“There’s No One There!” Life Beyond the Clouds

Clouds move up and down our mountain. Sometimes I can see the trees and the water, and other times I only can see the cloud that embraces our home. Yesterday a new person arrived at our home during one of those moments when we were immersed within the cloud. She responded with “I bet the view is wonderful here!” Despite the cloud, she could imagine what we most often see. How wonderful it is to be able to see beyond the cloud.

Sometimes in our life we move through cloudy spells too. The other day I led a group through a guided meditation that involved entering a wilderness. Each person held a small stone with an angel impressed on it. As part of the meditation I invited them to look around and with their imagination see who was accompanying them. Since we had read scriptures to set the scene, I asked if it was an angel, or Jesus? Afterward one member came to me to let me know that there was no one with her in the wilderness. She felt all alone, covered in a dense cloud.

What do we do when we feel all alone spiritually? I’ve certainly known those times when I felt disconnected from God, times when doubts assailed me, fears stabbed me or worries poisoned me. Times when I felt overwhelmed by life. Exhausted. Times when I couldn’t see beyond the cloud.

That sense of being alone is so penetrating. On my mountainside I’m at the mercy of the winds and pressure zones to move the clouds, but in my own life, I have been taught and experienced ways to help me see beyond the clouds. First, I acknowledge the cloud, not running from it but rather opening to the fear, worry, doubt, exhaustion, loneliness or whatever is assailing me. I say “Hello” to it. Second, after saying “I see you”, I remind myself that there is more to life. There are trees and water beyond the cloud. In humility I ask ‘The-God-I-Can’t See’ for help. I recall some time of connection, of goodness in my life. I recall a spiritual memory when I did know God’s presence with me. Often, I write both down, acknowledging the cloud and then going more deeply into a memory of a positive time. Third, I think of someone else. Is there someone I could help today? If I’m alone, I might find someone to hold in the loving presence of God. Even if I can’t see God, I know that God’s reality and healing presence is NOT dependent on my cognitive or emotional awareness. The trees are always there! Fourth, I find some mature friend and speak to them about my cloud. I ask them just to listen deeply to me. These four steps can be repeated – as often as needed.

Hello Cloud – Help Me – Help Another –Hello Friend.

Hello-Help-Help-Hello.

I found it quite precious yesterday when our visitor could instinctively see beyond the clouds. I seek to live from such a place of trust. I seek to live not running from the clouds, but knowing they will pass, and the reality beyond will not. I will trust the Bigger Reality beyond these passing worries and difficulties. I will trust the Unseen Reality for it is more real than the current cloud that is blowing through my life. Trees and Water win over Clouds.

How about you? Do you feel alone? Is there a cloud moving through your world? How will you live your best life?

Love and prayers

Anne

If this is interesting to you, please share with a friend. Together we’ll broaden the contemplative pathway.

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada (Founder)

 

A Stew Pot of Wondering: Turning something messy into nourishing food

Warm comfort food. That’s what a stew is for me. Slow, simmering, flavours deepening with the hours steeping. Yum. Awhile ago I got served a stew that had dark chocolate in it! Now that was yummy – rich dark brown, not tasting of chocolate but undercut with it. But I digress…

I was invited today to enter more deeply into a place of wonder. Take a question I’m pondering or an issue I’m mulling over and open the door to wondering about it. To wonder is to take the question and then turn it around, look at it from all sorts of sides, from underneath, overhead and inside it. See the question from other people’s perspective. What would….(and you insert a friend, a spouse, a colleague, a neutral person, a hostile person)….think about it. What would God’s Eternal View be of it? Wonder opens the door to the unexpected, to those amazing ‘Ah ah moments’, the spontaneous knowing and maybe a few surprises.

What’s all this got to do with stews? Well I realized that sometimes when I intentionally think on an issue, and I could name a few that have followed me in my life, I don’t open the door to wonder but I sit in it like a stew pot. The issue or question simmers away within me, getting deeper and sometimes darker, but not more flavorful! I find myself ruminating on it again and again even sometimes getting caught in a vortex of fear, worry and shame. I think on it. I analyze it. I stew on it.

