Visitors from the Far East

Today I’m putting away the last of the Christmas decorations. My husband wanted one Nativity set left out, and some years I have left it out for weeks, almost until Lent arrived.  This year it stayed longer than the rest of the decorations but  I’m putting it away today. Epiphany has happened. We’ve remembered the arrival of the mysterious visitors from the Far East and now it’s time to tuck them all into their boxes.

As I put the china statues into their boxes for another year, I’m so aware of them. I’m intrigued by those visitors. I wonder who they were. I wonder where they came from. What did they come seeking? What did they see when they looked at the Christ Child? The Christian faith goes back 2000 years, but the spiritual searching and wisdom of the Far East goes back much, much further. Those visitors knew something. They came to confirm something.

I’ve been reading more Eastern spiritual sources lately. I’m finding much richness, much that explains to me the wisdom teachings of Jesus. I’m putting Nativity figures into boxes, but at the same time Eastern writers are drawing my soul out of a box! For years I’ve been attracted to John 14-17, especially the image of being a branch of God’s vine. As I read and ponder both Eastern and First Nations teachers, I’m hearing so clearly that we are one with God. As intimate as a branch is in the trunk of the tree, so intimate is our soul with God’s. We are one. We carry within our veins God’s DNA. Always have. Always will. Always. Our soul belongs to God.

Jesus is our God-voice for the West. He came calling us back to this God-awareness. All of us have wandered from knowing who we are, whose we are. Each one of us is a lamb that has strayed, a prodigal that has been lost. Each one a prodigal whose return is celebrated. You and I, we are one with God. I am one with God. Every day. Every moment of every day. When I rest in that deep truth, everything looks different.  And oh, I feel loved and know you are loved too. All of us. Loved. Always.

You’re one of visitors from the Far East …. What did you see when you looked at the Christ Child?

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way’ with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada (Founder)

 

Cleaning Up for the New Year: Three Ways to Refresh Your Life

 

Yesterday the cleaners came through our home. It was wonderful. I put away most of the Christmas decorations and did the light dusting. They did the heavier work of washing floors, vacuuming and cleaning the kitchen. When all was done our home sparkled! It felt wonderful. A fresh beginning.

After a New Year’s Reflection, I’m ready to refresh my life with a bit of house cleaning too. I call it ‘Life-cleaning’. The mop and dusting cloths that I use are threefold. First, my grounding rhythm of life: Travelling Light – Dwelling Deep.; second, my particular rhythm of Still Waters/Learning Journey/Across the Threshold or Contemplative Practice/Creative Practice/Compassionate Practice; third, focusing on Priorities – Let First Things be First.

Once again I say a big ‘YES’ to my grounding rhythm. I don’t want to let the ‘stuff’ of life creep in. This year I enjoyed discovering Richard Wagamese. One of his devotions was about ‘letting go of unnecessary stuff’. I want to continue to grow in living lightly, easily and gently. I also will say a big ‘YES’ to dwelling deep. I want my connection to God to be the grounding piece of all my life. I want to live connected to God’s Spirit, resting and trusting in God’s Presence. I will seek God each day, throughout the day.

I have found having a particular rhythm a significant part of keeping my life in order. I am clear on what my prayer practice is currently. It is focused on deepening my mediation experience. My study rhythm for the next few months is largely around contemplative lifestyle practices. I have several authors I’m reading for the first time. I continue with a desire to grow in compassion towards myself and others. I’m particularly interested in expressing that compassion to those closest too me, ones who might trigger me!

Setting priorities has helped me sort out what is helpful and what is the unnecessary stuff that has crept into my life. I find it is so easy to have commitments creep into my days. This year I name that I have two priorities. One is to develop more loving relationships with those close to me. The second is to write a book that will help people all over the world fall in love with our amazing God.

So, largely thanks to the cleaners K&V, my house is clean. My hope is to tend it regularly. Yet I know what a challenge that is to me! And now, I’ve done my refresh for 2020. My hope is to tend my life each day too. Oh I know that can be a challenge too! But I carry HOPE.

How about you? Do you have a grounding rhythm? A particular rhythm? What are your priorities for 2020? I’d love to hear how you enter into a new year.

Above all…lets enjoy each day, being kind to one another.

