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Contemplative Leadership


A Sharing of Your Gifts and the Grace of Reciprocity

I’ve been paying attention to the reciprocal relationships in my life lately; and find one of the easiest to recognize is photosynthesis_ of forests taking our carbon dioxide and providing us with oxygen.

No matter how important photosynthesis is for our earth, there are other vital reciprocity that touch our souls.

Reading Toko-pa Turner and Fr. Casey Beaumier, I find some of this language.

Author, mystic and dream-worker Toko-pa Turner expands on the reciprocity in nature, writing in her blog post Reciprocity with Nature (

“… true happiness depends upon our reciprocity with the environment in which we are embedded, and unto which we are indebted. In the same way that mitochondria work to break down nutrients and turn it into energy for our bodies, we too are but a single component of a greater biosphere that sees no hierarchy between ferns and redwoods, worms, and eagles.

She adds, “… we can never truly be separated from the natural world because, like every other living being, we are quite literally expressions of the earth”; and challenging, she asks:

“How might we practice belonging ourselves back to the ecosystem?

The language of the earth and our souls are basically the same. In the fashion of Turner’s writing, I ask myself:

“How might I practice belonging myself back to the Devine in our everyday state of being.”

I found an answer to seeking meaning for spiritual reciprocity in Fr. Casey Beaumier, SJ’s, book, A Purposeful Path. It is the story of his pilgrimage as a Society of Jesus novice. He presents it as an awakening, in which he writes:

Ultimately everything I had received and was yet to receive in life was to be given away, meant for the betterment of others so they, too, might grow toward the greater interior that comes from knowing the profound love of God”.

It is meaningful to me, a reciprocal spiritual relationship, delivering a wisdom as profound and mysterious as photosynthesis. It extends grace to the giver as well as the recipient ... embedded and indebted in our prayer, "seeking forgiveness for our trespasses and forgiving those who have trespassed against us."

For me, it bears witness to, as well as offers gratitude for what I have received, for my abilities and gifts. It fulfills a purpose larger than myself, offering grace to both the giver and to the recipient; and in invocation seeking of forgiveness as well as forgiving.

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Mar 05, 2023

As I re-read my own post, I recognize I might be more clear adding that Turner and Beaumier speak of a reciprocal relationship I previously did not see. I recognized I had natural capabilities that I was unable to rectify in my own mind. Beaumier helped me see that I was meant to use them for others, for the benefit of others. They not to be hoarded, not to be kept for myself _ as the forests do not keep the oxygen for themselves. This is the nature of life.

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