I Am Part of Something Larger

 

One of my favourite authors used the expression ‘I’m part of something larger’ and a deep chime sounded within me. Yes – me too!

My readings recently have taken me into an exploration of many faith traditions  and how they’ve each answered the basic questions of  human existence; why are we here, what is our purpose, how do we make meaning out of life? As I sip from many different spiritual watering holes, I become more aware of my connection to everyone, past, present and future as well as to Earth. I carry within my physical genes the DNA of my parents, grandparents and their ancestors. As ‘Anne’, I’m not a single individual living in Lions Bay BC, but one whose body DNA is a container of ancient and future life. As ‘Anne’ I’m not a single individual, but one whose soul DNA is part of the cosmos, an eternal and complete being, connected to Earth and Heaven. I am a part of something larger than my own everyday life.

Today someone asked if I’d share with them some ‘coping strategies’ of breathing and meditation. I agreed, but realized that I don’t offer ‘coping strategies’. For me breathing practices and mediation are ways I nourish my soul. Without them my soul would be malnourished. My body needs water to survive and grow. My soul needs prayer and meditation. Without them, my soul withers. Too often I see people not nourishing their souls with meditation, but instead trying other coping strategies to survive or give their life purpose; working, accumulating wealth, focus on relationships, amusement, exercise, food – you could make the list. We have many ‘coping strategies’!

If only we stopped, took a deep breath and began to be present within this moment. If only we meditated regularly, opening our soul to God’s Loving Presence, allowing ourselves to connect with the Source of All Life, to follow the pathway that Jesus, or the Spirit gives, a way of peace, forgiveness, wisdom and joy.

Our life is so much bigger than our daily grind. Each one of us is part of the larger picture. I hope so much that many more of us will stop and be open to who we are as God’s Children, part of the human family on Earth. We are all part of the larger picture and hence, all part of the solution.

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

Four Words

 

As I walk the mountain I’m humming four words. Each word slows me down so I pay attention to my footsteps. I’m more attentive to my walk, the woods around me, and to being alive, today.

My words grew out some mindfulness meditations from Thich Nhat Hanh. I’ve been doing an online course from him and realized I needed to do it a second time.  (It’s one that Sounds True offers: Body and Mind are One). This time I’ve laid aside my knitting so I can take notes.  My mind wanders less when my hand holds a pen and puts marks on paper!

Each section of the course begins with a guided meditation, a series of repeated phrases that the student is to take into a walking meditation and daily practice. Over the last few months as I’ve listened to them, I found I was creating my own phrases, a tiny bit different and reflective of my life. The phrases fall on the in breath and out breath:

Breathing in: The mountain is solid

Breathing out: I’m solid

Mountain/solid (stay with these words till ready to change)

Breathing in: The creek is flowing

Breathing out: I’m flowing

Creek/flowing

Breathing in: The trees are still

Breathing out: I’m still

Trees/still

Breathing in: The birds are singing

Breathing out: I’m singing

Birds/singing

Breathing in: Solid

Breathing out: Flowing

Breathing in: Still

Breathing out: Singing

Solid/Flowing/Still/Singing  (repeating these four words until it’s time to move on)

During the day I’m carrying those four words around with me. Sometimes I pause, take a breath and lay my words on my breath. Then I know I’m here and present with whomever I am with, wherever I am.

Do you have four words that are yours to ground you? What might they be?

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

 

 

The World Today: Misty Mountain

This morning as I headed out the driveway and up the road to begin my daily mountain walk, I could see Mt. Harvey clearly,  with clouds behind it. Each morning I walk the watershed road for a kilometre to a special tree and rock I’ve come to mark as holy ground. Just beyond them is a barrier and I can’t go any further on the road. As I pause to pray, the creek is roaring below me, the forest is climbing the hill beside me, the trees are standing tall, the birds are singing and I can see a mountain ahead of me. I’m so grateful for this spot.

This morning when I got to the end of the road, the mountains had disappeared. What had been so clear as I set out, was covered in clouds  when I reached my resting place. But I knew she was still there.

Our world is in such upheaval. I’ve long prayed that the voices of the oppressed would be released, the voices of women, indigenous and all who have been silenced could speak clearly into the world. It’s happening. Now, how will we find our way forward? What do we need to bring about a social shift? The prayer that rises within me this week is around leadership. As I walk the mountain road I long for strong, moral, spiritual leaders to arise, to show us a way forward, a way to create a different social order. Where is the leadership we need?

Even though our world is in upheaval I know God is still present, still working, still caring. The clouds may cover the mountain, but the mountain doesn’t move. It’s solid. The clouds will pass and I’ll see her again. God with the eternal, spiritual world is solid. The upheaval will pass. Let’s remain solid as the mountain, trusting the presence of God and asking what our part is to birth a new social order.  

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

I’ve Got Space Now!

 

A couple of conversations this week drifted into the area of spaciousness in our lives. Some people were finding that the pandemic lifestyle was allowing their lives to be more spacious. Others were finding space through a releasing of old connections and responsibilities; a bit of soul-cleaning was taking place. And then there was me! This week life felt so full. In the midst of our shutdown, have I managed to let my old busy habits fill my days again?

Walking the mountain this morning, I pondered the feelings of spaciousness and fullness. Each step on the mountain road was so beautiful. The rain fell gently. The still forest held a deep green secret. The evergreens were tipped with light green showing the brand-new edges of their branches. Step by step. Moment by moment climbing the mountain road. Spaciousness and fullness. Solid mountain, flowing river. Deep green. New growth green.

My life is spacious. I haven’t filled it up again. Besides home life and garden, I have two projects which give me joy. I realized that I feel full when I let don’t close those projects after working on them. My favorite tech support said to me one day that I leave a lot of docs open on my desktop. Yeah, I don’t clear them away when I’m finished! My desktop can get quite cluttered. Same for my life. It can feel full, cluttered and pressured if I allow projects to creep into another time. I seek to live moment to moment. Doing one thing at a time calmly, serenely, saturated with peace and fully focused. One thing at a time. One step at a time. I like living that way. I’m not overwhelmed. I’m not listening to the voices around me, only to the voice within me. Voices around me shout, ‘Do this. NOW. You have so much to do. Do this.’ But the voice within me doesn’t shout, doesn’t pressure, but simply guides. ‘Ah this. Right now. This.’

When I listen and follow the inner voice, I have space. It feels so good. I know when I’m listening to the ‘out-there’ voices. They make me feel pressured or trapped or not enough. When I listen within, to the tapping of my heart, I’ve got space, plenty of space.

As our fourth month of pandemic restrictions comes nears an end, how are you doing? Are you feeling spacious or full, grounded or overwhelmed? What adjustments have shaped your life? How are you living with them?

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

Rule of Love

 

I hope, I hope, I hope that the upheaval within our world will take us one step forward as a human race. We’ve been shut down with a virus and now a justified viral outrage has spread. Will we move forward?

I received a note this week that the Pope has called us to prayer – one minute of silent prayer for peace for the world, at 1.00pm Sunday June 7th – possible today as you read this. Whatever your tradition, whatever your way, take a minute wherever you are around the world, in your time zone and let’s send a wave of peace around the globe and into the spiritual world. Calling for help. We need help. We can’t do this on our own. Would you join the wave of prayer? 1.00pm, wherever you are, Sunday June 8th…. And I’m a believer in cosmic time zones, so whenever your read this, send your prayer aloft!

Humanity lived for centuries under ‘Rule of Might’ where the strongest tribe won. Many of us have also lived under the ‘Rule of Law’ where, although safer, the privileged often were the winners. Now it’s time for the ‘Rule of Love’ to reign. Imagine with me, a world where compassion, forgiveness and kindness were strong. Imagine with me a world where we saw the goodness within one another, where we treated each other gently. I’m a Christian, a follower of Jesus, so imagine with me a world where he, with his healing energy was welcomed. Imagine.

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

Hidden Beauty

 

I think I told you that we’re working on a trail from our home to the creek below us. I’ve found that my job, has been to tidy the forest around the trail. Doesn’t that sound odd?  Why would you tidy a forest? For years, the forest and those in the home have tossed branches down the hillside. I did it myself last year when a windstorm blew branches all around the decks. I just tossed them over edge into the forest below us. That’s just fine, till someone gets the idea to make a trail down the hillside to the creek! Suddenly all those branches become visible and many need to be moved to clear space for the trail.

