By Freya Secrest
“Work is Love in Action”. . ..
This phrase came up during a breakfast conversation when my children were home visiting during the holidays and has been very “alive” for me since then. It is a phrase that comes from my time at Findhorn. It was the principle through which we were encouraged to engage our daily work (in the garden, kitchen or office) and pointed to the attitude at the heart of Findhorn’s co-creative explorations with nature as well as within their human community – let all your work and effort be a loving act. It was a good lesson for me in my youth and has interwoven itself through my life as a useful attitude to bring to every enterprise.
During that morning conversation with my children, ‘work is love in action’ was connected to exploring new entrepreneurial ventures they were each starting. What brought juice to their commitment to day to day duties – often very mundane, but so necessary to get a new business venture going? How does one bring enthusiasm and meaning to daily and repetitious responsibilities? What might help their initiative to root and succeed, bringing fulfillment in both present effort and long-term goals?
We all agreed that doing something we loved increased energy and stamina; but to choose to make any chore-like activity an action of love stretched their idea of work into new territory. Talk of love was not unfamiliar at our family table, but for these new entrepreneurs it suddenly had new relevance. That their goal to create a successful business could be furthered by expanding their view of love created an unexpected resource of energy and power for them.
For me, that conversation has inspired a New Year’s re-assessment: where do I bring love into my habitual actions; where do I forget to? Where can I polish my love-in-action skills and improve the odds of success in my own projects?
In this, David Spangler’s reflections on Spectrum of Love have been helpful to me. He posits a view of love as a continuum that at its simplest expression is honest perception, in which I am willing to just see another, draw them into the field of my conscious awareness and know them to exist. From there David’s spectrum recognizes a series of stages expressing love as connection – acknowledgement, honoring, appreciation, caring and affection and beyond. Any one of these experiences are part of his spectrum of love – each one gives shape to a different depth of connectedness with the surrounding world.
This spectrum of love model affirms different entry points in my ability to connect with others in my world and creates an attitude of respect where I can focus my love-in-action intent in any given situation. For example, with someone who has social values widely different from mine, I look first to connect through the doorway of perception or simple acknowledgement. By allowing myself to acknowledge the person as just themselves, I can look for a connection point beyond our differences, finding perhaps a common interest in a hobby or family activity. I look to enter the spectrum of love at a place where engagement and connection is possible and honest to each of us. (For someone more familiar to me, I have a wider range of experience to build upon. If I feel disconnected through a thoughtless word or deed, I can reestablish my connection by recalling something I appreciate about them from another situation.)
Making my daily activities an expression of love-in-action in this way has been ongoing since those early Findhorn days. It is a choice to bring the juiciness of connection, joy, and pleasure into the daily tasks before me. It creates a spirit of partnership and has encouraged me to give that mysterious force called ‘love’ a working definition, a handle that allows it to inform my world. At this point, “Work is Love in Action” becomes MY work to put love into action. It is a moment-by-moment choice I make to connect and to make that connection go as deep as possible within the scope of a particular situation. It is an attitude that seeks to support the best in myself and the world around me.
That does not mean I am always passionate about an activity in itself, or deeply resonant with every person I work with, but it does mean I look to honor a personal standard of how I engage with each person or activity in my life. Making my work an act of love-in-action is my responsibility. It is a strategy of connection, a path for participation in a loving and living universe.
Though it takes some courage and determination, success in work through making it our love-in-action emphasizes ease and not pressure and builds from a yes-and attitude. It refreshes and regenerates our lives with enthusiasm and joy, and flows out from there. It is with interest and respect that I see my children step forward thoughtfully to make their work now an act of their love, caring and commitment.
Views from the Lorian Community publishes essays from a team of volunteer writers expressing individual experiences of a long term, committed practice of Incarnational Spirituality (and the general principles shaping such a practice.) Views expressed do not necessarily reflect the sentiments or thoughts of any other person in Lorian or of Lorian as a whole. If you would like to subscribe, please visit our website and click on Follow Our Blog Via Email. Or email the editor:email@example.com.
