From the Quiet Within

Usually something surfaces for me to write about, but this week, I’m quiet inside. Usually there is a word, phrase, image or thought that has held my attention. I want to either share it or chew it over with you. But tonight, I’m quiet inside. I ask…. ‘Precious One, is there anything I might share this week?’. And I’m quiet inside.

I’m grateful for the quietness tonight, for my prayer times have been anything but quiet for the last few weeks. The work of move has invaded my interior stillness. My mind is active.

This past week we visited the house that will become our new home in August. I’m awed at the privilege of living in such beauty. During our visit, I met Madame Mountain. She lives at the end of our driveway. I’ll see her every time I leave my home. Each time I go to the grocery store or take out the garbage, I simply need to look up and see a mountain towering overhead. I’m sure someone has ‘named’ her, but I have no idea what it is. How strange to think we can ‘name’ a mountain or a lake, river, or ocean…! I wonder if she’ll tell me her name if I sit very still with her and get to know her? Ahhh – all that lies ahead!

Perhaps it’s the activity of the move that steals away my writing thoughts. Hmmm perhaps it’s the awe I’m standing in. It’s hard to grasp that I’m being given something I’ve longed for. Can this really be true? Can I be so loved?

It’s time for me to be still, to settle into the Quietness within and be grateful for all.

Would you join me in a few minutes of quiet?Take a deep breath…. Sit within the Divine Quietness. Let Jesus love you, in just the way you need.

 

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

 

 

Advertisements

In the Candy Store

 

This week I’ve felt like a child in a candy store. From the groanings of my 50’s I moved into the celebration of my 60’s. From labour pains to holding my baby! The memoir course has been a grand accompaniment to our re-location. For the last eight weeks I’ve moved through my life one decade at a time. Each week I’d prepare 500 words about some incident or theme from that decade and each week I’d listen to the other participant’s stories of their experiences. We moved through our lives together, week by week. It was so interesting to hear similar themes emerge even though our locations, actual experiences and responsibilities were different. I became more aware of a common human thread to being human.

I’ve also been reading Jean Vanier’s “Tears of Silence” and this week savoured his poem about maturity.

 

 

maturity of the heart:

accepting

myself

with my limits

in my poverty

i do not fear

the

other

 

no fear that

i will be beaten up

devoured

lose my being

 

no fear

of showing who I am

 

I am very happy aging, growing comfortable with who I am. My 60’s have been by far the most satisfying decade of my life. A whole decade with Contemplative Fire where I have found a spiritual home and companionship. Our vision statement is “Creating a Community of Christ at the Edge”. This week I realized our re-location is taking us to the edge of our country, to the North Shore of British Columbia…. Hmmm I wonder what our Loving Spirit has in her mind.

And you, Gentle Reader, and your life journey…. Are you groaning or celebrating? How do you respond to the poem? Whatever your age, how do you respond to the aging process that is our lot as humans?

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

 

 

 

Take a Deep Breath and Push!

 

I’ve given birth to four babies. I know the feeling of the labour pains prior to birth. It’s commonly said mom’s forget those pains, and on one level I do….but I still retain residual memories! Women are wonderful, amazing beings to go through childbirth again and again and again.

But back to labour pains….one of the scriptures last Sunday was the description of how the Spirit groans within us. Creation is groaning, waiting for this world to be put right. We are groaning, waiting for things to be put right. Sometimes in our groans we can articulate the yearning, but often we can’t. There is simply something within us that groans. We know the world around us, the world within us isn’t right yet and we yearn, deeply longing for something else. The longing comes because we carry within us a God-given hope. The Spirit of God within us prays for us, with words we can’t understand. The Spirit either takes our groanings, or actually is our groaning, our longing for a shift.

Last week I found myself groaning. Some combination of the work of moving (memories get stirred up and then a pinch of concern gets added!) and a memoir course I’m taking (that week it was my 50’s – help, they were tumultuous!), stirred up deep longings within me. By the time Saturday came, I was tired.

When I read the Romans passage on Sunday, I could see my groanings with a different perspective. The ache, the longing, the waiting, the work of the week are the labour pains of the new life that is coming.

To be pregnant is fun but also at times painful and hard work. It is so rewarding when you hold your new infant … there are no words for that indescribable moment. I’ve been ‘pregnant’ in ministry too. I remember knowing deep within that Contemplative Fire was coming. Those months were precious. They were fun but also hard work and at times painful. And then… the fruit was precious. Our first retreat was memorable and there has been so much goodness in the years that followed.

I think I’m ‘pregnant’ again! I can feel the new life growing within me. I can smell the forest, feel the spaciousness of our new surroundings and hear the laughter of family around me. But, right now it is work and sometimes painful.

Childbirth hurts. Sometimes it felt like I was going to crack open. Bringing something new into the world hurts. Going through any kind of change in our life can often hurt. Shedding the skin of old ways. Fumbling, falling, learning new ways. It’s not easy. What if we are able to see the pain of change, as the groaning of new birth, as the longing of the Spirit within us for a new way forward, an expansion of God’s ways into the world? Each worry, fear, concern can be an ache of labour towards a new way to live.

There is always a new way coming. It doesn’t have to be a major move. Life is always unfolding. God’s Spirit is always at work drawing us closer and closer to a new world, a world where Love wins.

I choose love. In the midst of all the groanings of life, I choose to follow love’s pathway. I choose to walk hand in hand with goodness. When your groanings come…what will you choose?

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

 

Making It My Own

 

Have you ever taken something familiar or even very traditional, and made it your own?

One of the spiritual practices that Smith gives in ‘Good and Beautiful God’, is to recite Psalm 23 every night at bedtime for a week. It was probably at least four years ago that I first led a group through this exercise. I found it quite comforting, a bit of tucking myself in to sleep. I didn’t stop at the end of the week. In fact, the habit has continued for many years now, only I found the psalm began to take on its own life. As the spiritual truths of the psalm became more real to me, the words began to change. I began to make it my own. I’ve enjoyed a wonderful freedom as I’ve played with the phrasing. Crazy… but maybe a bit like a jazz singer massaging a standard hit! I’ve had many versions over the years.

In the middle of last night, I found myself once again with Psalm 23 and had the idea that it was time to share it with you.

The Lord is my Shepherd. I have everything I need.

You take me to the ocean and forests.

You restore my soul.

I walk hand in hand with you, and your goodness flows into the world.

 

Even when I walk through The Valley of The Shadows, I’m not afraid

for you are with me, to guide and comfort me.

When people betray me, desert me,

you are there.

You notice me, nourish and nurture me.

I feel so full of your loving presence. Anointed.

You flow through me.

 

For sure, I will live within your goodness and mercy

every day of my life.

I will rest within your Presence all my days.

******

I began by using the traditional words, again and again. Slowly as the months went by and the truth of the scripture began to sink into my heart, shaping it, the words began to change. Perhaps my current rendition will inspire you to stay with this psalm, and eventually to play with it and make it your own.

Be blessed.

Enjoy.

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

 

 

The Guest House

 

I continue to be a Mystic in Motion! I’ve got my head in boxes and drawers and cupboards sorting what to take, give away and discard. We are on the move.

The quote from last week – Deep down we all know that all life is on loan to us.  – continued to follow me in the days ahead.

I went to the AGO and found a painting that spoke to me of the hope, the light that lies deep within me. I believe that within my depths there is hope, laughter and a way of travelling lightly. I’m so sure that Jesus had an infectious laugh! The painting is by Joan Mitchell an abstract expressionist. I responded to the lightness being at the bottom. No matter what, there is hope, there is light under it all. I can see and feel that lightness within me. I look forward to more and more of it breaking through my depths.

Yesterday, in my memoir writing group we were given one of Rumi’s poem’s ‘The Guest House’. I will share it with you at the end of the blog. Again it spoke of holding life lightly, welcoming all that comes our way as guests, being at the door to welcome whatever comes with warmth and laughter. I believe that our life on earth is about learning how to live well, to live with compassion and kindness. That involves learning how to suffer well. Our lives are woven with times of pain, all sorts of different kinds of pain and we are, I am, to learn how to navigate the rough waters of life with integrity, with care and compassion, with even a welcome smile. That gives me enough to work on for the rest of my life!

