• evansph2

I watch the hummingbird that comes to my feeder several times a day. Its ruby and emerald colors flashing. It’s long beak – designed for getting at the heart of things. It’s nearly invisible wings and its iridescence, with camouflage that makes it look like a flower. All day it sips sweetness -- without guilt or regret. Oh, the joy of seeking what you most want relentlessly, lightly.

What is it you most want? For me, one thing is solitude. And yet, I feel vaguely guilty about wanting solitude. Even though I know how it nourishes me. Maybe we could all be more like the hummingbird – going after what we really want – repeatedly. Taking joy in being beautiful, hungry, persistent.

What I like abut solitude is that it is waiting for you to find it. It lets you eat crackers and not worry about the crumbs. It doesn’t care how many pages you’ve read or whether you understand process theology. It only wants to give you space. It gives gifts that you may not quite recognize or even know how to unwrap. It doesn’t expect thanks or a reciprocal invitation. It is extravagant and wants you to be also. It is good with whenever, however, wherever. It notices your selfishness and gives you an award for it. It wants you to shed your own too-tight skin and slither out of what binds you. It wants you to be a hummingbird.

Here is a portion of a blessing John O’Donohue has written for solitude.

May you recognize in your life the presence, power, and light of your soul.

May you realize that you are never alone,

that your soul in its brightness and belonging connect you intimately with the

rhythm of the universe.

May you have respect for your own individuality and difference.

May you realize that the shape of your soul is unique, that

you have a special destiny here,

that behind the façade of your life there is something

beautiful, good, and eternal happening.

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  • evansph2

Updated: 2 days ago

I am going to start occasionally asking readers of this blog a to talk about their own spiritual practice. Phyllis Bertke is a friend of mine who has been practicing photography as long as I've known her. -- which is more than 40 years now. And she does her photography in a particular and important way. Though she has used and studied using impressive Nikon cameras and lenses, she now uses her cell phone for all of her spectacular photos, like the one above. About her practice of photography, she writes;

"Being aware … noticing …. is how I hope to live the rest of my life. My camera brings me into the present more quickly than any other spiritual practice.

A walk with my camera is exciting. I feel like I’m tiptoeing along the edge of what is and what might happen in every moment. It feels as though all my brain cells are on high alert, as though they are at a parade, fascinated with every detail and craning their little necks to see what’s coming next.

I am single and live alone. I have a friend in the same situation, and we were texting each other every morning with emojis, just to make sure we’re both still ok. Then we started to share photos from our morning walks instead of emojis. Knowing I might find a photo I can enjoy sharing takes the excitement to an even higher level.

Then later, looking through my photos, I feel connected more deeply to my world. Looking at her photos through her eyes connects me more deeply to the friendship."

I am so taken with the beautiful photo of the bird in the winter pond. I wrote the following in response to this photo;

A soul moment

Of fleeting beauty

One where the breath

Might halt, briefly

A scene you cannot look

Away from without guilt





Add up to more


Like the bird

Can rest

In this moment

Stop your forward paddling

Stop falling

Stop even rippling

Or reflecting

Let yourself be

The photographer

Of this moment

Any moment

with or without


Allow the world

To change you.

Penny Hackett-Evans

Thank you to Phyllis for her sharing here. Phyllis lives in North Carolina and you can contact her at pbertke@bellsouth.net

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  • evansph2

A few years ago I read about this idea of selecting an aspirational word that

represents something you’d like to embody more fully in the coming year. The idea

engaged me. Not a word that I would use to judge myself. Not a word that was

too unattainable, or too vague. Not a quality that I wasn’t already familiar with. But

something more like a seed that already existed in me that I wanted to tend, to

become aware of, to remove obstacles so that that quality might grow into its own

fullness. That first year I decided on the word “kindness”. I did already see myself

as a kind person, but I wanted to be maybe 10% kinder. So I just decided to take

that as my “word of the year.”

I tried just to have the word in the forefront of my mind. I didn’t actively seek to

become kinder. I just had a sort of radar around the word. I noticed when I was

not kind. I did not berate myself for that. But, I did take note. I didn’t keep score, or

keep a journal about it, or tell people about this journey. It was not like a self-improvement project. I just committed to NOTICING kindness in my life. Both

kindness that I received and that I offered to others.

Simply to note it, had its own rewards. I think I became a bit kinder merely because it

was on the front burner of my life. I discovered that it was a more difficult challenge than I might have thought. I read some articles about kindness. I thought about people I know who are kind. It was an adventure that felt well worth taking. I commend it for your consideration.

Think about some quality that you already have but might like to embody more

fully. Maybe you’d like to be; braver, more honest, open-minded, confident, kind,

trusting. Or maybe you’d like to say “yes” more often, or maybe “No”. Maybe you

seek more patience or adventure, self-acceptance or light-heartedness. Maybe you’d like more connection, deeper friendships, more solitude. Maybe you’d like to read more or ,

or, or??? As the calendar turns, it seems like a good time to also consider what kinds of turning we might like in our own lives. I see this “Word of the Year” as more of a magnet that on its own draws you toward it rather than something that you resolutely march toward.

Let me know if you try it and what you find. May 2021 unfold with opportunities for

you to become more of who you want to be.

My word for this year will be "Tactfulness". Yours??

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