Monday, 8 August 2016

Looking for Home



Evening meditation time in our dining room.



Months since I posted anything. 
 Months during which we didn't
actually make a progress around many churches
to find a new spiritual family,
as we had thought we would during Lent.

We could have made our home at either of the two we did visit,
 but seemed to have settled on the one nearest to us,
 and furthest away 
from the tradition those who thought they knew us
 would have expected. 

 For me the "bells and smells" felt like a coming home at last,
 and the sense of reverence,  and time
 to absorb the healing scripture enfolded in the liturgy
 were just what I yearned for. 
 I am not sure hubby feels quite the same,
though I know he appreciates the depth of it as much as I do,
 and we both love the people.

We have not been able to be as involved as we might like,
 mostly due to my continuing illness,
which began way back at the end of April,
and shows no signs of shoving off just yet. 
 It  began as a heavy chest cold and has progressed from there to breathlessness, temperature, general weakness,
antibiotics, and now, being on my third course of steroids,
 it has definitely outstayed it's welcome. 
 So no church for the last few weeks and odd absences before that. 

 In one way this is no hardship for me,
as I see the day to day presence
 of the indwelling Spirit as the mainstay,
 not a weekly appearance at a building,
but in another there is the need to be gathered
with a family of faith somehow.
  So, I guess what I am saying is
 there is still a sense of homelessness
and I am not sure how it will be resolved. 
 Set against my keen sense of flux in the Churches'
(meaning church universal),
situation in the world
 I find this exciting,
 as all liminal places are.


I am reminded of Jesus saying to Philip,
Have I been so long with you, and (yet) you have not come to know Me, Philip? 

There always seems such a depth of promise, as well as regret in those words don't you think?
  So much more to learn, to know, and to live...

Blessings

P.S.  Lest the photo at the top of the post seems a bit "holy" or out of touch, it really is an example of how spirituality is at the heart or "home" of our lives, as it was taken just as I finished my time of quiet and left the room to watch a live television performance of Mrs Brown's Boys, the humour of which can only be described as "earthy". 
 We need the sublime and the ridiculous for wholeness don't we?  





Sunday, 14 February 2016

Into The Wilderness -Leaving what we know and have relied upon

This year Lent has taken on a particular and special meaning for me,
 as it coincides with my husband and I setting out
 from the church we have known as our spiritual family for a long time,
 on a journey of discovery which, at the moment anyway,
 feels like a true setting out into the wilderness.

We do not know where we are being led,
only that we must let go of where we have been,
really let go,
before we can discover where we are meant to be.

What makes this journey of discovery even more interesting,
(for interesting read difficult!), 
is that there are two of us.
Two very different people,
 each on their own intensely personal pilgrimage of faith,
hoping and trusting we will be brought to a place 
we will both recognise as "home".
The fact that we have been brought to this moment together
is a hopeful sign of that synchronicity of the Spirit that is all we look for.

Because this is still so new, and I grieve for fellowship we have left
 I felt I wasn't ready to start out on our search yet,
but hubby wanted to attend an evening communion
at a local Anglican church on Ash Wednesday, so it seemed fitting to go. 
In doing so we are starting our search with the words which accompany
the moment when the sign of the cross was traced on our foreheads
with ash, signifying repentance.

"Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
 Turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ."

*
Throughout my life I know that it is not my faithfulness,
 but the faithfulness of a God who has actively sort me,
 and led me,
 that has mattered,
and it is this that I rely upon.

My one prayer is perfectly expressed by this worship song.

Be Blessed


Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Celandine Morning Prayer

http://blog.metmuseum.org/cloistersgardens/2012/04/05/lesser-celandine/

This morning for the first time for an age the rain has stopped lashing down
and the gale wind has dropped.
The sun is out,
so of course I am off into the garden to put washing on the line.

As I scan the borders noting the premature signs of spring, as well as the storm damage
 I spot the hardy celandines returning,
despite my best efforts to root them out each year.

