Advent 2016: Jumping into Presence

Friends, I put down the New York Times this morning and went into my office instead, lit a candle, and spent some time in silence. My mind wandered, I remembered an email I hadn't returned, I looked around my messy office and made plans to clean it.

But something else happened there, too. I remembered that today, November 27, is the first day of Advent, and that I'm entering into a sacred time that's waiting to be embraced. I've been incredibly sad and angry since the election, and it's taken me a couple weeks to remember who I am. Its been work to remember, as the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu say in The Book of Joy, "No dark fate determines our future. We do. Each day and every moment, we are able to create and re-create our lives and the very quality of human life on the planet." I remembered that I used to have a tradition of writing every day during Advent. And decided, just a few minutes ago, to find my voice again this year. To do what I can to help myself (and maybe you) remember the power each of us has to experience joy, to practice compassion, and to find silence even in noise, suffering, or despair.

Some days my reflection might be incredibly short, and often it will be borrowed from someone or something else that's inspiring me. There won't be a theme, there might not always be photos, and there will for sure be typos. But everything belongs!

Today, I leave you with a stanza from Rumi's poem Mary's Hiding. I don't believe in the virgin birth, but the whole thing was surely a miracle--her saying "yes," Joseph fathering a child that was or wasn't his, and the God-spark come to light up our darkness. Here's to jumping into Presence this season. We need it like never before.

Like the sun coming up,
or a rose as it opens,
she leaped, as her habit was,
out of herself into the presence.