Episode #28- Lectio Divina on 1 John 3: 1-3 with Rae

SHEKINAMEDITATIONPODCAST#28.png

Hi meditators! 

It’s been an eventful week, and here’s what to expect in this episode of the podcast:

* Ro and Neil chat about their week, with the music of cicadas, many birds, and a duck in the background. They also give a shout out to Warm Heart Community in Mexico City, who listens to our podcast every week. Don’t forget to let us know if you are listening by yourself or with a group! 

0b1a62b4-2edd-462f-8f93-d06061870c55.JPG

* Rae guides a meditation on 1 John 3: 1-3. (If you want to skip to this, it’s at 05:19, but don’t skip the introduction because it is not soggy toast!) 

Here’s the podcast on iTunes. 

Here’s the episode on Youtube.

 This week I have family visiting and it’s the most wonderful thing. I’m praying that this week you are surrounded by love. 

Many blessings,

~ Rae

The podcast will always be free, but you can support us on Patreon.com and get extra audio each month. We're so thankful for your support, which helps our communities to offer this kind of meditation and other Christ-centered practices for free.

Hands open.

IMG_6067.JPG

I was watering the garden in the smoke yesterday, watching how quickly the water disappears into the dry earth. Our friend who is helping with watering asked me if she was doing it right on her days. “I just don’t understand why it looks like I’m not even watering.” 

“It’s just that dry,” I told her.

 A drop lands and practically sizzles. It sends a puff of dust. The sky is like a bruise. The sun simultaneously scorching and weak through the smoke.

I watered, and I thought, “That first rain is going to be like a miracle.” 

It takes going through a dry season here to really appreciate the rain. 

The sky opens up. Water comes from heaven. What? Is that really possible? 

In two minutes God accomplishes what I would have to spend eight hours to do with my puny little sprinklers. 

The first rain.

Fasting and feasting. Waiting for the promise. The Bible is packed full of references to this part of our life with God. We are in the now/not yet. We know rain will come, but we can’t control when it will give us those first drops. 

“Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; 
His going out is as sure as the dawn;
He will come to us as the showers, 
As the spring rain that waters the earth.”  - Hosea 6:3

Sometimes when I am waiting for God, I get a little too invested in my own systems. I wrap my gnarled rat hands around the garden hose, insisting that my efforts are going to be AMAZING. It’s okay if you don’t want to come now, I tell him. I can do it all by myself. 


And then the rain comes. It drenches me, the garden hose, my gnarled rat hands and my face scrunched up from my efforts to be a tiny god. We are all soaked, instantly. Better to lay down on the ground, hands open, mouth open. 


That first rain is going to be like a miracle.


( A post by Rae- Cross posted at Journey Mama)

Episode #27- Contemplation of Nature with Chinua

SHEKINAMEDITATIONPODCAST#26 (1).png

Hi everyone,

Here’s what to expect in this episode of the podcast:

* Chinua and I chat about his last trip, birdwatching, music from Poland and a culinary experience that may have been better than our wedding day. (!) 

* Chinua guides a contemplation of nature meditation. (If you want to skip to this, it’s at 11:42, but don’t skip the introduction. You’ll miss Chinua singing Polish music!) 

Here’s the podcast on iTunes. 

Here’s the episode on Youtube.

I’m praying to be content this week, aware of the grace and love that is constantly flowing to me from the heart of God, even when I’m a bit calloused or impervious to it. I pray the same for you. 

Much love,

~ Rae

The podcast will always be free, but you can support us on Patreon.com and get extra audio each month. We're so thankful for your support, which helps our communities to offer this kind of meditation and other Christ-centered practices for free.

A Poem by Laura

Reach out your hand…

Listen to the small still whisper…

Hold out your hands…

I fall like a stone into your river

Deep surrender

I hold out my hand

open and ready

Heart borders stretched wide, like sails waiting for your winds

Seek direction, in which way I ought to go

Play hide and seek with your Spirit within

THE SEARCH MYSTERY…..

Puzzle pieces unfolding in each step

Waiting…breathing in the spaces between…between years falling like leaves from the tree

breathe between the thin spaces…where this heaven and earth meet…the space between

like dust in these shoes falling apart - questions and stumbling, like dark night - like burdened shoulders,

like heavy heart.…like it wasn’t supposed to be like this? Like SURPRISE!

Yet never alone I walk - hand in hand

Yet never alone we walk hand in hand

With Spirit with this God, she holds me, she holds you.

