Beginning again

Always we begin again. ~St Benedict


As a child of my culture the New Year beckons. It is a  beacon illuminating the past and the future.

The past few days I’ve been questioning what is my purpose? I’ve completed my doctoral dissertation, completed my wandering across the country exploring ideas about shared housing, chosen to live near some of my family, and I’ve reached a plateau in my journey with heart disease. I have a foster dog living with me and I’m working on the remodel of my kitchen; now what?

Sunday evening I took myself to see Philomena in part because Judy Dench is the lead actress and partly as practice for going to the movies by myself. When I returned home I read a little about Dame Judy and discovered that her vision is limited by macular degeneration. And yet she takes on new acting roles and still paints.

There is in us an instinct for newness, for renewal, for a liberation of creative power. We seek to awaken in ourselves a force which really changes our lives from within. And yet the same instinct tells us that this change is a recovery of that which is deepest, most original, most personal in ourselves. To be born again is not to become somebody else, but to become ourselves.  ~Thomas Merton

This morning I’m beginning the book the Artist’s Rule for the second or third time but this time with a promise to myself that I would participate in the exercises instead of just reading the book. Clicking through author Christine Valters Painter’s website I came to

I read:

The heart of the contemplative life is never about escaping the world, but plunging ourselves fully into the heart of messiness and mystery.

As we deepen on the contemplative journey, our aim is to release our attempts at controlling our lives and surrendering into a far greater Mystery than our egos can contain. There are no step-by-step plans, only daily practice and immersion in the messiness of life as it comes. We live into the questions, as the poet Rilke so wisely wrote, rather than trying to find the answers. We practice being uncomfortable. We move more deeply into unknowing. ~ Christine and John Valters Painter 

Hmm, that sounds like me in my response to my friend Nancy in her blog Clearing the Space, about my messy spirituality.  So, I begin again going deeper, moving out of my comfort zone onto the pilgrim’s path. Stay tuned…

marian on scooter


About Marian Methner, B.S., D.Min.

Polydox: accepting that we are many labels, I am mother of 4, mother in law (love) of 4 and grandmother of 5. My life is a collection of bits and starts. I was recently on the road for over a year exploring ideas of living in shared housing. A recent summer course in Permaculture design, solidifed my interest in "social permaculture" or ways we interact not only with our Earthly environment but also with each other. I am back Bellingham, Washington, in a small rental house, owned by my ex husband, talk about shared housing, practicing living in community with family, and friends. My doctoral dissertation A Map to Living Open Heartedly, centers around making art as a way to healing. Paradoxiclly, a recent diagnoses of heart failure (cardiomyopathy) expands this exploration...
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9 Responses to Beginning again

  1. Donna Butman says:

    I love to hear what you have to say. A new year is truly a new event so I will vow along with you to take it deeper and let life get even better.

  2. Let’s go girrrl. It was good to talk this weekend.

  3. rhonda says:

    Who knew I was just so contemplative….I thought I was just doing the deed…I LIVE IN THE QUESTION….and I dwell in the messiness…(it really is a WRECK…)
    Still miss you hon, hope to get up there soon

  4. Such a wonderful Merton quote–newness equaling recovery. So helpful and in some way explains the yearning and minimizes the fear. I am going to pull out my copy of Artist’s Rule, too–and perhaps it really is time to DO the exercises, instead of just letting the concepts and possibilities float around me.
    Thanks for mentioning my blog. Love your picture, too.

  5. Lets check in with each other about Artist’s Rule.. this morning I wrote about the idea of distraction…

  6. Louise says:

    How interesting that 2014 calls you and me to clear up the mess and go a but deeper.
    I too go to movies solo to test my resolve.

    • Why do we think it is so what’s the word, brave, to go to the movies alone? Who taught us date night is for 2, that we can’t take ourselves on a date to the movies… I go to the library alone… what’s the big deal? I love Julia Cameron’s idea of the artist’s date. Certainly movies are an artist’s date. Let’s do it more… going deeper, eating popcorn, virtually, together xxo m

  7. I’ve discovered that a sense of purpose continually evolves with each day as I look about me and relate to each person and thing that i see.

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