When you look around you what do you see? Are you able to find the sacred within the immediate relationships and exchanges in your daily life?
This is not an easy practice for me, my work requires attention to the particular that often carries me away from more universal perspectives. It is hard to see the sacredness of my relationships with the world in those moments. But incarnational perspectives speak to my worldly interactions as a source of spirit, a field of horizontal spirituality. So how do I make this more real in my life?
I find that appreciation is the entry level tool opening a door to a horizontal spirituality. This eye-level perspective on the sacred in life requires the kind of full-sensory relationship that flows out from my appreciation. Like exercising core body muscles, when I lead with appreciation, I initiate a field that engages, strengthens and expands the capacity of spirit within that field – that of others but mine as well. As Lynn Twist, author of “The Soul of Money” puts it, “What we appreciate, appreciates….Appreciation becomes a powerful, intentional practice of creating new value….Our attention enlarges and enriches our experience of whatever is before us.”
To celebrate this horizontal spirituality, I find I must continue to focus at eye level by holding myself and all around me with honor. I don’t necessarily agree with every choice or action that I see, but I work to honor the deep intent at the heart of all life to grow and thrive. As I listen in this way for the truth in others around me, I find myself more open to partnership; more open to myself, and more able to celebrate the spirited core in everyone and everything. My horizons expand, sacredness grows, particularity is enhanced.
What about the ways you expand the horizons of the sacred in life. Do you, for example, attend with appreciation to the creative ideas your co-worker brings to a project or treasure the hug your partner gives after a long day? Do you recognize the joy and vitality that tree in your neighborhood brings into your life though the rustle of its leaves or the clean air, and possibly food it produces? All these daily things and more reveal the sacred in life.
Let your appreciation be a doorway to call out spirit in a horizontal axis. Step out into the world, gifting it with your appreciation and then, remember to ‘listen’ for the return of relationships that will help you to thrive and grow as well. This month I invite you to meet your immediate world with appreciative eyes. Let’s see what sacredness we can unfold.
David will be featured in the Gaia Field’s September Subtle Activism Summit online and two new Lorian classes begin in September, Journey into Fire and Manifestation: Shaping a Life you Love. Both of the classes deal with material that steps you into an intimate, appreciative relationship with the world around you. Journey into Fire focuses on each of us learning to tap the fire of soul at the heart of our life and incarnation. Manifestation works with the principles of creation which, as we use them in our relationships with life, bring the energy and vitality of soul into action. These classes work with a horizontal perspective of spirituality that recognizes a living universe as both context and partner for life and creativity. You can join in to our new, free teleclass sessions to learn more about them. Link below for details.
Current on the website
|Our Learning Community
Wanting Can Be Scary by Rue Hass
Wanting to bring something new into our lives is what creates and changes the world. We all do this constantly. Stating a clear intention ignites the living manifestation engine of the cosmos on our own behalf. But… Read more…
Join Julie, Susan and Dan on Sunday, August 30, at 4 pm PT for a chance to learn more about the Journey into Fire class starting Sept 7th.
On Thursday Sept 3rd at 11 am PT join Freya and Rue for a 1 hour teleconference to expand your skills in facilitating change in your life.
Sept 7 – Oct 11 – Journey into Fire – online class
Sept 8-10 – Subtle Activism Summit – David Spangler on the Shift Network
Oct 19 – Nov 29 – Working with Subtle Energies – online class
New in the Library:
IS in Translation. Incarnational exercises and articles in Thai, Japanese, Russian, Danish and Portuguese
|Lorian Education : Fall 2015
Lorian education explores the nature and process of an incarnational spirituality, a practice in the art of creating wholeness within ourselves and the world. It affirms the state of connectedness that exists between all things and seeks to shape actions that can heal and bless our troubled world.
This fall our new online classes will include a more multi-media emphasis with recorded lectures, real-time connections, and of course our rich online classroom using PDF books, exercises and personal practice. Lorian faculty will facilitate the study with David Spangler joining in for scheduled sessions. Click on each class title to read more about what each class covers.