Like mother and father and wisdom. You are guiding me, like light an undeniable flaming fire

Like wind - sometimes embers yet you are here…

Sometimes quiet - I am still

May I listen before I speak…in the unlikely places I hear you…in the unlikely places you speak

You are my guide, leading, unexpectedly pulling from behind…a gentle tug… sense of you…here

So we seek…so we wait…and we trust

Your Spirit stays close…along this path…Your eyes as our guide

IMG20190325090359.jpg

Episode #26- Lectio Divina on Mark 10:17-27 with Neil

SHEKINAMEDITATIONPODCAST#26.png

Hi everyone, it’s been a good week!

Here’s what to expect in this episode of the podcast:

* Ro and I chat about Chinua coming home, veggie beds and trench digging, paper writing, and heading down south. 

* Neil guides a Lectio Divina on Mark 10: 17-27. (If you want to skip to this, it’s at 09:01, but don’t skip the introduction. You’ll miss my hoarse voice from the smoke!) 

Here’s the podcast on iTunes. 

Here’s the episode on Youtube.

And here’s the photo we mentioned, of our friend Amanda preparing for her meditation group. Don’t forget to send pics if you’re using the podcast for your practice or group.

4db47ce1-ba8f-40e8-b157-b6c621a4bd6f.JPG

I pray that this is a week of inspiration toward action. 

Much love,

~ Rae

The podcast will always be free, but you can support us on Patreon.com and get extra audio each month. We're so thankful for your support, which helps our communities to offer this kind of meditation and other Christ-centered practices for free.

Episode #25 - Lectio Divina on John 15:12-13, Rom 5:8, and Eph 2:4-5.

SHEKINAMEDITATIONPODCAST#24 (2).png

Hi dear ones, I’m writing this while taking shelter from the smoke that covers the valley. Here’s hoping for a stiff wind to carry it all away! 

And here’s what to expect in this episode of the podcast:

* Ro is back! She and I chat about beach meditation and a puppy, trucking along, taking breaks, and writing papers.

* Adam guides a Lectio Divina on John 15:12-13, Rom 5:8, and Eph 2:4-5. (If you want to skip to this, it’s at 07:06, but don’t skip the introduction, because it’s not a slight drizzle, but a gusty rain!) 

Here’s the podcast on iTunes. 

Here’s the episode on Youtube.

I pray that this week you will find a lot of space and time to sit in the presence of God, learning from his kindness.

Much love,

~ Rae

***

The podcast will always be free, but you can support us on Patreon.com and get extra audio each month. We're so thankful for your support, which helps our communities to offer this kind of meditation and other Christ-centered practices for free.

Chai Wallah

PHOTO-2019-03-10-19-12-46.jpg

Chai garam! Chai garam!

I sit on the beach for a Nature Meditation when the chai wallah's voice comes to me on the wind. He carries a silver urn of hot spiced tea. His young son, bouncing along next to him like an energetic puppy, carries a long bag of paper cups, and joins his dad in the call:

Chai garam! Hot chai! Hot chai!!

He makes it a game, his dad calls out and he calls out after him, echoing the pitch and cadence:

Chai garam! Chai garam!

People sitting in the sand watching the sunset give a small nod, and the man and son rush over, offering cups and pouring sweet, hot chai for each customer.

Hot chai! Good chai!

And suddenly it hits me: God is like a chai wallah.

Coming to us, God approaches with joy, telling us of blessings. All we have to do is give a little nod, signal to the Divine our openness, our readiness to receive, and God is there. Ready with sweetness. Blessing us, pouring out gifts.

Hot chai! Good chai! Chai garam!!

68fe0108-5eea-4061-b585-a2ebc4142cb9.JPG

(A post by Ro)

Episode #24: Lectio Divina on John 15: 4-10 with Naomi

SHEKINAMEDITATIONPODCAST#24.png

Hi beautiful friends. I’m writing this while watering the very dry garden, exulting in the new sprinkler system that Neil and Josh installed in the food forest. I’m still moving sprinklers around in the front of the garden, but the back is mostly easy now! Yay! Also, Josh nearly gave me a heart attack by sneaking up on me while I had my headphones on. 

While I recover, here’s what to expect in this episode of the podcast

* Our friends at another Shekina location in Asia did the intro today! Well, it’s Ro, who you know, and our dear friend Laura. They chat about recording on a windy beach, art meditation, bird watching, and playing hide and seek. 

