The main activity or purpose of the sabbatical time on my end is a time of renewal and spiritual growth.  Truly, my ministry provides me with opportunities all the time.  But by coming away and taking a rest, it offers a different sense of spaciousness in my being.  I am so grateful for this time.  

Part of the whole experience is pregnancy.  Accompanying this new life, as she moves her limbs, flips and flops in my womb, all of it is such a joy!  We do yoga every day, sometimes we swim, we meditate every day, and get lots of protein and hydration!  And it’s funny.   These are things I am doing, and yet my body is a shared body right now.  And how amazing is it that in six weeks or so, she will be out in the air and in the world, and my body will be my own again.  Pregnancy has been such a gift of embodiment.  I am invited in nearly every moment to take care of my body and to notice it and all its changes.  And amidst all these changes is an ongoing experience of gratitude, joy, and confidence.

In my sabbatical time, I am taking an online course offered by the Franciscan Fr. Richard Rohr called The Immortal Diamond  at the Center for Action and Contemplation.  He stresses that each of us already have our authentic selves, our immortal diamonds, what he calls the True Self.  He also recognizes that none of this is new.  It was what Jesus preached when he said that the kingdom of God is nigh or it is in you.  Same for the Buddhist concept that we are already enlightened, that clarity is ever present if we have inner eyes to see.  The wisdom of evolutionary spirituality that says we as humans are the Universe conscious of itself.  If we only have eyes to see- contemplative mind, the mind and heart of the mystic.

In Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire Rebecca Parker and Rita Nakashima Brock revel in early Christian focus upon the goodness of life on earth in the here and now.  Early Christians delighted in the Paradise that is already here, not hereafter.  All of these teachings invite embodied living in the way of gratitude, abundance, and beauty.  And because of this way of seeing the world, one takes care to honor it, revere it, and struggle for it.  And yet also there is a powerful message in Christianity that Jesus dies- a symbol for all of us that sometimes, in order to live with the heart of the mystic, one must let trappings of ego, scarcity, and individualism die so that Love can live and be resurrected.  

Surrounded by books still to read, and preparing for a retreat at Mother of God House of Prayer, I look forward to reveling still in this sabbatical and pregnancy experience.  It is a paradisal experience.  I am grateful to the church for this sabbatical time.

Pictured below is the birthing beads I will have with me during Labor.  The beads represent different people and groups that I love who I know are holding us in prayer and lovingkindness for an empowering and transformative birth experience.  The UUCFM bead is the cream colored seed pod with red veining in between the rose quartz and turquoise glass bead.  I chose it to represent the church because it was a natural material, and the pattern looked like roots.  So many get roots and wings from the spiritual nurture of the church, and I am grateful for this nurturing time as well!