Journey Into Fire: Sept. 7 – Oct 11 – 5 week online class Lorian Faculty – Julia Spangler, Susan Sherman, and Dan Paulson with David Spangler
Manifestation: Shaping the Life You Love: Sept. 7 – Oct. 18 – 6 week online practicum Lorian Faculty – Freya Secrest and Rue Anne Hass.
Working with Subtle Energies: Oct 19 – Nov 29 6 week online class Lorian Faculty – Freya Secrest and Rue Anne Hass with David Spangler.
By Freya Secrest
I have been reading recently about the Slow Food Movement, which began in 1986 in Italy in an effort to promote sustainable foods and local small agri-business. This idea is expanding into a wider “Slow” movement which Wikipedia introduces as a shift to slow down life pace. This philosophy is defined by Prof. Guttorm Floistad, “In order to master changes, we have to recover slowness, reflection and togetherness.” It occurred to me that Incarnational Spirituality shares something with this approach to life in that both uphold an awareness of time and attention as the means to bring a chosen focus into its fullest expression.
It seems that a central premise of the slow food movement is to advocate that we attend to the natural and essential qualities of a particular food, honor them by purchasing fresh, local products that help to maintain them and then highlight the inherent nutrition and flavor through our preparation and presentation. In the case of Incarnational Spirituality, we focus on the inherent strengths within ourselves and others, honor and affirm the natural field of life experience that enhances those capacities, and direct our time and choices to offer that uniqueness as an integrated expression of blessing. Slow spirituality! Not necessarily revolutionary in its effort to incorporate the gifts that time can offer, but perhaps new in its intent to uncover and affirm the beauty and inherent value of each individual life as it contributes to a field of collective blessing.
By Freya Secrest
One of my favorite of Dorothy Maclean’s messages is from the Apple Deva. It describes the emergence of an apple – from a seed idea to a manifest fruit – a simple yet awe-inspiring miracle that happens again and again in our world. Here it is:
That from a fragile, scarcely-colored and short-lived bloom a sturdy, rosy apple appears is but one of God’s miracles, enacted many times over for all to observe – and if you could see more of how this is brought about by the chain of life, wonder would lift you high.
As from the seed a tree grows, so from the seed idea a pattern of force issues forth from the Center, passed on by silent ranks of angels, silent and still because that idea is still too unformed and unfixed to endure any but the most exacting care. Down and out it comes, growing in strength and size, becoming brighter in pattern until eventually it scintillates and sounds, its forcefield steady and brilliant.
Then the pattern is passed to the makers of form, the elements, who come up and give of themselves and clothe that pattern. Remember this is a process…evolving on through the ministrations of the elementals at the appropriate opportunity and eventually appearing in time and place in the beauty of the blossom and the succulence of the fruit.
This is the Word made flesh. This is all creation, held in balance by great layers of life of which you conscious mind is unaware. A miracle? You need a greater word. You need to go beyond words.”
Dorothy Maclean To Hear the Angels Sing
Each of us can also draw upon this organic life energy. We are like the devas with the seed ideas in our life – tending new possibilities with our love, focus and joy; shaping them, if we choose to, with the same balance, beauty and joyful interconnectedness that is reflected by the Apple Tree.
This February Lorian is offering a number of new educational formats designed to support you as you work with our incarnational materials. We hope you may consider joining in for one of them.
These initiatives are made possible by you and your engagement in the work here at Lorian. It is both your interest and your financial gifts that sustain us. Thank you! You have made it possible for us to to put more attention on developing the materials and programs that can best serve you and our planet in this times of change and awakening.
By Freya Secrest
As many of you know the Findhorn Foundation is celebrating its 50th birthday this month. Dorothy Maclean, Peter and Eileen Caddy and their 3 boys arrived in the Findhorn Bay Caravan Park on November 17, 1962. This was the beginning of the unfoldment of a center founded on three core principles: inner listening and attunement, co-creation with nature, and service and inspired action. Still centered in those principles, Findhorn is looking toward its future as a international ecovillage and educational center. Over 400 people are taking part in the various birthday activities at Findhorn itself, many more who have lived or been touched by Findhorn’s presence in the world are linking in from around the world.