* Naomi guides a Lectio Divina on John 15: 4-10, from The Message paraphrase of the Bible. (If you want to skip to this, it’s at 05:40, but don’t skip the introduction, because you’ll never know what kind of birds Laura saw when she was birdwatching with Chinua and that mystery will haunt you!) 

Here’s the podcast on iTunes. 

Here’s the episode on Youtube.

Today I feel thankful again for the breath of Holy Spirit, blowing us around, we don’t even know where.

 Much love,

~ Rae


The podcast will always be free, but you can support us on Patreon.com and get extra audio each month. We're so thankful for your support, which helps our communities to offer this kind of meditation and other Christ-centered practices for free.

Shekina :: The Presence

IMG_5605.JPG

Our name is a sort of Anglo-Hebraic mash up of the word that describes the presence of God where he dwells in the world. We say it “She-keen-ah,” just a little closer to the Hebrew pronounciation, “She-(c)hinah” with the fricative “h”.

So yeah, gets mispronounced by people who read it all the time. 

But I’ve been thinking about this name lately, and how audacious it is. 

How can we name a community after God’s presence? How dare we? As though he wants to come and hang out where we are telling ridiculous stories in the kitchen, dancing on the beach, or sweeping leaves off the dusty floors, again and again (and again)? 

What chutzpah. Frictate that as well, if you can. It’s fun.

Imagine a circle of skin-enclosed people, getting more wrinkly through the years, sitting and trying with all their little hearts to understand a little more of God, who he is as shown in his scriptures. They sing a few songs. There are people who have followed him for a long time, and people who have never prayed, or done this kind of thing before.

And then into their midst, a light, a flash of heat, a warmth, a sudden rush of tears. The most sparkly, desirable, hope-filled one walks into the circle, invisible to the human eye, and envelops all of them. Why? Because they are there and waiting and he loves them.

That’s how he is, when we ask. Generous with his presence. We don’t always feel it, but he is here.

“The divine secret of creation is the Shekinah, God’s indwelling; and the purpose of the Shekinah is to make the whole creation the house of God.” -Jürgen Moltmann

“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord.” Psalm 89: 15

“Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.” Psalm 84:10

Episode #23- Lectio Divina on Psalm 139: 1-16, 23 and 24 with Neil

SHEKINAMEDITATIONPODCAST#23.png

Hi everyone. I’m writing at my outdoor table, watching trucks and motorbikes go by, listening to loud mynahs shrieking in the trees.
Here’s what to expect in this episode of the podcast:

* Neil and I chat about the week, including smoky season, spouses in India, costumes and angler fish, being awash in papaya, and the beauty of turmeric.

* Neil guides a Lectio Divina on Psalm 139:1-16, 23 and 24. (If you want to skip to this, it’s at 08:38, but don’t skip the introduction, because it’s no dried up dirty raisin, but a plump raisin.) 

Here’s the podcast on iTunes. 

Here’s the episode on Youtube.

This week I’m praying that we can all remember how much life and breath the Spirit gives, every single day, bringing life when we need it most.

Much love,

~ Rae

Ps- here’s Neil’s turmeric picture that we mentioned in the intro. Pure art!

da3494a0-a35b-4fa6-82c9-d8f50b2a5639.JPG

The podcast will always be free, but you can support us on Patreon.com and get extra audio each month. We're so thankful for your support, which helps our communities to offer this kind of meditation and other Christ-centered practices for free.

Episode #22 - Contemplation of Nature with Ro

SHEKINAMEDITATIONPODCAST#19 (3).png

And… we’re back! The smoky season is upon us, and seeing the mountains feels like a far-off dream. Many of our community are away in India or other places, and here I am, sending off a podcast episode. We love you!

Here’s what to expect in this episode of the podcast:

* Ro and I talk about our recent festival experience, including mango trees, dancing, painting, and singing.

* Ro guides a contemplation of nature meditation. You’ll need to have or see an object of nature for this meditation, so feel free to grab something before you start, or you could pause the meditation part way through to find something. (That’s what we do.)

Here’s the podcast on iTunes. 

Here’s the episode on Youtube.

I’m missing walking every day, but the smoke is bad, so I’m hunkering down indoors a lot. Take a walk for me if you can!

Much love,

~ Rae

PS: here are the photos of Kenya and my live art- we mentioned them in the introduction.

IMG_5426.JPG
IMG_5435.JPG

The podcast will always be free, but you can support us on Patreon.com and get extra audio each month. We're so thankful for your support, which helps our communities to offer this kind of meditation and other Christ-centered practices for free. Special thanks this week to new patrons, Nick and Beccy!

