Joy in the Midst of Trouble in the Midst of Joy

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Autographing books on Lopez Island

Spotlights made my silvery hair glisten, but apparently didn’t reveal the perspiration on my brow when I stood before audiences in Stehekin and on Lopez Island, two remote communities in Washington State. The smiling faces before me calmed my jitters as I introduced my new memoir, Hiking Naked: A Quaker Woman’s Search for Balance, to friends and supporters. The butterflies flitted away as I read and noticed heads nodding; while signing books, I heard stories of similar experiences of seeking clarity about calling.

Hiking Naked Final CoverThese past two weeks have been especially joyous for me. After nearly two decades grappling at my writing desk, trying to make sense of my disillusionment with work I’d felt led to, I now have in my hands the story of an intense time of seeking. As I place it in others’ hands, I discover the commonality of this experience, complete with its despair and revelation.

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Quaker author & activist, Eileen Flanagan

Yet, in the midst of celebration, I’m aware of the difficult times around me—both within my inner circle and around the globe. And once again, Quaker friend Eileen Flanagan recently offered wisdom about how to maintain spiritual footing in the midst of trouble. I commend her blog post, Spirituality for Troubled Times, when any of us feel off-kilter in the swirl of disasters, violence, disease, and threat. Here are seven practices Eileen expands upon in her essay:

  1. Recognize both oneness and difference.
  2. Cultivate compassion.
  3. Know thyself.
  4. Be faithful to a grounding practice.
  5. Don’t assume that your grounding practice is all you’re called to do.
  6. Don’t go it alone.
  7. Don’t forget about goodness, beauty, and joy.

Sound advice, no matter the times.

To learn more from Eileen’s expertise and roundedness, consider her online course, We Were Made for This Moment.  While a new class has already started, she repeats them  regularly.

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