Friday, February 28, 2014

You Are a Temple

Katie made her presence known at various times during the week, in “coincidence” connections with other guests, as well as in the presence of butterflies - in art, and in living, moving creatures. 
These beautiful stained glass doors open into the art studio.
A ceramic butterfly at the base of the signs.

Katie also appeared as I walked the pathways around the ranch.
Can you see the butterfly on the white daisy? It actually flapped its wings when I spoke to it. 

In preparing for this week, I resolved to abstain from online contact, replying only to the most pressing emails, and avoiding social media. I even gave up reading my usual daily devotionals; I went seeking God everywhere, in everyone and everything, intentionally not following my habitual ways. 

I wanted to trust in simply being, as Richard Rohr writes:
Faith is to trust that an intrinsic union exists between us and God. Contemplation is to experience this union There is nothing that is not spiritual for those who have learned how to see.”
 I did read a few words from, and each one seemed to fit the day, simply and perfectly.

Sunday, Feb. 9
Each minute of life should be a divine quest. - Paramahansa Yogananda

Monday, Feb. 10
Our approach to gratefulness has to be big enough to embrace all the difficulties of the world. - David Steindl-Rast

Tuesday, Feb. 11
I have the nerve to walk my own way, however hard, in my search for reality, rather than climb upon the rattling wagon of wishful illusions. - Zora Neale Hurston

Wednesday, Feb. 12
When the waves close over me, I dive down to fish for pearls. - Masha Kaleko

Thursday, Feb. 13
Just to be is a blessing; just to live is holy.
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

Friday, Feb. 14
Treat everyone you meet as if he or she were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness, and understanding you can muster, and do so with no thought of reward. Your life will never be the same. - Og Mandino

A chalkboard near our casita held inspirational verses, on its front and back, every day.
One of the pleasures of the ranch is getting to know the other guests; they were friendly and interesting. A conversation might begin with, “Where are you from?” or “What brought you to the ranch?” or “Is this your first visit?” We learned that many guests come back year after year, with family members, friends, or even on their own.

I was surprised to see how many people are willing to invest in this kind of self-care – and I began to understand that it is not self-indulgent, but wise and healthy.
The people, messages and activities of the ranch (and Mother Nature herself), opened my heart with gentleness toward myself and others. Each hour encouraged me on the path of openness, to letting go, and to fresh, new beginnings, leaving the past behind, and listening to what is, here and now.

As I was nourished by delicious vegetarian food (the fuel for our body's energy and restoration), restful sleep, five to nine miles of daily walking, stretching and simple awareness, I began to hear these words in my heart:
my body is a temple.

At first, it made me laugh to think this, but gradually, 
I started to believe it.
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?...the temple of God, which you are, is holy… everything belongs to you…and you to Christ, and Christ to God.” – 1 Cor. 3

My body IS a temple, and yours is, too - a dwelling place for the Spirit; I am in God, and God is in me. I could feel this truth energizing me, strengthening and opening me. My skin became clearer, my body felt fluid, relaxed and strong; I gained a sense of well-being, from the inside out. I felt healing taking place.

I could also see my mom relaxing more with each day, experiencing joy and tender care, making friends and becoming bolder to take classes and try things which were new to her. 
The environs of Rancho La Puerta, and majestic Mt. Kuchumaa which stands over it, are considered sacred ground to the Kumiai Indians, and I believe it is so. The positive energy is palpable.


Mary Potts said...

Oh Karen, how beautiful and spiritual. I can feel the positive energy through your words. Thank you for sharing.
love to you,

Elizabeth said...

Your thoughts and insights into self-care (as opposed to indulgence) are so interesting and inspirational, Karen! I went to a Korean day spa last week for two glorious hours of being, basically, "handled" -- touched and scrubbed and massaged. It's always deeply healing to me and I wonder why I don't do it more often! I am so grateful that you had this trip and that you're sharing your photos, words and thoughts about it!

Busy Bee Suz said...

Oh how I love this. I do hope you get back there too....this is the kind of selfcare you need. XO