone, a moment of journaling when I dare to put down something that is hard for me to admit. I find it in harmony, literally---the sound of voices singing, or chords from an instrument, interactions between people which involve listening and finding common ground; I find it also in dissonance, literally----the resolve from a hard-to-hear chord into a place of harmony, the conflict of sound or views or voices that open me up and make me wait for the resolve into a new place. I find it in the completion of tasks, when a book is read and I can reflect on it. Or when the patio is cleaned up and I can use it. Or when a cobbler is made out of the blackberries along the edge of the property and its smell permeates the kitchen. The mundane is full of spiritual significance.

From these experiences, I receive joy and pleasure, gratitude for the gifts which come so frequently, hope that I may continue to be able to see the gifts and not disregard them because they are mundane. I treasure the peace of mind that my spiritual experiences provide, even when I am waiting for the resolve, waiting for the new understanding that conflict brings, getting used to the changes that aging brings---because I know it will come and that I will find the gift waiting for me.

And I have developed spiritual practices which help to remind me of the spiritual nature of human life: a regular prayer time at night and spontaneous prayers of gratitude all day; being with animals and plants, whether tame or wild; voicing love---telling people that I care for them, showing that care by my actions; singing, by myself or with others; encouraging others as they go through life; passing along my learnings and strengths to those who are just starting out---being generative, at this time of my life.

I'm going to stop here; I have a longer post about the spiritual moments of the past year and I'll put that up later.


Robin Edgar said...

"As Robin and Miss Kitty have mentioned in their comments, every event in a human life may have a spiritual component. But they aren't always immediately obvious."

Well do try and pay attention to the meaningful "coincidences", even the "less than obvious" ones if you can. Carl "I *Know*" Jung was onto something. . .

Miss Kitty said...

Ms. K, you have a lot of guts, making these lists/posts. I admire your honesty and courage. :-)

Robin Edgar said...

What Miss Kitty said.

Would that more U*U ministers dared to publicly display even *half* of the honesty and courage that you have displayed here in the last few years Rev. Ketcham. The U*U World would be a much better place, and quite possibly even a *bigger* place, than the "tiny, declining, fringe religion" that UUA President Peter Morales has had the honesty and courage to publicly acknowledge it is today.