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Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

Sunflower Seeds

Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

Talking to a Daisy

Last week we celebrated the summer solstice, the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. This day is also referred to as midsummer’s day.  Ancient peoples believed this was the time of the year when the veil that separates the various forms of the natural world is the thinnest, making communication between them the easiest.

This is the time of year when Ms. Dandelion can dialogue with Mr. Goose, when Senor Oak Tree can chat with Mr. Worm, and when human beings can converse effortlessly with the stars. When I’m facilitating retreats during this time of year, I encourage the retreatants to dialogue with some aspect of creation. I tell them, “Remember, St. Augustine called creation a sacrament. The natural world has much wisdom to share with us.” I tell them to go sit quietly somewhere and respectfully ask the object to share its wisdom with you. Then listen carefully. I give them a few examples from my own dialogues with creation. I once learned these wise things from a herd of cows: “Never wander too far from the herd…Keep your fanny to the wind…Ruminate, ruminate, ruminate.” From a 100-year-old willow tree I learned this: “Every gnarl is a blessing…Stay close to your water supply…Broken branches are a matter of course. Don’t fret their loss…Bend, bend, bend.”

A retreatant in Schuyler, Nebraska dialogued with the prairie wind. Another retreatant in Cape May, New Jersey didn’t dialogue with the ocean—as she had planned to do when she went outside. Instead she ended up talking with a telephone pole. An 83-year-old retreatant in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania couldn’t get outside, so she dialogued with the pin oak outside her bedroom window.

At first you might feel awkward as you approach a robin, a daisy, or a butterfly and ask it to share its wisdom with you. But if you sit still for a few minutes, you might be surprised at what you “hear.” And don’t limit your conversations to living things either. You can also garner wisdom from a park bench, a fire hydrant, your bedroom slippers, your refrigerator, or the sun. The possibilities are endless.

When we dialogue with the natural world, we receive several other benefits. We slow down. We increase our attentiveness to the world around us. And we grow in our appreciation for everything that exists. Happy dialoguing!

10 Responses

  1. Thanks , Melannie, You make me pause
    Perhaps when I take my morning walk and talk to the birds etc. I will not be crazy but dialoguing and ruminating.
    You are a blessings.
    Pat

    1. Dear Pat, People might think you are a little strange if they hear you talking to the birds, so you might want to dialogue interiorly! But today I read a good line from a poem by Wendell Berry: “every day do something that won’t compute.” I like that. We don’t have to do only things that make sense! Love seldom does….Thanks again, for writing, Pat! You are a blessing to me too! Melannie

  2. Dear Melannie, I understand what you mean. I love to talk to nature. Remember my frog, well he’s nine yrs old and I still talk to him. I also talk to butterflies. we had one in Sept. In St. Francis inner city backyard.
    The students brought in the black, white and yellow caterpillar and his
    Milkweed plant. We sent him to Mexico a couple weeks later. He was
    Really beautiful. I have iPad movies. We talked many times. God’s Creatures are so beautiful aren’t they. Thanks for your words of wisdom.
    Melannie. God bless! P.J.

  3. You have touched my heart..I so look forward to Mondays..I worked at Notre Dame College in the 70’s and 80’s…and those years were so awesome…I welcome your words of wisdom..Thank You.

  4. Dear Melannie, I loved this reflection. Yesterday I spent a good deal of time trying to identify the song of a bird I couldn’t see. I checked every bird song book, every web site searching for the answer. No luck.

    Today I discovered the source – a male Cardinal had changed his song to attract his heart’s desire. It was a good lesson – I’ll have to remember to think about changing my song when the occasions require it.

  5. You brought a smile to my face on such a chaotic day! Love that you share your humor and wisdom . God bless!

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Hi and welcome to my blog! I’m Sister Melannie, a Sister of Notre Dame residing in Chardon, Ohio, USA. I’ve been very lucky! I was raised in a loving family on a small farm in northeast Ohio. I also entered the SNDs right after high school. Over the years, my ministries have included high school and college teaching, novice director, congregational leadership, spiritual direction, retreat facilitating, and writing. I hope you enjoy “Sunflower Seeds” and will consider subscribing below. I’d love to have you in our “sunflower community.” Thank you!

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