Walls and Windows

This week when I hit A WALL, I felt sad. One more time I was in familiar territory. I’d offered a suggestion and I heard it come back to me with a ‘well maybe, if you really want’. I hung out in sad for awhile, mulling it over, aware of the trigger that had been hit. This morning when I felt The Wall appear again, I decided that I would look through windows and doors instead of looking at The Wall. I began to recall all the people who smile when they see me, the offerings I’ve made that have been received, the invitations I’ve had, the connections I’ve made. It was wonderful.

I’ve been thinking a lot about self-control in the last while. I used to shudder when it was listed as a fruit of the Spirt. Alongside love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness, self-control seemed like Big Brother, a chaperone who stops the fun, a rule-maker. Years ago, I did some Greek word work and found a different take on it, but not till this past month have I enjoyed the word. Self-control now says to me that I can make choices. I have power within my world, power to choose how I will respond, how I will see the world, and see myself. I have both ‘will power’ and ‘won’t power’. What a gift from the Spirit! I can align my will with Spirit and bear wonderful fruit. I am strong.

Today I was able to not look at a wall but to see the windows and look through them. It doesn’t mean the wall goes away, but it shrinks into proportion, into its proper place. It moves from WALL to a wall. Yes, there are times when suggestions aren’t received, and yes there are many times when they are received, when I’m received.

It’s part of my journey into effortless leadership. I’ll continue to look for windows and doors. I have the ability to choose how I will look and how I will respond.

What’s true for me is true for you…..you too are strong and powerful. Self-control is one of your gifts too.  

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

Society Member with Shalem Institute for Contemplative Living

Companion with The Rivendell Way

Releasing Hidden Treasure

I continue to enjoy the awareness from last week of God’s Loving Presence within me, within you. What a treasure we hold! Sometimes while I meditated, I could feel the Vibrant Life within the glove of my life. I want to wear thin my glove life so God’s Vibrant Life shines through.

How shall I wear thin the glove, the ego that holds this life?

As often happens, my mind wanders down the pathways of prayer. I’ve had a long-standing desire to learn and experience more about it. I remember as a young Christian, reaching for O. Hallesby’s book on prayer from the library at L’Abri. It was the first intentional study I did as a new believer. My desire to know more continued over the years so books on prayer began to fill my library, days were spent combing the scriptures to learn the teachings about prayer, courses from many teachers were taken and of course hours were spent exploring the depths of experience.

Prayer is opening myself to Gods Presence. It might last an instant or be an aching heart I carry for days. It is always, dare I use that word ‘always’….an opening to the Divine One, the Creator, the Holy, the Pain-bearer, Life-giver.

One of my current favorite teachers tells me there is but one pathway in prayer, it is full and rich, but only one pathway. I am to learn to sit deeply in meditation, till I sit with peaceful bliss within the Presence of God. I turn to my bookshelf or the internet and teachers abound offering many pathways or methods of prayer. All those offerings weary me. I find that teachers are insistent on ‘their’ way. I suppose I’m the same. At this point in my life, I continue to recognize that there are many ways to pray. ‘Pray as you can, not at you can’t’ remains my foundation. It makes sense to me that we need to start where we are, not trying on something that doesn’t suit our temperament, experience, or stage of spiritual growth. And we also need to stay with what we know. We need faithfulness to our rhythm and spiritual practices.

Both faithfulness and flexibility are needed for spiritual growth. I need to show up each day for my practice and I need to be open to that practice showing up in my daily life, my regular encounters with family, neighbours and strangers. I need to let the glove of my life wear thin. Faithfulness in seeking God day in and day out as well as flexibility, being willing to change, to listen to how the Spirit is moving within me, living always with a beginner’s attitude, and in humility knowing I have so much still to learn spiritually.

Faithfulness and flexibility. I need them both. I want the glove of my life to wear thin, transparent so the life of Christ shines through me. It’s what is meant by teaching ‘It is in dying, I’m born to eternal life.’ As the glove of my life wears thinner, the Eternal Light of Christ within me, my life hidden within him, my soul life, shines brighter.

Ah Gentle Reader, thanks for letting me think my way through something this week. Faithfulness and flexibility. Releasing the Hidden Treasure. Life from within a well-worn glove. Yes!

Love and prayers from a mystic in motion

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

Society Member with Shalem Institute for Contemplative Living

Companion with The Rivendell Way

Hidden Treasure

Do you like treasure hunts? As a child, whether it was searching for Easter eggs or following clues, I loved it! As a mom, I  created them for my own girls; scavenger hunts on birthdays, or turning mealtime into a game by hiding dinner around the house. I like discovery and hunting and exploring. Well, one evening this week I got much more than I ever expected. I stumbled upon a treasure hidden inside me.