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada (Founder)

 

End-of-Year Reflection

I have found that the moment  we move from the end of one year into the beginning of another is a wonderful time for reflection. In the darkness of our winter days, I can be slower and attentive to what has been through the sunny, growing months. Sometimes within Contemplative Fire we would gather on December 31st and have a few hours of reflection to toast the old year and welcome the new one.

Perhaps you would like to do this on your own, or with a few chosen companions. On your own, consider taking some time, over a few days to reflect on your spiritual journey. Here is an outline of what we’ve used in the past. Use and adjust as you like:

An Opening Prayer (something to help settle, so my heart can be open to listen)

God of our past, of every present moment that has brought us to this present momentBe with us now.

God of the seasons, of the year that is completing. Be with us now.

God of time, illuminate our reflections  and enlighten for us the way that lies ahead. Be with us now

Indeed God, be with us

Amen

 Contemplative Fire follows a rhythm of ‘Travelling Light – Dwelling Deep’. Look back on the past year and identify:

  • Some point/event/ or experience during which you felt you were travelling light
  • Some point/event or experience when you felt you were dwelling deep.
  • What was it that enabled you to experience this lightness and to experience this depth?
  • Express gratitude to God for your experience.

Looking ahead – Is there a longing that you carry? Is there something that you deeply hope for in the time ahead? Perhaps write or draw a picture of your longing. Offer your longing to God. Don’t hang on to it but release it with hope into the loving arms of the One who sustains you each day, the One who gives you breath.

May your reflection time be blessed.

Love and prayer

Anne

 

 

Mystic in Motion

‘Companion on the Way’ in Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada (Founder)

 

Christmas Greetings

Today we celebrate the special gift of God to us here on earth in the arrival of Jesus. Welcome Jesus!

There was a day, a time, when he entered the world. Just like you and I did. He was born of his mother Mary. He knew life in her womb, the entry into this cold world. He knew separation from her, cold and hunger just as we all have known. One difference from us is that during his time on earth, he didn’t loose his awareness, his connection to God. He remained in contact with God, allowing the full presence of God’s Spirit to flow through him so we might know what God is like and know too, what humans can be like when they live in the fullness of their divine life.

He came to make us whole. That’s what the word ‘saved’ means. It means health and wholeness. That’s what he came to bring to us. Jesus gives to us the awareness of what humans are able to be, fully alive, fully connected to God. Being in touch with him, brings healing, health and wholeness into our lives. It’s not about a correct doctrine, or a specific spiritual experience. It is about being open to the Spirit of Jesus Christ today, now and always. He can still touch us, just like he touched lepers when he was physically alive. Sometimes his healing is physical, sometimes emotional and most often spiritual. Healing is his business.

Today we celebrate that God came to earth in the life of Jesus Christ. I’m grateful for that. The life of Jesus has allowed me to see God in a completely different way – not removed, distant and judgmental, but close, caring and compassionate. God lives within me, within you and all of creation. The death of Jesus remains for me a sorrow touched with mystery. His resurrection assures me that he is still alive and powerful. I have experienced his presence many times, in many places and people.

Over the years I have recognized how much the external energy and trappings of Christmas have fed my seasonal feelings. Today I don’t have the parish life that gives me services to prepare. We’ve opted in our family not to give presents to each other but to gather to feast and enjoy one another. That has eliminated much of busyness of the season! It feels rather strange… yet I experience more clearly the birth of Jesus. Today is about him. I’m so grateful for his life.

May the peace and joy of Jesus be yours.

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

‘Companion on the Way’ with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada (Founder)

Holy Waiting: Standing in The Light

 

We’ve passed December 21, the mark of the shortest day in our year. We don’t see it yet, but already we are tipping towards the light. Begin your reflection time by lighting four candles, yes four, and as you light each one, do it slowly and gently, pausing as you go: the Candle of Presence, the Candle of Your Light, the Candle of Hope. The fourth candle I name as Love. Let us sit in its presence for awhile.

Jesus’s clearest word to us, by both his life and his teaching, is that we are to love one another. We’re to love those close to us and those who are strangers, those people we naturally care about and those who are different from us, even those we brand as enemies. He challenges us to love beyond what is comfortable and warm, but to draw a wide circle, an inclusive circle, one that embraces all human beings. His circle was so wide that his dying breath was one of forgiveness to those who hurt him. As he used so many nature illustrations to teach us about God and ourselves, I’m very comfortable in extending his circle of care to all life on our planet, to our earth, galaxy and universe. We are to be Love.

