Engaged Spirituality

by Mar 14, 20120 comments

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We are excited to share with you the inaugural edition of
Growing Edge.
Our hope is to support your grounded and engaged spirituality as you take on the challenge of bringing about personal and cultural transformation–whether it is through your inner work, your ministry or your business. In it, we provide insight and practical Lorettaopportunities to both nourish your spirit and encourage you to follow your dreams.

We hope you LOVE the Growing Edge and get a lot out of it, however, we also want to honor your wishes
around continuing to receive it. We know that you did not specifically sign up for our

newsletter so if, after reading the first issue or two, you find you would rather not receive it, you can easily unsubscribe, and we’ll send no further issues your way. If you want to continue receiving it, you don’t have to do anything. It will keep coming to you every month unless you say stop. You can unsubscribe at any time. Also, if you know anyone who would enjoy and benefit from the material in our newsletter, we would appreciate your forwarding this to them with an invitation to subscribe.


Interesting Image
Our Blue Boat Home

by Denise Rushing

Sun, my sail and moon, my rudder,
As I ply the starry sea,
Leaning over the edge in wonder,
Casting questions into the deep.
Drifting here with my ship’s companions,
All we kindred pilgrim souls,
Making our way by the lights of the heavens,
In our beautiful blue boat home.

Peter Mayer,
Blue Boat Home

Compassion may be one of the more powerful ways we transform our world for the better: it allows us to see things from another point of view and it is one means by which we can live our positive intentions. Compassion is not a weakness–it is, in fact, a decision to connect and relate with our fellow sojourners, both human and non-human, and in the process engage in the positive transformation of ourselves and our world.

Cultivating compassion starts with self-compassion: understanding what motivates us, suspending self-judgment and negative self-talk, and allowing ourselves to be present to whatever we are experiencing in the moment. The act of noticing, of paying attention and of experiencing gives us the information we need to make decisions and choices about where to spend our energies. This ultimately leads us to take action that transforms our own internal structures and, in doing so, the world around us.

Compassion is a gift, and thus both to offer and to receive compassion is a blessing. Paradoxically, by cultivating compassion, we also experience the pain of our world and the pain of others while at the same time living life more fully.

Cultivating compassion, as a practice, creates the conditions for positive change in our own lives. The decision to cultivate compassion, and the powerful practice of noticing but not judging, in itself creates good benefit.

Many communities around the globe are endorsing the International Charter for Compassion as a way to bring awareness to their own community and promoting the cultivation of community compassion through action. The Charter for Compassion is a worldwide effort launched by noted religious scholar Karen Armstrong and elaborated in her book Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life. The Charter for Compassion document, now translated into more than 30 languages, transcends religious, ideological and national difference, and is supported by many leading thinkers from many spiritual traditions. From the Charter:

“We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.”

The full text of the Charter for Compassion is well worth reading and can be found online at www.charterforcompassion.org.

As I see it, we need to ask ourselves in our deeds and in our language: What are we teaching our children about what it means to be human?

…The wide universe is the ocean I travel,
And the Earth is my blue boat home.

Denise Rushing has been empowering organizational and cultural transformation for over thirty years as an author, environmental engineer, entrepreneur, community leader and ecological designer. Visit her on the web at: www.DeniseRushing.net
SoulWork Adventure: Thoughtful Observation

by Loretta McCarthy

Recently I drew a circle in the soil – five feet in diameter. At its center was a small, newly planted Mendocino cypress tree (Cupressu goveniana ssp pigmaea). I was curious. What kind of changes, if any, would happen in a week’s time? One tiny space in an evolving universe – what wisdom might be offered to me?

I decided to spend a few minutes each day being attentive to this circle and noticing what I saw with openness and wonder. Because I usually eat at least one meal each day at home, I chose to take my “cypress tree circle” time immediately after eating a meal. Varying the time of day literally brought a different light to each observation.

This is what I noticed:

  • Spending five minutes outside after a meal can be as good as dessert. Maybe even better!
  • Looking at the same space with open eyes and a soft gaze allowed me to see diversity within what seemed uniform. Rocks and twigs and walnut shells hidden in the midst of the more evident decaying leaves.
  • After four days, the line I had drawn had almost disappeared.
  • The choice to include this simple practice in my daily routine filled me with a new sense of anticipation and delight.
  • Making a decision and faithfully following through with my choice brought a couple of surprises. An example is in the picture of my circle below:
circle with chicken

You are invited into a SoulWork Adventure of your own!

Choose something in nature that appeals to you. (a plant, a rock, an outside view, etc.) Decide to spend two to five minutes a day, for a week or more, quietly observing it. Write down your observations / feelings / thoughts.
Tell a friend about your experience. Invite them to embark on their own SoulWork Adventure.

For more SoulWork Adventures (free), check out Permaculture SoulWork on Facebook or Twitter.

Loretta McCarthy is deeply engaged in tending and cultivating the garden of her own soul and empowering others to do the same. For decades, Loretta ministered as a spiritual companion and retreat facilitator, primarily in urban settings. Today, she cares for the trees, the chickens and other living beings at Dancing TreePeople Farm. Loretta offers SoulWork Adventures for groups and individuals.


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