Shambhala in Your Heart

Ahhh that post-festival feeling!

We are just back from the beautiful festival Shambhala in Your Heart, held each year in Chiang Dao, Northern Thailand. It is organised by a group of Japanese hippies and is laid-back, quirky and fun.

This year our whole Shekina Garden community attended, kids and all! Some folks were volunteers - helping cook or decorate stages and make signs. Others created a band called Marigold Mala and sang Jesus bhajans (Indian-style devotional songs) on the main stage. Some performed sets of music or joined in on bands and jams. We soaked in hot springs, swam in the river, had deep conversations around fires, learned African dance, led and attended workshops, led Christ-centred meditations and danced to great music into the night.

A couple of festival moments to share with you -

shambhala.jpg

Early morning light on the mountain

shambhala jam.jpg

Jamming in our little Meditation space

IMG_20190218_185859(1).jpg

Bhajans on the Main Stage (photo from Shambhala in Your Heart Facebook page)

(a post by Ro)

Changing Seasons, Goodbyes and Festival time

Hello, hello, hello hello

Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

That’s all there is

And the leaves that are green turn to brown

(Simon and Garfunkel, Leaves That Are Green)

We are in that funny time of the year when we are saying more ‘goodbyes’ than ‘hellos’. The numbers of travellers coming through our little town in the mountains is decreasing, the temperatures are slowly rising, and the fields and hills which were lush and green a few months ago are slowly turning crispy, brown and dry. We are spending more and more time watering the garden.

Friends are travelling on towards India, or Bali, or back to their homes. The seasonal gatherings and parties are beginning to finish for the time being. We have farewelled a lot of visiting friends - one of the hardest parts of living this life away from ‘home’ countries is saying goodbyes. To family or dear, dear friends who cross the seas to spend time with us for a short while. To travelling friends who we meet again each year, or maybe never again. It is a lovely but hard part of being a traveller.

However, the slowly changing season also means that it is festival time! A lot of friends headed to Jai Thep festival over the weekend and next week Shambhala in Your Heart starts - a lovely, Japanese-run hippy festival in Chiang Dao. The whole Shekina Garden community will be there, camping all together. We plan to run daily meditations there and also just enjoy time together and with our travelling community family.

We will send you an update from there next week!

(A post by ro)

(A post by ro)

Episode #21 - Lectio Divina on John 4: 23-24 with Ro

SHEKINAMEDITATIONPODCAST#19 (2).png


Sorry for the late podcast this week! I’m posting from the outdoors in Chiang Dao, while volunteering at a Japanese music festival. The wonders of modern technology are making podcasting while camping possible, while the slowness of a cellular connection are making it take a long time.

Here’s what to expect in this episode of the podcast:

* Ro and Neil chat about friends who are visiting, and the upcoming festival where I am volunteering and where we will be guiding meditation and singing/camping together.

* Ro guides a Lectio Divina meditation on John 4: 23 and 24. If you want to skip straight to this, it’s at 04:50. (But don’t, because the introduction is not lukewarm tea.)

Here’s the podcast on iTunes. 

Here’s the episode on Youtube.

I’m so blessed to be outdoors for a while, sleeping under the trees. Wherever you are, I hope you get a chance to look at the sky. 

 Much love,

~ Rae

The podcast will always be free, but you can support us on Patreon.com and get extra audio each month. We're so thankful for your support, which helps our communities to offer this kind of meditation and other Christ-centered practices for free.

Episode #20 - Imagination meditation on John 11 with Neil

SHEKINAMEDITATIONPODCAST#19 (1).png

Hi beautiful ones. I hope you’re keeping warm wherever you are. It’s chilly here, but we’re admittedly soft. 

Here’s what to expect in this episode of the podcast:

* Ro and I talk about how we feel about reaching episode 20 of the podcast, tree signs, Vanna White, a Devotion Circle on spirituality and play, and birthdays. 

* Neil guides an imagination meditation from John 11. If you want to skip straight to this, it’s at 09:46. (But don’t, because the introduction is not a waste of beans.)

Here’s the podcast on iTunes. 

Here’s the episode on Youtube.

I’m thinking about unity and love this week. I pray that you’re feeling loved, wherever you are. 

 Much love,

~ Rae

The podcast will always be free, but you can support us on Patreon.com and get extra audio each month. We're so thankful for your support, which helps our communities to offer this kind of meditation and other Christ-centered practices for free.

Movement Meditation in India

A Movement Meditation on Psalm 139

IMG_2227.jpeg

Fingers dancing, thankful for movement. For the way these hands can build, can make food, can hold another’s, can embrace, communicate. 