So learning about  ‘Travelling Lightly – Dwelling Deeply’ continues. Who has come as a guest to my house today? Who has knocked on your door?

The Guest House by Rumi (translated by Coleman Barks)

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

 

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

 

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

 

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

 

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

 

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

 

 

 

Life’s Lending Library

One night many years ago, I had a dream where I held a small bird in my hand. I knew I was to hold it very gently, not grasping, but simply letting it rest on my hand. If I grasped it, I knew I would harm it, even kill it.

I’ve been drawn into Joyce Rupp’s book ‘Praying our Good-byes’ this week. She begins with: ‘Deep down we know that all life is on loan to us.’

Somewhere hidden within me, I know I’m not in charge, that I’m gifted with life, entrusted with it. Somewhere deep within me I know that. But selling our home, moving far away, into a smaller home and with a different lifestyle challenges me to let go of most of the things that surround me, most of the people that make up the fabric of my daily life, and most of the involvements that give my life meaning. On loan? That means these things, these relationships, these activities aren’t MINE. That means I need to be holding them lightly, not grasping, but holding gently like that little bird from my dream.

Contemplative Fire follows a Rhythm of Life entitled: Travelling Light – Dwelling Deep. I’ve usually responded that I’ve little problem with the depth part, it’s travelling light that stretches me! My journey has been to lighten up, learn to play, to laugh, to let go, to simply live more lightly and with greater ease.

This week I’m considering that lightness comes from depth. I’ve seen them as  separate, both to be nurtured, but separate parts of me. Rupp’s teaching has opened a new door. I see that embedded in my depth, is lightness. It is from a place of depth, deep within, that release comes. Deep down in my True Self, in My Core, in the Centre of All, there is the way of being that holds life lightly, knowing that it is on loan. Life is not mine to grasp, possess, control or orchestrate, but it is mine to enjoy and live, openly, deeply and lightly. As long as I’m in angst about what to keep and what to let go, as long as I’m not releasing current relationships to become something new, as long as I’m getting my purpose from an activity or role, I’m not living my full life. I’m not living from my depths. I’m not Travelling Light- Dwelling Deep. Within me is freedom. Within me lightness. Life doesn’t belong to me. It’s loaned to me. So how shall I live?

I’ve loved our home in Toronto, but it is a home that was given to us for a season. It’s time to give it to someone else. I’ve been richly blessed in the life that has grown around me in Toronto, but this life was given to me for a season. It’s time to release it, to allow the groups and people to continue without me. It’s time for me to discover what being a stranger is all about. It’s time for me to build a new home. I will live into the truth that deep down, all life is on loan to us.

Right outside our bedroom window a robin has been building a nest on the drainpipe. It looks like an exposed an awkward place, but I suppose he’s done it before. Deep down, he knows how to build a home for his family. Deep down he knows that it will be just for this season. Deep down, he knows. Deep down I trust that we’ll be able to build a new home too.

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

ild a new home too.

What do you know deep down? Do you know that all of life is on loan to you? That you have it just for a season.

 

Public and Personal

 

Today I feel caught between public and personal happenings. I live in Toronto where ten people were killed and fifteen injured yesterday in what appears to be a random crazy attack. Will we ever know what motivated Alek to take so many lives of people who were strangers to him? The inner pain of the man, the anguish, delusion, distortion, separation….

Each one of us, as human beings, experience inner pain. An existential loneliness is a well-documented shared human inheritance. Most of us find ways of living with it. We learn to make friends, hold jobs, whether satisfying or not, that connect us to the bigger whole. We shop, eat, exercise, drink, work, play video games, decorate our homes, travel, study, help others… the list goes on and on of ways that we find to either cover up that existential loneliness, or ease its pain. And within our coping ways, we can even find joy, laughter and purpose.

Somewhere I read….and I’m sorry I can’t source this non-original thought… that this planet and our human lives on it, are a school of suffering. To be a human being is a challenging lifetime for we are here to learn how to suffer with graciousness and compassion. We are to allow our souls to be shaped by suffering. That doesn’t mean we’re doormats, but, the opposite, for we are to be actively and wisely open to suffering while we keep grounded in the deep, deep love of God. We are to touch God’s compassion through our suffering.

On a personal level, we’re selling our home and perhaps hearing offers today. As part of my work around that life transition, I’ve been re-reading Joyce Rupp’s book ‘Praying Our Good-byes’. This morning she took me to Jesus’ life, into his family life, his ministry years, his friendships, his suffering, and the long list of his good-byes before his death. I enjoyed reading of his connection with people and valued being shown, long before his death, his pain and suffering as he experienced human life.

As a human being, he suffered. I suffer. There are things I don’t understand.  Looking at Jesus’ death, I see God entangled in our suffering. So then,  how will I respond?

I spoke with one care-giver who was involved in the aftermath of the attack yesterday. His response was one we often hear. He spoke of the resilience of human beings, the goodness that pours out of people as they try to help victims, the shared sorrow of those nearby. In a moment when we see the worst, the greatest pain of being human, we also see the best, the greatest beauty of being human.

May our personal lives be grounded in the deep, deep love that God has for each one of us. May we respond to suffering, both personal and public, carefully, gently with wisdom, with openness, with compassion. One step at a time. Life is a marathon and we’re not done yet.

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

 

Broken and Open

He was there every day. How many days had they passed him by? But this day was different. Was he different? Were they different?

‘He’ was a man who had been lame from birth, living his adult life as a beggar asking for help of people as they entered the main worship place in the city. Surely those people would be kind to him. ‘They’ were two of Jesus’ closest disciples, Peter, that impetuous one and John, the one who sat close to Jesus. That day, they ‘saw’ the lame man reaching out to them and from their open, broken hearts the healing power of God moved through them to heal the lame man.

That was the Gospel in church this week. I listened as the homilist created the context for the story, drawing us into the lives of Peter, John and the Lame Man. She asked us to consider the changes in Peter from a simple fisherman to preacher/healer and how that had happened as he received the Holy Spirit and partnered with God.

She continued to develop that point, but I didn’t want to join her there. I wanted to look more deeply at Peter. I wanted to be on the beach with him when he encountered Jesus after …. after… after….he had been exposed as the superficial one, the one who betrays not for money, but for personal safety, for other’s good opinions…after the humiliating crush of his denial.

There are several resurrection stories that mention Peter. In none of them do we hear a word or reprimand or condemnation from Jesus to Peter. In the beach scene, they walk together, a bit apart from the others. Jesus reaches to him in love, restoring him, entrusting him with ministry.

I yearned this morning… Please take us to the beach, walk us through his denial, his grief, his confrontation and reconciliation with Jesus. Walk us into his humility. I wanted to touch his humility, to sit with him in it and experience it myself.

I believe that’s where our power connection lies. Peter and John could be vehicles of

Christ’s healing power because they had been healed themselves. They knew their own lameness and had reached out their own hands receiving healing. They had been humbled, stripped of their own layers of competency till they were open channels for the flow of Divine Love.

This morning I could feel my own layers of competency, of training, of knowledge, of understanding, of pride, and yearn that the dam be broken, that I not be bound by them. Let me crumble before Jesus as Peter did. Let me know my own weakness so that all that is left is a humble heap, a lame woman, with a hand reaching out.

Humility.

Openness to God’s Spirit.

I catch glimpses of how much quiet, internal resistance there is within me to humility. Glimpses of how I can flee from weakness and whip up a shield of competency.

May my heart be open, may my heart be broken so the divine healing power can flow through me to those in need.

Imagine with me … what if more and more of us were open, were broken, were channels of the healing power of Divine Love.

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

 

The Higher Rock

In this ‘Land of I-Don’t-Know’ that I named last week, some of the stepping stones that steady me were a sense of God’s reality, having family and friends within reach and knowing the inherent stability of my life.

 

 

After writing last week about those wonderful solid stepping stones, I found myself taking steps onto slippery stones this week. Sometimes in the middle of the night, sometimes in the middle of the afternoon I’d encounter anxiety, worry and fear. The whispers….’What have you done?!’  ‘You know the market is soft right now. Too bad you didn’t sell last year or wait till it rises again.’ And then….’Why did you buy that small, odd house? Surely if God were in this EVERYTHING would be smooth and effortless. The seller wouldn’t be difficult. The price would be cheap. The decisions on letting go of our belongings would be simple…..’.

