Tag Archives: TED Global

Blessings between Saturdays

In between the Saturdays of the wedding rehearsal and the wedding, I went down to the place, between the trees, where we walked to mark the path to enter the sacred space. I sat at the picnic table and ate a pie from the local bakery. I was joined by three magpies. Two were fairly young and the third was standing at a distance from the younger ones. One of the younger ones was full of courage, bounded up and literally stood a few centimetres from my hand on top of the table, the other sang sweetly at my feet, while the third one looked on. I couldn’t shoo them away, they refused to budge. So I asked them what they were doing there … And they asked me the same.

I had gone there, to be in the space, alone, to prepare for the next Saturday. On that day I won’t be there alone. I will be in the company of family and friends – all witnesses to the marriage of our youngest daughter. I wanted to see what was on the horizon, in the foreground, what the backdrop looked like and to ask the landscape to talk to me. The stringy bark gums shedding layers, the gentle sound of the brook rippling, the wind fondling the leaves of the old redgum were supported by a lively orchestra of parrots, honey eaters and … magpies.

My Dad was a maggie through and through (a Port Adelaide supporter) so I mused that the older bird watching on was his totem come to let me know he was witness too. The three magpies – a feathered trinity. It was emotional.

This place is a sacred meeting place for generations for the Kaurna people and I wonder what the elders would tell me about the magpies visiting the mother of the bride on a day between the Saturdays? Perhaps they were affirming my action to take the moment, and holding me there so I would enter into it? Perhaps they were heralding me onwards and reminding me that between Saturdays it is right to stop and soak it in? One thing I was confident of, I was being blessed and loved and honoured and the Universe had sung my Dad to me and is with us, with me.

When I think back to the “between the Saturdays” of my wedding, I remember being by the water tank at the back of my family home learning the lines of my vows so that I could confidently recite them and not repeat the words from the priest. I remember wanting to be able to know them “off by heart” because they were going to last me a lifetime. I did learn them and I do recite them to myself from time to time when I need of remind myself. I have found that at different times in my life one line has been more salient than another – for richer or for poorer ; in sickness and in health. I was always a bit confused that richer comes before poorer and sickness before health. I am definitely richer than ever and sickness is more at our door than ever but they now come together in a way that makes perfect sense to me now. My father walked me down the aisle of John XXIII as the sun set on a hot Saturday evening in February. Our daughter will walk between her Mum and Dad, along a path strewn with leaves as the afternoon sun reaches its height in a park at the back of a colonial courthouse where for thousands of years people have gathered as families to share stories and food and delight in the spring that never dries up. it was in this place she joined a croning ritual for my 50th birthday. It is a place I go to for making decisions, for respite and just to be. This place will bless those who gather and in turn we will bless the space between us as John O’Donohue has described ” in the parched deserts of post modernity a blessing can be like the discovery of a fresh well … When a blessing is invoked, it changes the atmosphere. .. It is ironic that so often we live like paupers though our inheritance of spirit is so vast” (xv To Bless the Space Between Us).

This same week, between the Saturdays, a young friend bought back from his travels Br David Steindl-Rast’s new book 99 Blessings. My young friend had met Br David in Edinburgh at TED Global. They connected and his book travelled half the world with an inscription and blessing to us. The lightness of the book seemed to be a feather in the breath of God itself, being blown to me on the wings of airlines and in the care of the next generation … I am so blessed and so grateful! What a delicious filling in between these Saturdays!

I am being drenched by love. I come to Saturday confident that a community of creatures, indeed the whole universe, is intent on bestowing blessings that bring union to time and space, the visible and invisible, past and future.

On Saturday, at the wedding, I am going to read John’s blessing for a marriage, and having sat on his land in Ireland earlier in the year, adding my voice to singing the Beatitudes as a storm began to roll in, truly I know the maggies are with me. Never before has “when two or three gather in My name” rung as true as it does for me this week, between the Saturdays.

I come to this Saturday knowing that it is in the in-between spaces that revelations unfold and blessings abound.

Courthouse Gardens, Willunga

Making an Adjustment

I have been spending time and money these past two weeks for people to touch me – massage therapist and chiropractor mainly.  I somehow managed to hurt the lower part of my back. The general sense is that sitting down for long periods of time, like at a desk and in the car, and my back aren’t very compatible.  While I have been in other people’s hands has been lovely to subject myself to their healing power, it has also given me cause to think what I am saying to myself.

My counsellor self is asking me: What is giving me a back ache? Is there something pushing me forward? Maybe someone is a pain in the back?  After I reflect on these questions I find another one – is my body readjusting to a new posture and my old body doesn’t like it and is trying to adjust accordingly?  Is what I have left behind trying to align me and I need some extra help for the adjustment to be complete? Do I want to put myself in someone else’s hands?  So many questions!

Maybe my body doesn’t want to adjust back to travelling in the car or sitting down at work and this is the message it is sending me?

Years ago, a friend of mine, who was living with us at the time, enlisted my help to assist his mother leave his father. His mother had suffered many years of abuse. Once the move was over, a few months later, I was sitting with her having a cuppa and she said to me how a pain she had at the top of her spine and around the base of her skull for a number of years had completely gone.  I exclaimed: “Well that was because Mick was a pain in the neck and he isn’t in your life any more.”  She laughed and was delighted with the explanation.  I have been thinking about that moment, and what it can teach me now. This pain in my lower back, where I can hear several vertebrae crunch against each other, where my core muscles aren’t strong enough at the moment to hold them in place well enough, where my daily stretches test the limits of some muscles and verge on self-harm.  Just like making an adjustment to a financial ledger, so my spine is reminding me I have dues to pay as a result of carrying myself in a certain way that has lead me to be turning up to receive treatment from those with the healing hands.

Adjusting to an additional piece of information may even cause you to look at everything in a completely new way. Whether it is discovering that Pluto is no longer a planet, or your favourite Dr Who isn’t the sexual orientation you thought, or your bank is no longer providing the service you need (all revelations to people around me this week) – adjustments occur.  The healing hands of the therapist brings news to the bones, muscles and sinews as their turn, just as the injured body has brought news to its host.

This week Hildegard I read some beautiful words from two of your fellow Benedictines. Separated by centuries  your common love of community, bees and honey dripped off the page, bringing an adjustment to my life.

The first adjustment was via facebook where my friend Dan had caught up with Br David in Edinburgh at Global TED.  Br David graced us with his company and we shared bee hives in Kangaroo Island and he opened a glorious retreat day by inviting us all to hum. The retreatants formed a swarm and the room resonated with the gentle industry of sound to bring us all to stillness.

The second came via Glenstal Abbey. In the words of the Abbott, Mark Patrick Henderman:

Monasteries should act as beehives of the invisible making honey which can be tasted, out of otherwise unavailable nectar hidden in flowers designed to conceal it. Monasteries are breweries distilling wisdom from many sources, searching out new perspectives: ways of hearing, seeing, touching invisible life at every level.

(Underground Cathedrals, 2010, Columba Press, p.192).

You could have written these same words Hildegard.  I am so pleased that I also have a recording of some of your songs sung in Glenstal Abbey and I will listen out to the sweet  voices oozing out of the speakers next time I play Vox de Nube.  This is my kind of adjustment!

Blossom on Giles Rd, WIllunga Almond Blossom Festival 2013

Invisible Bees: Blossom on Giles Rd, WIllunga Almond Blossom Festival 2013