Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Ally's Rules of Life

Isle of Iona, Scotland
 I'd like to say that it all began here on this magical island off the coast of Scotland. The truth is that I have been on a pilgrimage of living for a long time. This journey to Iona was just a start of a new thing that would lead to another new thing and then another. All of these encounters would continue to change my life. The purpose of this journey was one of spiritual awakening. I was to travel with my dear friend, Jacki, and spend hours in solitude in this legendary  thin place. 

Claire in Saint Colombo's bay marveling at the rainbow of pebbles on the beach.
I had expectations. I was certain this call I felt that drew me to Iona was one to connect me to the creator through the incredible beauty that was all around me there. Instead, it became quite clear that Iona was about community. It didn't take long for the frustration of expecting one thing and recieving another to began to take hold. It was day three before I realized that I had been given a gift- communion.

Orion's Chapel Taize service

 Communing with the pilgrims that ventured along side me to this sacred island began to transform me. Each story, the exclamations of awe and hope, breaking bread together, singing as loud as we could, wandering, cooking, skinny dipping, completing our chores, breathing really deep, worshiping, dancing, having a pint, weeping... It was here that I realized that the kingdom I've was taught could exist is already happening. I sailed right to it and wandered around it, but it was not the glorious Isle of Iona. The Kingdom was the community that was touching my life forever. We came to that island seeking an awakening and being of a similar heart and mind we did find it. We were all on board and were richly blessed by one another there. When it was time to leave I did not mourn; I was ready to return to the daily life I had chosen. I was grateful.The lessons of this experience were going to go with me and I was anxious to put them into practice at home.

Iona Community Ceilidh
Before we turned our backs on Iona, a wise pastor pulled Jacki and me aside and showed us a list of questions she had created for a small group earlier that day. She called them "Ally's rules of life." She explained that they were a barometer for your daily living and encouraged us both to fill them out at least annually to be certain that we are choosing to be transformed and nourished day in and day out. This list has been filled out now a half a dozen times and I've passed it on to friends and loved ones as the need arises. Today, I am sharing it with you. Ally urged us to be realistic and gentle on ourselves. Will you choose this as a gift or did you expect something else? Take some time with these questions and be intentional if you dare. It could be the start of a new thing...

Ally's Rules of Life

1) What makes you laugh and enjoy life? What is there to celebrate?
2) What nourishes your body? mind? spirit?
3) What relationships are important to you? 
4) How do you keep community with God at the moment?
5) What things help your spiritual journey?
6) What things hinder your spiritual journey?
7) What practices would you like to include in your life daily? weekly? monthly? annually?

Jacki and Claire: today's photography by Jacqueline Harp