Four Words

 

As I walk the mountain I’m humming four words. Each word slows me down so I pay attention to my footsteps. I’m more attentive to my walk, the woods around me, and to being alive, today.

My words grew out some mindfulness meditations from Thich Nhat Hanh. I’ve been doing an online course from him and realized I needed to do it a second time.  (It’s one that Sounds True offers: Body and Mind are One). This time I’ve laid aside my knitting so I can take notes.  My mind wanders less when my hand holds a pen and puts marks on paper!

Each section of the course begins with a guided meditation, a series of repeated phrases that the student is to take into a walking meditation and daily practice. Over the last few months as I’ve listened to them, I found I was creating my own phrases, a tiny bit different and reflective of my life. The phrases fall on the in breath and out breath:

Breathing in: The mountain is solid

Breathing out: I’m solid

Mountain/solid (stay with these words till ready to change)

Breathing in: The creek is flowing

Breathing out: I’m flowing

Creek/flowing

Breathing in: The trees are still

Breathing out: I’m still

Trees/still

Breathing in: The birds are singing

Breathing out: I’m singing

Birds/singing

Breathing in: Solid

Breathing out: Flowing

Breathing in: Still

Breathing out: Singing

Solid/Flowing/Still/Singing  (repeating these four words until it’s time to move on)

During the day I’m carrying those four words around with me. Sometimes I pause, take a breath and lay my words on my breath. Then I know I’m here and present with whomever I am with, wherever I am.

Do you have four words that are yours to ground you? What might they be?

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

 

 

Leftovers!

 

Sometimes I can be a driven person who needs everything to be done the Right Way which equals My Way! Anybody else out there like that?!

Last week a friend shared a dream where she was in the kitchen of a retreat centre watching people rush to serve leftovers to retreatants. The leaders rushed into the kitchen, grabbed leftovers from the fridge, tossed them into the microwave and hurried out to serve them to the retreatants. “No!” she shouted within herself. She wanted them to slow down, cook a meal and properly serve people. But the retreatants felt they were full, nourished and happy with the microwaved leftovers.  All was well. Even though she wanted to give them a carefully prepared home cooked meal, they were well satisfied with leftovers. God was in the leftovers.

I’m so grateful for her dream. It’s easy for me to get caught in the vice of things being done a specific way, the right way, My Way. Her dream calls me back to relaxing, letting go of my own agendas and letting things unfold. Years ago, I learnt that God works within what I would name as our imperfections, mistakes and even hurtful behaviours. God doesn’t require Anne’s strict guidelines of a ‘good’ process to work.  God is always present, even when it looks to me like Trouble with a capital ‘T’.  My job is to TRUST God is always present, keep myself within the Holy Creek flow of LOVE, no matter what is happening around me and keep my eyes open for Spirit LIFE.

So the next time you take leftovers out of the fridge….maybe you can recall that God is in the leftovers. God can use our leftovers when that’s all we’ve got to offer. How big and wonderful is our God. How little and humble are we.

Time to relax, lie back in my hammock, and listen for the tapping of the Spirit.

Happy listening to you.

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

 

The World Today: Misty Mountain

This morning as I headed out the driveway and up the road to begin my daily mountain walk, I could see Mt. Harvey clearly,  with clouds behind it. Each morning I walk the watershed road for a kilometre to a special tree and rock I’ve come to mark as holy ground. Just beyond them is a barrier and I can’t go any further on the road. As I pause to pray, the creek is roaring below me, the forest is climbing the hill beside me, the trees are standing tall, the birds are singing and I can see a mountain ahead of me. I’m so grateful for this spot.

This morning when I got to the end of the road, the mountains had disappeared. What had been so clear as I set out, was covered in clouds  when I reached my resting place. But I knew she was still there.

Our world is in such upheaval. I’ve long prayed that the voices of the oppressed would be released, the voices of women, indigenous and all who have been silenced could speak clearly into the world. It’s happening. Now, how will we find our way forward? What do we need to bring about a social shift? The prayer that rises within me this week is around leadership. As I walk the mountain road I long for strong, moral, spiritual leaders to arise, to show us a way forward, a way to create a different social order. Where is the leadership we need?