The story of Findhorn’s founding is an inspiring one and present day members feels blessed to have co-founder, Dorothy Maclean living in the Foundation with them. At 92, she has retired from any teaching, but she attends daily morning sanctuary and has an active interest in the projects of the Foundation and in her personal inner work on behalf of bees and current world situations.
Personally, it has been a joy to be visiting Findhorn during this birthday month, meeting many of its current residents and learning more about the community as it is today. Many of the former members I have connected with during this week are also familiar names from our mailing list. It is delightful to see how our two communities continue to interweave. I invite you to visit Findhorn’s website to learn more of their ongoing work in the world. Findhorn Foundation
Pictures: Above – the birthday ritual in the Universal Hall,
Center – Judy McAllister, Dorothy and Freya enjoying their birthday dinner,
Left – Dorothy, Jonathan and Christopher Caddy lighting the 50 birthday cake candles with the community looking on.In the spirit of fellowship,
By Freya Secrest
Sabbatical (fr Greek): of, relating to, or appropriate to the Sabbath as a day of rest or religious observance.
Some professions such as teaching offer the occasional possibility of a sabbatical as time away from normal work patterns to revitalize and enhance one’s interest and energy. But lately I have been realizing the idea of sabbatical need not be limited to the teaching profession.
During my current visit to the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland, I have met a number of people who are creating sabbatical time in their lives; some traveling and exploring new experiences, others giving themselves a break to consider options for next steps. In describing her own sabbatical experience, one friend said it was a period of self-generosity that gave her the opportunity to stretch the edge of her experience and comfort zone in life.
The idea of sabbatical as a time of generosity-to-self touches me and expands upon the definition given above. It gives the spirit of sabbatical a place to land in daily ways. Even if I cannot take long periods of time or travel away from my work, I can create sabbatical moments in my life, moments where I allow a spirit of generosity toward myself to bring rest and awareness of the Sacred into my life.
Even as I write this I think, ah yes, so easy to say, and how to make that real? How, for example, is this different than a moment of wonder or awe in appreciation of the beauty in the world? Those too are refreshing. It seems that when I connect with that moment of wonder and expansion in an intentional way, I choose new possibility in myself and thereby generate an opening for a generous moment. Through my living intention, wonder moves into embodied presence and is savored like the spaciousness of a Sabbath day – becoming a sabbatical moment.
As I write a vibrant group are taking up the work of the Healing the Soul of America forum, holding our country in a spirit of open blessing in this time of choice and focus. And we here in Lorian are stopping to again appreciate the blessings of you, our community of support. We are grateful for your part in the unfoldment of this work.
By Freya Secrest
When presented with a different viewpoint, how do you respond? How do you shift your focus from one of belief/disbelief to one of appreciative, respectful discernment – for both yourself and any others involved – and add to the wholeness of the world?
How we approach difference when we meet what is other than ourselves in life is a powerful form of subtle activism that reverberates out into our planet.
I am working more and more with the principle of partnership in my approach to the differences I meet – in people, in cultural norms, and in the subtle and physical interactions I engage. As I do, I find myself called to practice what might be recognized as the simple basics of conflict resolution. I look for some common point of interest or shared experience and focus my attention there, letting the relationship flow out of that common point. I allow our difference to be held in the field of our commonality and then stay open to change on all sides.
In my work with the plants in my garden, a life expression with a consciousness so distinct from mine, that common element may be as subtle as the link to the Sacred within us each. From there I open to wonder and love and find new understanding of stewardship on the planet. With a neighbor, it may be as specific as recognizing our mutual interest in building a healthy family that opens the possibility of an exchange of knowledge and experience. Each relationship moves from its unique center of connection. If I attend to creating the time and interest for partnership, my world is enriched.