Oh, those slippery stones of anxiety, worry and fear, those whispers!

Last week two other people didn’t whisper but spoke clearly into my life. One told me about trains and the other about rocks.

If I board a train hoping to go to Vancouver and discover it is going to Halifax, I’ll get off! When a ‘train of thought’ goes through my mind, I have a choice whether to stay on that train or get off it. One of the fruits of a meditation practice is a growing awareness of the train of thoughts that flow through my mind, and the flow of emotions that steam through me. I don’t have to stay on a particular train. I KNOW my destination. I can get off a train. There is no seat belt forcing me to stay.

Another person shared one of their favourite Bible verses, Ps 61.2 ‘Lord lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.’. When the waters get rough, when the rocks get slippery, Loving God lead me to The Higher Rock, the rock of You, of your truth, your presence within me and within the world. There IS a Higher Rock. It isn’t slippery. It is solid.

There are slippery rocks in ‘The Land of I-Don’t-Know’. Each day, each moment I need to consider where my feet are. Sometimes it’s difficult. Sometimes I slip. Sometimes I’m all wet. Lord, Help me. I want off this train. Lead me to The Higher Rock.

Back to Henri’s prayer:

Dear God

I do not know where you are leading me.

I do not even know what my next day,

my next week or my next year will look like.

As I try to keep my hands open,

I trust that you will put your hand in mine

and bring me home.

Thank you God for your love.

Thank you.

Amen.

There is a Higher Rock, a Higher Ground.

What are your slippery stones?

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

 

 

 

 

Living in the Land of ‘I Don’t Know’

From a Lenten reflection it’s grown into a state of awareness. I recognize that I’m living in a land where I don’t know what’s going to happen.

When we move, who will be our neighbours? Will we make a friend or two or three? Who will they be? What will their stories have been? Who will know my story? Where will I get my hair cut? Who will be our doctor, dentist, chiropractor, let alone run our favourite local coffee shop? What activities will we be engaged in? How are we going to decide what comes with us and what stays behind? Who is going to buy our home? I simply don’t know.

I picture myself standing in the shallows of a river. I’m in ‘The Land of I Don’t Know’. I like acknowledging that I’m living there right now. Sure, in reality we ALL live there everyday, but usually we have enough scheduled in our life that the uncertainty is muffled. It doesn’t shout at us the way it is shouting at me these days! My calendar is pretty empty!

As I stand in the shallows of unknowing, I see flat stones that I can step on to make my way through the river. Even, in the midst of uncertainty, there are some things I do know.

Stepping Stone 1: I know God’s presence and live with an awareness of how much I’m loved. Without doing anything, with an empty calendar, I’m still beloved.

Stepping Stone 2: I know that you’re loved too. God’s love is a vast, warm embrace that holds us all together.

Stepping Stone 3: I know I have with me a dear husband who keeps me company in the journey. I have family around me and that there are friends I could call if I need to.

Stepping Stone 4: I know I’m a very privileged person. Of the seven billion or so of us on earth today, I have more materially, emotionally and spiritually than most. There is money in the bank, food in my fridge, a warm bed at night and I’ve just walked on three precious stepping stones.

If we’re honest, don’t we all live in ‘The Land of I Don’t Know’ every day? Oh, we plan and prioritize. We have calendars and make appointments. We’re very busy and purposeful people driving around the city, making sure things get done. But haven’t you had days when ‘life’ happens at you? We really don’t know what’s going to happen next. What are your stepping stones? What keeps you grounded?

And then I smile and enjoy Hafiz:

It used to be

That when I would wake in the morning

I could with confidence say,

‘What am ‘I’ going to

Do?’

That was before the seed

Cracked open.

Now Hafiz is certain:

There are two of us housed

In this body,

Doing the shopping together in the market and

Tickling each other

While fixing the evenings food.

Now when I awake

All the internal instruments play the same music:

‘God, what love-mischief can ‘We’ do

For the world

Today?

         (The Gift – Poems by Hafiz, translation by Daniel Ladinsky.)

I can’t run away from uncertainty and not knowing, so I’ll jump in with two feet splash around and have some fun. What love-mischief can we do today?!

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