Decision-Making

I’ve currently got a major decision perking through my life and it led me to reflect on decision making and the implications of our decisions.

I have some basic guidelines I’ve been taught that make sense to me on how to make decisions – discernment principles we call them. It all depends on the size of decision of course, but some basic ones for me, for personal decisions are:

  • Don’t make major changes when in a place of doubt or desolation. Wait for consolation.
  • If I’m living lightly and in an open, loving place with God, a good choice or action will feel like a drop of water on a soft sponge.
  • Be honest and open with my needs and the needs of others around me who are affected by my decision.
  • Share my decision making with a wise Christian who knows me and listen to their perspective.
  • Wait for peace, deep internal peace and the clarity it brings.

These guidelines generally lead me to live thoughtfully, with purpose and clarity. Sometimes my pace is fast, sometimes it is slow, but it tends to be steady. People often describe me as peaceful, yet intense, anchored yet very productive. Such is Anne!

But… another whole intriguing side of decision making to me is the huge ‘what ifs’ that occur or don’t occur. What if I hadn’t said that thing, or written that email or taken that job, or married that person, or lived in that house/apartment….. and on and on and on.

Forty years ago, Hugh and I made a decision in our lives around where to live and raise our family. We decided to not move to Victoria but stay in Toronto. What if we had lived in Victoria? Who would we have met/not met? …… My daughter and her husband made a decision a year ago to raise their family in Paris. What if they’d decided to come to Toronto? How would my life, their neighbourhood, our city, our world be different?

Thomas Merton wrote that each moment in each event of each person’s life plants a seed within their soul. That was one of the life changing bits I received from him. Each decision we make has ripple effects within our own lives, but also the lives around us and the ripples extend out into the universe.

Decision-making ripples.  What choices are you making today? May you unhook your Pinball Brain. May they come from a place of quiet and peace within you. (see Nov 29 and Dec 6)

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

Love and prayers

Anne+

Mystic in Motion

Contemplative Fire, Community Leader Canada

 

 

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The Quiet Centre at the Heart of Me

 

Last week I was ruminating on my Pinball Brain, but this week my focus is on my Quiet Centre. I’m actually writing these two blogs on the same day, just minutes apart. You’ll get them a week apart, but they are deeply connected.

At the same time as I’m living with my Pinball Brain, I also am in touch with a quietness that pervades my inner world. I’m very still inside myself these days. One day I sat at my abandoned art table and got out one of my creative books to see if it would stimulate me. As I read, the author described pictures emerging from within her. I realized that one of the reasons my art table is abandoned, is that there are no pictures emerging within me. When I started about ten years ago to intentionally learn to draw and paint, there were pictures that were emerging within me, but now there are no pictures. It’s not time to create at my table. It’s time to be quiet.

Not only are there no pictures within me, there are no lessons to teach, illustrations to share, sermons to preach, or ideas for groups. That’s a huge change for me. Since my call to ministry in 1990 I’ve regularly had a flow from within for teaching. I’m very quiet in my central core right now. I continue to hold that sense that God has lifted my gifting from me and I’m to be still. It’s unfamiliar, uncomfortable and beautiful at the same time.

No pictures, no lessons and there’s also no leadership initiative within me. I read leadership books and can feel the old stirring, but then it subsides again. I return to the quiet place.

The quiet place at my centre reaches out and touches so many parts of my life. I have no desire to be in groups, workshops, retreats or services. I’m still resting in the depth of what I experienced during my Sabbath Leave.

At my core is quietness and yet I live with a Pinball Brain.

That’s me for now. How are you?

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

Love and prayers

Anne+

Mystic in Motion

Contemplative Fire, Community Leader Canada

Stillness

I’ve been drawn to the experience of stillness in the last while. A few times I’ve been aware of the invitation in prayer to be still after I leave the prayer time. I’m not to get caugstone and sand for stillness and actionht up in the busy conversations, the decisions that seem to need to be made, the city whirl. I’m to learn to be still. It’s partly emerged out of my attraction to the True Self work. I’ve experienced an inner stillness even when around me, it feels like chaos. It results in me feeling like I’m more myself, simpler, deeper, less pretentious, less a lot of things!

But it doesn’t mean I’m physically still. I’m still to be moving, but from a place of stillness. It doesn’t mean I don’t make any decisions, just that they’re to come from a still place.  A recent tag line on my email account was: Be still, be very, very still. And the I added to it: Be still and still moving.

As this was happening within me, one of our Companions inchild image for stillness and action

Contemplative Fire told me about a message he’d received during a Quaker Meeting. Ps 46 is often quoted, “Be still and know that I am God.” The speaker noted that the psalm said to be still, not to be silent. That is so much in alignment with what I’m learning. To be still doesn’t mean to be silent or not taking action. It means to be still within our soul, to be still and listening and knowing and being formed and guided by God’s Spirit.

In Contemplative Fire, part of our Rhythm is ‘Across the Threshold’. That refers to being led by the Spirit of God, perhaps into unfamiliar places. As with all our leaves, that one too is rooted in the central Wordless Space, in the deep stillness of God. We also talk about the Silence of God, about God’s first voice being silence. We become still within, listening to God’s silence and from the still, silent space we are formed and hear our life’s words and actions. How intriguing is that!  Out of stillness and silence come words and action and oh… those words and actions smell, feel so different from the ones that come out of my busyness!

What is your experience of stillness? Physical stillness? Interior stillness? Do you run from it, brush it off, find it impossible, or never consider it! How have you experienced the different sources of your words and actions?

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

Love and prayers

Anne+

Contemplative Fire , Community Leader Canada

Mystic in Motion

Resistance to Acceptance

My transition time begins in a busy city. We’ve rented an apartment for the week only to discover there is a bar with band on the bottom floor. A world away from my yurt retreat….. Our beautiful planet is filled with such diversity – from vast open wilderness to crowded cities, from forest stillness to honking cars. And – God is present in it all. There is no place where God’s Spirit doesn’t hum. On one level I ‘know’ that and yet…..

It’s so easy for me to be open to God’s Spirit when I stand on the edge of the ocean, or walk the forest trails, or sit on a rocky cliff. Nature just makes it easy to find the Spirit. Grad school for me is to find the same openness within me when the band is playing in the bar and the cars are honking and I’m surrounded by people who really don’t seem to care about the deep questions of life. ‘Where are You in the midst of all this motion?’ Or is the question, ‘Where am I, in the midst of all this motion?’

Do you know that experience of feeling so connected and then get jerked around by something or someone jostling you, so you lose your sense of being centered? I’m sure you do – that’s called being human. I find it’s what I do with that experience is what will strengthen me spiritually. I can continue to be spun around or I can seek to regain my connection awareness, returning to that place of trusting God within me, remaining in Love.

The first week of transition time is giving me an opportunity to practice! I keep my Rhythm of Life in place – being/knowing/doing. My meditation practice moves to the holiday version and is supplemented by an intentional return to the key experiences of my retreat time, and to the handful of key words that anchor me. I continue to read authors who are like friends to remind me and call me home. Both Butcher’s translation of ‘The Cloud of Unknowning’ and Robert Sardello’s ‘Silence’ have been my soul friends this week, helping to keep an expansiveness within me. My ‘doing’ or compassionate practice is hugely helpful – all those in the band below me, all those drivers honking and those people strolling the streets and shouting at 2.00am are objects of compassion! We’re all in this together.  Each is known and loved by God. What can we do to make our world be in harmony?

Hmm – maybe it is good to come out of the retreat world and be in the noisy, jostling world. I can resist the world or accept it and be a compassionate part of it. Resistance or Acceptance. Thanks for listening. You’ve helped move me along on the pathway of being open and still in a world that I find noisy.

How about you – resisting or accepting your current experience?

On the journey

Anne

Mystic in Motion

 

Caught In A Moment In Time

From the time I first met this island six years ago, it has been special to me. I’m convinced there is a healing presence on the island. Time seems to slow down. Is it just the removal of traffic lights, the intermittent Wi-Fi, or the custom of waving to any car that passes you on the road? Maybe, but I think it’s the dominance of the trees. They gang up on us humans and call us to live at their pace!

Yesterday as I sat at the edge of lagoon in front of my cabin, I was aware of all the different time measurements around me. The past was in front of me. The original family that homesteaded this inlet in the 1940’s had left the remnants of a long unused dock in shallows. The future was fifty yards away as I could hear the two little children Emma, four years old and Anna, a year old playing in the garden. The antiquity of our earth was before me in the ocean waters, rocks and forests. Eternity was overhead in a clear sky reaching into the galaxies of our universe. And I was there in that very moment, breathing, grateful to be a part of it all. Past, future, eternal and present.

Nothing quite like it. Don’t let the time slip away! May you drive in the slow lane today.

Love and prayers

Anne

Mystic in Motion

What’s on Your Mind?

captureSo it happened again. Suddenly a phrase that I have read dozen’s, probably hundreds of times took on new life and meaning. I’ve been an intentional follower of Jesus since 1972 so I’ve read and studied the Bible a lot, spent ten years teaching it and another fifteen preaching from it, yet it can still amaze me when suddenly I ‘hear’ a word from scripture as if for the first time.

Philippians 2.5 ‘Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus’. Put on the mind of Jesus. So, I’m to have a mind transplant! Not my perspective, longings, interior jumble but that of Jesus. How might the world look through the mind, heart, experience of Jesus? What would be the contents of his mind?

One of my anchoring practices is meditation and when I sit each day I’m very aware of the mind of Anne. It’s not the mind of Jesus. I’m also aware that sometimes I put on the mind of other people. I let them speak into my mind in a way that isn’t helpful. I can hear the voice of….my family, friends, colleagues, advertisers, songs, shows – doesn’t the list go on and on! That feeling of failure that I wake up with in the middle of the night, that’s not the mind of Christ; that feeling of discontent when I’m overlooked, that’s not the mind of Christ.

This week I read that Einstein would get to a silent, non-questioning place and then he could hear what he needed to hear. He wrote, “I think 99 times and find nothing. I stop thinking, swim in silence and the truth comes to me.” Ramanujan, the mathematician from ‘The Man from Infinity’ said something similar. In his prayers, the solutions would be evident. Both of those experiences sound like the mind of Christ to me. They are listening beyond themselves into the heart of the universe. In the stillness, when the mind of Anne is quiet, then I can hear the voice of God. What is it like for you to listen like that?

In that moment of awareness when I was reading scripture, it was a fresh wind blowing through my life. A tiny moment of silence; from that place once again, I say ‘yes’. I want to see the world, others, and myself with the eyes and heart of God. And in that moment, I feel the surrender of the mind of Anne into the mind of the Divine and it is good. I know the mind of Christ and I long to know it more deeply.

It’s a complex, mixed up world we live in. We need to be grounded, deeply rooted in who we are and whose we are. Putting on the mind of Christ is one more filter for me as I find my mystical way through a chaotic world.

“Let the mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus”

Peace to our world

Anne

Contemplative Fire Community Leader Canada