It's Epiphany

Epiphany is the day in the Liturgical calendar immediately following the Christmas season. 

While many traditions, especially those in Europe and South America simply mark Epiphany on its feast day, January 6th, it can also be extended to run until the season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday (March 6). I invite you to embrace this season of Epiphany today and for a few more weeks before we transition into the lenten season! 

During this time we celebrate and acknowledge that even “pagan astrologers”, men who weren’t of Jewish faith and probably never heard of Yahweh came to worship this newborn King of the Jews; the Son of God.

As Lacy Ellman puts it, “While those who waited expectantly for the coming of the Messiah were metaphorically still sleeping, these Wise Men had studied prophecies, looked for the signs and followed the path laid our before them. They knew the Sacred when they saw it, and through their Spirit-led quest, they became the first Christian pilgrims, seeking after both a star in the sky and a star on the earth— the self-proclaimed Light of the World.” 

Just like these Middle Eastern, possibly Indian scholars that had studied prophecies and were attuned to the natural world, we can follow the “star of wonder” wherever it leads and become aware of what Spirit is inviting us into. 

Whether you want to join me and celebrate Epiphany for the next few weeks or next January it can remind and invite us to pay close attention to the divine guidance, manifestations, revelations available to us every day! 

Be on the lookout for insight, awareness, prophecies, signs, dreams to continue to flow this Winter. You may have to quiet yourself to hear them, but they are readily available. 

Below is a traditional Epiphany prayer/reading that you can engage with along with an incredible Japanese artists work that could be used for Visio Divina practice.

 

Epiphany,  The gospel text for Epiphany, Year A is Matthew 2:1-12

The heavens declare

The glory of God.

Arise, shine,

For your light has come. (Isaiah 60:1)

Even the stars

Speak the name of Jesus.

Even the rocks

Proclaim his works. (Psalm 19:1-4)

The people of earth

Gather together,

Sons and daughters

From far away places.

They bring gifts of abundance and wealth

To honor you. (Isaiah 60:4)

You defend the cause of the needy,

And redeem their lives from oppression and violence. (Psalm 72:13,14)

To wise men from the East

Good news has come.

To Jews and Gentiles

Good news has come.

To the poor and oppressed

Good news has come.

To sons and daughters alike

Good news has come.

To all creation

Good news has come.

Amen

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Adoration of the Maji

Color Stencil Print by Japanese artist Sadao Watanabe, 1968, 26.5 X 23 inches

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sarah shrevesComment
It’s Mid-Winter

It’s February which means its the midpoint between Winter and Spring.

And during Winter we are invited to rest, to listen and to plan. In the middle of Winter we find ourselves realizing what is dead (to small, not working, limited) and starting to notice the new growth, new life that Spring will continue to bring. I keep saying to myself, “I just want Spring to be here!” but accepting the present season is essential, especially now. You don’t want to rush into Spring without fully embracing all the slowness Winter has to offer.

Below are some practical ways to live in rhythm with the season right now.

Rest

  • Take a mid-day nap

  • Read by the fireplace

  • Go to bed earlier than usual

  • Walk slower, drive slower, text slower, write slower, breathe slower

  • Stay in - It’s totally okay to hibernate indoors right now! Even in California!


Listen

  • Create silence by not listening to Spotify when driving, working or during physical activities

  • Eliminate content coming in; limit your time with books, music, TV, movies

  • Practice breathwork

  • Notice body language in conversations; your own and others. Notice your posture right now.

  • Listen to your body; how does it feel after a certain meal, a certain activity, a certain conversation?

  • Practice “redemptive listening” or nonviolent communication


Plan

  • Block off 20 minutes and answer the following questions in your journal:

What detox/Spring cleaning do I want to do come Spring? What do I want to learn to accept? What will I nurture this Spring?

Who/what cause do I want to serve this Summer? What experience, idea, place do I plan to explore?

Who/what do I want to study this Autumn?

In what areas do I plan to rest come next Winter?