I love to see their shining faces in the woodlands and hedgerows.
In the garden though, they form close knit rafts
overwhelming everything in their path;
weaving themselves into roots of perennials and shrubs alike,
so there is nothing else to do but dig everything up and separate them out-
and then replant.
Hard work, and increasingly, more than I can do.

Before I knew it I had my fingers into the cold wet muddy earth,
wheedling down the white thread-like stems to the root,
 then cupping them out between my fingers, little balls of earth and all.
Strangely, even as I did so,
 I was filled with wonder and respect at the resilience of life that pushes up,
 again and again.
There in the cold mud my heart sang to the source of life.

You who I know as Life,
 upholding all,
never turning away,
never failing,
but seeking always new ways to break out
and show yourself;
filling all created things with an expression of yourself
and calling forth the new in every moment,
fill us with such a force of life we cannot hold it in,
growing strong in the true and pure proclamation of you
 we are uniquely made to be,
even in our suffering, brokenness, ambition, and frailty.


Be Blessed




Monday, 1 February 2016

The First day of Spring?


Watching the moving news footage of a boat load of refugees 
being rescued from a sinking vessel off the coast of Samos,
 I witnessed their utter joy.
My heart ached As I thought about the long struggle still lying ahead
in their long search for a new, safer, and better, life. 

I couldn't help but wonder if,
 on the hard path which still lies ahead of them
 they may be tempted to look back at their moment of rescue
 as a bitter beacon of false hope, 
 serving only to mark their passage into some new darkness; 
or will they be able to use their memory of that moment
 to strengthen them in the belief 
that the promise of the new, and the good,
is still possible, and within their grasp.

Today, the first of February, is St. Brigid's day.
The day marked by the Celtic church,
in the middle of winter,
 as the first day of spring!

It was now, that Celtic spirituality chose to look 
beyond the cold bleak days they were still enduring
to take account of the buds becoming full,
 and the pure white snowdrops, (an emblem of St. Brigid),
 breaking from the dark earth.
In short, they looked to the re-awakening of all things
as the light returned, 
and the days lengthened on their patch of the good earth. 

We may know how it is to try and hold on in some winter gloom that has settled in us,
to have unfulfilled hopes which once burned bright,
but have all but been extinguished.

Is there some hope, or promise, you feared was lost
 that rises up in you now
crying out to shine into life and springtime newness ?
Is there something suggesting itself
 you could do right now
to give yourself the new impetus you need?
 +
I love the words of John 1:4
which assure us that at the heart and meaning of our life,
 the very centre of our being,
 is a Christ light shining.

May your hope be re-kindled, and come to the full light of it's dawning,
so your unique expression of the Christ light within you will shine forth
as surely as the winter light will lengthen into spring. 
 +
If you follow this blog you will know how I love this song by Luka Bloom.

Don't Be afraid Of The Light That Shines Within You.

Listen And Be Blessed

Monday, 4 January 2016

Taking Our Place for the New Year

 YOU DON'T NEED TO PUSH THE RIVER,
 BECAUSE YOU ARE ALREADY IN THE RIVER.
 GOD'S LIFE OF LOVE IS BEING LIVED WITHIN YOU,
 AND YOU MUST SIMPLY LEARN TO SAY YES TO LIFE.

These words from Father Richard Rohr seemed so pertinent,
 I posted them on my facebook page as a start to the new year.

Saying yes to life isn't always that easy of course,
 and to do so we must really trust that "life" knows what it is doing.

  Even for those who know the one who called himself
 the way, the truth, and the life,
there is the deep pull to rely upon oneself when all is said and done. 
 There is always that little voice suggesting,
God helps those who help themselves.
  and
 If I don't get this done who will? 
 Right?



This is the bridge over the river Monnow at Skenfrith
 which sits beside the excellent Bell Inn.
When it was still a quiet country pub,
 the landlord had an old dog who used to suffer greatly when the weather got hot.
  To escape the heat he would wade into the river,
and stand for hours at a time with the water swirling around him,
 just down stream of the central arch of the bridge,
 always facing upstream.
   Always towards the source.

