A Meditation of Delight

    Woman dancing amid a cloudy blue sky.

    Posted on January 16, 2024 by Jenn Zatopek

    On a cold weekday morning in late winter, I meditated imperfectly leading to a wondrous moment of play, the effects of which nestled down into my heart like sweet birdsong. So much of my life’s work has been to unravel the dangerous threads of perfectionism woven into my being, the accompanying shame making it hard to discern what only feels real and what’s actually true. In the latter half of living, I listen more to Spirit, whose guidance is like the astonishing words of Leonard Cohen: “There’s a crack in everything / That’s how the light gets in.”

    I caught a bit of that astonishment on an ordinary Monday morning during my usual habit of dropping into an online meditation after breakfast. Sitting into my lounge chair rather than at my desk, I slipped under a handmade quilt and opened my laptop, seeing my friends pop on screen for the daily sit at the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion. Mirjam led us that day, and her warm presence ushered all of us into a place of deep peace and stillness. I still heard her kind voice leading us in meditation when I fell asleep. . . 

    I’d love it if you clicked here and read the rest over at Story Sanctum.

    Photo by Dương Trần Quốc on Unsplash

    The Strange Gifts of the Season

    Snowy mountain in Sandia Mountains.

    Posted on January 14, 2024 by Jenn Zatopek

    After the excitement of Christmas, of writing heartfelt cards and opening sweet presents and watching our favorite holiday movies, I woke up early the morning after and groaned. Christmas was peaceful this year, if a little quiet, and then came the sore throat, a tiny patch of skin inside that no water could quench, and I sighed in dismay at my luck. Bravely, tiredly we packed up sweaters and hiking boots and wool socks and leftovers the morning after Christmas and drove nine hours to Albuquerque, me driving and getting sicker as the cold windy day progressed into an even chiller night in Northern New Mexico.

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    Final Thoughts on 2023

    Sunset on top of Sandia Mountains in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

    Posted on December 31, 2023 by Jenn Zatopek

    The first time I meditated was freshman year in 1996 at the girls’ dorm on a warm autumn day. I gripped a packet of worksheets in my hands, which elucidated the benefits of meditation, encouraging me to relax and let go. Easy enough, I thought, as I sat on the soft quilt with warm spring colors, staring out the huge windows facing southward. Studious but impatient, I skimmed the first few pages and resolved to try myself, no one else around to offer support. After all, my counselor said I could handle it on my own, so why not try it?

    I’m sure you know where this is headed. Read more

    My Other Examen

    Posted on December 6, 2023 by Jenn Zatopek

    My Other Examen

    The father and I are one.
    – Jesus (John 10:30)

    He who experiences the unity of life sees his own self in all beings.
    – Buddha


    The religious often say:
    You live in these tired glorious bodies.

    But where? The lonely child in me wants
    more than words but a mountain to climb into.

    Where can I put my hands in yours, dear God?
    How to feel our belonging together?

    This heaviness is too much to carry,
    unutterably alone, lost within myself.

    Labyrinths of my past beckons
    as I stumble around in darkness but—

    In the seeming absence, Your silence speaks,
    reminds me tenderly in the deepest fissures of pain,

    I place one hand over the other,
    praising this ocean of breath and know:

    We cannot help but be one, You and I,
    in this dear body being breathed.

    Image: Unsplash

    In the Grips of Letting Go

    A solitary green tree on a green meadow against a cloudy blue sky.

    Posted on July 24, 3023 by Jenn Zatopek

    A few weeks before it happened I was with family at Book People in Austin where I felt drawn to read Joan Didion’s memoir The Year of Magical Thinking. The booksellers described the story in a small placard on the shelf where the book lay in an obscure corner upstairs. After reading how Didion lost her husband and almost lost her adult daughter within five months of each other, I was hooked. This is a woman who knows suffering and isn’t afraid of it, I thought to myself. She will be a good companion if the very worst happens.**

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    The Queer Joy of Belonging

    Posted on June 30, 2023 by Jenn Zatopek

    On the first weekend in June, my partner and I served communion at our friendly LGBTQIA+ church and my heart touched the marvelous love of God in our beloved community. As a queer Christian, I took great joy in serving alongside my husband, he breaking the bread while I held the cup of salvation for anyone to receive this life-changing meal: tall drag queens and kindhearted lesbians, smiling trans folx and earnest allies, bashful children and beautiful gender non-binary friends, and dearly beloveds all across the beautiful queer spectrum, all welcomed into the loving arms of God, including my cherished queer self. . .

    I’d love it if you clicked here and read the rest over at Red Letter Christians

    Image: My friends from Galileo Church, Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex.