Let Your Light Shine
An online lectio divina workshop series
Available on demand for groups and congregations
Over 20 years ago, an encounter with a poem changed my life.
I’d been holding out against my call to ministry for a long time because I thought ministers were supposed to be always giving, always good, in a very boxed-in, narrow, dutiful way. I told myself I couldn’t be a minister because I had never joined the Peace Corps, or given all my savings to help starving children. I didn’t know there was any other way to be a spiritual leader.
Part of it was self-judgment, but it was self-protection too. I could see the beauty in a life devoted to community service and justice work, but I knew it wasn’t my beauty. That kind of life would have killed my soul, bit by bit.
Then one day I came across Mary Oliver’s poem Wild Geese. I was electrified to read her words:
You do not have to be good….
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
Those words jumped off the page. It felt like a direct message from Spirit going right to the core of my being: you are enough. You are good. What you love is good.
Over the next few days, I asked myself, What if loving what I actually loved was exactly right for me? And what if I could be a minister who could help other people discover their own goodness and enough-ness too?
Soon after that, I applied to seminary. I went, and I’ve been doing ministry ever since–in my way, not some imagined more virtuous way.
It’s true that sometimes I get off course. Every now and then, I still find myself worrying that who I am isn’t good enough and what I care about isn’t “worthy” enough, or comparing myself to imaginary amazing people and judging myself for falling short of their imaginary virtues. But then I go back to Mary Oliver and let her poem bring me back to myself and what my heart knows to be true.
Today, I’m passionate about the power of poems and sacred texts to speak to our hearts, carrying just the right message for each of us on the path to letting our unique light shine more fully.
If that resonates with you, I invite you to join me for this online workshop series to explore the spiritual practice of lectio divina (“sacred reading”).
In spite of its fancy Latin name, lectio divina is very simple. You sit down with a poem or other text and read it slowly, listening for a word or phrase that speaks to you, and then reflecting on what it means for you. I think of it as talking with Spirit through the medium of someone else’s words.
(You can learn more about lectio divina in my ebook Conversations with Spirit.)
The workshop series
In this Zoom-based online series, “Let Your Light Shine,” we’ll sit with texts by 5 writers, including Howard Thurman, Mary Oliver, Parker Palmer, Joy Harjo, and Martha Graham.
No prior experience is necessary. Just come as you are, and I’ll lead you through it. Everyone will have an opportunity to share with the group about what came up in your practice, though you’re always free to pass.
What past participants are saying
The sessions with Laura were a joy. Laura is an enthusiastic and welcoming facilitator. I was surprised how each reading spoke to me, and I gained so much insight from the process.
Sara Goldsberry, past participant
How to schedule
This series was originally offered in spring 2023. Today, it can be scheduled on-demand for your group or congregation. Schedule a call with me today to talk more about dates, times, and costs.