Today, and every day,
we may have little or no time to stand still,
or even give our minds relief from the constant battering of life's demands,
but we can set ourselves to trust,
 and our hearts to rely upon,
 the source of the stream in which,
 and from which,
we all come. 

Take a breath just where you are,
 and know you are held in the stream of life and love which carries us all.


Take frequent breaths throughout your day,
and find that source beyond the pressure of the moment,
 in that one thing for which even now,
 you can say thank you.

Do not be afraid.


Blessings

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Resting Lightly




The silver leaves of this tree in the park seem to have alighted on the branches;
a flight of butterflies
 trembling on the brink of disappearing on the breeze.

Such lightness of touch.


My heart lifts
with their promise that I need not cling so tightly.

The roots of freedom are planted by resting lightly, and letting go.
Be Blessed

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

So, What's New?


I walked into my sitting room today and wondered what the sweet perfume could be.

It couldn't be the prunings from the garden
which I had stuffed into a vase rather than throw in the bin,
 because I knew they didn't have any scent.

 I have been around these flowers since I was a kid,
 when they grew in my parents garden over seventy years ago.
  My plants come from cuttings of theirs,
 and I have transplanted them,
 and weeded around them ever since.
My nose has been close to them more times than I could count
 as I have worked in the garden,
 so I would have known if they bore any perfume wouldn't I?

But guess what? 

 Bending over them I realized they do have a scent but I had never caught it before.
 I had never brought them indoors before either,
 so perhaps the scent was intensified by being in the enclosed space. 
 Whatever the reason, the perfume came as a surprise.

Something so familiar I thought I knew all about
 had an added dimension I never suspected.


The lesson is too obvious to spell out isn't it?


I can't help wondering what else I think I know all about,
and really don't.


 Humbling.


Be Blessed



Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Limping and Leaping Towards Wholeness















After far too many weeks away from my walk in the park
 I got there in the rain on Sunday.

Under the dark canopy of trees I was drawn to
the pure ebullience of the Queen Anne's Lace effervescing out of the gloom.
Oceans of refreshing purity emerging from among the dark roots.

It spoke volumes to me, as nature often does,
but more so, given the last few weeks
when all my batteries crashed at the same time.
Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually,
everything went flat.

Well of course it did
because we are a whole entity.
If we drive ourselves too hard in any direction
we feel that depletion in all other areas to one degree or another.
Our lives simply get out of balance.

(If you follow this blog at all you will know I've said this before in some way or another.
No apology about that .
 We need to hear it.)
The good news is that this hiatus can, and will,
 move us forward as nothing else can.

My life has so often followed this pattern of limping, and then leaping.

*
You may understand something of this in your own life.
Things conspire to bring us, limping to a halt.

We find we have to pay ourselves some attention.

We learn to trust that nothing happens by chance and that
even what seems so cruel, painful, and frightening at the time,
is part of the design to bring us to a greater wholeness;
especially so, if we are ready to learn why we have been brought to to this moment.


Each one of us has a re- ocurring pattern to our lives.
It is the thing which causes us to say
 " How come this is happening to me again?"


You will have your own personal spanner in the works.




If, for any reason, we fail to grasp each lesson as we are presented with the opportunity,
then the pattern continues until you begin to
hear the deeper wisdom in your life which is there to guide you.

You can cooperate in moving towards that leap forward once you recognise the pattern.

It is a good thing to find
a wise, loving, and faithful, friend,
a spiritual mentor, counselor or therapist, to help you find your way
and support you at such a time.

Failing this, trust the Holy Spirit to lead you as you yearn for light.
Ask that the ears of your heart be opened to the messages that will come.

Dreams, unlikely "coincidences",
stuff that suddenly speak into your situation out of left field.

The more you listen, the more adept you will become in finding the guidance you seek.

