Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The healing power of paint...

I have not felt well today.  I sat in an all day mandatory training.  As I sat through the training my neck was getting tighter.  I could feel pre-migraine symptoms arising.  I was more and more tired.  Just yuck — physically and energetically!!!

When I got home I thought all I would be doing was taking some serious pain meds and heading for bed, hoping to feel better tomorrow.


As I walked by my studio (back room) I felt an invitation.  Before I knew it I had picked up glitter paint and began to work on my painting.

Slowly I began to feel better.

The real healing, the good-bye total migraine oriented symptoms, that was the brown.  I have no idea what brown is in this painting. I do not need to know.  All I know is that somehow as I painted a huge brown arrow across the painting my body released something huge and yucky.

My upper neck is still tender.  But I do not fear the migraine.  I am more awake and alert.  More grounded.  Less weight on my shoulders.  Less yuck in me!

There is a healing quality in painting.  Try it sometime…

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Watching the Clouds go by...

I remember when I was a child I used to lay in the grass with a friend, stare up at the sky and watch the clouds.  We would stare at those clouds allowing our imaginations to discern their shape: a dog or a dragon.  We would share it with each other, telling the other all the details of the dragon from head to toe, telling the dragon’s story.  We would be lost in the magic and mystery of the element of Air!  Those were good times!!!

While I was awaiting a friend’s arrival on Saturday I decided to lay down in the grass outside my apartment.  I looked up at these beautiful clouds and my childhood memories began to run through my head.  I attempted to allow my imagination to tell me what the clouds were.  But that was not the invitation this time.

Air was inviting me to open my heart to a deeply spiritual experience.  As I watched the clouds, my heart was captured by their merging.  Two clouds were meeting right above my head and becoming ONE.  I watched:

The two clouds did not bang into each other forcing an explosion and uniting.  One reached out tenderly, tenatively to the other.  The other responded in the same tender manner.  They moved slowly and equally toward each other.  They began to blur at the edges, mixing their uniqueness together into something totally new, allowing that ONENESS to continue to develop, grow, deepen, transform.  MAGIC and MYSTERY right above me!!!

I heard an invitation to receive this gift deep in my heart, body, soul, spirit.  I opened myself to take in this gentle loving vibration and Energy knowing that this Mystical Merging Energy will bring me more and more into Unity with the Sacred!!!

I invite you to allow yourself to get lost in the magic and mystery of Air, Water, Earth and Fire.  Allow the Elements to intertwine into your being an experience of Magic and Mystery.  

We all need a little Magic and Mystery in our lives!!!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Pondering a theme song...

One of my guilty pleasures is to binge watch TV shows on Netflix.  Recently I have revisited Ally McBeal, the TV show that got me through seminary.  This week I watched the episode where Alley goes to see a therapist and the therapist asks her to come up with a theme song!

I began to ponder, “What would my theme song be?”

After much dancing and singing, The Yellow Brick Road by lyoeka

Soho’s Goddess (mostly the refrain) came in a close second.  It was so hard to decide!

What is yours?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Being the Red Tulip

I was walking down the street the other day and was captured by a row of beautiful yellow tulips all the way up both sides of a walkway.  Then I noticed what really captured me:  there was one lone RED tulip right smack in the middle of all the yellow ones!  It stood strong, vibrant, bright, fabulous!!!

I have been contemplating that red tulip all week!

In a sense, I have always been that red tulip in the midst of yellow tulips — different than those around me, struggling/wanting to be ‘part of a group.”  I have come at this experience from the negative.

This week, as I sat with this particular red tulip I began to redefine my perspective — I began to experience the positive.  Being the red tulip is awesome!  It is fabulous!  That tulip is the most beautiful, vibrant one along the path.  That tulip is strong and bold — daring to grow right in the midst of adversity — right where it ‘doesn’t belong.’  

There is a defiant and passionate quality about Her as she states boldly to the world:  I belong here!
She grows where she wants to grow, is who she is, makes no apologies for it, and shines her beauty and love to all around her!  She radiates fabulousness!!!

