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)

 

Spiritual Cataract Surgery: Re-writing My Story

 

Sometimes it’s like a veil is pulled back and I see things differently. Those are wonderful Epiphany Moments. What have they been like for you? Those moments when you see yourself, or a situation, or the world differently.

I was lying in bed last week in a small cabin in the woods. I’d told a group of people some of my story, a tiny bit of my sad childhood when I felt so alone in the world. Later that night, tucked into my cabin the Spirit gently and graciously pulled back the curtain and showed me a totally different view of my childhood. I was never alone. There was never a moment I was on my own or unloved. There was never an instant in which I was neglected. I was always cherished. Always.

Last week in my blog I shared my increasing awareness that we are one with God. Growing out of that awareness, I was able to grasp on an emotional level that I have never been alone. I am God’s child, one with God. I came from God and will return when I leave this world. There is a huge difference between intellectual understanding and emotional knowing. Epiphany Moments are about emotional knowing. They are life changing.

From that moment in my cabin I have re-written my childhood story. Yes, I may tell of some of the experiential emptiness, but it is no longer the whole story. Nor do I tell the story from that emotional standpoint. I’m so deeply grateful to our wonderful, loving God who graces me with moments of clarity. I no longer see my life through shadowy eyes. Hmmmm ….  Is this a spiritual cataract moment?

And what is true for me, I know is true for you …. You are God’s beloved child too. Always loved. Always.

When have you had such a moment? A time when you had a paradigm shift? Your eyes were opened, even for a flickering moment and you KNEW something. Everything changed and came together in a whole new way.

I’d love to hear your stories.

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)

 

Heartbeat Prayer

 

A few nights ago, I watched a baby being born on a TV show. I had no idea the impact that show would have on me. The next day in my meditation I stayed with: Father you and I are one. I’m your child. I’m born of you. I’m one with my Creator.

I kept seeing the baby come out of the mother. I could feel my own birth from the womb of the Holy One and my heart opened.

“I came out of you, my Creator. I am a part of you, just as a baby is a part of her mother. Our cells mingle. I belong to you as a baby belongs to her mother. We are one. Yet two. We are one. My journey is always to return to the closeness of the womb, to your heartbeat. We’re one.

Sometimes I can hear your heart. Sometimes I can’t. but always I’m your child. You and I are one. I am born of you. Each breath I take is a sacred breath, a gift of you to me. Each breath. Sacred.”

Gentle Reader, what is true for me, is true for each one of us. Whatever our upbringing, wherever on the planet we are placed, each one of us is a child of God, born of God, and carries the Divine Spark within us. Each one of us is on a journey back to the heartbeat of God.

 

Where do we hear that heartbeat? Where do you hear that heartbeat? I know you know it.

Love and prayers from your spiritual sister….

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way of Contemplative Fire

Contemplative Fire Canada (Founder)

 

 

How to Handle Distractions: The Squeaky Shoes!

The community had gathered. We had heard a sacred reading. The bell was struck. A gentle silence descended on us. Then, on the other side of the wall, in the parking lot a frustrated mother began yelling at her child, “I didn’t drive all this way for you to refuse to go to camp!’. The yelling continued, accompanied by a child’s mournful cry.  Beneath our feet the piano began, joined by happy voices of children singing camp songs. One after another their songs rolled along. The final straw were The Squeaky Shoes, rubber soles on linoleum, that sauntered down the hall outside the chapel. Really! So what was that sacred text???

That particular morning highlighted for me the delight of meditation. We (or is it just me!) have this image of sitting in stillness, all is serene. Maybe a few birds chirp or a gentle waterfall is a soothing white noise. Within a pristine setting perhaps I will settle into a place of inner peace.

But usually as soon as I settle on my cushion, I’m aware of the flopping of my mind, or emotions that get triggered. Again and again, as Fr Keating taught, I get hooked by some ‘boat’ that has entered the river of my thoughts and I’m engaged in sorting out all the stuff on the boat. Whether my physical space is serene or not, my internal space seldom is very orderly.

