Life’s Drama

‘We cannot control our life.’

Try letting that truth sink in. Let it sink into your mind and then deeper into your heart, even into your body where you carry those hidden knots of stress. 

Sister Wendy Beckett begins her ‘Art in Lent’ reflections with that statement. Of course, I know that is true. Of course. Really? I might think I know it’s true, but living within its reality is very different.

She invited me to begin Lent with Hokusai’s painting ‘The Great Wave’. It’s so beautiful, yet so unsettling. That huge wave, the great wave that rises ready to engulf the tiny boats with even tinier people. Sometimes life erupts with a rogue wave. Something hits us that we hadn’t anticipated, hadn’t planned for, have no experience with….I bet you know some of those moments.

Right now I’m feeling the effects of a rogue wave within our family for one of our members is ill with a chronic debilitating condition and I can’t control it. I can’t fix it, or the person with it or the system around them. I don’t have any control. Well not quite. I do have control over how I will respond to it. I can go head long into it, or broadside or tack looking for the slowest spot. Perhaps I need a bit of all of that. I can be headlong with my own feelings, not avoiding them but allowing them to wash over me and through me. I can come alongside the feelings of others and be present with them letting them soak me. I can also keep myself flexible, adjusting to the daily fluctuations.

I’m not in charge of the drama on earth or within my family or my own life. There’s a popular saying on the ‘wet’ coast – there is no such thing as bad weather, only poor clothing choices. Ah yes. I’m able to make choices. Even, or especially when the rogue wave rises, I need to be flexible and make choices. Sometimes that’s easier to write about than live, but often the writing helps me live closer to the truth I know.

So begins this year’s wilderness walk during Lent. I’m feeling soaked through with the unexpected.

Love and prayers as we walk this uncontrollable journey


Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Companion on the Rivendell Way

Society Member of Shalem Institute for Contemplative Living

A Flicker

Our grandmother’s home, a rambling old house with a huge garden, was a delightful part of our childhood summers. On warm August evenings, my sisters and I would take small jam jars and catch fireflies. They would flicker around one special corner of her lawn, small and harmless, delightful as they flicked their tail lights on an off. Our fun was being in their midst and perhaps catching a few in a jar. We’d only keep them for a minute and then having watched their little lights go on and off, release them again to the warm evening.

Last week I wrote about being blinded by Truth, but this week it’s about another reality, those moments that are like the flicker of a firefly. Moments are moments. So quick. They just happen and if I’m not slow enough, I’ll miss them. I believe like the fireflies, those precious moments are all around me, all the time. Will I be open to ‘catch’ them? The sunlight glistening on the raindrop hanging on the spider’s web; the light that dances through a dear one’s eye; the aroma of cedar filling the forest; the cloud passing down the mountainside; the clerk’s smile at the grocery store; the kindness of the woman on the Metro platform who asks me if I’m looking for the route to the airport; the kind invitation to go for a walk; the container of soup left on my doorstep; the line of poetry….. on and on …. Those moments that flow day in and day out, those moments that touch a place deep within.

Each flicker is precious. As Merton writes in ‘New Seeds of Contemplation’, ‘Every moment and every event of everyone’s life on earth plants something in his soul.’ Most of our moments are lost in the whirl of life. But still the Spirit continues to cast seeds. Will we catch them? And then release them? Release them so that their goodness, their holiness flows out into the world.

That’s my job, your job, our job as human beings. It’s to see the Light, to catch and release the light back into the world. Every day, all day. Catch and release. Breathe in the goodness all around us and release it again into the world.

Each moment is filled with holiness. Ah, to live within that God awareness.

Love and prayers for the journey


Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Companion on the Rivendell Way

Society Member of Shalem Institute for Contemplative Living


There are three significant changes that Teal organizations embody. The first we’ll think about is self-management. They have taken significant steps away from a strong hierarchical organizational structure and moved toward a flatter one. There may still be a CEO but that person is more a figurehead, one who actively embodies the values and vision. Although actively engaged in projects that are important to them, the CEO is not the key decision maker, for that power has been given to self-managed teams within the organization. There are fewer titles and a fluid movement between roles. Often there is peer evaluation and everyone has input regarding salaries!

In what way have you encountered these ideals in your place of work or church community?

The Contemplative Fire Companions that met shared stories of when we have encountered the walls of hierarchy; at times in our life, having a chain of command felt safe and secure. At other times it was restrictive and inhibiting. Have you encountered those walls? Where? What was your response?

We share awareness that Contemplative Fire has some structure, but its founding DNA is community engagement and its vision is for diversification with small local based communities, woven together by a shared Rhythm of Life and shared Vision/Values. We have a lot of Teal within us. We want to deepen that way of being in the world.

Rather than walls, Teal organizations have doors, open doors, lots of them, reflecting the organic nature of their life. Information flows. Things are always changing. Ideas, filtered through the purpose/vision/values of the organization, come in and out. Trust is a thread that joins the members.

I delighted in reading about for-profit companies that work with this model! It deepens my hope for our world. Some are truly trying to live a different way.

Can you, with me, imagine your company, community, church functioning this way? I think it smells like Jesus. Can you imagine with me our world moving in this direction?

Love and prayers


Contemplative Fire Community Leader (Canada)