This week, I am putting on my Red Tulip self.  

How about you?

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Following the Energy...a day in my studio

I spent the day today in and out of my studio working on my painting.  I have been working on this piece for weeks.  This week I have been driven by a deep internal desire to be in my studio working on Her, finishing Her.  

Late this morning, after taking a break, I walked back into the studio and started talking to the painting.  I picked up the yarn I was finger knitting — white sparkly yarn.  I looked at the long white finger-knitted strand that hung across the painting.  I remember putting it there and wondering why it was going where it was going.  I traced it with my eye from the ‘arm of Owl’ to the ‘Eye of my Portal’  and then spoke what arose in my heart, “I’m knitting and weaving together my Vision.”  
That hit deep — deep into my Soul.  My Heart and Soul awoke with a start!!!  I was called into my Studio to knit and weave my Vision for my Spirituality and Healing Center!!!  I had been knitting it all morning.

Now I turned my attention intentionally to knitting and weaving this Vision.  I let my mind go blank.  I sank into my Heart.  In silence I knitted strands of prayers.  I wove them together creating a ‘spider web’ shining forth from ‘Owl’s arm.’

Each color brought a different energy — unnamed, deep in my Soul — a desire, a hope, a feeling, a healing.  It was when I picked up the deep green yarn and began to finger knit it into a prayer strand that I felt a specific shock of Energy — this is the Heart of the Heart, the Root of the Root.  The green is the Heart of my desire — dream — Center.  Once that was woven in, the Web was complete!

The painting done!

What needed releasing released.  What needed bringing forth, brought forth.  

Now I allow for the vibration of this powerful painting to integrate Herself into my being.  I open my Heart to absorb all of Her.  

I begin my dream! 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Opening the Door Wide

This morning I awoke to Sun shining  brightly into my Studio in my back room. I had been in there late into the night working on my painting, cutting out hearts, creating heart feathers for Owl.  I walked into my Studio excited to see Owl’s new look in the sunlight.  

I was not ready for what would happen.

The Sun and Owl invited me to take a risk — a huge risk.  There I stood before my painting wanting to stare at the brightness of Owl’s new garb.  What I stared at was the pink tissue paper door in the middle of the painting.  

A few weeks ago, while on retreat, I had painted a black door.  Then I had slashed that door out, removing a huge layer a stuff that needed to be shed from my life, from my Heart, from my Energy, from ME.  The empty door was just too much for me to take in.  I felt naked, unprotected.  I needed a DOOR.

Up went the bright pink tissue paper.  It was a thin more malleable door.  In the sunlight, I could see through it.  That bright florescent pink has become a deep part of my being.  I felt protected.  The panic that was in my heart when there was no door was gone.  I was breathing deeply again.

This morning, I stood before the painting being invited to remove that thin pink tissue paper  door.  OPEN completely to this new calling in my life.  OPEN completely to Spirit.  OPEN completely to ME.
I walked away.  I said no.  But that invitation from Sun and Owl would not leave me.  I tried to leave my house and go to work, but found myself back in my studio removing the pink tissue paper. 

As I stood looking at the empty door and the pink on the floor, I felt raw.  I felt that panic inside my body again.  I felt breathe in my Heart.  I breathed into my Heart, trusting that She knows what She is doing.  I stood in silence and awe absorbing this WIDE OPENNESS.

I have been walking around with this vibration of WIDE OPENNESS resonating through my body and soul.  The panic is lessening as the day goes.  I am becoming more attuned to WIDE OPEN and beginning to wonder what Gift it will bring into my life.

Every time I engage this discipline of Intuitive Painting from my Heart, I receive deep healing and blessing.  Through paint and paper  I release what no longer serves me so that I can blossom into new colors, new shapes, new callings, new invitations.  I learn so much more about my Heart, my True Self, about WHO I am and HOW I am being invited to be in this world.
I am grateful that BrushHeart: Intuitive Painting ( and Damini Celebre came into my life inviting me to open to my Creative Self, heal and grow.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The gift of weeds

I was out walking my Sacred Land the other day when I ran across a weed.  It was growing right there in the middle of a grassy meadow.  Standing out strong and proud.

