RevGals Five Five Meme: Is It Well With Your Soul…

Kathrynjz over at RevGals is pondering the various ways her life is blessed and some of the signs of those blessings. For her these include reognzing the blessings of our priviledged life like having computers and internet, and a morning cup of coffee. She asks us to reflect on the blessings of our lives, that which helps everything feel “right with the world the moment I am enjoying them.”

Those who know me are aware that over the last few years I have faced some profound challenges. There’s no need to go into the details, but suffice it to say that I have struggled deeply with the question of God, life, faith, “happiness,” and what it is that enables my soul to be at peace even when EVERYTHING is challenged….. In fact I wonder, even now, if I can “play” this game.

So, here’s my attempt at five “perks” I give thanks for, even if they don’t exactly make everything right with the world:

1. Exercise. Or, at the moment more specifically the gym. My daughter gave me a membership at a gym. I take yoga, strength classes, barbell classes, use the elliptical, swim, sit in the hot-tub and steam room. This exercise is an add on to the frequent dog walks. A few months ago, when I was really struggling I exercised hard – really hard – like I was trying to beat out of me the pain and suffering – sometimes pushing back tears as I worked out. It usually worked though and I felt much better. It helped to balance the insomnia and age related hot flashes and night sweats too.  I love that at the gym I am anonymous, no one knows a thing about me and I can leave all my struggles behind while I strive to help myself become healthier in mind, spirit, and body.

2. Meditation. I first learned to meditate when I nineteen, at college, the year, 1976. Transcendental Meditation was all the rage. I practiced that form of meditation for many years until I learned centering prayer and became of aware of Christian contemplation and silent prayer. Now I pray/meditate 40 minutes a day. Well, I usually do. I also have years when I don’t – when for one reason or another I just can’t. But always when I pick it up again I feel better, more at peace, more centered. This, along with exercise, may be the primary reasons I have made it through the last year with any kind of faith intact and inner peace.

No, all is not well with my soul. Not at all. But I work on it every day. And as a result I live in peace even as I continue to struggle with my faith, with God, with what has happened, with what will happen.

3. Knitting. I can’t always knit, I’m not always able to sit and focus or relax enough. But on the other hand I love knitting, particularly socks. It’s fun, it is relaxing, and it’s creative. I love the variety of yarns – so many beautiful choices. I hope to take a class on knitting sweaters in addition to socks and scarves…So, knitting helps my inner self find peace, when I can do it.

4. Coffee. Yes, I love my morning cup of coffee. Not sure it falls into the category of “all is well with my soul” but I do look forward to a cup of coffee. True I use to buy only fair trade. Now, for a variety of reasons – ok, due to my financial situation…well actually due to being unemployed, I can’t afford good coffee. So now I just drink the best coffee I can afford, which isn’t saying much. If I think about it my morning coffee will actually unsettle my soul because I’m not doing one of the things I really want to do to help the global economy. So. I take it back. Not coffee. But the idea of fair trade coffee and those times when I can buy it, drink it, and help.

5. My work with the National Council of Churches, USA and the Episcopal Church on the language project, “WordsMatter.” I have written about this often. You can learn more here. I also look forward to more work around the prevention of domestic/intimate partner/teen dating violence. I wrote four prayers for the sixteen days of prayer  against gender violence. (Not sure if any of my prayers will be used…). And I am a nominee to attend the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women the end of Feb. 2011 as a representative from the Episcopal Church. This work definitely feeds my soul and helps me feel like all is well within me and the ways God is calling me to be the hands and heart and voice of Christ in the world.

Not an easy Friday Five….but that doesn’t mean that I don’t live everyday with some sense of gratitude and most importantly with hope.


About Terri C Pilarski

I am an Episcopal priest serving a delightfully progressive, interesting, creative congregation. I have been married more than half my life to the same man. We have two grown children, plus two dogs and two cats, although the number of four legged household members changes from time to time. I love to garden, knit, read, and play on Facebook or with my blog. I have been a practitioner of daily meditation since I was nineteen. I practice yoga five days a week and walk every where I am able too.
This entry was posted in 16 Days of Prayer Advocating against Domestic Violence, centering prayer, Friday Five, hope, language project, meditation, NCC, UNCSW, Words Matter. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to RevGals Five Five Meme: Is It Well With Your Soul…

  1. angela says:

    Wow, #5 just lifts me up–for you and for those you are speaking out for…And It is a hard thing when everything tumbles upside down. That happened to me about four years ago and I constantly question myself about what I thought and who I really am. One of the lines of a song I'm meditating on goes "the loss of faith as it's beginning" and I am awed that some 18th century writer understood that too.

  2. Sandy says:

    Wow! Thank you so much for sharing! I'll continue to send lots of love and prayers your way that you can find at least a few moments each day where things are well with your soul!

  3. I think coffee can still be a thing that feeds you, even though it's not everything you would wish for.Here's the question: when are we going to get together for coffee? (see….it's all related. LOL.)

  4. Mary Beth says:

    So grateful that I know you. That you are doing the work in #5. and that you are still pushing forward in belief and faith, even when the way is obscured. "All is not well with my soul…" that is when it matters. Hugs to you.

  5. altar ego says:

    When times are tough, like they are for you, and a bit for me, as we have both noted(!), hope is the thing that sustains me. I think it may be God's greatest gift "in the moment." Hope is what allows me to see the light that breaks through the bleak things that get in the way. Keeping you in my prayers.

  6. Jan says:

    You continue to amaze me with your faithfulness through the dark and difficult days. Your hope sustains many of your readers, like me. It also helps to read about your struggles to know you better and to aid in our own hard times. Prayers.

  7. RevDrKate says:

    Thanks for this…your "authentic voice" as always has something to say to me. Prayers continue.

  8. kathrynzj says:

    This is truly Holy ground. Thank you for playing and seeking the hope and blessings in life.

  9. Muthah+ says:

    Your link to the stuff on Words Matter didn't work. I am interested in what you are doing.

  10. Diane says:

    you are an inspiration to me, mompriest. just wanted you to know that.

  11. Rev SS says:

    once again thanking God for you and your faithful ministry

  12. Mompriest says:

    Muthah+ I sent you a link via email. Also not sure why it didn't work for you, it works when I click on it…anyone else having problems with the link?

  13. Thanks for your authenticity and not throwing out there that all is well when it isn't. Hugs and prayers for you. P.S.I'm not seeing a link within the post for "Words Matter."

  14. Aww,T. I hope the New Year will be a better year for you. Your work (5) sounds great!

  15. Mompriest says:

    the link is in the "you can find more *here*"….also on a post several down…

  16. Purple says:

    Even admist the unknowingness…there is space for beauty and gifts to be shared…more specifically…yours!

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