A Little Bit of Merton

‘I will not break faith with my awakened heart’.

This little nugget comes from somewhere in the writings of Thomas Merton. I heard it in a podcast as I was walking my regular route in Paris yesterday. I stopped walking, letting the intent of his words drop deeply into my being. As I often get tossed around by the circumstances of life, I resonated with his desire to remain true to what he knows, not intellectually but experientially, despite the challenges. So today I begin my reflection.

First, what does my awakened heart know? What ‘knowing’ do I hold, not what I’ve read or heard, but what is true in my heart? Last night I could feel this question tumbling around. I’ll see what I can catch this morning. This heart of mine has seen a spiritual image both at my bedside and as light in a theatre, has heard a voice with unexpected words and has known truth impressed within. This awakened heart knows that LOVE is at the source of all, that this LOVE dwells within all people and gives all matter life, and that in the end LOVE will be here for it is the universe’s trump card. This awakened heart knows that opening to God is the purpose of life, all of the struggles and joys down here are the classroom for learning soul lessons, so we’re open to God. This heart of mine recognizes that most people walking the planet don’t see the world this way…..yet. Most people around me are caught in the whirlwind of surviving or thriving in the turmoil of what ‘life’ has thrown at them. My awakened heart knows life as a classroom and in it, I’m a life-long learner.

I know there is more my heart knows, but I want to pause to consider the first part of his walk-stopping thought. ‘I will not break faith’. He’s crying out a desire to live from his True Self, his deepest purest part, to be his best self, yet he knows the struggle too. His will is needed. He needs to make a choice, not once, not a confession moment in church or a moment of emotional surrender, but a moment-by-moment choice over breakfast, on the subway, around the family table, in the grocery store, at the computer screen, working at a meeting, watching TV, hanging out with friends……moment by moment in the classroom, of the School of Life. Merton lived with an awareness of the life-shaping component of each moment of our lives. And he knows the struggle to remain true to what he knew.

I know that struggle too. I think that’s why his vulnerable acknowledgement and desire for truth resonated with me. I… will…not…break faith…with my awakened heart. I will remain true to who I am today wherever I’m taken in the classroom of life. I will be myself, my Mystic in Motion self, wherever Life takes me. That doesn’t mean that I speak of what my heart knows, but that I live from the heart qualities so kindness, tenderness and compassion flow through me to those I meet. My awakened heart is a divine gift, but remaining open, and nurturing it is my choice, my ‘yes’ to growing spiritual energy.

Sometimes it feels like people around me want to put a gag on me, push back and don’t want me to be myself. Recalling, ‘I will not break faith with my awakened heart’, encourages me to be rock solid with them, often not in words, but in personal energy. Sometimes words might be said, but most often it’s a shift within where I let the restraint or rejection wash around me. Rock Solid in the tumultuous river. They don’t know what they are doing to me. They don’t know how their words are affecting me. Perhaps later there will be time to connect with them more deeply, but in the moment, I’m not to break faith with my awakened heart. I am to stay within the flow of compassion.

Still mulling over this one….. et vous?

Love and prayers


Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Companion on the Rivendell Way

Society Member of Shalem Institute for Contemplative Living

Rock Solid

Ever hit a wild, whirlwind season of life? One with unanticipated twists and turns?                                                                           

This morning I was musing over the rambunctiousness of my last year, realizing there have been times when I’ve wondered just who I was and where God was hiding, but then I open my Lenten reading and found today’s picture – Ben Johnson’s ‘The Queen’s Room’. I dropped into the stillness held within the image.

Stillness. Spaciousness. Everything settles. I know who I am. And I know God’s Presence within and around me.

Stillness. I shudder at how often I’m swept up in the activity of life and loose sense of the deep stillness within. I desire to live more truly from the inner stillness of Divine Presence, to walk into a room and bring that deep peace and centredness with me as a gift to others. I desire to live open to Spirit’s flow.

Imagine a forest river making its way to the ocean. In the river is a rock, not huge, but sizeable. Sometimes, after a rainfall or in during the snow melt, the water roars and covers of the rock, but it’s still there, solid and sure. Sometimes, the river slows down, the level lowers and the rock is visible, sure and solid. Sometimes debris comes down the river banging against the rock, but it remains sure, solid, unchanging. Oh yes, after the years of water flow it still appears the same, yet even rocks are shaped by the water’s constant flow so it’s edges are softer, but it’s still rock, solid and sure.

‘The Queen’s Room’ spoke to me this morning, calling me out of the chaos of life and back to my Self. I’m a rock. In the midst of a turbulent year I’m a rock. May I live true to my Self, solid and sure, yet shaped with my rough edges softened by flow of life.

How’s your life these days?

Love and prayers


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

Blinded By Light

One day, on a BC ferry, I looked up and the brilliant sunlight blinded my eyes. Even though bright sun in the winter is a rare treat to be savoured in BC, I had to close my eyes and turn away. The light was too much for me.

Have you had moments when you suddenly know something; a truth lands deep inside you, an awareness, an insight, a moment of clarity, an ‘Ah-ah’ moment, an epiphany? I’m sure you have. Suddenly we see a truth about ourselves, or someone else, or about relationships, or for some people it’s a scientific breakthrough. Mine aren’t world changing discoveries but are usually about myself or life in general. They’re special gifts, always just what is needed.

That ferry moment was another special learning. Just as I turned away from the brilliant sunshine, I often turn away from a deep truth that I’ve been shown. I might stay open to it for an instant or for a few minutes. I might hold it in my heart and mull it over on and off, even for years. Usually what happens, even if it’s a long-term mulling, is that I close the eyes of heart and understanding for it’s simply too brilliant for my ego self to remain open. Ego likes murky light. When the spiritual light is bright, the ego must surrender its dominance. One key aspect of spiritual growth is letting the ego surrender its central role, and take a more practical, needs-based role. What if I can strengthen my spiritual muscles so I remain open to the Light of Truth when it is given to me? Not pull back, but stay present, even walk into the Light, holding and owning the Truth. For some reason the Divine One has chosen to pull back the murky curtains of illusion that cover us in this world and give a glimpse into the bigger picture, the divine reality. I’m being given a Truth, with a capital ‘T’, that will move me forward as a human being. What if I remain open to that Truth?

What if?

What if you remain open to one of the truths you’ve received over the years? Can you go back and name one? And then rest in it, opening yourself to his life and energy?

This awareness feels so good to me. I don’t want to turn from the Light. I want to walk into the Light. I want to live in the Light.

Love and prayers


Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Companion on the Rivendell Way

Society Member of Shalem Institute for Contemplative Living 

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God – Really?

I’ve been reflecting on my experiences of God and want to share one with you. I’ve often been puzzled by the talk of sin and God’s wrath. I used to read sermons such as those by Jonathan Edwards and try to fit my belief into the box of an angry God who needed to have his wrath appeased, but I couldn’t ever fit. Here’s a story from my early life that shows why I struggled.

I closed the back door of our home, shutting Hugh out of my life, relieved that I would never see him again. I had been very cold and closed towards him that evening, yet as I closed the door, I heard a voice and felt an impression in my heart. ‘You haven’t loved your brother in Christ.’ That was all. That was it. I heard the words and knew their truth in my heart. I felt no condemnation, but knew the reality was that I hadn’t loved him. No matter what else happened in our lives, Hugh was my brother in Christ and I had been rude to him. I knew that wasn’t the way I was supposed to be living. I wasn’t walking the path Jesus was guiding me along but was veering off on my own direction. I had asked for a life companion, a husband and Hugh had been given to me yet I had rejected the gift. What would happen now? What happens when God gives you a gift and you toss it aside?

My experience of God in that moment was of understanding, tenderness, righteousness and love. God heard the negative churning in my mind, saw the decision I made and didn’t run away from me. My coldness and rudeness were seen, understood and mirrored back to me. God spoke tenderly into my mind and my heart, describing what I had done and what I hadn’t done. I was shown a glimpse of my cruelty yet also showed a different path that I was invited to walk. I’m to love. God didn’t start with me loving the whole world, but loving one person, who was my brother in Christ, one person who has faith and is wanting to walk the path of life with me. God showed me the path of loving, the path of kindness, the path that Jesus walked. It’s a beautiful path, might not always be easy but it is the path of loving.

I didn’t hear any condemnation that day. I experienced understanding, tenderness, righteousness and love. Love for me. Love for Hugh. Understanding for what might have been. Understanding for was going to be because of my choices.

I had listened to the voices of criticism that came from a place of fear, from that place deep inside me where I was taught to fear loving, that place that carts out boulders and builds walls. God saw me in that place, had compassion on me, didn’t run from me or abandon me or shut the door on me, but spoke tenderly, firmly, and wisely into my life. God is good, faithful, kind, compassionate. God knows me, knows each of us and cares.

I’ve never encountered wrath or anger, only God’s tenderness, compassion and invitation.

Perhaps this week you would enjoy journalling one of your experiences of God.

Love and prayers


Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Companion on the Rivendell Way

Society Member of Shalem Institute for Contemplative Living

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.


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


Mystic in Motion

Contemplative Fire, Community Leader Canada


Following the Prince of Peace Part 2

Do you know those moments when you simply wake up and hear something with fresh ears! Truly OMG moments. I had one a few months ago and it was one of the clear calls that I mentioned last week that I’ve had into a life of following the Prince of Peace. I caught my thought train in action, pressed the pause button, then pressed the rewind and then play buttons. I listened to my own thoughts. It was sobering. I heard myself say negative things to someone I value deeply. I wouldn’t spend any time with someone who talked to me like that. I heard a negative, complaining, controlling voice telling someone else how to live their life. OMG. Am I really like that?

The voice I heard that day was violent. Its weapons were words as if a rapid fire machine gun was taking out another human being. And it was inside me. I was stunned. I don’t want to hold those negative thoughts within me. I don’t want to send off the negative aroma that they carry. I don’t want to take any chance that they come out of my mouth and be a weapon of destruction in someone’s life. I was challenged that day with the reality of violent communication and how I can be hurtful to someone else, even someone I truly value.

I don’t know why I suddenly heard my own thoughts that day, but I will give all my gratitude to our very gracious and patient God. I’m so grateful to the Spirit for being slow enough to hear my thoughts. I wonder if some of it came as a fruit of the years of meditation where I do observe my thoughts and feelings as I open myself to the Holy Spirit.

Right now I’m less interested in the mechanics of how or why, and much more interested in growing in not tolerating the negativity within me. Each time I catch it, acknowledging it and choosing to wish goodness and loving kindness towards the person instead.

Have you ever caught yourself wishing ill of someone? Following the Prince of Peace means to me that I will do my best to not put up with that going on inside me anymore. I’ll lay down my weapons of violence and pick up the ways of loving kindness.

Maybe one of the gifts we can give this Christmas season is to bring peace into our thought life. Will you join me?

Prince of Peace Official Lyric Video

Peace in the midst of all…


Community Leader Contemplative Fire Canada

Finding my Way – Eagle Wings

mg_9336Have you ever watched an eagle glide or hover? Their wings are so strong and wide, able to catch the air currents and ride them, seemingly effortlessly. There was a little hummingbird in my garden this morning and they seem to work so hard, with tiny wings in constant movement.

Am I an eagle or a hummingbird today? Sometimes in life I can feel the fast pace, the frantic movements from place to place, but other times…. oh other times I can feel myself sustained, held, supported and moved by an unseen force. How absolutely splendid those times are!

As a friend and I shared this week, we became aware that in our spiritual life we can feel like an eagle. We can wait for the lift of the current of the Spirit, then spread our wings and allow the Spirit to move us. I’ve known times of being held by the Spirit, seemingly effortlessly alive, moving, watching, being, doing. There is a life force beyond me that is holding me. Do you know such times?

What if we lived, like eagles, waiting for the Spirit current that will lift us? What if we waited for the Spirit of God? What if we waited?

I imagine there are many times in all our lives when we have had an eagle experience. I encourage you to return to those moments when life felt effortless and you felt supported and sustained by God. What was happening that allowed you to experience it?

Right now I trust the sustaining presence of God within my life. If I’m going to find my way through this hectic and chaotic world I need to learn to wait, patiently wait for Spirit movement. I need to learn to trust, trusting that God is always present and will come to lift me. And then I need to learn to stretch my wings and fly.

Eagle or hummingbird? Which are you today?

Love and prayers on our flight together
Contemplative Fire Community Leader Canada

“And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings,
Bear you on the breath of dawn,
Make you to shine like the sun,
And hold you in the palm of His Hand.”
~One Eagle’s Wings – Michael Joncas