My first thought was to notice and label it as a WEED, like it did not belong there, like it was not a cherished part of the meadow, like it had nothing to gift to the Land.

Then something clicked in my heart and I shifted from head to heart.  I saw beauty.  I saw strength.  I saw courage. I was stopped in my tracks invited by this weed to sit and meditate.

I sat.  I stared at this weed growing in the middle of the meadow.  I sank deep into silence, listening for the Sacred’s invitation.

Then the Sacred began to place questions before me:

What if I stopped pulling the weeds in my inner garden?  
What if I stopped labeling plants WEEDS?   
What if I stopped labeling parts of my life/parts of me as WEEDS?
What if I allowed that which I have labeled as weeds to grow and blossom?  
Would they end up being these beautiful flowers standing strong before me?  

What GIFT will I find in the ‘weeds’ of my life — those experiences, moments, feelings I would rather toss away/ignore?

As I contemplated this beautiful, gorgeous powerful weed, my heart broke open to welcome my weeds into the fullness of my being.

Welcome, weeds.  May your beauty, strength, courage radiate forth Light and Love within me and outward into the World…

Monday, April 14, 2014

Practicing Gratitude...

I had the opportunity to host the Labyrinth at the church I pastor.  It was a beautiful experience to watch how the Labyrinth ministered to those who stepped upon it.  I watched each walker sink deeper in the Heart of God, experience healing, learn about the landscape of their own heart.  What a blessing that was!!!
At the end of the night, I felt invited to offer the Labyrinth gratitude for the gift it had given to those who walked.  I took off my shoes, lit my Sage and began to smudge.  Soft contemplative music was playing.  I found myself following the energy of the Labyrinth — moving, then dancing — engaging with my body, soul and spirit in this expression of deep gratitude!!

Peace, harmony, love filled the wholeness of who I am.

As I offered my gift of gratitude, the Labyrinth offered me Love, Peace, Harmony, Dance, Joy!!!

I am humbled…

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Learning to walk in the darkness...

This week, while on retreat, I happened to be out after dark wandering the Land, sitting with a prayer.  I received an inner invitation to walk the Labyrinth.  The Labyrinth is a stone outdoor Labyrinth in the shadow of Grandmother Tree — a beautiful ancient weeping Beech tree. The night was clear.  I could see all the stars. The Moon was a sliver of a Moon, a few days after New Moon — gorgeous.
I walked over to the Labyrinth and stepped onto the path.  Two steps in I realized that I could not tell which was the path I should be on.  This has never happened to me.  The Labyrinth is ONE path that twists and turns until you get to the Center.  The problem was that in the darkness I could not differentiate between the twists and turns.  I could only see the shapes of the stones changing to show me a curve was coming up.
As I walked on, I had to stay completely present in the moment.  I could not think one step ahead.  I could not think one step behind.  If I did, I lost the path.  Total presence was necessary.
This is a small Labyrinth.  During the day the turns feel so close together.  In the dark they feel so far apart.  At one point, during one section, I began to wonder if I had missed the turn.  I stopped and looked back.  I had not.  A few steps ahead was the turn.  Wow, darkness obscures distance!
As i walked, I learned to discern the twists by the shapes of the stones.  I learned to trust my intuition, my inner guidance.  I learned to have faith that I was on the right path.  I learned to have confidence in myself with each step I took in the darkness.
Yet, what sweet joy it was to arrive at the Center!  I stood and breathed and realized one thing:  I just learned to walk in darkness!!
The walk back out from the Center was so different.  I noticed the pine branches, pine needles, Deer droppings, pine cones that were scattered on the Labyrinth.  I had missed them when I walked inward.  I had missed my companions as I concentrated so hard on the path before me.  Now I saw them and I rejoiced that they were present with mien my darkness.
This moment, this walk; it has changed me; transformed me; cracked me wide open in ways I am still waking to.  That is what darkness does.  It strips us of anything that is not essential and leaves us in the arms of the Sacred!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Mini Sabbath: Greeting Spring

