Saturday, January 3, 2009

This clod of earth

As I write, I'm sitting in the Albuquerque airport waiting for my flight back to Tulsa having just attended a conference entitled "Laughing & Weeping" led by Richard Rohr and Russ Hudson. I first came into contact with the work of the Franciscan priest Richard Rohr back in the early 90s when someone gave me a tape of a talk he gave on the parable of the Weeds Among the Wheat. It had a powerful effect on me and I've made a point of keeping up with his ministry over the years.

In his closing remarks this morning, Fr. Richard quoted something Carl Jung said toward the end of his life and I pass it on to you:

In my case Pilgrim's Progress consisted in my having to climb down a thousand ladders until I could reach out my hand to the little clod of earth that I am.

-- Carl Jung

Notice how he talks about climbing down rather than climbing up. It reminded me of the time I heard Henri Nouwen speak back in the late 70s. His reference to what he called "downward mobility" had a great influence on me in the discernment of my monastic vocation.


  1. wow - it feels like you just left for the conference! can hardly wait to read more gems like this one :)

  2. Ellie, lovely--and so nice to remember sitting right next to you when Fr. Richard said that!

  3. Hi, Roberta and Jan.

    Yup. It's good to be back home. Except my checked bag didn't make it back to Tulsa. (It's probably somewhere in Denver.) Bummer! (I do hope it arrives tomorrow.) Still, I'm here finally in my own bed with my lap top and one of my kitty-cats! (Henry, the one in my picture. He's the clingy one.)

    Yes, Jan. That Jung quote knocked my socks off --- as you could tell!

  4. Jung's words make so much sense, especially, I suppose, to those of us who are of a certain age ;-)

    ... to reach out a hand "to the little clod of earth that I am" -- it strikes me as a coming-home ... finally, a recognition of one's own presence and gifts ... It's hard to put words to. But what a relief to "climb down the ladder." I've done some hard climbing *down* over the past years in terms of finances and health -- a conscious descent ... Isn't it interesting our descents (unless they're sudden and disastrous) tend to be more mindful ...

    Great food for thought, Ellie. Thanks. And I'm glad to know you're home, snuggling with your purr-babies :-)


New policy: Anonymous posts must be signed or they will be deleted. Pick a name, any name (it could be Paperclip or Doorknob), but identify yourself in some way. Thank you.