Even though our world is in upheaval I know God is still present, still working, still caring. The clouds may cover the mountain, but the mountain doesn’t move. It’s solid. The clouds will pass and I’ll see her again. God with the eternal, spiritual world is solid. The upheaval will pass. Let’s remain solid as the mountain, trusting the presence of God and asking what our part is to birth a new social order.  

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

I’ve Got Space Now!

 

A couple of conversations this week drifted into the area of spaciousness in our lives. Some people were finding that the pandemic lifestyle was allowing their lives to be more spacious. Others were finding space through a releasing of old connections and responsibilities; a bit of soul-cleaning was taking place. And then there was me! This week life felt so full. In the midst of our shutdown, have I managed to let my old busy habits fill my days again?

Walking the mountain this morning, I pondered the feelings of spaciousness and fullness. Each step on the mountain road was so beautiful. The rain fell gently. The still forest held a deep green secret. The evergreens were tipped with light green showing the brand-new edges of their branches. Step by step. Moment by moment climbing the mountain road. Spaciousness and fullness. Solid mountain, flowing river. Deep green. New growth green.

My life is spacious. I haven’t filled it up again. Besides home life and garden, I have two projects which give me joy. I realized that I feel full when I let don’t close those projects after working on them. My favorite tech support said to me one day that I leave a lot of docs open on my desktop. Yeah, I don’t clear them away when I’m finished! My desktop can get quite cluttered. Same for my life. It can feel full, cluttered and pressured if I allow projects to creep into another time. I seek to live moment to moment. Doing one thing at a time calmly, serenely, saturated with peace and fully focused. One thing at a time. One step at a time. I like living that way. I’m not overwhelmed. I’m not listening to the voices around me, only to the voice within me. Voices around me shout, ‘Do this. NOW. You have so much to do. Do this.’ But the voice within me doesn’t shout, doesn’t pressure, but simply guides. ‘Ah this. Right now. This.’

When I listen and follow the inner voice, I have space. It feels so good. I know when I’m listening to the ‘out-there’ voices. They make me feel pressured or trapped or not enough. When I listen within, to the tapping of my heart, I’ve got space, plenty of space.

As our fourth month of pandemic restrictions comes nears an end, how are you doing? Are you feeling spacious or full, grounded or overwhelmed? What adjustments have shaped your life? How are you living with them?

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

Lying in a Hammock

 

The world’s in upheaval this week Anne. How can you write about lying in a hammock? What if I said to you that it is a Hammock of Love?

This week the affirmation I’ve been working with is “Relax and cast aside all mental burdens, allowing God to express through me his perfect love, peace and wisdom.” Holy Creek Stuff! It speaks to me of one of the foundational truths that I received in Proverbs 3.5-6: “Trust in the Lord your God with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path.” The teaching of both is in alignment. What if I relaxed, let go of negative mental thoughts, of the planning, sorting out, explaining – all that stuff that goes on mentally. What if I didn’t lean on my intellectual ponderings? What if I relaxed like lying in a hammock and let God move through me? What if…..

I’ve just finished the first draft of my spiritual memoirs. It’s been a thoughtful experience. One of the places I got caught was when I was recounting a story from 1990. During that period, I experienced a call into ministry. From that call there was much spiritual nourishment in the class that I oversaw, but at the same time there was pain and chaos at home. I began to ask more clearly why didn’t that flow of love, peace and wisdom go into my home life? Why was it only channeled into my class life? Or was it in my home but I couldn’t see it?

Today I can see that the Holy Creek was flowing but that there were blocks, big rocks that stopped the easy flow into my home life. I wasn’t relaxed at home. I carried a lot of mental burdens around the house. At home I felt I wasn’t a good enough mom, wife or human being. Those are Huge Mental Burdens to carry! I didn’t know how to cast those aside, so I kept lugging them around everyday. I’d get to my class and walk into a world where I was enjoyed and respected. It was a very different atmosphere. Holy Creek was always flowing, but sometimes my mental rocks disrupted its flow.

Now imagine with me a world where we all, or even many of us, relaxed into a Hammock of Love.  We cast aside our negative thought patterns and received the truth about ourselves, that we are, each one of us, a child of God, created in the image of Divine Love, Peace and Wisdom. We can relax and let Love be expressed through us. Then, maybe then, we’ll find the healing pathway for the world so Rule of Love can be our way.

The world needs us now, more than ever to be our fullest self, so my friends relax today in the Hammock of Love and let God express through you, Divine Love, Peace and Wisdom.

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

 

 

Rule of Love

 

I hope, I hope, I hope that the upheaval within our world will take us one step forward as a human race. We’ve been shut down with a virus and now a justified viral outrage has spread. Will we move forward?

I received a note this week that the Pope has called us to prayer – one minute of silent prayer for peace for the world, at 1.00pm Sunday June 7th – possible today as you read this. Whatever your tradition, whatever your way, take a minute wherever you are around the world, in your time zone and let’s send a wave of peace around the globe and into the spiritual world. Calling for help. We need help. We can’t do this on our own. Would you join the wave of prayer? 1.00pm, wherever you are, Sunday June 8th…. And I’m a believer in cosmic time zones, so whenever your read this, send your prayer aloft!

Humanity lived for centuries under ‘Rule of Might’ where the strongest tribe won. Many of us have also lived under the ‘Rule of Law’ where, although safer, the privileged often were the winners. Now it’s time for the ‘Rule of Love’ to reign. Imagine with me, a world where compassion, forgiveness and kindness were strong. Imagine with me a world where we saw the goodness within one another, where we treated each other gently. I’m a Christian, a follower of Jesus, so imagine with me a world where he, with his healing energy was welcomed. Imagine.

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

Hidden Beauty

 

I think I told you that we’re working on a trail from our home to the creek below us. I’ve found that my job, has been to tidy the forest around the trail. Doesn’t that sound odd?  Why would you tidy a forest? For years, the forest and those in the home have tossed branches down the hillside. I did it myself last year when a windstorm blew branches all around the decks. I just tossed them over edge into the forest below us. That’s just fine, till someone gets the idea to make a trail down the hillside to the creek! Suddenly all those branches become visible and many need to be moved to clear space for the trail.

As I began to clear the branches, I realized that not only the narrow trail needed to be cleared, but I wanted the space around the trail to be open too. That’s when I began to tidy the forest. Others are working away sawing trees, digging out rocks, grading a path and building steps. I’m climbing over rocks tossing branches over the cliff-side. I started at the top area just below the house and have been making my way towards the creek.

The first few areas near the house were amazing. Simply removing the loose branches revealed a delightful forest garden right by our home. As I made my way down the hillside I found more treasures; a huge stump with ivy tumbling over it, a massive rock partly covered in moss, two more huge rocks with tree stumps tucked between them and a moss covered hillside that was flecked with starburst flowers. As the mess of odd branches was removed the beauty of the forest began to shine through. Next trail making day I’ll get out my clippers and tidy up the ferns. Underneath all that clutter there was and is a beautiful forest garden.

Isn’t that an image of life? What’s underneath the clutter of our activities, underneath the knot of old tapes in our minds, underneath the weight of ambitions and pressures? I know there is a beautiful forest garden within each of us. Too often our beauty is covered by a lot of clutter that we’ve accumulated or let others dump on us. But we are beautiful. Each person around you is beautiful. Can you see your own beauty? Can you see the beauty in the one beside you? What is the clutter that can be removed so you can behold the beauty within yourself and the one nearest you? God is always present, ready to help de-clutter.

May you use these days well.

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

 

 

Listening Distance – Again

 

A reader sent me a link to a compelling video that speaks again to living within listening distance of God.  If you just want the clip – skip to the end! or linger with me for a bit of set up….

This week a friend was describing how, one day, she heard ‘the tapping on her heart’.  She wasn’t alone but with two other people who heard the same ‘heart tapping’. BUT they made a decision together not based on their common shared experience but on an external policy structure they’d been given by their organization. Later, as events unfolded, they regretted they hadn’t listened to their ‘heart tapping’.