  • Continue to meet with your therapist and/or spiritual director


Offerings

I am so excited to be now accepting coaching clients for the Spring 2019 cohort!

For the next 5 weeks my schedule is open for Discovery Calls! This is a 2 hour deep dive-coaching session. You may get all the insights you need in 20 minutes, you may decide after 2 hours that you want more. I block off this time to serve you powerfully; the call is my gift to you.

Ill be doing Discovery Calls, limited to one person per week, until the Spring Equinox on March 20th!

Reserve your time and then ask yourself: How can I show up to this conversation in a way that would open up new possibilities? Am I willing to birth something new and extraordinary this Spring?


sarah shrevesComment
It's Winter Solstice!

Winter is about seeing the tree, naked of her leaves, seemingly dead and knowing that she’s very much alive. It’s seeing her revealed form without all the fruit or leaves to distract you. It’s about noticing that tree in its most stripped down, vulnerable state and seeing her truest form.

To the outside world it doesn’t look like anything’s happening. Life is still; there’s no movement. But yet … deep in the dark, a quiet transformation is happening.

The tree will bloom in due season. She will bare extraordinary fruits.

This is the transformation your spirit, and all of nature, is undergoing throughout Winter. Again, to the outside world life is still & quiet. The days are dark; the trees are bare. Everything appears dead, or frozen. You don’t see anything meaningful happening. But in the darkness, hidden inside or deep underground massive growth is occurring.

The energy has just shifted from the leaves down into the roots.

You are growing in ways you can’t visibly see yet.

You are undergoing a significant transformation this season.

Winter’s power lies below the surface, in the hidden, in the unseen, in the dark.

Your work this season is to be like the tree. Trust, listen and simply rest.

Rest. Rest. Rest.

Trust that if you let the energy stay in your root system for a few more months you will grow bigger.

No external work is required. In fact it’s discouraged.

I can’t wait to share more about the beauty and invitations that come in Winter. Until then I’m sending you so much love on this beautiful Winter Solstice.

xo

Sarah Shreves, Integrative Life Coach

The wisdom of the seasons has the capacity to balance us physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

Simply put the seasons teach us where to focus our energy. When we connect to the seasonal rhythms we conserve energy, we move with the natural cadences, as if in a dance. This dance is mutually beneficial for humanity and the created world. This creates a more unified collective conscious and more balanced existence, for every living thing. For me its all about restoration - renewal of all things.

sarah shrevesComment
Freedom + Faith

Freedom 

Tastes like : Homemade gluten free banana nut pancakes

Feels like : Laying on my back in the blue bay looking up at the blue sky, birds flying by

Smells like : Piñon and Sandalwood incense burning

Sounds like : This song

Looks like : Looking at myself in the mirror with Love

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All day I have had this song stuck in my head. I cannot get it out. It goes: 

Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I’m a child of God
Yes I am

Free at last, He has ransomed me
His grace runs deep
While I was a slave to sin
Jesus died for me
Yes He died for me

Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I’m a child of God
Yes I am
In my Father’s house
There’s a place for me
I’m a child of God
Yes I am

I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am

You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am


Freedom has always been a charged and challenging word for me.

From an early age I knew a huge part of my life would be in the pursuit of my own freedom and the freedom of the oppressed. 

A few years ago it was my “word for the year” and later that year I found myself in thousands of dollars of debt, betrayed by my self and a handful of very close friends, car-less, strugging with depression, fatigue, low back pain, and working extra hard not to escape it all through fantasies, shopping and keeping myself busy- failing most days. 

It’s lyrics like these that give me hope. It’s trusting by faith that they are true even when I feel bound in so many ways. It’s taking it one day at a time, not ignoring the realities but inviting Love into those places in me and in my life that don’t feel marked by freedom yet. It’s celebrating the small victories and having people around me that remind me I am courageous along the way. 

Freedom doesn’t happen without faith 

Creativity doesn’t happen without faith 

Nothing worth while happens without faith. 