It had been a long day. I had missed my usual late afternoon meditation and felt too tired to concentrate. I chose to listen to a recorded meditation just before bed. You may have heard them before, a gentle voice guiding you to a quiet space, asking you to recall someone you care about so you can be in touch with a warm feeling. I’ve led such meditations and enjoyed them with others before, but that evening when I was asked to recall a warm feeling, such as we have with someone very special to us, or a baby, or puppy, someone or something that evokes a tender love, I felt myself connected to a very warm feeling, one I know very well. Usually when it rises up I simply smile and move on, but that night I didn’t move on. I stayed in the puddle of warm, tender feelings. The facilitator invited me to move other people into that warm flow. Some I shied from being so open with, others were easier to embrace. It was a short and warm meditation time before bed.

The next morning, the experience lingered on. I realized that warm tender love is God’s Divine Love within me. It is there within me. All the time. ALL THE TIME. I don’t have to look for it out there, nor do I have to work at it. Instead,, I recognize that warm, tender, accepting, enjoying love is the expression of Divine Love through me. It’s like a loving hand within the glove of my life. Time again I’m invited to TRUST Love’s Presence within me, to relax and let Love smile through me.

What a treasure, Divine Love hidden within me. It’s not just in me, it’s in you too. Take a breath or two or three. Let the image of someone or something you care about surface. Stay there. Don’t move an emotional muscle. Stay in the warmth. You have Divine Love within you too. What a treasure! What a treasure within you. What a treasure you are.

Love and Prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

Society Member with Shalem Institute for Contemplative Living

Companion on The Rivendell Way

Cloudy Thoughts

Clouds move down the hill sweeping past my window.

Sometimes I see clearly, bright sun illuminating the hillside and water.

Sometimes I barely see anything as mists and clouds embrace me.

No matter how transient weather dances,

Earth remains below, around and before me.

No matter circumstances of life,

no matter ancient wounds within,

no matter lack of understanding,

no matter unknowing,

God, Eternal Presence, Divine One, Source of All, The Light,

 The Heartbeat, The Holy One

remains below, around, before and within me.  

Who’s not to say but transient weather dances are beautiful!

So let’s say too, in a loud voice, ‘Life is beautiful!’

Not always sunny,

often foggy,  

not without suffering and surprises,

                             yet holding hidden moments of joy.

In all God is calling to me ‘Come my child, Come my beloved one. Keep your eyes on me and me alone. I will show you the path of life’.

Let the clouds come, the mists swirl, even the fog ,

 the earth remains my home,

my temple not made with hands.

Within that temple I hear a humming, a love song for us all.

Shh…Listen with me….

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

Society Member with Shalem Institute for Contemplative Living

Companion with The Rivendell Way

Do You Trust Me?

“Close your eyes. Open your mouth. I have a surprise for you!”. I was perched on a step ladder cleaning the curtains in the living room of the manor house. Each day I had a gardening or household task to accomplish as part of my responsibility of visiting the Christian community that lived in this old house in Hampshire, England. I liked being in the community and doing simple tasks. They were a welcome release from the intense study that we were supposed to be doing. I wanted to escape a lot of thinking so weeding the garden or house cleaning were gifts to me.

I was by myself in the large living room when the young man, came to me with his surprise. I imagine most of us have heard that children’s rhyme before. I certainly had, but when I tried to close my eyes, I couldn’t. When I tried to open my mouth, I couldn’t. I froze in front of him. I knew him a bit and had no negative reactions to him, but I completely froze, unable to respond to him. Smiling gently, he said ‘Ah, you’re not able to trust me. Here is the candy Anne.’. He moved quietly out of the room leaving me with a life-long learning. Can I trust? Do I trust? Who will I trust? What will I trust? Trust……

From that moment in June 1972, learning about trust has been a regular theme in my life. Last week it emerged one more time. I live in whale country where we often share videos when the Orca’s or Humpbacks that frequent Howe Sound emerge from the depths and show themselves. They flip their tails, breech, sprout and even nudge boats. We celebrate the hidden beauties!

Last week TRUST emerged, flipper her tail in my face and even nudged my boat. I was away on retreat, with my meditation and prayer times interspersed with re-reading ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’. This time his description of Spirit guiding him and people close to him, had an extra vibrancy for me. I could feel the weight of God’s presence in his life, in our world, and in my life. Yes, the very details of my life being held by Loving Spirit and the details of your life too. Flip. Breech. Nudge. I do trust the presence of God within me, around me and with you. I can’t see Spirit all the time, yet I do TRUST her presence and celebrate those moments when I KNOW I trust.

