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Venice Diocesan Council of Catholic Women of FL

My Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Today I would like to share “Where We’ve Been” from the book The Little Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo.

I have been born again and again and each time, I have found something to love. – Gordon Parks

“Our ability to find something to love, and to love again for the first time, depends greatly on how we resolve and integrate where we’ve been before. A great model for us exists in the chambered nautilus, an exquisite shell creature that lives along the ocean floor. The nautilus is a deep-sea form of life that inches like a soft man in a hard shell finding his prayers along the bottom. Over time it builds a spiral shell, but always lives in the newest chamber.

The other chambers, they say, contain a gas or liquid that helps the nautilus control its buoyancy. Even here, a mute lesson in how to use the past: live in the most recent chamber and use the others to stay afloat.

Can we, in this way, build strong chambers for our traumas: not living there, but breaking our past down till it is fluid enough to lose most of its weight? Can we internalize where we’ve been enough to know that we are no longer living there? When we can, life will seem lighter.

It is not by accident that the nautilus turns its slow digestion of the bottom into a body that can float. It tells us that only time can put the past in perspective, and only when the past is behind us, and not before us, can we be open enough and empty enough to truly feel what is about to happen. Only by living in the freshest chamber of the heart can we love again and again for the first time.

· Center yourself and close your eyes and imagine the passages that have brought you to who you are.

· Inhale evenly and see which passage holds the most feeling.

· Breathe steadily and ask yourself, Is the past living in me, or am I living in this passage of the past?

· Do nothing today; simply be with what your heart answers – tomorrow share the feeling with a friend.

Dear Lord, how many times do I find myself living in the past… Every day you give us a new start. A new start to change a bad habit; a new start to reach out to someone; a new start to forgive someone or to ask for forgiveness. Help me to see all the opportunities that are here today. Help me to let go of the past and give thanks for this day and use it for your good. Let me be your heart, hands and message to all those I encounter. Lord, you know me – always so busy doing this and that. Help me to slow down, to reflect on the past and to live for today.

Lord, we ask you to bless Bishop Dewane and all the priests and religious of our Diocese. Bless Linda and Andy Clark; bless the young lady just diagnosed with cancer throughout her body; Bless all those who are ill today and bless their caregivers. We ask blessings for all our Council sisters and their families. Lord bless those most in need of your embrace. We ask all these things through your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen

Ellen Bachman


Anna Rybicki - Communications Director-Emails