As I began to clear the branches, I realized that not only the narrow trail needed to be cleared, but I wanted the space around the trail to be open too. That’s when I began to tidy the forest. Others are working away sawing trees, digging out rocks, grading a path and building steps. I’m climbing over rocks tossing branches over the cliff-side. I started at the top area just below the house and have been making my way towards the creek.

The first few areas near the house were amazing. Simply removing the loose branches revealed a delightful forest garden right by our home. As I made my way down the hillside I found more treasures; a huge stump with ivy tumbling over it, a massive rock partly covered in moss, two more huge rocks with tree stumps tucked between them and a moss covered hillside that was flecked with starburst flowers. As the mess of odd branches was removed the beauty of the forest began to shine through. Next trail making day I’ll get out my clippers and tidy up the ferns. Underneath all that clutter there was and is a beautiful forest garden.

Isn’t that an image of life? What’s underneath the clutter of our activities, underneath the knot of old tapes in our minds, underneath the weight of ambitions and pressures? I know there is a beautiful forest garden within each of us. Too often our beauty is covered by a lot of clutter that we’ve accumulated or let others dump on us. But we are beautiful. Each person around you is beautiful. Can you see your own beauty? Can you see the beauty in the one beside you? What is the clutter that can be removed so you can behold the beauty within yourself and the one nearest you? God is always present, ready to help de-clutter.

May you use these days well.

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

 

 

Holy Creek!

 

Just below our home is a creek. We live on a mountainside, so there is a steep hill of about a hundred yards down to the creek. But we can hear it! The snow is melting and it’s raining today so the creek is full and flowing well. I love standing near a creek, a brook or a river and watching it tumble over rocks. I love the movement. I’m told there is something healthy for us, something we humans breath into our physical nature through the flow of water. I’m not a scientist so I don’t know much about that, but I do know that I feel satisfied and refreshed when I pause near flowing water.

This week one of my readings reminded me of the continuous presence of God that flows through me. There is a constant flow of light, love, peace, joy, of all the nature of our omnipresent Creator. All of that is flowing through me. That feels so good to me. As I moved through my daily activities this week, I’ve been pausing to recall God’s flow through me. Just as my creek keeps flowing, so our Creator’s Nature of peace, joy, forgiveness keeps flowing through me. And you. As I slow down and recall that, I consciously open myself to that flow. Oh, that feels so good. And then I imagine the flow coming through you too. That feels good too.

I’m so grateful to live beside a creek. I’m so grateful for the flow of God’s Creek within me and within you. Come Holy Creek, flow freely today.

 

 

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

Listening Distance 2

 

In response to my blog last week, one of our readers sent me this quote:

“In his book The Heart of the Hunter, Laurens van der Post tells his story of living in the Kalahari Desert with the bushmen of South Africa. It became obvious to van der Post that these primitive peoples knew intimately the presence of wisdom in every blade of grass and in every heartbeat. The bushmen had a mysterious kind of inner knowing. They knew when the enemy was approaching and danger was near, they knew when to move their camps, and when and where the rains would come. They knew where to go for the hunting that would sustain their lives. When questioned about this mysterious inner knowledge, they spoke of what they called the ‘tapping of the heart.’

From an early age they had been commanded to heed this tapping. When they felt it coming, they were to become very quiet inside and to listen vigilantly to the tapping. It was like a sixth sense, an unexplainable knowing. Reflecting on the uncomplicated lives of these ancient peoples I have come to believe that this mysterious knowing in them was nothing less than the wisdom of God.”

Oh…to mature within a community, a family group, that commands one to listen to such inner wisdom! How different from much of my training!

In the next few weeks most of us will begin to emerge from different levels of social isolation. One of my desires is to listen to the ‘tapping of my heart’ as I emerge. What is life-giving? How is Spirit directing me? Will I have the courage to listen? Will I have the courage to act on what I hear?