Trusting provides a different life experience. In June 1972 I was a raw, wounded and scared young woman. Now, nearly fifty years later, I’m quite different. As I live from a place of trust, I know that deep down, often hidden, but always present is my Loving God and that I belong to God, am one with my Creator. I’m so grateful for the spiritual growth that I’ve experienced so I could move more deeply into a life of trusting the hidden beauty within me and all creation, the hidden beauty that guides us and that sometimes flips her tail.

How about you? Close your eyes, reach out your hands. Life has a surprise for you. Will you receive what life is sending? Or are you too struggling with trust?

Last week, when TRUST emerged again, it was coming from my depths, to show both it’s beauty and reality. God is always present, always, willing to guide us and sometimes shows up with big sprout of water!

Covered with whale water…

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

Society Member of Shalem Institute for Contemplative Living

Companion on The Rivendell Way

Ouch! That Hurts!

Now this sound really simple, but oh…I saw it in a new way this week.

Sometimes, someone says something, or doesn’t say something, or looks at you or doesn’t look at you and you feel hurt. Know what I mean? The head noise starts: they don’t like me, he doesn’t love me, I’m not important to her, he didn’t hear what I said, I’ll never be good enough, there’s no room for me here, I don’t belong…..Ouch that hurts! I’m quite sure that anyone reading this knows what it’s like to feel hurt emotionally, feel that pinch, that tender spot.

What I realized this week was when I feel hurt, someone, usually unintentionally, has sent a dart that hit one of my old tender spots, some old untended wound. That’s all that’s happened. Some old hurt has been exposed to me.

It’s not about the other person. It is an invitation to me, if I want to take it, to bring put some healing ointment on the old wound and heal it. That’s all. A hurt is an invitation. I don’t have to RSVP the invite. I can sit in the hurt, savour it, allow its pain to consume me. The hurting little one is still loved by God.

I can also pick up the invitation and tentatively open it, apply a bit of healing balm and cover it up again by comforting actions like eating, running, working, shopping, scrolling, TV binging, or reacting with some well-chosen words… haven’t we all had these responses!

It’s also possible to acknowledge the hurt. Ouch, that hurts! And explore what part of me hurts, and why I hurt. I can talk to Jesus, Divine Mother, Loving Spirit, Creator. I can talk about the hurt, seeking wisdom and healing. If I continue to hurt, it’s one more invitation to explore the inner pain.

Deep within us is a rubbish pile and a treasure box. The rubbish pile is full of discarded sharp pieces that cause hurt. The treasure box is full of our Creator-given goodness. I know some people say to embrace your shadow side. I’m more inclined to acknowledge it’s existence, but to focus on the goodness, the treasure, the presence of God within me. I want the world to receive less of Hurting Anne, more of Trusting Anne, less Reactive Anne, more Compassionate Anne. I don’t want people to experience the sharpness of my rubbish heap, but I want to help others find their way past the sharp pieces that hurt to the treasure box full to overflowing with goodness.

We all have times when ‘Ouch! That hurts!’ happens. It was a delightful moment of clarity this week when I saw the source of my pain. I hope you, Gentle Reader can see the source of your pain the next time it happens to you. God’s healing presence is with us. Everyday. All day. Everywhere.

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

Society Member with Shalem Institute for Contemplative Living

Companion on The Rivendell Way

Effortless Leadership (2)

This one is still ringing inside me. I heard from some readers about their leadership experiences and another pointed me to The Tao. Sometimes I read a bit from the Tao Te Ching near the end of my day. Are you familiar with it? There’s a wonderful story about how it was written by Lao Tzu about the 4th century BCE. If you know the ying/yang symbol – that’s Taoism. Lots of flow from the centre of being. I know little about it, so feel out of my depth to even mention it here. With my reader’s reminder, I knew it was time to read more of it for he does speak of effortless leadership.

Last night I read that I wasn’t to change the world. What? That’s so against my nature. I want to rid the world of every evil. I want people to be different, to treat each other kindly and with true justice. What do you mean, I’m not to change the world? I’m a #1 on the enneagram. We are reformers, change artists. Give me anything – a house, a garden, an organization, a person and I will see how change might happen.

Could there be another way to live? One day when I was starting a new job, my husband told me that it wasn’t my job to change either the person who would be my senior priest or to change the community. I listened and thought that on one hand he was warning me but on the other hand he was missing something. Change is my middle name. I’m always changing myself and seeking a new way forward for any organization, community or person with whom I’m involved. My perspective is that there is always more to experience and if we stay put, we’ll miss the beauty of life.

Yet last night when I read, “Do you want to improve the world? I don’t think it can be done. The world is sacred. It can’t be improved. If you tamper with it, you’ll ruin it. If you treat it like an object, you’ll lose it. There is a time for being ahead, a time for being behind; a time for being in motion, a time for being at rest; a time for being vigorous, a time for being exhausted; a time for being safe, a time for being in danger. The Master sees things as they are, without trying to control them. She lets them go their own way, and resides at the center of the circle.”, I stopped. I sat still. Maybe there is another way to live.

Maybe this broken, hurting world is the way it is to be. Slowly, with the speed of a tortoise we’ve evolved to be able to communicate globally, irradicate some diseases, limit population growth, increase access to education and clean water – there is lots that could be added to the list of ‘good’ things we’ve done to make life easier on earth. However, we could all compile a list of wrongs still here, slavery, sex trafficking, child pornography, war, racism, gender inequality, ageism, consumerism, earth abuse – there’s lots to be added to this list too. but what if…our main purpose as human beings is not to eradicate all forms of systemic evil, but to be at the centre of the circle, to awaken spiritually so that no matter our situation we know we are loved and a child of God. Yes, some of us may be called from The Centre to make changes in the systemic problems, but that is not the main event. Living with the flow of Love, within Spirit energy is the main event. Maybe some of the hardship is what brings us to that awareness of our deep human need for spiritual connection.

Maybe I don’t have to change the world, or anyone in it. Much less effort in that approach to life. Maybe this Mystic in Motion can eventually be a Mystic in Flow. How about you? Change artist? Avoider? Flow? Activist?

love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion (still)

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Society Member of Shalem Institute for Contemplative Living

Companion with The Rivendell Way

Effortless Leadership

Of all the books written about leadership, are any of them about ‘effortless leadership’? Maybe it’s time for one.

Since I was a teen, I’ve been asked to plan, organize and lead groups. I had lots of enjoyment with organizing and leading when I was in high school and summer camp. I felt humbled being asked and trusted to lead groups, yet also found it stimulating and fun. I discovered an innate sense of organization and that people seemed to enjoy working with me on projects. I was off and running as a leader.

That part of my life took a nosedive when as a young married woman we were in a church that wouldn’t allow woman to speak and our homes were to be run by men. Ah well, you can imagine that those were challenging years for me! After I emerged, people once again began to ask me to step into leadership roles, but I continued to decline them. It took some time till I was ready to see myself in any leadership role again. Eventually I said yes to one small commitment and then later agreed to a much a larger one that would change my whole life. I was back in the saddle.

I loved the years leading a Bible study class. For the first time I was taught leadership skills and a style rooted in prayerful consensus and team consultation. We studied together, prayed through our decisions as a team and cared for one another. The class grew numerically but also spiritually. We flourished together. And it was a lot of work, equivalent each week to a part-time job while I was still at home with four children. Frequently when I began to make retreats, I would sleep for the first day. I was tired.

The years I spent as clergy were wonderful too — and a lot of work. I burnt out within a year of my first placement and on retreat sorted out what I needed to do to not get exhausted. I managed most of years to be okay, but I worked hard, in parish ministry and adding Contemplative Fire into the mix as well. My days were long often with evening work. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but when I retired, I could feel the mantle of responsibility and leadership lifted from my shoulders. I had definitely been carrying a weight.

This story brings me to the other night, sitting around a campfire talking about Contemplative Fire, groups and leadership with a new Companion on the Way. He sighs with a mixture of exhaustion and frustration, ‘Leadership is so much work.’ Without thinking I responded ‘I prefer effortless leadership. That’s what I’d like to see move Contemplative Fire here.’

I’d never used those words before, but I know what I mean by them. I want to lead like a wave in an ocean. I sat at the beach today and watched the ocean and the waves. I watched how the ocean releases the waves onto the land. Sometimes gentle little waves, but other times, wow, they can rise up and smack the shore! But each wave, whatever the size, is the ocean’s effort. I can feel the depth of the ocean and see its breath in each wave.

One of my teachers has written that in spiritual life God’s effort is 50%, Jesus is 25% and Anne is 25%. That means that I am to show up, but I don’t run the show. Jesus is my guide, he directs my actions, gives me my assignments and helps me. Through him I have access to the full power of God. Anne shows up, but 75% of the effort is by spiritual power. Now that to me is effortless leadership. Grounded in God’s power, directed by Divine Will and acted out by two very human hands.