That morning, with all the yelling, singing and squeaking, gave me time to reflect again on how to deal with distractions when I meditate. They will happen! It might be internal thoughts that engage me or the squeaky shoes outside the room. I know they will come, so how can I let them not trigger an annoyance or sense of failure, but become one of the delights of meditation?

I know as my practice deepens the external sounds move more easily into something ‘out there’ and cease to trigger the cords of annoyance within me. They can still cause me to feel disruption. I look for the day when I’m oblivious to them. I’m not there yet. I’m not able to walk on hot coals! But I can breathe and let them pass. The internal roommate that chatters is more of a distraction to me. But the good part is that I can recognize when I’ve climbed on board and jump overboard one more time.

The real delight of distractions in meditation for me is the growing awareness that those distractions help me bring the quiet centre of my practice into everyday life. When I’m standing in line at the grocery store or caught in traffic I can pause and breathe and return to being open to God’s Spirit right then, right there because I’ve done it in my practice when The Squeaky Shoes walked down the hall. Or when someone gets annoyed at me or I feel irritated towards someone, or jealous of who they are, I can pause and breathe and return to being open to God’s Spirit right then because that’s what I’ve done in my meditation practice when The Squeaky Shoes were the last straw for me. Again, and again, pause, breathe and return my focus to God’s Spirit within me. I am a branch of God’s vine. I carry God’s Life-giving, Ever-Loving, Healing Sap within me. I belong to God. That is who I am.

Distractions! How do you deal with them in life and /or on the cushion???

Love and prayers for the journey

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Contemplative Fire Founder (Canada)

 

The Importance of Approaching Sleep Well

Day AND Night

What is your attitude to night time? Do you dismiss it? Do you think that the only things of significance take place during the day?

I have a new mediation teacher in my life right now.  I learnt today that I’d seen night as very different from day. I realize that unconsciously I thought that important things only took place during the day. The daytime hours were when it all happened! Sure as I went to sleep I’d give myself into God’s care for my slumber, but whatever… it was nighttime. I really didn’t prepare for the work or the experience of what my soul was up to during the hours of slumber.

Today I was taught to formally meditate twice a day – sure that’s normal. I was taught to begin my day with meditation, before my mind took off to plan the day or engage in the days work – sure that’s normal. But then he said to make my second meditation time just before bed, sometime between nine and midnight. He told me I was to prepare myself to sleep. As I read that I realized that my ‘day’ has two parts, one where the sun shines (or not!) and one where the moon shines (or not!). There is dawn, high noon, dusk and deep dark. Each phase of a day has it’s own energy.

I love the early morning hours, daybreak that shines pink on the mountains, that holds a stillness and anticipation in the air. Noon is bustling, activities happen, things are accomplished. Dusk is unwinding from the days work, settling down and sometimes gloriously beautiful. The deep dark of night is like a deep exhale, a time of rest. Each part of the cycle is significant, none more than the others. Each precious as part of our life.

So I’m changing my meditation routine. I don’t know how it will work or if I can do it, but I’ll try. Morning meditation continues. My afternoon meditation time will become a study/reflection period. I’ll try to meditate before bed with the intention of preparing myself for the soul work that takes place during the darkness and time of rest.

Practicalities trouble me. Where will I meditate at night? In my cabin? In a room in the house? In our bed? Hmm… I’m just not sure how all this will work.

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Contemplative Fire Founder (Canada)

 

Why this World is the Way it is….

This week I heard it one more time and something inside me said ‘STOP’! “Silence makes me depressed”. “Silence and solitude….” and then she shuddered. I’ve heard it so many times. People pull away from contemplative practices. Why? Why do they sign up for yoga retreats but not for Contemplative Fire or for contemplative retreats within a Christian tradition? Why will they learn a new language of Sanskrit, chant in words they don’t know but not join a reflective service? Why?

When I was in a contemplative group the other day and a member said how her husband found silence depressing, I found myself stirred inside, some frustration stirred, some deeper anger, some hurt and some sadness. I observed a messy little stew pot of emotions emerge within me! I have found my twenty-five plus years within the contemplative world to be deeply healing. I’ve learnt how to face my negative emotions and move beyond them. Fundamentally I’ve experienced the LOVE of God, the deep, deep love of God that holds and sustains my life. Has it all been easy? No, much of it has been hard work, but it’s been wonderful. It is now my life passion to help other people find their own healing path. I offer the contemplative path and I grieve when it is dismissed as depressive. The door is slammed shut. ‘No thanks. Don’t want any.’ Slam.

As I pondered that perspective and my own response to it, I heard Silence/Solitude/Contemplative Practices being blamed for the person’s depression. I realized it that was a common response I’ve heard over the years. “It’s too difficult. It’s too scary. I don’t know what will come to my mind if I’m still. It makes me nervous.” I’ve heard so many responses like that, but suddenly, this morning I realized that those people are blaming the contemplative practices for their emotional response. It’s like me blaming my husband for my anger. I’m responsible for my angry response not him. if he behaves in a way that provokes my anger, well it’s my feelings and I’m responsible for learning from my reaction and caring for myself.

How come people can blame the contemplative practices for their feelings and get away with it? The practices of silence or solitude or meditation or imaginary prayer or (insert any contemplative practice)… are not the problem. The inability to accept responsibility for our own feelings and reactions is the problem. Too much of our church life is directed by people who aren’t willing to own their own feelings and do their work, do The Work of maturing spiritually, of following Jesus. Too much of our world is also led by people who won’t do their work.

I see the problem more clearly today, but I don’t see the solution. Right now, I hold it in the presence of our Loving, Omnipresent God.  I want to be able to put my foot in the door and not let them slam it shut.

How do you respond?

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Founder, Contemplative Fire Canada

If this is helpful or interesting to you, please pass it along.

 

The Colander of My Life

 

Perhaps this will feel like an upside-down image for you, but please stay with me and see if it works!

We are God’s children, lovely, delightful, complex creatures, dearly loved by The Divine One. God pours out an abundance of generous grace and love towards us each day, even each moment of each day. That is the Nature of Love – abundant and freely given.

For many years I couldn’t receive the Love that was there for me. It was as if my life was a colander, a large bowl made to receive, but filled with holes. The holes in my life were things like fear, doubt, anxiety, envy, judgement and insecurity. Or words such as ‘not good enough’, ‘you can’t’, ‘that’s not true’, ‘how could you?’. Each time Love was poured into my life, it would escape through one of the holes and I’d not experience it. Instead of a large full round colander, it was as if I held up a tiny thimble to God. I could only receive the tiniest bit of Love.

I was so thirsty for Love. I went to God again and again, asking to be filled. Slowly over the years through hours of reflective prayer and personal work, I began to experience those holes being filled. I discovered  an internal sense of peace, joy and love that wasn’t dependent on my circumstances. I began to recognize the untrustworthy voices and feelings within me that had drilled the holes into my colander.

God’s Grace is always pouring Love towards us, but will we receive it? I needed to slow down, open myself to the healing work that I needed, acknowledge it and engage in it. Then I was ready to begin to receive the constant flow of God’s Love into my life. Yes, there is God’s Grace, but I have an active part in receiving it.

Once the holes in our colander begin to be healed, we can receive and relish the delights of Love. Then our colanders, our lives can fill, fill to overflowing and God’s Healing Love can reach others through us. But we need to do our own work first. I’m persuaded that I won’t love you, anymore than I honestly love myself, and I don’t begin to deeply love myself till I acknowledge my holes and enter into the healing work. Then I will be of service to others. That’s the human journey.

I know part of this image doesn’t work for a colander without holes becomes a bowl…. but there is something in it that speaks to me, something about those holes in my life that lets goodness seep away. I hope there is something to help some of you as well.

How are you on receiving and retaining Love? What are the holes in your colander? What kind of internal work are you being invited to participate in?

Love and Prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

Founder (Canada) of Contemplative Fire

www.contemplativefire.ca