I felt sad as she told her story, yet it was so familiar too. Having a sense of something yet not living into it…..isn’t that familiar to so many of us?

I remembered a community I was part of years ago that taught me so much about listening together to the Spirit of God. It was wonderful to sit with a team, listening for ‘heart tapping’, that inner sense that we all shared and then making our decisions, within a community structure but with the freedom to follow our ‘heart tapping’. We had wonderful years together, sometimes stumbling over each other, but generally growing together because we respected each other and respected the ‘heart tapping’ that we were learning to listen to.

In my early Christian years, one verse that jumped out for me was John 3.8 ‘The wind blows where it pleases. You hear the sound of it but don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with anyone born of the Spirit.’ I sat at a beach this week and watched kites fly in the wind, lifting, dipping and soaring again, responding to each breath of the wind. Oh I long to live so sensitive to the Spirit. To be lifted, dipped, flipped around all trusting the Spirit as I listen to the ‘heart tapping’.

Here’s the link I tempted you with. It’s the true story of a pastor who learns to slow down and listen to God.

https://www.livegodspeed.org/watchgodspeed

How might we live Godspeed? How might we live listening to the ‘tapping of on our heart’? How might we live blown by breath of God?

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

Holy Creek!

 

Just below our home is a creek. We live on a mountainside, so there is a steep hill of about a hundred yards down to the creek. But we can hear it! The snow is melting and it’s raining today so the creek is full and flowing well. I love standing near a creek, a brook or a river and watching it tumble over rocks. I love the movement. I’m told there is something healthy for us, something we humans breath into our physical nature through the flow of water. I’m not a scientist so I don’t know much about that, but I do know that I feel satisfied and refreshed when I pause near flowing water.

This week one of my readings reminded me of the continuous presence of God that flows through me. There is a constant flow of light, love, peace, joy, of all the nature of our omnipresent Creator. All of that is flowing through me. That feels so good to me. As I moved through my daily activities this week, I’ve been pausing to recall God’s flow through me. Just as my creek keeps flowing, so our Creator’s Nature of peace, joy, forgiveness keeps flowing through me. And you. As I slow down and recall that, I consciously open myself to that flow. Oh, that feels so good. And then I imagine the flow coming through you too. That feels good too.

I’m so grateful to live beside a creek. I’m so grateful for the flow of God’s Creek within me and within you. Come Holy Creek, flow freely today.

 

 

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

Listening Distance 2

 

In response to my blog last week, one of our readers sent me this quote:

“In his book The Heart of the Hunter, Laurens van der Post tells his story of living in the Kalahari Desert with the bushmen of South Africa. It became obvious to van der Post that these primitive peoples knew intimately the presence of wisdom in every blade of grass and in every heartbeat. The bushmen had a mysterious kind of inner knowing. They knew when the enemy was approaching and danger was near, they knew when to move their camps, and when and where the rains would come. They knew where to go for the hunting that would sustain their lives. When questioned about this mysterious inner knowledge, they spoke of what they called the ‘tapping of the heart.’

From an early age they had been commanded to heed this tapping. When they felt it coming, they were to become very quiet inside and to listen vigilantly to the tapping. It was like a sixth sense, an unexplainable knowing. Reflecting on the uncomplicated lives of these ancient peoples I have come to believe that this mysterious knowing in them was nothing less than the wisdom of God.”

Oh…to mature within a community, a family group, that commands one to listen to such inner wisdom! How different from much of my training!

In the next few weeks most of us will begin to emerge from different levels of social isolation. One of my desires is to listen to the ‘tapping of my heart’ as I emerge. What is life-giving? How is Spirit directing me? Will I have the courage to listen? Will I have the courage to act on what I hear?

It’s so easy for me to call the bushmen ‘primitive’, but my sophistication can be an obstacle to spiritual intimacy. May it not be so. May I, may all of us, wait on God. Sit quietly. Even within our activities to be quiet and to keep listening to the tapping, to the whisper, to the words of loving guidance.  To wait and to trust.

Be safe, be well, and emerge wisely

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder