Just A Little Stuck

Usually the blogs just flow for me. I know there is a ‘something’ that’s caught my attention that I want to share. I began the blog with the intention of sharing my experience of the challenges I face in being a contemplative both with an active temperament and living in a busy world. I wanted to encourage others on the contemplative pathway as well as help myself think through the craziness of life.

Not always, but usually, they’ve been weekly notes. This week I feel stuck. Nothing is flowing.  Instead I feel some static within me: there’s a bit of conflict within my parish life, there’s two sermons to prep and lack of clarity on one, and there’s decisions resulting from re-entering Contemplative Fire and discerning our way forward. Did I mention our dog who’s been barking at night? There’s static! Where is that Peace, the deep peace with a capital ‘P’! After four months of blissful consolation, I find myself on the hunt for God, feeling rather alone, and with lots of inner static.

I might call it confusion, annoyance, anxiety, or lack of sleep from our dog barking but I know the spiritual term of ‘desolation’, and I know the guidelines. When you hit a time of desolation:

  • Don’t make any decisions. Keep on the set path.
  • Tell God how I’m feeling and ask for help.
  • Share with a wise friend.
  • Be still and remember who I am.
  • Go back to a point of consolation, reliving those memories.
  • Help someone else.
  • Repeat as necessary *

I began last night to re-read my Sabbath Leave notes. Big ‘YES’ in doing that! I continue to write the blog, recognizing two things. First, in the scriptures I’m pondering this week for my sermons, one deals with conflict in a faith community and teaches how to handle anxiety and worry, how to return to the peace that passes all understanding. The second scripture focus is around Jesus, one day caught in a busy place, and watching him change his mind. I know they are both speaking into my personal chaos and I also know from years of scripture teaching that I often need to live through the week’s message. I’m probably just doing that, one more time.

Second, getting stuck is very common. Maybe some of you feel stuck this week too. Maybe you, my thoughtful readers, are experiencing a bit of chaos or uncertainty in your life and some spiritual static.

So …. Let’s keep on the path we’ve set, take our static to God and ask for help, remember a time of consolation and reach out in kindness to another human being. We’ll make it through!

Love and prayers

Anne

Contemplative Fire, Community Leader Canada

A Mystic in Motion

*adapted from Margaret Silf’s “Inner Compass”

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Community Questions

Last Sunday, twenty of us gathered for our Contemplative Fire July Potluck. I had offered to share some of my sabbath leave adventures and was looking forward to a time to reconnect with folk. It was wonderful to be able to share some of my prayerful experiences. Many had joined me through my blogs, but this was deeper, and more personal. It was a chance to tell some stories, laugh together and be thankful to God for our shared contemplative experience. I’m grateful that many enjoyed it as much as I did.

Some of their questions were helpful to me:

“How have you changed, Anne?”  I know I have been changed from this four-month experience. I’m quieter. I want a quieter life. I want to continue to live from that place of internal quietness. I’m not nearly as driven as I was before and I don’t intend to return that place of striving, accomplishing or achieving. It simply doesn’t appeal to me. What appeals to me is trusting God and leaning into the Spirit’s lead. Trust, Radical Trust.

“What was it like to return? Busy?” Yes, the world around me does feel busy. The city is busy and so is family life, but also the parish and Contemplative Fire are busier places than I’ve been in the last few months. One person noted that I return more vulnerable and she was right. I’m more tender inside, more open and feel the busyness in a different way now.

I am also more aware of the static around me. I experienced a simple clarity during the four months. Each moment, each day felt clear and focused. Back in the rapid flow I hear static. It’s harder to hear the gentle voice of the Spirit. I know God is still present, and the flow is still happening, but it is less clear to me. I need to trust more. I can imagine that the clarity of the four months was to strengthen me for the return and the season ahead. Life is all about trusting.

I’m sure many of you will take some vacation time this summer, some time when you step away from your usual pace. Might these questions help you too? How are you changed? What is it like to return? Let’s not live on auto-pilot, but fully alive, savoring each day.

Love and prayers

Anne

Contemplative Fire Community Leader Canada