A School of An Ordinary Mystic Life
"It was both a blessing and a privilege to have served and loved the hungry, homeless, and marginalized of Chinatown-Salinas for thirty years. I suppose that the most important lesson I learned in the conclusion of those years was the mystic-importance of falling in love on a daily basis. This "falling" is all the difference in the world: it enlivens with vision and grace, it supports through passion and delight, and it transforms through solidarity and surrender. The essence of a "useful" spirituality is in the union of contemplation and action... in the struggle to birth the "Beloved Community" of which Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke.
The homeless whom I served were the loves of my life: even my love for my wife, Michelle, was an outcome of my surrender into the breaking of my heart -- on every level that one could imagine -- precisely so that "I" could leak out all over the place. The "Mystic-Masters": Yeshua the Poet of Nazareth, Sts. Francis and Clare of Assisi, Rumi the Ecstatic, St. Hildegard of Bingen, and Dorothy Day, Saint of the Gutter Beautiful walked and informed me everyday of my journey... until it became clear that it was time to die into leaving... and starting over, in a brand new place, with a brand new dream...
Since my departure from the Franciscan Workers, and our intentional community of the Companions of the Way, Michelle and I have found our way to a little town in the Midwest called "River Falls". It hosts the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, is near to the still wild St. Croix River and the Mississippi River. The little "Kinni" flows right through the center of town. Here, in the surrounding area, and into the nearby Twin Cities, like everywhere, are significant pockets of poverty and marginalization. Next door to progressive Minnesota is the currently "regressive" North Dakota, which is seeking to "opt out" of their previous support of the Equal Rights Amendment. No step forward into a more just and humane future is immune from those who feel their privileges, profits, and power threatened by an increase of justice...
I have come to realize that -- my most important task is that of assisting in the "formation" of a new generation of mystic-activists. With this taken to heart, I have written a book: on one level a memoir, on another a re-imagining of the lives of Yeshua and St. Francis: the two axial figures in my steady spiritual awakening. Featuring true stories, flash fiction, poetry, mini-biographies, quotations from many spiritual / secular / activists, and some "how to" steps to "become" a mystic-activist and community organizer. Selected pages from "Resplendent in Rags" show up every-once-in-a-while in this website... Also, a companion website with additional photos are on www.dorothysplacefounder.net
As you no doubt realize, our precious blue Planet is @risk. Progress is challenged by small-mindedness and fear all around the world. Children are still hungry. Women are still oppressed or marginalized in many nations. Homelessness is rampant. Suicide is contagious. Science is under frequent attack. "Alternative facts" fuel the racism, sexism, and nationalism of the Right-Wing everywhere. And violence is still proposed and employed as a "solution" to personal, national, and international problems. In other words, we need a resurgence of mysticism! We need a renewal of contemplation and sacred action! We need a nonviolent force for social change that has the power to lift us into a next step for humanity: conscious evolution! In Christian terms, this means that we must accept the challenge and grace of the Christ Consciousness, manifested centuries ago in the itinerant preacher Yeshua (Jesus) the Poet... This Consciousness is Cosmic or Universal: but most importantly, it is available!
My book, Resplendent in Rags, can be purchased by calling Robert Daniel Smith at 1-715-531-3515,
or by mailing a check for $15.00 to Robert Daniel Smith, 164 S. Apollo Rd., River Falls, WI. 54022. Also, I am available for scheduling "book talks", Round Table Discussions, or just "plain old" conversations. Dorothy Day used to speak and write about the "Duty of Delight". In other words, it is not enough to "do good" if we are not on the path of happiness, kindness, and the bliss of our human and spirit-filled possibilities. Why not begin your journey into a mystic-activism? Why not help build the Beloved Community?
Lastly, to adopt a word making its way into common usage, Namaste! Or, the Divine in me adores the Divine in you! This gift of mutual adoration and surrender makes a delightful everyday-love possible!