To take the same issue and wonder about it would be radically different.  Wonder brings hope and possibility. With wonder I invite God to speak from an Eternal Perspective. With wonder I open the door, open many doors for a new direction, new insight, new solution, new acceptance.

The Door of Wonder.

 

Today will be a day I open ‘The Door of Wonder’.

How about you? ‘Stew Pot’ or’Door of Wonder’?

Love and prayers

Anne

If this is interesting to you, please share with a friend. Together we’ll broaden the contemplative pathway.

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada (Founder)

 

Surrender

Today ‘surrender’ is my word. It’s my second day at Rivendell leading the group meditation. This time it was Richard Wagamese writing about surrendering the outcome of an event to the Creator. The word opened within me a gentle release. Ah yes, I don’t need to concern myself with outcome, or expectations, or productivity or success. I’m invited to be open to My Creator, to invite her to move within and through me, to unfold her ways in my life. The Way of Love.

“When my energy is low, meaning I don’t feel at my best in terms of creativity, inspiration, attunement or rest, I let Creator have my flow and ask only to be a channel. My deepest audience connection has always happened when I do this. So, on my way to a podium nowadays, I say to myself, “Okay, Creator, you and me, one more time.” When I surrender the delivery, along with the outcome, the anxiety and expectation, everything becomes miraculous. It’s a recipe for life, really.” Embers pg67

‘Surrender’ used to be a scary word to me. I have come to recognize that what I felt in those days was my controlling ego not wanting to let go of what it knew, what was its protection and projection. Today when I hear the word my heart warms. Oh yes. Remind me again and again to surrender to God. It is You and me together Precious One. You lead. I follow. I trust wherever You want to take me and whatever You want to give to me and to others through me. This life is Your show, Your pathway. We walk it together, but I want it to be about You, You and me, not about ME. My life is more embedded in you than it used to be, more entangled with the delight of You.

Thank you Richard for reminding me one more time to surrender, to live as Creator and me dancing together. I need to be reminded. Often. Do you?

Love and prayers

Anne

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

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada (Founder)

Unfolding

 

What a marvelous word! I heard ‘unfolding’ yesterday in our group meditation time at Rivendell. It was embedded in one of Nan Merrill’s psalms. I saw a pathway that was curled up, unfolding in front of me. It is called ‘The Way of Love’. I could both see the whole pathway unfolding as well as know that each step unfolds at a time. Step by step. Step by beautiful step. Each step leads towards healing and wholeness for that is The Way of Love.

Today I can still feel the word ‘unfolding’ within me. I love the unknown yet known, quality to it. I engage with the whole idea of unfolding, revealing, becoming known, step by step. So often when I hike the mountains I both enjoy the splendor all around me, but only concentrate on the next slippery, trudging step. Step by step I climb the mountain. Step by step I allow The Way of Love to unfold in my life.

I have so much to learn about love. I trust the Loving Spirit to be my teacher. I watch Jesus as he moves through his human interactions with people who like him and people who don’t, with people who are curious and people who challenge, with people who are searching and people who are suspicious of something new. Each interaction shows me what The Way of Love looks like in action. Each meeting, if the person is open, leads to healing and wholeness. Yet not everyone is receptive for some simply don’t want what he offers. He doesn’t push or insist on his way. He releases them. Each encounter unfolds a bit more of the pathway of The Way of Love.

I trust this pathway will continue to unfold in my life and yours too. Are you walking with me? What do you see as the pathway called ‘The Way of Love?’

Love and prayers

Anne

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

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada (Founder)

 

Rubik’s Cube: A Day in the Life of Anne

Do you remember those old puzzles that we used to twist and turn, trying to get all the colours lined up together?

One day this week my life felt all twisted out of shape. It was such an odd feeling. The basic emotions that paper my world of happiness and peace were painted over with confusion and uncertainty. I kept re-playing a conversation in my mind. I don’t usually do that anymore. Normally I live in a peaceful place with a quiet little fountain of joy gently bubbling inside me. All feels well in my world. But one day the fountain had stopped flowing. My insides felt twisted, all out of sorts. And a conversation kept asking to be re-played and re-played. So boring. I don’t like living like that at all!

