Invitation to Discernment
“A circle of trust holds us in a space where we can make our own discernments...in the encouraging and challenging presence of other people.” - Parker Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness
Dear Kaleid Ladies,
How are you today? We hope that your week is going well and that you are finding hope in the middle of all the hard this week. And there is certainly plenty of hard.
Do you ever wish that you could do something in the face of what feels like growing chaos and rancor in our world?
We do, too. When we see pain in others and in our world (or even in our own lives and families), we want to know what to do about it.
That’s why, at Kaleid, we talk a lot about “embodiment.” It’s a word that is sorta funky and sorta en vogue (depending on who you hang out with), but it is a word that we think sums up what we all know deep in our hearts: what we do with our bodies every day shapes us and shapes our world.
Jesus invited us to receive his body to find life for our bodies. Paul told us that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. He also said that the church is one big body of God in the world, the living Jesus in the flesh.
In the face of global calamity or even family upheaval, our bodies can feel really small, sometimes unreliable, and frustratingly finite. But they are the only way that the life of God is lived out in the world--in and through our bodies as women individually and as women together, being Jesus in the world.
And so we think there is a strong case to be made that our spiritual life and our physical life are not two things, but one thing, expressing one another and forming one another. Embodiment is a key part of spiritual formation. Our outer actions and habits shape our insides.
Discernment is the spiritual practice that “opens us up to listen and to recognize the voice and patterns of God’s direction in our lives.” (Adele Calhoun in Spiritual Disciplines Handbook) To know how to embody God’s life in our own discreet life, we practice discernment.
This fall, we are having our first ever Embodiment Circle! It will be focused on group discernment. We’re calling it “Embracing Shifts” because shifts in our world disrupt us and generate a desire to do things differently (or to do different things.)
The circle is going to be pretty great, we think. It’s going to tie together three things: discernment, embodiment, and community.
What will it be like?
We’re going to meet once a month on Fridays, together, for an hour and a half. (Community)
We’re going to practice group spiritual discernment, where we use silence, listening, and responding to clarify what the Holy Spirit is leading us to do and not to do next. (Discernment)
And then we’re going to head back into the world, responding to God’s invitation, acting on the small (or big) things we sense God is leading us to do. (Embodiment)
We will return the next month and continue to listen, discern, and encourage each other in the doing.
This circle will be a space for you to hear from God about your unique life and what shifts in your embodied patterns are yours to do next. We hope it brings clarity and that it frees Kaleid women to confidently own and do what is theirs alone. We hope that it frees us to greater trust, that the God who came in a body will indwell our physical lives so that God’s divine intention becomes God’s divine reality in the world.
The Kaleid Team
P.S. Here is a prayer that you can offer (from the Book of Common Prayer) for our brothers and sisters whose bodies are scared and suffering in Haiti and in Afghanistan: O merciful Father, who have taught us in your holy Word that you do not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men: Look with pity upon the sorrows of the people of Afghanistan and Haiti, or whom our prayers are offered. Remember them, O Lord, in mercy, nourish their souls with patience, comfort them with a sense of your goodness, lift up your countenance upon them, and give them peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
AND! We would relish seeing your face at any of our four upcoming Circles! Two weeks ago we talked about the beauty of presence and shared about our three-week free Contemplative Circle. Last week we invited you to a dialogue about Power, Patriarchy, Women, and the Church. Next week we will share more about Foundations, our “flagship” offerings for Kaleid women who want to gain a framework for Seeing Ourselves, Others and our City in light of God’s love.