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit them together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex.

Look down at my feet, thankful for the the way they carry me through this life, take me forward on the direction I dream to go. That I can walk, jump, dance, stand.

IMG_2230.jpeg

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit them together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex.

Each body created perfectly & uniquely in your image, thankful for diversity and differences.

Thankful for the living breath of life in these lungs and the gift of experiencing life in the fullness of being a human. 

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit them together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex.

Imagining a world where the focus was not on ideals of beauty constructed by media, of comparisons and feelings of being incomplete. 

What about a world of thankfulness for the bodies we have been given as gifts? To be thankful for the freedoms they provide and room to move. To celebrate each one’s beautiful reflection of the Divine, to see the fingerprints of the Master Artist’s work. To be fully comfortable within your skin.

marigolds s.jpg

You are a living, breathing piece of poetry, a work of art. A light bearer. 

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit them together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex.

Today I am thankful for this body, for your body & for the one who created it.

(A post by Laura, at a Shekina Community in India)

(A post by Laura, at a Shekina Community in India)

Episode #19 - Lectio Divina on Psalm 84:1-7 with Rae

SHEKINAMEDITATIONPODCAST#19.png

Hi friends! The light is shining through the red-leafed tree next door, and it’s beautiful, but I somehow have cactus spikes all over my hands. This is life.

Here’s what to expect in this episode of the podcast:

* Ro and I talk about our week: visitors, hordes of gardeners, when you run out of steam, beloved people, and tree signs, and we have an update on life at Shekina Community in Goa, including salsa dancing, movement meditation, and Bible circle!

* I (Rae) guide a Lectio Divina meditation on Psalm 84:1-7. If you want to skip straight to this, it’s at 08:50. (But don’t, because the introductions are witty and effusive.)

Here’s the podcast on iTunes. 

Here’s the episode on Youtube.

This week I pray that you would think in poems. 

 Much love,

~ Rae

The podcast will always be free, but you can support us on Patreon.com  for as little as a dollar a month. We're so thankful for your support, which helps our communities to offer this kind of meditation and other Christ-centered practices for free.

Episode # 18 - Lectio Divina on Psalm 119: 104-112 with Chinua

SHEKINAMEDITATIONPODCAST#18.png

Hi, it’s a beautiful Saturday here and I’m thinking about how I want to truly know that God is taking care of everything. That’s what I’m going to focus on this week. 

Here’s what to expect in this episode of the podcast:

* Josh and Ro have a chat about the week, including a prayer bead meditation, visitors coming and going, and a devotion circle about how we tell ourselves the truth. 

* Chinua guides a Lectio Divina meditation on Psalm 119: 104-112 . If you want to skip straight to this, it’s at 05:30. But don’t, because the introductions are really fun! 

Here’s the podcast on iTunes. 

Here’s the episode on Youtube.

I pray that you would wake up with the expectation of traveling through your day with someone who makes all things possible.

 Much love,

~ Rae


***

The podcast will always be free, but you can support us on Patreon.com and get extra audio each month. We're so thankful for your support, which helps our communities to offer this kind of meditation and other Christ-centered practices for free.

As We Walk Into The New Year

Thank you so much for journeying with us, with the Shekina Communities, with our blog and podcast here in this space. May 2019 be a blessed season for us all as we journey onwards together.

I’d love to share these beautiful words with you as we walk into the New Year…

AT THE END OF THE YEAR.

The particular mind of the ocean
Filling the coastline’s longing
With such brief harvest
Of elegant, vanishing waves
Is like the mind of time
Opening us shapes of days.

As this year draws to its end,
We give thanks for the gifts it brought
And how they became inlaid within
Where neither time nor tide can touch them.

The days when the veil lifted
And the soul could see delight;
When a quiver caressed the heart
In the sheer exuberance of being here.

Surprises that came awake
In forgotten corners of old fields
Where expectation seemed to have quenched.

The slow, brooding times
When all was awkward
And the wave in the mind
Pierced every sore with salt.

The darkened days that stopped
The confidence of the dawn.

Days when beloved faces shone brighter
With light from beyond themselves;
And from the granite of some secret sorrow
A stream of buried tears loosened.

We bless this year for all we learned,
For all we loved and lost
And for the quiet way it brought us
Nearer to our invisible destination.

-- John O'Donohue (To Bless The Space Between Us/Benedictus)

(a post by Ro)

(a post by Ro)