In everything, despite what you are being led to believe,
(and this is especially difficult, but crucial, if your problems are with relationships),
turn consistently towards the source which most leads you to a healthy love of yourself.

Turn away from all that accuses, encourages guilt, or brings you down;
perhaps particularly your own inner critic.
Never be hard on yourself.

*
To illustrate, briefly, from my latest situation,
physically I needed let go of an exciting (once in a life time), project,
 with a group  working with a director from the Royal Shakespeare Company,
which I'd invested a lot in, but was proving just too taxing.

Then I needed to follow through on a problem I had been putting up with,
to discover I needed a course of antibiotics.
(Yes, I am that daft!
But does this ring any bells with you?)

I have given myself permission
 to really rest and recover my depleted strength
 rather than keep limping on and forcing myself to do it,
so I have let go of preaching for a while.
Also being in the worship team.

The team project, the preaching, worship group, had a three pronged hold.
I love each one of them.
  I hate letting people down,
and, the deepest hold,
they are each a way of connecting and communicating with others,
 which I badly need.

I wanted to keep going, but deep down knew I need to let go,
at least for now.
As soon as I did let them go,
I felt an almighty relief, and lightness.



Not being a masochist, I have kept my fortnightly choir,
 which is pure joy,
and anyway ends for the summer break later this month.

*
Emotionally, my weariness pointed me to a breakthrough
in integrating deep childhood wounds.

A weight I have carried all my life has been lifted.

What I am saying is,
unlikely as it seems this is a time of leaping!

*
If you limping along in any measure,
 take heart and believe you too are made to leap.

Look back if you can,
 discern a pattern in your own life a when a crisis has,
 in reality turned into a blessing.

For instance can you remember a change for the good
 you would never have made had you been left with a choice?

*
To thoroughly mix my metaphors,
the beautiful healing light of the God who loves you
is waiting in the dark place to break forth into
 new life
in you.
And maybe when you least expect it.





Be Blessed
limping or leaping,
 as you follow your path.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Ruminating

There has been a lot doing these last weeks, and I haven't posted anything on my blog

I don't suppose I've been missed,
 and as I don't often feel any compulsion to post regularly,
 I can't complain if I haven't.

Sometimes I wonder who reads my ramblings,
or if there is anybody out there at all;
then I look at the stats, and of course there is.

I can't claim, as some folks do, that I only write for myself .
Like painting, it is something that needs to be shared.
and sometimes I yearn to have some come back,
then I put that down to an ego which needs stroking,
 and put it to one side.

Mainly I still want to share the wonder 
of this ordinary/extraordinary life we share,
and yes, I guess I do want to know if it resonates with you.
To know that we touch soul space for a second or two, and say
Hmm! Yes!
 making an
 Amen
together.

Well may be that isn't for me to know, so I'll just get on with it.
+

This evening we are going to a Mary Black concert at Warwick Art Centre.

The tour is her "Final Call", as she is "hanging up her touring boots".

Her pure voice has accompanied me for many hours in the studio.
If you have never heard her sing, do listen to these.
If you know her you will need no urging.



Be Blessed

Friday, 24 April 2015

Taking a Dive



I took a dive yesterday
. No, I don't mean I threw away a fight,
  or sprang into some gleaming pool from a distant spring board in the sky.

  What I did was reach up to the washing line to begin to peg out the clothes,
 stepping back as I did so,
  only to have my foot connect with an array of potted plants Hubby had put out
to harden off with a view to later plantings.

 Being thrown off balance, the next thing I knew I was falling backwards towards a tall, heavy, planter, and the paving slabs of the patio.

In the slowed down seconds of my fall I attempted to throw myself leftwards,
 towards the grass which seemed a softer option.

 I would like to think that if It had been a dive into a pool
 it was an elegant backward somersault, with twisted half pike.
  (I don't know what that means but it sounds about right, and so good).

  In reality of course it was a frantic Tom and Jerry style flailing of the arms,
 ending in a full length sprawl on my side, accompanied by a sort of screamy shriek.

