Monday, April 26, 2010

What if I really believed in the love of God?

When we look deeply at our God images, we may begin to realize that they have been shaped at a very deep level--way deeper than we even are aware of--by the desire to manipulate of relgious or parental authority.

So it makes sense that we may struggle to believe that we are really loved--fully and unconditionally. It's much easier to scare someone who believes they're loved only if they are well behaved and sweet.

My book DOGSPELL: THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO DOG is an exploration of that idea.

But in May we will be holding a retreat here at WindCradle to invite people to take time to explore their God images and then to push beyond to some more helpful ones. There are literally dozens of God metaphors in scripture that are seldom if ever used. And then there are those, like "dog" that might give us whole new ways of knowing ourselves in relation to the sacred.

What would I be like, what would the world be like
if we knew ourselves to be beloved?

Around WindCradle, Lucy sure shows lots of love to us, not to mention the way she and the cat express their love for each other.

But Lucy is not only loving; she pushes me to go on adventures. Every day those eyes force me to say, "Okay, okay, I will take you for a w-a-l-k, if you insist. And I'm always glad I did.

Lucy is open to new adventures herself. Last September I decided she was ready to become a canoe dog, like her predecessor Cluny. She did very well, sitting when she was meant to. Her only mistake was when she lept to her feet when a beaver thumped its tail to warn us off at a distance of about five feet.

If you would like to consider your god images and find some new ways of thinking of and relating to God, we have a retreat coming up--Dogged--Renewing our God Images--May 14-16th at WindCradle. Four footed friends are welcome! Check out our website.....

Thursday, April 22, 2010

First Paddle of the Season!!!!!

Sunday after church we went up the Gunflint Trail--that's not unusual--but this time, for the first time this season, we went up with a canoe on the car. It felt so good to have that canoe there, leading us into the adventures of the lakes and woods.

The weather was perfect, around 70 degrees, and of course there are no bugs yet because it's so early in the season.

The lakes were flat calm, and chilly. It would not have been a good idea to fall in!

We sat and had a picnic at a campsite on Gull lake and looked out over the water as Lucy ran down and threw herself in and chased squirrels.

Then we did a bit of hiking to wear her out. So that we could do what we most wanted to do: take the canoe off the car and put it into the water.

Lucy hopped into the boat and we headed out on Gull Lake. Sometimes I worry that this year I will have forgotten how to paddle...that it will be all gone, but as usual, it comes right back. The motion, the feeling of paddle in hand and water underneath, the almost unearthly silence......

Lucy (who only started canoeing late last season did very well) and we had a lovely time out on the water.

This first paddle of the season reminded me of how much I love being out on the water in these wild places. The reflection of sun from water onto trees and rocks, the soft motion of water.

I'm thankful that I get to go canoeing and introduce others to this great joy. Do check out WindCradle's website if you'd like to sign up for a canoe retreat this summer: I'm leading trips for families, for mother/daughter pairs, and for women.

A whole summer/fall worth of paddling beckons!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Away from WindCradle

I was fortunate to be away with some dear friends and their children for a week last week. North Carolina was looking good, flowers and trees out, etc.

Living in Grand Marais, I find being away from here odd: traffic, shoppping malls, passing people who I don't know--these are some things that surprise me.

But there are things I miss. Of course the big lake and light over the big lake is one.

Another is the sense of space, of vast tracts of forest and of lake that are empty, that simply ARE, without needing someone to look at them, check on them, monitor their progress.

I noticed that the night sky seemed strange--though it was clear there was so much ambient light that I could hardly see stars. I lost as I sometimes do, my sense of the phase of the moon.

The easy access to wild rivers is another thing. We went to a fine state park, but I realize I've gotten used to wild parks with roaring rivers.

What an amazing thing to be able to get to these places
in just a few minutes: I'm reminded that I want to keep up those daily hikes!

Finally, the slow process of watching spring emerge. To fly to another climate plunked me into spring/summer, which was a treat. But what deep joy in watching that emergence day by day, as familiar mosses, ferns, flowers begin to show up.

In many ways I think these differences in some way epitomize what it is to live in the great north--the slow process of spring, the paying attention to sky and plant, the joy of space, light, water.

It feels as if the deep silence of the north has sunk into my soul and lives there, bringing me peace and perspective as well as gratitude.

I guess that means I am at home.