Crocus after the rain

Mindful by Mary Oliver
Glory of the Snow
Every day
I see or hear
that more or less
kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle
in the haystack
of light.
It was what I was born for -
to look, to listen,
to lose myself
inside this soft world -
to instruct myself
over and over
in joy,
and acclamation.
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,
the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant -
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,
the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help
but grow wise
with such teachings
as these -
the untrimmable light
of the world,
the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?

 I invite you to take a few minutes and walk amongst the beauty of Spring.  

Allow these newbies to 'kill you with delight.'  

 Lose yourself inside their soft world.  

Allow their joy and acclamation to fill your Soul.

Accept the Blessings of Spring!!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Prayer Practice: Walking the Labyrinth

The Labyrinth seems to be speaking to me again.  From time to time, I spend intense time on the labyrinth.  It comes into my life for short periods of time to teach me something about my heart.

You see, for me, the labyrinth is all about the journey to the center of my being — deep into my heart.  It is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path that leads to a Center and then back out again.  For me that Center is my heart — the Sacred — it is all the same.

Each time I step onto the Labyrinth, I am changed.  My pace slows with each step.  My anxiety falls away.  I trust the path that is before me.  I know it will take me to one destination — my Heart and the Sacred.  

Two weeks ago, I stepped on the Labyrinth and had a totally different experience.  I began to walk it like I usually do.  I know the path by heart now.  I step onto it and begin to wind my way toward the center.

But then something I was not prepared for happened.  The Labyrinth asked me to turn away from the Center.  I freaked out.  Inside me was screaming, “Why am I turning away from the Center?  How am I supposed to get to the Center if I turn away?”

I know the path.  I know some twists ask you to turn away from the Center and others bring you toward the Center.  It is part of the journey.  Sometimes we have to release our attachments, walk away from unfreedoms so we can move to the Center of our being toward Spirit.

I have never experienced this on the Labyrinth before.  Once I caught my breathe, I allowed this new prayer to be my journey.  What unfreedom do I need to release, to walk away from so I can move freely to the Center?  Each turn away brought that same panic all the way to the Center.

I am still sitting with this experience, weeks later.  It was powerful.

That is why I walk the Labyrinth.  It has powerful ways of awakening me in my spiritual journey.  It transforms me each time I step onto it.  It teaches me wholly — body, mind, spirit.

There is a reason this ancient path continues to be walked.  I invite you to find a Labyrinth and experience its healing and transformative power.

Have a good walk!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Lessons from a pine cone...

This week I went on my monthly retreat.  It has just finished raining and I was walking the Land visiting all my Tree friends.  As I greeted my friend Scots Pine, I noticed that all her pine cones had closed up!  Last time I was there they were wide open.  Now, they were shut tight.  Nothing could get in.  And they were speaking to me; calling to me.

I reached down and picked one up holding it in my hands, seeing how, all closed up, everything inside was safe.

I carried it with me the rest of the walk and brought it back to my room.  Overnight, it opened wide open!  As the pine cone dried out, it opened up to reveal its inner beauty, to allow its seeds freedom to grow.

It had closed up in the storm!  Now that the storm was gone, the pine cone opened back up.

And there is a Grace given to me by my Land.  It is okay, and necessary, to protect my heart, to close it in the storms of life.  When the sun comes out, when I am in places of safety and Sacred Love, the invitation is to unwind and open anew, allowing my seeds of Love freedom to grow and manifest.

May it be so.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Glowing in the Dark

Almost two months ago, I painted my True Self.  It hung in my studio for a few weeks because I could not figure out where to hang it.  I finally heard the painting ask to hang in my living room over my couch.  It is happy in that spot.

I see it everyday.  Some part of the painting or other jumps out at me each time I look at it.  The golden globe.  The orange hearts.  The stars.  Something different each time.

