The Quiet Centre at the Heart of Me

 

Last week I was ruminating on my Pinball Brain, but this week my focus is on my Quiet Centre. I’m actually writing these two blogs on the same day, just minutes apart. You’ll get them a week apart, but they are deeply connected.

At the same time as I’m living with my Pinball Brain, I also am in touch with a quietness that pervades my inner world. I’m very still inside myself these days. One day I sat at my abandoned art table and got out one of my creative books to see if it would stimulate me. As I read, the author described pictures emerging from within her. I realized that one of the reasons my art table is abandoned, is that there are no pictures emerging within me. When I started about ten years ago to intentionally learn to draw and paint, there were pictures that were emerging within me, but now there are no pictures. It’s not time to create at my table. It’s time to be quiet.

Not only are there no pictures within me, there are no lessons to teach, illustrations to share, sermons to preach, or ideas for groups. That’s a huge change for me. Since my call to ministry in 1990 I’ve regularly had a flow from within for teaching. I’m very quiet in my central core right now. I continue to hold that sense that God has lifted my gifting from me and I’m to be still. It’s unfamiliar, uncomfortable and beautiful at the same time.

No pictures, no lessons and there’s also no leadership initiative within me. I read leadership books and can feel the old stirring, but then it subsides again. I return to the quiet place.

The quiet place at my centre reaches out and touches so many parts of my life. I have no desire to be in groups, workshops, retreats or services. I’m still resting in the depth of what I experienced during my Sabbath Leave.

At my core is quietness and yet I live with a Pinball Brain.

That’s me for now. How are you?

If this is interesting to you, please show support by sharing it with a friend. Let’s broaden the contemplative pathway.

Love and prayers

Anne+

Mystic in Motion

Contemplative Fire, Community Leader Canada

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The Way

I’m continuing some gentle study of First Nations spirituality. As I described a couple of weeks ago, the Elder showed me a gentle and grounded way to live. This morning, as I read about their understanding of the dependence that human beings have on plants and animals for their daily needs, I was aware how different their ways are from the ways I’ve been taught. I would need to live within a community that both carried those truths and lived from them to learn their ways. There is ‘a way’ that they follow.

In the early years, the New Testament years, to follow Jesus, the Risen Christ was to follow ‘The Way’. There was a new way to live, a way of forgiveness, of healing, of transformation that led into a new awareness of connectedness, that God’s love extended to ALL and we, who walked ‘The Way’, were to live as peacemakers and healers.

Yet as a child growing up in the church, I didn’t learn about ‘The Way’. I learnt rules, a moral code, prayers that were said like memory work, stories that were remote, not life shaping, and I learnt catechism. As a young adult, when I had a life-changing encounter with Jesus, I got closer to finding ‘The Way’ to live. I experienced some healing and re-direction in my life, yet many of my teachers still emphasized correct thinking rather than embracing me in a new way of life. They taught me a correct reading of scripture rather than an ongoing experiential encounter with God.

Is this not part of the reason many of our churches are empty on a Sunday morning?

As human beings, my awareness is that we don’t search for a moral code or correct teachings, but we do, in our most enlightened moments, search for a way to live, a well worn pathway that will brings a sense of purpose and meaning into our lives, a way that will teach how to get along with ourselves, with others, with our earth and with our Creator.

Today I sit with my Bible beside me, eager to enter the stories of Jesus, ready to follow his way of life. I know I’m to follow his way. He is my Chief Elder. I’m to continue to let him be my teacher. I’m to immerse myself within him and let him show me the other teachers he gifts me with, like my dog! I don’t need to persuade anyone else to follow me, but I will share, hopefully with growing humility, what My Elder has taught me and maybe together we will follow Him.

If this is interesting to you, please show support by sharing it with a friend. Let’s broaden the contemplative pathway.