I read a bit of Karen Armstrong this fall. This religious historian’s perspective is that you can discern a spiritual truth by whether it calls you to practical compassion. For all faiths, that is their bottom line. So…. as I sit with the Candle of Love, am I open to another being? Am I open to helping, to being helpful to another, to creation?…… In that I recognize my gross imperfections. There are many times when I’m not open. Perhaps I’m not comfortable with someone, their sufferings or their opinions. Or perhaps I’m not ready to change my lifestyle despite the harm it brings to the air I breathe or sea that feeds me. I begin by sitting in the presence of Love and allowing myself, warts and all to be loved.

Jesus is the Light of the World, a light no darkness can extinguish. I invite you to sit in his presence. At Christmas we remember how one day, he entered our world. Two thousand plus years later, at Christmas we are invited to know that his Spirit Light is within us, and now we are to enter the world bearing his care, his compassion and his love to a hurting world. But our mission isn’t to save the world. Our mission is to be authentic light-bearers in our own circumstances. Who around you, needs you to be slow, to be gentle, to be a light in their world?

I invite you sit quietly in the presence of Love. When you are ready, stand up and stand in the presence of Love. Just stand for a few breaths. When you are ready step out into the world, knowing you carry the Light of Christ with you. He is here!

Of course, you’ll go back to extinguish those candles!!

Celebrate! God is with us! Love wins!

Spring will return!

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion, “Companion on the Way” with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada (Founder)

 

Holy Waiting: Another Candle is Lit   

 

For this reflection, find a Bible and three candles. Perhaps you’d be helped by having dim light around you, always that gentle reminder that we do live in a dark world. As you settle, light the first candle, The Candle of Presence, pausing for a few breaths to be open and aware. Then light the second candle, the one that reminds you that you/we carry within us The Light, for we too are the light of the world. Pause for a few breaths taking in that awareness.

Open the Bible to Matthew 12:18-21. This is a quote from Isaiah that describes Jesus. Through him and who he is, and his words of truth spoken into our dimly lit world, we are to receive hope. We are to read him, know him, follow him and have our hope strengthened. Hope is more than a warm feeling or vague wish that something good will happen. It is a confidence in the Presence of Light in a dim world. Light the third candle, The Candle of Hope. Pause for a few breaths, laying the word ‘hope’ on your breath.

Ephesians 1:18 is Paul’s prayer that those dear believers will have their eyes opened to know the hope to which they have been called. To what extent are your eyes open? If all you see is the darkness, or the turmoil of the world, I invite you to pause and ask God to open your eyes, so you may see the world with hopeful eyes. Most likely the opening will not be instantaneous. In the days ahead continue to ask for grace that your eyes to be opened to hope. Our calling is to know God’s Presence (first candle), to know ourselves as light (second candle) and to know that Christ bears hope into the world (third candle). This week a friend told me they were having ‘a shitty day, but they knew God was in the poop’! That’s hope. The world is difficult, AND God is always present. Often what we need to do is to ask that our eyes will be opened to see God. And often we are reluctant or forgetful to do that. I couldn’t tell you how many times my first spiritual director said to me, as I despaired about something, ‘Anne, have you talked to Jesus about that?”.

As we move toward our celebration of Light coming into the world, we also move into our shortest days. Is there anything that is weighing you down, dimming your light? Try these questions: What I long for is….. What I hope for is…..

God is present with you in your longings.

The days are short. But they will lengthen.

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion, “Companion on the Way” with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada (Founder)

 

Advent is Coming!

In my church world, the next four weeks are the season of Advent’.  While the world gets busy preparing for Christmas with shopping and feasting, the church turns our attention to God’s presence right here and now. The focus is on preparing for the coming of Jesus and of Christ into the world.

I have often found this season emotionally challenging and have great sympathy for others who do. Now, I quite enjoy minimal shopping and gentle feasting. I have written four specific reflections for Advent and will post them each Sunday morning. I wrote them last year for Contemplative Fire yet found they still spoke to me this year. I wrote them to help slow down and consider thoughtfully some ways to prepare for a warm and meaningful Christmas.

I hope you will enjoy them. Please feel free to share them with anyone else you think might like to pause and breathe during the days of December.

Do let me know how they speak to you.

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion, ‘Companion on the Way’ with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire, Canada (Founder)