Well, the other night I turned off my lights ready to head toward bed, I looked up and my True Self was literally glowing in the dark.  The fluorescent pink background was glowing.  I laughed out loud.  My True Self was glowing in the dark.

I started to walk toward my bedroom when I heard, “Your True Self glows in the dark!”

That stopped me in my tracks.  My True Self glows in the dark.  WOW!!

My True Self GLOWS in the dark.

Not my painting of my true self.  My TRUE SELF glows in the dark.

No wonder I do not fear the dark as much…  
No wonder darkness does not seem so dark…  
No wonder I am seeing things glowing…

My True Self glows.  It emanates Light.

I am still taking this in
days later

does your True Self GLOW in the dark?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

I know that about you AND I love you...Praying the Prayer of Examen

As I have been praying the Prayer of Examen this Lent, I am more and more drawn to, and transformed by The Sacred’s response to the sharing of my unloving unfree moment:  “I know that about you AND I love you.”

I have been struck by it deep down in the core of my being.

God does not respond:  I know that about you BUT I love you anyway.  or I love you EVEN THOUGH I know that about you.  or I know that about you YET I love you.

God responds:  I know that about you AND I love you.

Loving me is not conditional upon what I do.  My unloving, unfree moments; those moments when I ‘missed the mark’ does not separate me from the love of the Holy.  God loves me for WHO I am and HOW I am in this world.  Period!!!

Spirit does not say:  I know that about you. (space) (space) I love you.

Spirit says:  I know that about you AND I love you.

The two phrases are not separate.  They are together united as one.  Spirit’s love for me is in response to knowing me, knowing everything about me.  No conditions.  No separation.

The Sacred responds each and every time we ‘miss the mark’ with:  I know that about you AND I love you.

A powerfully transformative expression of LOVE; true real authentic free LOVE. 

Upon hearing Spirit’s words of LOVE, we are invited to consider a grace we would like to receive for the next day.

My grace has been the same:  The grace to be able to say, as the Sacred does, to others: “I know that about you AND I love you.”  The grace to really truly authentically, from a place of deep spiritual freedom LOVE fully.  No buts, yets, even thoughs involved! 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

What makes you happy?

The congregation that I serve is participating in the Ecumenical Lenten Carbon Fast (  Today’s contemplations got me thinking…

“Conspicuous consumption - long advocated as a positive American value - certainly runs counter to any Lenten discipline… Look around your living space.  Can you point to things that you own that you bought while thinking that buying that thing would make you happy?  Can you recall a time when you have stopped yourself from some purchase because you knew that it would not make you happy?”

Decades ago I decided to be very conscious of why I was buying things. I am not one to collect stuff in my life.  I like to be able to move freely. (I have a strong inner nomad in me.)  I like open space, minimal clutter.  So, at first I did a precursory glance around my apartment.  Nothing.

Then I sat to meditate picking a Healing Hearts Oracle Card: Worth.  The card invited me to see my worthiness.  The back asked me to do something special for myself; treat myself to something special.  I looked up and saw my boots that I bought before winter at a thrift store.  I saw them, full of hearts, and HAD to have them.  I did not NEED them.  I WANTED them.  I knew they would make me happy.

The thing is, they do bring joy to my heart.

Each time I see them, they remind me to play.
They allow me to walk in Ocean in the winter without freezing.
They free me when I am on my Sacred Land to follow the Spirit of the Land wherever she leads, even through muck.
This winter, when I was feeling DONE with the cold, I put them on and saw through a child’s eyes winter anew. I made a snow angel laughing and enjoying myself.

They make me happy!  They remind me to live from my heart.  They invite me to play, to live loud, to be quirky and weird and fun!!  

I may even preach in them sometime…

What I noticed about this exercise is that the belongings I have, the material things I buy, speak to my heart and spirit and soul; and invite me deeper into connection with Spirit, with myself.  