Love and prayers

Anne+

Contemplative Fire, Community Leader Canada

Mystic in Motion

Lessons from My Dog (#257)

The dogs I’ve known love to gnaw on bones. They’ll spend ages licking, chewing, crunching and simply gnawing on their bones. After they’re done, they might hide them to pull out another day. If they dig them up again, or if I give it back to them another day, they’ll start to gnaw all over. Ah yes… a good bone to gnaw on.dog chewing on bone 1

So what’s this got to do with finding a contemplative pathway?? Well, today I was sitting on the bench in the locker room at my gym, and I took a look at what was going on in my head. Have you ever done that, stopped and become aware of the patter that is happening? Today I heard myself going over a conversation that I’ve had before. Actually, I’ve had that same inner dialogue, or variations of it, again and again in my mind. Suddenly I realized I was like my dog as he chews on a bone. I was going over the same old ground again and again. Why? What was I getting out of it?

As I stepped back to ask those questions, I put my bone down. I was able to stop gnawing on it. I was quite purposeful. I know that to replay that conversation in my head will not move the situation forward. What will help is if I’m still, if I’m quiet within myself, and trust the Spirit of God to do her work, within me, within others, throughout the world. Relax and trust in the slow work of God. Replaying, gnawing on an old situation doesn’t help. Trusting does.

I’m happy to give my dog a bone to chew on. There are times when I do need to think carefully through things, but much of the inner chatter, especially when it’s playing the same old tapes again and again – I want to set that aside. I’m not a dog. I don’t need to chew the same old things over and over.

How about you Gentle Reader….are you chewing on an old bone today?

If this is interesting to you, please show support by sharing it with a friend. Let’s broaden the contemplative pathway.

Love and prayers

Anne+

Contemplative Fire, Community Leader Canada

Mystic in Motion

 

Lessons from a Hurricane – Closing Soul Windows

Lessons from a Hurricane (2)

Closing Soul Windows

weather imageI remember from my childhood how each fall, my father would carefully take down the screens and put up the storm windows. Each window was numbered and fit only one window of our home. It was a pre-winter ritual to protect us from the storms ahead. All winter long, as the cold winds blew outside, we were protected. The summer screens were carefully stored in their numbered order waiting for gentle winds to return.Last week we considered the expression ‘soul windows’. In my early life I learned to protect myself, to move very carefully through life. To some degree I think that’s normal for us all, however for me it went to an extreme. It was as if my soul lived in perpetual winter with the storms on and shutters closed. Summer screens seldom were used.

I have spent many of my adult years discovering and nurturing my soul life. A portion of that time has been spent opening my soul windows so I could receive what others, both Divine and human had to give me. I have come to value deeply those moments of receiving.

The Hurricane that blew through my world reminded me that I also have to learn to put the storm windows on my soul.windy face Sometimes they need to be partially shut, other times fully shut. This closing is very different from the closing that I developed as a child. It is intentional and temporary. I chose when and for how long. Sometimes I might even chose to remain open as a winter wind blows – but I’m aware of what I’m doing.

Some thoughts on closing soul windows:

  • Sometimes it requires a physical withdrawal from a conversation, a place or an action. The removal may be very short, could be longer, or it could lead to a discernment that something needs to be finished, to be drawn to completion.
  • Sometimes a space-creating word needs be spoken, ‘Okay. Let me think about that.’ I realize I don’t need to respond to everything right away. In fact there is a lot that doesn’t require my automatic, rather reactive responses.
  • Sometimes it requires an observation of the interior disruption. How wonderful when I can catch one of those moments and observe how I’ve been thrown off my centre. Just catch and observe.
  • Sometimes it involves an intentional decision to move to a place of Deep Listening. Most often, for me, this takes place afterward as I listen deeply to my soul and what it is saying to me. This often involves sharing with another and allowing them to listen to my soul often with ears that I don’t have.

The day the Hurricane struck I didn’t have any of those responses. I simply found myself a bit like Dorothy sucked up into the wind and blown into a new land, a land I didn’t like very much. In retrospect I see more clearly that my soul has windows and I have choices. As much as I seek to be open to what is around me, there are times when I need to close the windows partly or completely. Often called ‘setting boundaries’ – it is both helpful and healing.

Are your soul windows open appropriately or inappropriately? What ways have you found to take care of yourself in a healthy and healing way?

There are seasons to be open and seasons to be closed.

As we move into a new week – God alone knows what weather systems we will encounter! May we open and close our soul windows with wisdom and care.

Peace in the midst of all…

Anne

Community Leader (Canada) Contemplative Fire