I began to value how well I normally feel. I’m so grateful for that, and my gratitude hit a new level. But how would I get it back? How do I twist my life all around again so I’m back with my colours lined up?

A talk with myself about that nagging conversation was in order! Just what benefit was I receiving from re-working the conversation? I couldn’t find any benefit, yet it kept re-playing. So, time to bring something positive in to replace it, find some devotional reading, something short and punchy to twist my insides back into line. That’s a practice that usually works for me, but this week it was so hard to focus my thoughts. I sank back into re-playing. I wondered if an apology would alleviate the boring re-play. I could do that! I can usually say ‘I’m sorry’ and try to move things in a different direction.  Yet I wasn’t going to jump right into that response. I could…but was that the wisest response? Maybe my feelings weren’t mine at all. Maybe I was picking up someone else’s anxiety. I’ve known that emphatic response in the past. I feel awful but it’s not my ‘awful’ but someone else’s unfinished business. I know that is a call to prayer, to encircle the one I’m re-playing with kindness and gentleness. That was possible!

My twisted Rubik’s Cube day was drawing to an end. The final response was to ask for help. I guess I’d asked earlier, or sure hope I had! As I lay down to sleep, I released it one more time to The Most Loving Spirit There Is –“I’ll do an apology if you want. I’ll do whatever, just grant me some clarity in the morning please.”

Morning came and I could feel my internal cube had been twisted while I slept. As the day unfolded, I was no longer re-playing that conversation. Ah… some peace was returning. Interesting – later that day I received an email from my ‘conversation partner’ describing turmoil in her life. Sometimes the twists we feel do come not from our need for inner work but because we carry another’s burden.

That was one of my days this week. How has your week been? Are you at peace within your soul?

Love and prayers

Anne

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

 

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada (Founder)

 

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)

 

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)

 

Holy Waiting: In the Presence of Light

As you prepare to read this reflection find a Bible and two candles. Open the Bible to John 1.4-5 and Matthew 5.14. Put a marker in both those readings. Dim the lights around you and sit gently in the quiet light for a few minutes, maybe thirty breaths. Then light the first candle, pausing to take time to enjoy it’s flame and be open to the Presence of Light for another thirty breaths. Let the darkness be around you and the Light be in the centre with you.

The candle, as a light and as a symbol of light, is precious to me. Years ago, I was in a movie theater in France, waiting for the show to start. My attention was drawn to the top most corner of the theater. I saw a glowing light. There was no light fixture, simply, a beautifully, glowing presence. Deep within I knew that Light was at the centre of all Life and that I was heading towards it. And then the glowing light vanished. I’ve held that image for the last forty plus years. I’ve drawn it. I’ve lived into it. Now, all these years later I know that not only is Light at the centre of all Life, but that I’m within The Light, and that all of Life is within The Light. I know too that The Light is within me.

Turn to John 1…  Jesus is the light of the world, a light that no darkness can extinguish. I treasure the awareness that God is not scared of the dark like I might be. No matter what uncomfortable darkness in which we may find ourselves, God is always present. Sometimes we can’t sense the Spirit’s presence, but always, always God IS there, a Light that no darkness can extinguish. Take time to breath in that truth.

Turn to Matthew 5…to that rough, mostly uneducated, often contentious group Jesus said, ‘YOU are the light of the world.’ He said it loud of enough so you and I could hear him. We are the light of the world. We carry within us, his light, a strong, robust light that will not be extinguished no matter what happens to us. You are the light of the world. Light the second candle. Take time to breath in that truth.

To celebrate their 80th birthdays, Desmond Tutu and the Dali Lama wrote a delightful book, ‘The Book of Joy’. In the introduction they describe the wonder that each day is our birthday, for each day we begin anew. Yes, we carry our past, but each day we can choose how to carry that past, how we will live today and how we will move forward.

So, Happy Birthday to you…..As we prepare to welcome the Light of the World, may we live within his light and know that we too bear his light today, into the world.

I invite you to close this time of reflection by again sitting with the image of light before you and imagine that light within you. As Jesus said, ‘You are the light of the world.’.

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way” with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada (Founder)