“I am who you say I am” has become a lifeline for me in the past few years. In the thick of it I have had to go back to who God has told me I am. When I don’t feel it or see it, I continue to speak it overmyself and am available to the work of uncovering why it’s hard for me to receive that kind of Love. It’s in these moments I experience new levels of freedom. Not avoiding my shadow self, not buring my doubts, not letting my situations define my view of God. 

There is a lot of freedom in faith 

Faith is the birthplace of freedom 

Living a life marked by faith brings the unconventional, real, lasting, true freedom we seek. 

In Montgomery Alabama- For 381 days, thousands of black residents trudged through chilling rain and oppressive heat, ignoring and boycotting the buses. They endured death threats, violence and legal prosecution. King’s home was bombed. But instead of responding in kind, the members of the movement took to the pews, praying and rallying in churches in protest of the discrimination they suffered. 

Freedom came through their faith in action. It’s really the only way it comes, in my opinion. 

So how can we experience greater levels of freedom? 

How can we be freedom fighters for those around us? 

I don’t know, I just know that a life of faith in Love will always produce more freedom. And more freedom of the self always makes way for waves of freedom for the world around us. 

 

sarah shrevesComment
Are the flowers left to die?

Like most of my posts, this post was prompted by Kat Harris and the crew over at The Refined Collective Series. Be sure and check out the other ladies in this wonderful group posted below. 

I have a story for you: On April 12th of this year I visited and enjoyed the Carlsbad Flower Fields with my family. We studied the blooms and celebrated the rainbow of life all around our feet. We were in awe of the carefully cared for fields of Ranunculus that seemed to be showing off. It looked like something straight out of a movie and as my niece kept saying, "so pretty"!  

April 12

APIRL 12

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Just a few weeks later I pulled off the freeway, curious to see if the flowers were still in bloom. I drove up to a dry desert like scene. The fields were closed and the blooms were almost all gone. Their stems dusty brown forming a hill of tall grasses. The flowers were no longer in bloom; I could visibly see that they had gone to seed and had died. I was in the same place, wearing almost the same exact outfit (not planned!) but the scenery could not have been more contrasted! 

For a second my heart sank. Had they really all died? Did they really only last that long? What is it worth to only live for a few months? Is that really their story - they bloom for only a few weeks out of the year and then are gone? 

I sat in my car letting my feelings sink. I concluded that I wished they would just stay in bloom their whole life - that I was sad they only “lasted” for a few weeks.

What I realized eventually is that even though they looked dead, they had actually gone to seed! 

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JUNE 3

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Things come and go. Flowers bloom and then they don’t. One day you have a lot of money in your bank account, another day you don’t. One day you are laughing with a friend, the next day they are gone. Life is made up of a bunch of temporary experiences - as I am sure you are well aware of. 

Although we may be aware of how temporary things are, we are more prone to prefer the positive temporary situations rather than the challenging ones - wanting the good to stay and the difficult to go. Our western culture celebrates and honors the season of blooming much more than the nessesary seasons of death. If the Ranunculus flowers never went to seed and died, they wouldn’t bloom the following year. The death season is vital to the blooming season.

Your suffering, your loss, your letting go season is vital to your blooming one. 

Its not only imperative that we acknowledge the temporary, we must embrace it - the death and the blooms. We must savor it, taste it, study it, document it, honor it. Its guaranteed to change, so what would it look like to embrace it while we have it? 

Step one to embracing it is to 

  1. Name the Season you/ your business/ your family is in. 

IN BLOOM 

Has your bud fully bloomed? Are you producing pollen? Are others able to take what you have and use it to propagate more? 

GONE TO SEED

Are you maybe in a cooler season, where you are watching the wind/ Spirit move? Are you feeling the emotions around death, loss, grief? 

      2. How could you more fully accept & support this reality today?

When something, someone, some idea is embraced in the present- its accepted, held, supported, covered, hugged, enclosed. 

Don't forget with death comes seeds and with blooms comes pollination. Both temporary but beautiful & necessary parts of the life cycle. 

