Friday, 30 January 2015

Giving Peace A Chance

Having received the word
 peace for the year ahead
 I am accepting it as a loving,
 yet searching,
 part of my road to wholeness.

I am also committing to my co-operation on that road.

 Last year when the word that came alive for me was
 I found myself looking at fears
which most inhibited my Freedom of integrity ,
 and in seeing where I was most bound
 I could choose to accept the offer of the life of the Spirit
 rather than my old conditioned response,
 and gain release.

Obviously my pas de deux of Freedom in, and with the Spirit,
 has not finished because 2014 has ended;
 far from it.
  Indeed Freedom, and the new spot lit word of Peace,
 are very much partners in the dance of the Spirit.

Following the enhanced taste of inner/core peace
 I experienced as
A Grace of the heart
 the Spirit's down payment, (Eph.1:14)
I wasn't at all surprised to have my attention drawn to
 how often it is that my little heart goes

The explosion needn't be as big or as visible
as this wave breaking on the rocks,
 but the Holy Spirit,
 ever faithful,
has drawn my attention to how easily I lose my peace.

They may be small signs but
I notice my fists balling with impatience
 at mindless chatter,

my far from charitable thoughts to fellow drivers,
the fact even inanimate objects can make me angry at times...

I see how easily my irritation is aroused

 at countless mundane things.
How easily I can be saddened or maddened.

My mother used to remark on my explosions when I was a kid,
"No wonder there are wars!"
It's when the pot is jolted we discover what is really inside
by what spills out.

I know I'm more susceptible when I'm tired
or not very well,
 so I'm not merely being hard on myself.
Actually the Spirit is making me sensitive

 to how much my peace
can also depend on taking better care of myself.

Our emotional and spiritual well being
are not separate from our physical health,
 but all part of the one whole.

Even in the first weeks of living with this new openness
 to peace within
I have begun to recognise those things

which are taking too much out of me,
and what I need to avoid, and what cultivate.

I have become more conscious of the choice

 to live out of the quiet lake within,
rather than the roar of my heart hitting the rocks.
Not to say I have mastered the art of

letting my life be so centred:
but I am travelling hopefully

towards that grace.

And really, I'm wondering as I write
 if you might have a reason right now

to be pursuing a deeper heart peace yourself.

Firstly, starting on the outside,

 do you need to let yourself off the hook

 regarding some commitment, or pastime

 that isn't fuelled from a true heart desire,

 but rather some idea of yourself you need not follow. 

 Is there something you have taken on that,

 no matter how good it looks,

 has become burdensome
and would be a relief to let go?
(Relief could well be another word for peace
 in this instance.)

 Of course I don't mean something has just got difficult,

 but something that seems to suck the life out of you.

  Pray about letting it go if you discover something. 

 Perhaps ask a wise friend to help you decide
it's significance, and come to a decision.

Secondly, find a way to

 discover your own inner place of heart peace

if you haven't already done so,

by finding a meditation practice which suits you,

  There are so many on offer on the web and elsewhere.

Until you find a more permanent meditative practice

you might like to start by

at the very least finding a place
 for a few moments quiet for yourself this weekend.

Broom cupboards, toilet cubicles,
 hiding behind a newspaper on a train...

the options are endless so be imaginative!

Once you have found your place,

 breathe deeply,
swimming down to the bottom of your breath,

 to your own secret place below your heart,

 and allow every breath to assure you,

 you are loved

A few minutes, and

 You will have made a good start!

Be Blessed

this weekend.

P.S. Apologies for strange lay out and line spacing in places. 
 Blogger has gone wonky.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

A Grace of the Heart

I'm not sure if what I'm going to say will make sense to anybody other than an introvert, but here goes...

I have lifted all the following pictures from
where you can find them, and many other treasures.

I guess it is not unusual 
to feel a little tug of excitement at the first sight of falling snow.

Even when we know the inconvenience, 
and sometimes sheer misery it is going to cause,
 the beauty of the transformation being wrought 
has an inevitable fairy tale charm.
(At least in those first moments).

Here in the U.K. we usually have so little of it,
 novelty value alone is worth something.

As a child in the hills of Wales,
winters seemed more severe than they are now.

We would quickly get snowed in,
 and my poor mother would fight desperately
 to keep a way out open.

As soon as the way was opened I remember 
it would freeze again at nightfall,
 and often Mam would tug the drawn curtains aside 
to watch the swirling flakes hurrying through the blackness
 to fill the way she had so recently cleared

I  knew the work and worry it caused her
 just to keep us in the basics of food and fuel,
walking icy miles around the drifts 
to get what  supplies she could carry.

I knew the sheep on my uncles farm 
would need to be searched out of what ever winter fastness they had found for themselves away from the safety of the farm,
and that men, dogs,
 and the beasts themselves would be at risk.

I knew the attendant difficulties and anxieties all too well,
 so I had no excuse for the continuing song in my heart asking the snow to close in around us 
as tight as my mother's nursing shawl.

As simple as it sounds it was the thought we were shut in 
which thrilled me so much.

For me there was a wonderful freedom
 in being held in the silent heart of the snow. 

The whole world,
(as far as I could reach it),
smelt different, with a clean, sweet smell.

The silence too was sweet,
bound as it was by the mourning of the wind in the chimneys,
or sloughing around the sides of the house,
 carrying flurries of snow on it's breath.

I knew all too soon the drip, drip,
 of the thaw would break through, 
with it's dirty grey weals 
wounding the purity of the crisp white skin
that had appeared impregnable while the cold held.

Life would return to normal,
 and the ordinary day to day comings and goings,
noise and disruption would ensue.

Snow or no snow,
strange kid that I was,
I truly preferred it the other way.

I have been reminded of all this in the weeks of Advent.

As I tried to keep an inner silence in my wait
 for the coming of the Christ Child,
I often became aware of a silence of the heart,
like the fastness of my early snowbound home.

I puzzled over the sensation,
trying to tease a meaning from the sense memory,
so sweet, and fresh, and pure;
so other than than my own heart.

I am left with the sense that a new word for 2015 was forming, (unrecognized 'til now),
for my prayerful focus.

I believe my new word is

For so long I have yearned for
 the inner sanctuary of my heart to be a place, 
not only to withdraw and know God's peace
 when I am disposed to be peaceable,
 but for there to be at the core of my being
 an engine room of peace,
 so badly needed by my volatile disposition.

I am so truly grateful for tastes of the deep tranquility
I feel I have been shown
 through these memories of the silent holding
 of the pure mantle of the snow, 
with the warm lamp of home burning love at the centre.

May He be our Home and our Hearth,
Our Peace and Our sweet Keeping.

Be Blessed

Friday, 2 January 2015

For the taffeta rustle of the dry leaves song 
as the wind whispers through them.

For the tremble of far off spring in the catkins promise.

For the sea swell dance of the blue conifers

 For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies.
For the beauty from our birth,
 Which over and around us lies.
  Gracious God to Thee we raise,
This our grateful song of praise.

This song accompanied on my walk this morning

Hope the Rutter setting below will bring you
 as much joy as it did me.