The Poetry of Transformation

61 Free Resources to support your mindful self-compassion practice

By Tracy Rittmueller | October 26, 2020

This blog post by poet and Benedictine Oblate Tracy Rittmueller begins with a reflection on the difficulty of learning to be compassionate with ourselves, and shows where to access all the free resources you need to begin practicing mindful self compassion.

How poetic and monastic practices empower a vibrant, sacred way of life

By Tracy Rittmueller | October 26, 2020

In search of a vibrant, sacred way of life Do you want to explore the mysterious, wild regions of living a vibrant, sacred way of life? Maybe you feel called to be an artist—potter, painter, dancer, musician, poet, crafter, or doodler. Perhaps you want to associate with people who will help you grow in wisdom, because you’re seeking courage to devote yourself to the service of Love.  If the words authenticity, connection, consciousness, peace, and gratitude speak to the mystical core of silence and solitude within you, I invite you to ask, “How?” Ask not what can I do? Ask …

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8 Things poets and monastics know about the power of words

By Tracy Rittmueller | October 25, 2020

This is part 3 of the series 8 Things Poets and Monastics Can Teach Us About Happiness; with 8 Poems to Make Life More Meaningful. For part 1 of the series, go here. About words…. We think we know what words are—the spoken sounds and written letters we combine to form sentences to convey what we mean. Words carry on conversations, broadcast news, spread rumors, make promises, utter threats, express complex emotions, form ideals, formulate questions, make peace, build a better world, destroy reputations, crush hope, and declare war. Words are powerful.  Poets and monastics are word-centered people.  Poets use words …

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For Greater Serenity, Practice Playfully

By Tracy Rittmueller | October 20, 2020

I’m trying to see life more playfully, from a child’s point of view. For the reward of necessary joy, I’m ready to turn my adult-y, logical way of knowing how upside down. Sometimes adult life feels inelegant, unmanageable and hard. There is sickness, suffering and death. There are fractured relationships we can’t repair. The international, national and local news can be heartbreaking—divisive, ugly, violent. To counter your feelings of helplessness and sorrow, watch a child at play. I love to watch my six-year-old granddaughter cartwheeling. Her joy is so effervescent, it’s contagious. She sprints across the newly greened spring lawn then leaps …

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3 things nuns, monks and poets know about why you should “keep death daily before your eyes”

By Tracy Rittmueller | October 15, 2020

For the next year or so, I will be studying Michael Casey’s Seventy-four Tools for Good Living: reflections on the fourth chapter of Benedict’s Rule with my oblate group at Saint Benedict’s monastery. Among those seventy-four tools is this one: “To have death present before one’s eyes every day.” (RB 4:47) And this is a tool for good living??? That we should think daily about the imminent death of everyone we know and our own mortality may seem counter-intuitive. How can the constant awareness of death make our lives happier? But monastics are not the only people who live consciously with …

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23 Spiritual Practices Taught by The Rule of Benedict

By Tracy Rittmueller | September 27, 2020

What do spiritual practices do? Practice is how people develop the skills to become adept at anything. Music students practice their instruments. Gymnasts practice routines, yoga students practice poses, swimmers practice strokes, and tennis players practice their serves. Successful organizational leaders practice self-mastery and teamwork. Just as all these people practice to become more proficient, spiritual seekers practice in order to become better at living a spiritual life.  What is the Rule of Benedict? Do you yearn for a good life, and do you desire to see good days? Near the end of his life in 547 AD, Benedict of Nursia …

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Judith Valente–poet, journalist, and Benedictine oblate–on "How To Live"

By Tracy Rittmueller | April 23, 2020

At the intersection of reading and writing, in the spaces where listening, silence, prayer, and wonder happen–there is poetry. There, too, is where I find support for living as a Benedictine. Some months ago I decided that my blog will focus on “Reading, Writing, and the Benedictine way of life.” Since then, I’ve been pondering what I want to write about the way I live now. Judith Valente has made it easy for me. Her recently published How to Live: What the Rule of St. Benedict Teaches Us About Happiness, Meaning, and Community is a book I would like to …

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Tracy Lee Karner

Invitation: Let's Walk Care-Fully THROUGH this Together

By Tracy Rittmueller | March 31, 2020

How will we get through this? Entering April, 2020 with a global pandemic and social distancing, we are likely encountering uncertainty, anxiety, fear, perhaps even dread, all triggered by our past experience of suffering and sorrow. To get through this painful time, to come out on the other side with wisdom and resilience, we would be wise to deal with our pain and our fears during this time. “There are two ways of dealing with suffering,” writes Almut Furchert, PhD.. “One is to give into despair. The other way is to give into the suffering, by noticing it, and by …

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Poem: Healing is a Never Ending Departure

By Tracy Rittmueller | October 20, 2019

Healing is a Never Ending Departure an improvisation after the poem STUFEN by Hermann Hesse Tracy Rittmueller Like every flower fades and every childhood withers into age, every stage of life blooms; each insight, too. And every goodness blossoms in its time yet will not last forever. In every purpose, in every call of life, the heart must willingly let go.                                      And then begin again, that with fortitude, yet not without some lamentation, we may give ourselves to new endeavors. So let …

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How to Fight Fear on Facebook

By Tracy Rittmueller | April 13, 2019

The Irony of Facebook  “Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission–to make the world more open and connected.” –Mark Zuckerberg The irony of Facebook is that while its founder says he intended it to bring people together, there is ample evidence it is doing the opposite, driving people and ripping society apart. If you want to read about that evidence, here are two well-written articles:  . . I have two sets of Facebook friends who appear to be growing increasingly fearful of and suspicious of each other, even hostile toward …

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