It’s so easy for me to call the bushmen ‘primitive’, but my sophistication can be an obstacle to spiritual intimacy. May it not be so. May I, may all of us, wait on God. Sit quietly. Even within our activities to be quiet and to keep listening to the tapping, to the whisper, to the words of loving guidance.  To wait and to trust.

Be safe, be well, and emerge wisely

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

Listening Distance

 

We’re all living with social distance and physical distance these days. Have you ever heard of ‘listening distance’? What will allow me to listen to someone, to something, to listen well and absorb what I hear.

This week a friend reminded me of a poem by R. S. Thomas that describes our listening distance in relation to God. The distance isn’t a physical one, but rather a soul quality. How still can I be? How much can I retire from my cocktail party mind, into the quiet room within me where I can hear God breathe?

But the silence in the mind

is when we live best, within

listening distance of the silence we call God…

It is a presence, then,

whose margins are our margins; that calls us out over our

own fathoms.

I know social distancing practices of two meters of separation and hand washing, but what are my listening distance practices?

For me, some of the best ways into interior silence are through slowing down activities and meditation. I know I’m able to be still within while I’m busy working or engaging with people. That’s an essential bit of life to learn. Yet I know too when I slow my exterior activity, such as in this stay-at-home time, my mind begins to relax, and I can more easily access a listening distance. The best for me is when I do retreat, pull back from all commitments and responsibilities and relationships and be still in solitude. Those are wonderful listening times for me. I feel so embraced by Love. I know I want to live in that warm embrace of interior stillness within the fullness of normal daily life. I always want to be in listening distance with God.

My daily meditation practice has taught me to observe my mind, watch it running around, asking questions, looking for answers, passing judgments. It’s relentlessly busy. I know there is so much more to me than my mind. My real self, True Self, is in the quietness within me, the part that lives in listening distance with God, the part that can hear Divine whispers. It is gentle, compassionate and seeks peace. It is also strong and resourceful for there, I’m in touch with the fullness of Christ within.

I can always add in some time in nature for that helps too! But even there, I must be attentive to my surroundings, not engaged in a podcast or organizing the world or people around me.

What does it mean for you to live within listening distance of God? What disrupts you from hearing God’s whispers? What helps you?

May we all be gentle with ourselves and those around us this week.

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder

What day is it? Who am I?

 

Are you beginning to wonder what day it is? Without the usual activities that give structure to my week, I find I have to stop and think about what day it is.  I know I’m not the only one!

Then the other day someone said, “I’m a baker!” I realized how often I hear people describe themselves as a skier, a reader, or a hiker. You know the list, it goes on and on. We describe our self by a hobby or a job or a role. I could be a hiker, wife, counsellor or priest.  Then COVID19 happens and we are at home, stripped of our usual activities and roles. The ones we keep are often re-defined with different expectations and responsibilities. What day is it? Who am I?

How about a completely different perspective? Who I am, is a Child of God. My life is not defined by activities, responsibilities, or roles. I am not the body, nor am I the role that it fills in the world. My life is eternal. I am a Child of God, born of God, an inheritor of God’s kingdom, the peaceable kingdom. Yes, I am alive on earth in this body and known as Anne by those around me, but who I am is within my soul. I am a Child of God, a spiritual being having a human experience.

So in the midst of my human experience of social distancing, of only essential outings, of elimination of roles and responsibilities, I find myself more clearly as simply my soul life. I am a Child of God, known by God, loved by God. I am not my body, not my role, not my hobbies. Yes, I have all those pieces of my life, I ordered groceries to be delivered today and planned our meals, but what is real, what I will take with me when I leave this life, is my eternal nature. Born of God, connected with God, seeking to experience more of God.

Who are you? Are you defining yourself by what you enjoy or do here within this life span? Is that all you are? What would it be like to have a bigger picture of your life, of your Self? What would it be like to know yourself as a Child of God?

During this unique period in history,  may the veil be pulled back and we awaken to a bigger picture of who we are, of our eternal purpose. May this time of slowing down, open us to a deeper life. Travel Light. Dwell Deep.

Be blessed this day my friends, for you are known and loved. There is much more to life than what has been cancelled and that you can’t do today.

Love and Prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder