Living in Prayer & Liminality

I often reflect here about what it means to live beautifully. About living with gratitude and finding abundance by simplifying.

Those themes belong.

So does grief.

It’s September 11th as I type this.

A day of grief for the country, and I join you in your remembrances, pain, and sorrow.

I think about the sacredness of those lives lost. About the courage of rescuers and helpers.

TO MOURN IS TO TOUCH DIRECTLY THE SUBSTANCE OF DIVINE COMPASSION. (Cynthia Bourgeault) #quote #compassion #encouragement

TO MOURN IS TO TOUCH DIRECTLY THE SUBSTANCE OF DIVINE COMPASSION. (Cynthia Bourgeault)

I’m filtering emotions about September 11th through some physical pain, and I am keenly aware of the blessing it is to BE HERE. To be feeling, breathing, hungering, weeping, walking, smiling, contemplating, resting, moving, and PRAYING.

To BE.

Modern farmhouse romance in a still life with rustic wood candleholders, mason jar with branch, and cheese board. #hellolovelystudio #shabbychic #modernfarmhouse #romanticdecor #frenchfarmhouse

Home. Hello Lovely Studio.

How often do I take too lightly this precious gift of life I have been freely given?

I listened to a podcast the other day, and the gentleman being interviewed mentioned something his father said to him when as a child he was behaving arrogantly. His dad said,

“Stop acting like you hit a triple when you were born on third base.”

Indeed I was born on third base.

Many of us were. Yet it seems unremarkable now to daily hear variations of “I hate my life” or FML.

WE DO NOT THINK OURSELVES INTO NEW WAYS OF LIVING, WE LIVE OURSELVES INTO NEW WAYS OF THINKING. (Richard Rohr) #quote #faith #transformation #christianity #richardrohr

WE DO NOT THINK OURSELVES INTO NEW WAYS OF LIVING, WE LIVE OURSELVES INTO NEW WAYS OF THINKING. (Richard Rohr).

Too often, my behavior is far from life giving; my outlook jaded.

Rustic and elegant: Provençal home, European farmhouse, French farmhouse, and French country design inspiration from Château Mireille. Photo: Haven In. South of France 18th century Provence Villa luxury vacation rental near St-Rémy-de-Provence.

Photo: Haven In – see this vacation rental HERE.

Why do I keep falling asleep and wandering from the realm of grace?

IN PRAYER, LIKE THE STARS BEFORE THE RISING SUN, ALL THE BURDENS OF OUR AUTONOMOUS SELF DISPERSE BEFORE THE 'PIERCING PRESENCE' OF GOD. GOD UNCLOTHES, UNDOES US, 'PRUNES AWAY EVERY BRANCH THAT DOES NOT BEAR FRUIT.' (James Finley) #quote #jamesfinley #prayer #faith #spiritualformation

IN PRAYER, LIKE THE STARS BEFORE THE RISING SUN, ALL THE BURDENS OF OUR AUTONOMOUS SELF DISPERSE BEFORE THE ‘PIERCING PRESENCE’ OF GOD. GOD UNCLOTHES, UNDOES US, ‘PRUNES AWAY EVERY BRANCH THAT DOES NOT BEAR FRUIT.’ (James Finley)

(I can hear a few of you friends lovingly whispering into your screen…”You need the Word” or “There’s an enemy at work.”)

ALL PRAYER CAN DO IS HEAL BECAUSE HEALING IS EMBEDDED IN RELATIONSHIP AND PRAYER IS ONE OF THE DEEPEST FORMS OF RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AND WITH OTHER PEOPLE. AND THROUGH RELATIONSHIP THERE CAN BE HEALING IN THE ABSENCE OF CURE. (Sara Miles) #quote #prayer #faith #spiritualformation #saramiles

ALL PRAYER CAN DO IS HEAL BECAUSE HEALING IS EMBEDDED IN RELATIONSHIP AND PRAYER IS ONE OF THE DEEPEST FORMS OF RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AND WITH OTHER PEOPLE. AND THROUGH RELATIONSHIP THERE CAN BE HEALING IN THE ABSENCE OF CURE. (Sara Miles)

I do love the Word.

Though my faith tradition is Christianity, I share these reflections simply as a seeker of beauty and peace muddling through the mystery.

What I long for just now is to live humbly in prayer.

To find strength and hidden wholeness.

French lavender in the South of France countryside. #frenchcountry #lavender #provence #southoffrance

Photo: Haven In – see the gardens of this home HERE.

What does living in prayer look like?

For me, it is daily communion and daily transformation. It involves silence and sweeping my floors.

Living in prayer is about quieting the mind, opening the heart and finding a spaciousness there to hold the bitter and the sweet.

Living in prayer is about cultivating an inner landscape of beauty.

MOST OF US WERE TAUGHT THAT GOD WOULD LOVE US IF AND WHEN WE CHANGE. IN FACT, GOD LOVES YOU SO THAT YOU CAN CHANGE. WHAT EMPOWERS CHANGE, WHAT MAKES YOU DESRIOUS OF CHANGE IS THE EXPERIENCE OF LOVE. IT IS THAT INHERENT EXPERIENCE OF LOVE THAT BECOMES THE ENGINE OF CHANGE. (Richard Rohr) #quote #richardrohr #spiritualformation #transformation #faith #spirituality

MOST OF US WERE TAUGHT THAT GOD WOULD LOVE US IF AND WHEN WE CHANGE. IN FACT, GOD LOVES YOU SO THAT YOU CAN CHANGE. WHAT EMPOWERS CHANGE, WHAT MAKES YOU DESRIOUS OF CHANGE IS THE EXPERIENCE OF LOVE. IT IS THAT INHERENT EXPERIENCE OF LOVE THAT BECOMES THE ENGINE OF CHANGE. (Richard Rohr)

Here’s the thing.

One of my circumstances today is illness.

Yet an inner landscape of beauty cannot be polluted by circumstance.

BEFORE THE TRUTH SETS YOU FREE, IT TENDS TO MAKE YOU MISERABLE. (Richard Rohr)

BEFORE THE TRUTH SETS YOU FREE, IT TENDS TO MAKE YOU MISERABLE. (Richard Rohr)

It has been a bumpy journey since our recent road trip to Colorado.

I experienced trouble with food while we were there and chalked it up to feeling my age, the altitude, and the physical demands of our hikes. But the first day back home, things grew worse.

You may have read the thing I wrote about traveling mercies. Each night brings pain, and at times it is intense. Plenty of my days have been colored by Crohn’s disease, and though it became a familiar friend, I have been living inside the blessing of full remission since 2012. We don’t yet know if this is a flareup.

When I am having an attack, these four words bubble up into my consciousness:

I LOVE MY LIFE.

It may be a small thing, but I am so very grateful for the gift of this affirmation.

Beautiful Paris garden. Hello Lovely Studio. #hellolovelystudio #Paris #garden #carnavalet

A garden in Paris. Hello Lovely Studio.

For weeks now, I have been living in

L I M I N A L I T Y.

Paris window and ivy spilling out of a window box. #hellolovelystudio #Paris #windowbox #ivy

An open window in Paris. Hello Lovely Studio.

Familiar with this anthropological term?

It’s a threshold – a middle space – between the old way and the new.

Paris rooftop with rustic country beauty and the famous Paris greys the city is so known for. Photo by Hello Lovely Studio. #hellolovelystudio #Paris #rooftop #garden #grey

A Paris rooftop. Hello Lovely Studio.

I know you understand it. Things fall apart. You have a nervous breakdown or become seriously ill. You lose your job or a family member. You experience great loss.

COMPASSION IS THE LOVE THAT RECOGNIZES AND GOES FORTH TO IDENTIFY WITH THE PRECIOUSNESS OF ALL THAT IS LOST AND BROKEN WITHIN OURSELVES AND OTHERS. (James Finley) #quote #jamesfinley #compassion #faith

COMPASSION IS THE LOVE THAT RECOGNIZES AND GOES FORTH TO IDENTIFY WITH THE PRECIOUSNESS OF ALL THAT IS LOST AND BROKEN WITHIN OURSELVES AND OTHERS. (James Finley)

Remember the liminal space our country lived in after 9-11?

Floral painting by Holly Irwin. #hollyirwin #floral #painting

Painting by Holly Irwin. Read the interview with the artist RIGHT HERE.

As I breathe through this chapter, I feel more profoundly present and wide awake. I can see my blessings. I can see the beauty of my life. I am drawn into confession. I am led into worship. Songs played at the piano are more soulful. The words I type here, more intentional.

Deep calls to deep.

Beautiful floral impressionist painting by Holly Irwin. #hollyirwin #painting #floral

Floral painting by Holly Irwin. Read the interview with the artist RIGHT HERE.

While I am ready for what is next, I will not curse the darkness of this liminality.

It belongs.

There is much to learn, and I want to be open.

I’m trying to let go of my strong desire to run and numb.

To let go of my need for everything to be orderly.

FAITH IS NOT FOR OVERCOMING OBSTACLES; IT IS FOR EXPERIENCING THEM -- ALL THE WAY THROUGH! (Richard Rohr)

FAITH IS NOT FOR OVERCOMING OBSTACLES; IT IS FOR EXPERIENCING THEM — ALL THE WAY THROUGH! (Richard Rohr)

I know you get it. You have your own secret pain and battles.

Some of you are MOVING and MUDDLING through liminal space this very moment.

You are doing your best, and it’s honorable.

Crucifix made of African glass beads and a sterling silver cross. #hellolovelystudio #faith #crucifix #candlelight #faith

On my window sill. Hello Lovely Studio.

I see you. You’re not alone. You are being made perfect in your weakness. We are not just being re-arranged; we’re being shaped into something new.

There is light ahead.

Wholeness is shimmering on the horizon.

A stone staircase in a magnificent French country home. Chateau Domingues. #chateaudomingue #staircase #reclaimedstone #pamelapierce #staircase

Photo: Chateau Domingue. See this home’s tour HERE.

Thank you for reading heart-talk from a fellow traveler leaning into grace, tender mercies, and small miracles just now.

SOMEWHERE IN THOSE DEPTHS OF SILENCE I CAME UPON MY FIRST EXPERIENCES OF GOD AS A LOVING PRESENCE THAT WAS ALWAYS NEAR AND PRAYER AS A SIMPLE TRUST IN THAT PRESENCE. (Cynthia Bourgeault) #quote #prayer #faith #cynthiabourgeault

SOMEWHERE IN THOSE DEPTHS OF SILENCE I CAME UPON MY FIRST EXPERIENCES OF GOD AS A LOVING PRESENCE THAT WAS ALWAYS NEAR AND PRAYER AS A SIMPLE TRUST IN THAT PRESENCE. (Cynthia Bourgeault)

Just one more thing.

Rumi quote. The wound is the place where the light enters you. #rumi #poetry #quote #healing #encouragement

Photo: Hello Lovely Studio. What you are seeing are the hands of my son, my mom, my dad, and me. The wound is the place where the light enters you. (Rumi)

Don’t forget HUMANS ARE GOOD.

They are. You are. We are.

The people of earth are good. We’re reflections of the divine image.

WAYS OF PRAYER OFTEN CALL FORTH A KIND OF KNOWING THAT PASSES BEYOND CLEAR IDEAS AND THE ORDINARY WAY OF THINKING. (James Finley)

WAYS OF PRAYER OFTEN CALL FORTH A KIND OF KNOWING THAT PASSES BEYOND CLEAR IDEAS AND THE ORDINARY WAY OF THINKING. (James Finley)

We must guard our hearts from bitterness and cynicism.

Such resistance requires surrender and Big Love.

So I wish you surrender.

French country courtyard with bench, chairs, and Bonjour pillow. Hello Lovely Studio. #hellolovelystudio #frenchcourtyard #frenchcountry #peagravel #stone #garden

One of my happy places – our courtyard. Hello Lovely Studio.

In all this exquisite imperfection right where I am, I wish you Big Love.

THE MOST COMON ONE-LINER IN THE BIBLE IS, 'DO NOT BE AFRAID.' SOMEONE COUNTED, AND IT OCCURS 365 TIMES. (Richard Rohr) #quote #richardrohr #encouragement #faith #spirituality

I wish you healing rays of light in your darkness and…

Michele of Hello Lovely Studio. Photo: Jody Stella. #hellolovelystudio

Photo by Jody Stella for Hello Lovely Studio.

Peace to you right where you are.

~michele

p.s.

Because of my discomfort, I struggle with irritability. Here is a very wise reflection which helps me forgive myself. It’s from a beloved teacher of mine, Henri Nouwen (who left his body years ago yet whose words and spirit sweeten the atmosphere still):

“It is important to know that our emotional life is not the same as our spiritual life. Our spiritual life is the life of the Spirit of God within us. As we feel our emotions shift we must connect our spirits with the Spirit of God and remind ourselves that what we feel is not who we are.

We are and remain, whatever our moods, God’s beloved children.” 