 

Are the flowers left to die? The flowers die back and produce seed for re-planting for the next season. We feel that by allowing the plant to complete its lifecycle, it helps produce a more superior crop. - TheFlowerFields.com 

 

 

 

sarah shrevesComment
Seasons + Cycles

Seasons, whether in the year or in our lives, are liminal spaces. Spring is a liminal time between winter and summer.

A liminal space is the time between the ‘what was’ and the ‘next.’ It is a place of transition, waiting, and not knowing.

It can be scary as F*&%! I think its important to transition well. I am currently in between seasons and thought it fitting to share what I am learning as I walk it out. 

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How to identify you are in a liminal space: If you answer yes to any of these, you are most likely in a liminal space. 

Do you find yourself answering questions with “I don't know”?

Are you living a bit outside of your normal environment?

Are you questioning yourself and the existing social order? 

Have you just experienced a new level of pain? 

Are you experiencing feelings of being dislocated and socially unstructured?

Do you resonate with the concepts of being destructed or constructed?

Are you ready to occupy a new social role or status? 

How to move through liminal spaces more gracefully : In transitions we usually don’t know who to become or how to navigate the transition. Here are a few things I have learned that have helped me wade the waters of liminality. 

1. Stay as long as you can Richard Rohr says “This is the sacred space where the old world is able to fall apart, and a bigger world is revealed. If we don’t encounter liminal space in our lives, we start idealizing normalcy.” 

Dont rush out of this space, you are watching, tasting, touching that bigger world.

If you rush you wont get the full extension. The expansion needs time. Trust deep time. Trust in long term payoff. Zoom out 20-30 years, maybe even into the next generation or two, see how this yes now will allow for a better, larger, more expansive world for future generations + future you. 

2. Write Journaling strengthens immune cells called T-lymphocytes and has been shown to be associated with drops in depression, anxiety, and increases in positive mood, social engagement, and quality of close relationships. “Writing accesses your the left hemisphere of the brain, which is analytical and rational,” says Maud Purcell, a psychotherapist and journaling expert. “While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to do what it does best, i.e. create, intuit and feel. In this way, writing removes mental blocks and allows us to use more of our brainpower to better understand ourselves and the world around us.”

Write every morning, write at least 3 pages, with a pen, on real paper. 

3. Choose balance Continue to eat healthy, asking your body what it needs each day, exercising and going to bed and waking at the same time. Consistent balance in the body will help bring balance to the transition. 

4. Seek companionship Continue meeting with your Spiritual Director, Life Coach, Therapist and other health professionals. Their wisdom will hopefully encourage you as you walk out your transition.

We cannot move out of these spaces without new concepts of ourselves and the world.

Be willing to let your guides speak into that new world. 

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Why transitions are important  

Its where genuine newness can begin.

You cannot fabricate innovation. If you have any interest in being made new, making innovative art, or bringing fresh ideas to a particular problem or field of study - you must pass through this liminal space. Its the birthplace of originality. 

Here we are taught openness and patience as we come to expect to meet, experience and hear from God. We grow more human as we wait on God and hear what is said. 

We learn to trust that there is a higher power at work on our behalf and that (as Rob Bell says) the whole system is rigged in your favor. The universe/God/Jesus/Spirit is bent toward you being at peace. It wants you to be whole. As odd or off as you may feel in this transition, trusting that it is a part of your journey of peace and wholeness is what its all about. 

You will only come out the other side through surrender. 

Following Peace, 

Shreves

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sources. 

“Liminality,” Austin Harrington, Barbara L. Marshall, and Hans-Peter Müller, Encyclopedia of Social Theory (New York: Routledge, 2012).

Rundel,  omas J., "Liminal Spaces: A Narrative Spirituality of the Bible" (2015). Doctor of Ministry. Paper 109. h p://digitalcommons.georgefox.edu/dmin/109

#therefinedcollective

This post is in collaboration with The Refined Collective Series. Be sure and check out the other ladies in this wonderful group -

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