That is the scale I use before buying something:  Is this thing that I want to buy going to bring joy into my heart?  Is it going to open me to be more loving, joyful, playful, vibrant?  Is it going to invite me to contemplate and deepen my connection with Spirit?  Is it going to feed my spirit and soul?

If the answer is yes, then it becomes part of me.  If the answer is no, then I release it into the Universe.

How about you?  How do you decide what to bring into your life?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Prayer Practice: Prayer of Examen

During the last Confirmation Class I taught, we were all sitting around a table discussing one of our prayer activities: How do we notice God in our everyday life?.  One of the confirmands was lining up tiles like dominoes as we spoke.  I watched as the line became longer and longer.  I commented upon what I was noticing.  I talked about how the first time we consciously notice God/Spirit in our lives it is challenging.  As we notice God more and more it becomes easier and easier.  Soon we see Spirit in everything we do and everywhere we go.  Like dominoes.  The first tile falls and all of a sudden the veil is dropped and we are awake and can see.

The season of Lent invites us to begin this journey anew each year; to consciously choose to spend six week practicing the spiritual discipline of noticing God/Spirit in our lives.  Lent invites us to wake up from our winter slumber; to feel the sap rising in our veins; to watch our life rebirthing; and to notice how the Sacred is companioning us in this.

Many people give something up for Lent.  I do not.  I take on a spiritual practice.  I make a conscious commitment to set aside time, to find a sacred place, and to deepen my spiritual practice.  I try out new prayer forms to see how they connect with me.  Some I keep.  Others I let go at the end of the Lenten Season.

This year I have been given the invitation to pray the Prayer of Examen.  The prayer of Examen helps us look for the traces of God’s actions in our daily life.  By practicing this prayer, we train ourselves to notice God’s presence and actions; and also to notice where we fall short in our response. Timothy Gallagher, a retreat leader, says it well: “The prayer of examen is the specific searching every day to find where God’s love is active this day, where God’s love is leading today, to discern what within me may be resisting that leading and to discover the growth to which God is calling me tomorrow and that this deepest desire can be increasingly fulfilled.” (Liebert, Elizabeth.  The Way of Discernment: Spiritual Practices for Decision Making. p5)

It is a very simple prayer.  There are many versions of this prayer.  From time to time throughout Lent, I will post a different version for you to see.  They all follow the same flow.  You begin by giving thanks for God’s gifts to you this day. Then you begin to review your day.  You notice where your experienced Spirit in your day and where you felt Spirit’s absence.  You notice when you acted in love and when you acted not in love.  You hold the good and the challenging before God.  As you hold the places where you ‘missed the mark’ before God, you hear Spirit say to you, “I know that about you AND I love you.”  Forgiveness in its deepest sense.  Then, with a clear understanding of your day, you set an intention for the next day, asking the Sacred to help you live as close to that intention as you can.  This prayer takes anywhere from 10 minutes on.  Its power comes in practicing it regularly; daily if possible.

I invite you to contemplate what God is inviting you to this Lenten Season.   Is there a practice or discipline that God is inviting you to ‘try on’ for a time?  Do you feel drawn to the prayer of examen?  What is God writing on your heart to pay attention to this Lenten Season?

Join me in this journey deeper into the Heart of God.

Find 5-15 minutes a day, usually at the end of your day.

1 - Briefly review your day – events, experiences, thoughts, & feelings.
2 - Thank God for the specific gifts of the day.
3 - Celebrate God’s empowering LOVE at those moments of the day when you were feeling loved or loving, free, connected, trusting, undefended, joyful, or grateful.  Respond to what it was like to participate with God/with Love.
4 - Celebrate God’s undefeated love at those moments when you were less than loving or when you were not aware of God’s Spirit.  Respond to what it was like to not participate with God/with Love  – and hear God say to you:
“I know that and I love you!”
5 - Ponder: What grace am I being invited to ask for?  ASK!  Consider what life would look like if that grace were given.
6 - Dialogue with God or just be still with Presence.
7 - Close your prayer to rest in preparation for another day. 
Repeat this prayer every day; once a week; however often you feel led to pray.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Ash Wednesday: The Lenten Journey Begins...