Too often what happens is our ego chooses what we do, we muster our own energy to accomplish it, get tired out and wonder what happens. I want to live, knowing myself as a wave in God’s ocean, in and out, moving and resting, listening and responding, being sent as I’m needed. God’s breath in and out. God’s the ocean, I’m the wave. Effortless Leadership. Not no effort, but effort-less. Listening Leadership. Holy Listening Leadership.

How does this sound to you Gentle Reader?

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Society Member of Shalem Institute for Contemplative Living

Companion on The Rivendell Way

Eternal Happiness

Happy New Year! In the last few days, we may have said or written that wish many times, to different people, some close to us, some passing acquaintances. This year it has a special feeling for what a year 2020 was for all of us, with nothing we expected, many adjustments and discoveries along the way. It seems more meaningful this year to wish those we share our lives with, a ‘happy’ new year, a year filled with health, happiness and hope.

But I’m going to stretch that a bit for you. I wish you happiness, but it’s a deep eternal happiness I wish for you. Not the happiness that comes from ease in life, or even having your health, or material security, but I wish for you a deeper happiness, one that isn’t attached to your life circumstances but that flows from within, regardless of what Life throws your way, regardless of pandemics or tsunamis, ill health or well being, the expected or unexpected. I wish for you the relentless flow of JOY from deep within you.

You’ll find the JOY within, for it comes from the God Fountain that is within us all, but you must go looking for it. Yes, the eternal spark is in all of us, but the fire doesn’t spread, the spring doesn’t flow uninvited. We need to slow down, look within, and listen to the voice of Love within us. We might need to get through the clamour of negative voices, those writhing reptiles that whisper or shout at us that we’re not good enough. We need to get past those to the voice of Love, to actively seek out God. Happiness lies within each one of us, independent of our circumstances because it comes from an eternal source. For years, the one I have spoken to is Jesus. He has been my guide to the fountain of living water that is within me. He is there to guide any who ask for help. 

I wish for you, this year, a further journey within to the source of JOY, PEACE, WISDOM and LOVE that lives within you. But you must go on the journey yourself, not just read the guidebooks, but get on your cushion or into your prayer chair, day by day by day and ask Jesus, ask God for more. Ask for JOY, for Eternal Happiness. Ask and you shall receive. Didn’t someone special tell us that??? Ask, ask again and again, patiently, trustfully with perseverance. Don’t just read about God, seek God. Our seeking and finding God through a real experience of the Divine is our purpose in life.

May you this year, know your purpose in life. May it truly be a Happy, New Year for you. And if you’re happier, with eternal happiness….remember happiness is contagious, so it will ripple out into society through you. Happy New Year my Gentle Readers.

With Hope and Happiness

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Society Member of Shalem Institute for Contemplative Living

Companion on The Rivendell Way

The Pause Between Times

Do you ever take time to pause and reflect on the past year?

Our global pandemic has sent each of us into a different year than we had anticipated. Let’s learn from it and set our course for next season.

I find the days between Christmas and New Years the perfect time to look back over the last year. Sometimes I let memories surface. Often, I re-read my journal recalling the highs and lows of the year. After the bustle of Christmas gift giving, this reflection time is a gift to myself, to my soul, to my spiritual growth. You can take an hour, a morning, a day, or several times over the week. Whatever time you take, will be a gift to yourself….and need I say it …you deserve it. We are meant to live fully and that requires us to continue to grow spiritually which calls for some effort. So sure, I sometimes set intentions for the new year, but more frequently and more successfully I reflect on what has been, what I’ve experienced, what I’ve learnt – all things that will change my soul’s shape as I move into the new year. And I know as I change and become healthier, I help the world as well, for I relate differently to those around me.

Be in your quiet place, breath deeply, releasing your tensions and busyness, be present to yourself and One who created you……

  1. What word or phrase best describes the past year?
  2. What were some of your moments of insight?
  3. Recall a time of joy, contentment or peace, a time when you felt connected to the bigger whole, connected even to God.
  4. Recall a wise person you met during the year. What did you learn from them? How have they shaped you?
  5. Recall a time of constraint, of sorrow, of disappointment. What have you learned from that time?
  6. Take time re-read your journal asking the Spirit to show you what you need to harvest from this past year.
  7. Again ….in a word or phrase, what is your deepest learning from the past year?
  8. And looking forward….What is your longing for the coming year? Your greatest fear? Your supports? How is your relationship with the One who created you?

To live well and experience spiritual growth, it’s necessary to examine our lives, engaging in purposeful introspection, not wallowing, but observing and loving ourselves, knowing that we are beloved children of our loving God.

May you receive the gifts that are waiting for you this week.

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

Society Member of Shalem Institute for Contemplative Living

Companion on The Rivendell Way