Phyllis Tickle quote about prayer. PRAYER IS A NONLOCATIVE, NONGEOGRAPHICAL SPACE THAT ONE ENTERS AT ONE'S OWN PERIL, FOR IT HOUSES GOD DURING THOSE FEW MOMENTS OF ONE'S PRESENCE THERE, AND WHAT IS THERE WILL MOST SURELY CHANGE EVERYTHING THAT COMES INTO IT. PRAYER, ITS OPAL WALLS POLISHED TO TRANSPARENCY BY THE CENTURIES OF HANDS THAT HAVE TOUCHED THEM, IS THE TABERNACLE REALIZED AND THE WAYSIDE CHAPEL UTILIZED. (Phyllis Tickle)

PRAYER IS A NONLOCATIVE, NONGEOGRAPHICAL SPACE THAT ONE ENTERS AT ONE’S OWN PERIL, FOR IT HOUSES GOD DURING THOSE FEW MOMENTS OF ONE’S PRESENCE THERE, AND WHAT IS THERE WILL MOST SURELY CHANGE EVERYTHING THAT COMES INTO IT. PRAYER, ITS OPAL WALLS POLISHED TO TRANSPARENCY BY THE CENTURIES OF HANDS THAT HAVE TOUCHED THEM, IS THE TABERNACLE REALIZED AND THE WAYSIDE CHAPEL UTILIZED. (Phyllis Tickle)

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10 Comments

  1. Leslie
    September 13, 2018 / 9:35 am

    Hello. I don’t know you… I came across this post on Pinterest but was moved by your writing and situation. In Jesus’ name I pray the Lord bless you with His amazing love,peace and comfort. Amen

    • michele
      Author
      September 13, 2018 / 10:42 am

      Thank you for stumbling upon the post and for your prayer – I’m so grateful.

  2. Laurie
    September 13, 2018 / 2:22 pm

    Michelle, continuing to pray for you during this time of pain and uncertainty toward healing. I love your attitude of appreciation for the gift of life. AND you have shared so much beauty with us during this difficult time – your bespoke kitchen post the other day was fabulous as is this one – thank you.

    I’ve walked with you in prayer in the powerful name of Jesus during this similarly difficult month I’m experiencing and can echo the feeling of awakening to the God-bestowed gifts all around me that I often take for granted when life is going smoothly. Please know that others are with you and we care. My niece Natalie is an advocate for those living with Chron’s as she is, if that would be at all helpful: https://lightscameracrohns.com/about/ XO

    • michele
      Author
      September 13, 2018 / 5:45 pm

      What a gift to be joined as you join me here. I don’t take it lightly. I will pray for you, friend and hope you will feel assured that you are hidden in Christ with nothing to fear. I will definitely check out your niece’s site. To participate in the healing of one other – to point each other to living water – to become the beauty we seek – it just never gets old. Thank you.

  3. September 13, 2018 / 8:01 pm

    Michele your words and the way you share them in such a fluid beautiful way always touch my heart. There is no peace like the sweet peace that comes from time spent with our Lord. Sometimes I feel like I never want to hang up, so to speak. Sometimes life will throw us on our knees and when we look up he is always there ready to help us up. There are no promises that life won’t be hard but he does promise us that he will be with us getting us THROUGH whatever we are experiencing. I pray for you my sweet friend as you go THROUGH. Love you💙🙏💙

    • michele
      Author
      September 13, 2018 / 8:23 pm

      You’re so wise and kind to me. Thanks for the prayers, sister. Muddling through. Looking up. Grateful for my life. xox

  4. Kathy
    September 14, 2018 / 4:52 pm

    You have been included in my morning prayers these past few weeks, Michele. May God bring you healing and peace!
    Thank you for including the quote from Henri Nouwen! I have all his books and take them out to read something at random whenever I am in need of some comforting words. I am always amazed that his words fit the exact need/fear/problem of the moment!

    • michele
      Author
      September 14, 2018 / 9:06 pm

      YES! His words do the same for me, and I have almost all of his books. Thank you so much for the prayer. Feeling a little better and know I will get well. xox

  5. Karen H.
    September 15, 2018 / 10:03 am

    As always, your words are spoken so eloquently. I’m grateful for your beautiful blog. Lovely to have all these prayerful sisters on this blog as well. Blessings and healing to you Michele.

    • michele
      Author
      September 15, 2018 / 10:38 am

      I’m grateful to have you here adding beauty and bringing blessing. Peace to you, and thank you for your support.

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