Merely Beloved: Breathe Beauty

This post is part of a series on spiritual disciplines called Merely Beloved. Erin and I were in seminary together and I pretty much thought she was way too cool to hang out with me. Luckily, she doesn’t care about that sort of thing so we had a great friendship. She continues to inspire me with her passion and creativity. For more information about the series, click here.

We live in a world that is busy. That wants fast. That never has enough time. That often feels behind. 

But what I love about both the spiritual practice of gardening, and that of photography, is that each, in its own way, is an invitation to, even if for only a moment, set aside the fast and simply be. Be present. Pay attention. Notice. Be mindful.

So, on this feast day of St. Francis, the patron saint of the environment, I invite you to take a moment (five minutes and 28 seconds to be exact) to simply dwell. See. Listen. Consider it a meditation. Seriously.

And then go back to the fast, the busy, the urgent that must be attended to – but do so with some of that dwelling within you. Like a jelly-filled doughnut, if you will. Just not quite as messy.

“While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.” -St. Francis of Assisi

“Breathe Beauty” – words and music by the Basics, sung by Kelly Colbert
Photos by Erin Dunigan, taken at the Serra Retreat Center in Malibu, California

Erin Dunigan lives in Baja California, Mexico where she tends her fruit trees (15 at last count) when she is not traveling the world as a photographer, writer and storyteller. She is ordained in the Presbyterian Church USA as an evangelist and is pastor of Not Church. She blogs occasionally at and her photos can be seen on flickr as well as