We awaken in Christ’s body,
As Christ awakens our bodies
There I look down and my poor hand is Christ,
He enters my foot and is infinitely me.
I move my hand and wonderfully
My hand becomes Christ,
Becomes all of Him.
I move my foot and at once
He appears in a flash of lightning.
Do my words seem blasphemous to you?
—Then open your heart to him.
And let yourself receive the one
Who is opening to you so deeply.
For if we genuinely love Him,
We wake up inside Christ’s body
Where all our body all over,
Every most hidden part of it,
Is realized in joy as Him,
And He makes us utterly real.
And everything that is hurt, everything
That seemed to us dark, harsh, shameful,
Maimed, ugly, irreparably damaged
Is in Him transformed.
And in Him, recognized as whole, as lovely,
And radiant in His light,
We awaken as the beloved
In every last part of our body. 
   Saint Symeon the New Theologian, An Ancient Hymn 15, 


Abba Lot went to Abba Joseph and said to him,"Abba, as far as I can, I say my little office.  I fast a little.  I pray and meditate, I live in peace, and as far as I can, I purify my thoughts.  What else can I do?"  Then the old man stood up and stretched out his hands toward heaven.  His fingers became like ten lamps of fire, and he said to him, "If you will, you can become all flame."
From the Desert Fathers and Mothers

The Wood in the Chapel

Some do not like the groaning and creaking
Of the wood
In the chapel,
But I do.

It speaks to me of
Breathing and
Remembering the wind in the forest,
Of movement and the cycle of life,

Of hearing the space between the notes,
Of bearing up under stresses and burdens,

Of longing and waiting,
Of acceptance
Of living,

Of becoming and being stretched out
In new directions,
Of praying and being present,
The Holy Spirit.

MS, Albuquerque, NM March 2015


Molting TreeWith what reticence you wear
the winter shroud.
The thinnest branch
bears an army of snow;
your buds, white and smooth,
are the knobs of amputees.
Had I not fifty successions of springs
I might pass you by.
But I know something of the bud’s mantled core:
Expectant and raw, with its whole being
It suffers its consent –
call it love, like the fire maker’s
whose doubt yields to the rubbing stick.
The smoke forgets the calloused palms,
the fire perfects the smoke,
there’s no stopping it.

Linda Pessolano
(Linda P. Swindle)
Albuquerque, NM


I turned it over and over,
could not find its face, beheld it far and near
as if a different lens would resolve
its blurred features. As in dreams
when our bodies move inside us
and we are more ourselves,
so evenly diffused was the dense
violence of its origin as it lay in my fist
I forgot myself and dozed for a time
Inside the world.

Linda Pessolano
(Linda P. Swindle)
Albuquerque, NM


Contemplative Outreach of New Mexico

is under the guidance of Contemplative Outreach, Ltd., a world wide spiritual network. Contemplative Outreach was established to bring this ancient prayer practice out of the monastic milieu to those in our contemporary society.

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