   If the style left something to be desired though, the landing was pretty good,
 in as much as I did largely avoid the paving slabs of the patio,
 with only my ribs and side connecting with the edge,
  as the upper part of me came to rest on the grass.

.  To be honest this was not as soft an option as I had thought,
due to the fact the grass was growing in earth which felt
 like the same concrete the patio was resting on.

 Not being an experienced diver I think it was a pretty good outcome,
  as I was able to lie there for a while
  assessing if there was any real damage to the working parts.

   From my newly recumbent position I could see my glasses half a body's length away,
 where they seemed to be making close observation of a couple of daisies,
 all be it without me.

 Thankfully, as I scanned my neighbours bedroom windows
 I didn't see any of them observing me.
  (Embarrassment at my undignified dive had already kicked in.)

 Along with my relief at not being seen,
 I felt a slight discomfort at the thought I could let out such a shriek
and be lying prone in my garden,
 without at least one would-be helper emerging from somewhere.

Finding myself sound in wind and limb I gingerly got up,
 collected my specs, and roused hubby from his lair at the computer in the study upstairs.
In the end it took two calls from the foot of the stairs to get through to him.

  Emergency treatment consisted of a hot cup of sweet tea of course,
 (well, I am British),
 a couple of paracetamol, hot shower,
  and analgesic spray to my ribs.

 Truth compels me to add there were a few tears,
 a bit of laughter as I visualised my diving technique,
 and a few well chosen words to hubby about where he had left the potted plants.

 I couldn't quite see the rationale behind his reply that
"They haven't been there long",
because, as I pointed out
 they were there long enough for one of us to have fallen over them!

The thing is, as with all accidents, my fall came out of a clear blue sky
. One minute everything was fine and dandy,
 and my day was planned out in front of me,
the next I was on the ground.
Life had been good.

Being laid low in the past has not always followed that pattern for me.
 Like many who suffer from chronic illness,
  when I was sick I struggled with depression and low self esteem.

 The conflict I had felt as I lay in the garden,
 on the one hand needing somebody to have known and responded,
 while at the same time feeling an uncalled for shame at my situation,
  are all too familiar to me.

 There was always this guilt attached to being less than one should be,
 either in ones body or ones mind.

All too often my heart's cry was
Ps. 42 :5  Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?
 Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.

 Thankfully now, both in body, mind, and spirit, I walk a more even path.
I do not forget however, how despair, despondency, and fear,
 can seem to fall out of a clear blue sky.

I hope you know nothing of what it is to suffer from depression.
 I also hope if you do not, you are careful not to judge those who do.
 Careful not to say,
 "What have they got to be depressed about?"
 because believe me that is a question they will ask themselves,
  and beat themselves with, time and again.

 Of course, according to statistics,
 around 80% of us show some signs of clinical depression,
so it is far more likely you do understand what it means to suffer in some way.

 If you do, above all:-

  Do not be ashamed, or believe you are undeserving of help.
Learn to be your own best friend, and do seek help.
In be-friending yourself learn to spot what pushes you towards the dive in your mood.
Watch your energy. - What gives it.? What takes it way? 
Take exquisitely good care of yourself in the most wholesome way you know.
  Avoid like the plague those who do not accept you as you are.

Gosh I'm sorry.
 Didn't mean to give you yet another drain on your energy
  by making a list of does and don'ts.

  I know what it is not to have the mental energy for such things,
 or even to believe I would ever have that energy again.
 To believe absolutely that this is the very time from which I will never arise.

 If that is where you are today, I reach out to you,
 praying the heaviness will be broken, the prison bars shattered,
and light again return to your spirit.

If you are already standing tall, and strong. and positive,
why not join me in sending out the blessing of light, and healing,
 in your own way?

May this weekend see us all arise to a fuller way of being.

Be Blessed

P.S.  To hear the late Maya Angelou read her well known poem, I Will Arise
click on the link below.

youtu.be/JqOqo50LSZ0?list=RD7HiE4lt_