As I am preparing for Ash Wednesday tomorrow, I pulled up an old blog post I wrote two years ago for Ash Wednesday.  I thought I would share it again:

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent.  For me, it is the completion of a painting journey I have been on for the last month -- a journey to explore how we are reborn out of the “ash” of our lives; how reflecting upon this ash can rewaken our souls.  

Why? Because ash is the first symbol for the Christian Lenten Season.  My favorite artist and theologian, Jan Richardson, blogs in The Painted Prayerbook, “Ashes can be a thing of wonder, of rebirthing, of renewal. This day in the Christian year (Ash Wednesday), this day of ashes, tells us that ashes—dust, dirt, earth—are the stuff from which we have been made, and to which we will return. It seeks to ground us, to make us mindful of the humus, the humility, the earthiness of which our bones and flesh are made. And yet, in the midst of this, the season calls us to open ourselves to the God who brings life from ashes, who works wonders amid destruction, who cries out and grieves in the presence of devastation and terror, and who breathes God’s own spirit into the rubble.”

As I am preaching tomorrow evening, I wanted to know what that looks like.  What does it look like when life is reborn from ash, when the Holy breathes Her own spirit into the rubble of our lives to bring it to life anew; to bring wholeness, fullness, Energy?  I learned two important things on this painting journey.

Being reborn from ash is not a slow process where the Energy of the Holy slowly creeps in and covers the darkness of our lives, like Clifford Still’s paintings where color slowly creeps its way across the black bringing new life into the painting.  I thought that when I began this journey.  But as I allowed the creative process to teach me the truth of this Holy Energy, I have come to understand that is not the case.  Rather, the Holy bursts forth from within us; bursts out of the box we have worked to contain Her in like a supernova exploding in space; like a flame of fire bursting up from a pile of ash and wood.  

This rebirth is an explosion within our souls that unleashes a tremendous Energy to propel us forward onto a path that we otherwise would not have had the energy or willpower to take -- a path that will lead us, if we follow it, to a Re-Awakening of our Soul!  

It is a tremendous gift, that Holy shove out the door of our cocoons of safety.  And yet is it also a scary gift to loose the safety of that shell so quickly and, sometimes without preparation or warning.  It seems to me that this is the way the Holy works.  We get too comfortable, too lazy.  We accept our lives the way they are.  It works for us.  I may not feel passionate about what I’m doing.  I may feel stuck.  I may feel boxed in.  I may feel contained.  But, that is okay because I’m comfortable and I can live with that.  I’m nesting, settling....

In my life, that is when the Holy comes and bursts out of Her box cracking the shell of my cocoon and leaving me bare to the world around me.  Sometimes it does not feel like a gift.  This time, it feels like a gift.  This time, although I was not ready, the explosion gave me enough momentum to continue down this new and inviting path of Re-Awakening and Re-Visioning.

And that leads me to the second thing I learning.  This Re-Awakening and Re-Birth that starts with an explosion continues as a journey.  It is all about the journey.  We need that first huge burst of Holy Energy to get us started; to propels us forward out of the quicksand that has bogged us down; to give us momentum to continue down this wonderfully exciting and fearful path.

This is what Life is about:  the invitation to journey as close to the Holy as we can; whatever the Holy means you.  This Great Cosmic Energy in the World is inviting us to tap into Her Unending Reserve to Re-Awaken our Soul and in the process bring about justice and peace and shalom.   

Know and believe that what the Holy creates and graces and blesses may be beset and broken but will not destroyed. “Life finds its way: ancient memory takes hold, follows the path of the ash, inscribes itself anew, beauty blazing from the wreck and ruin” Re-Awakening our Soul. (Jan Richardson, The Painted Prayerbook)  Trust that this invitation from the Holy to set out on a journey that allows the ashes of our lives to be transformed and born anew, that invites us to tap into the Unending Energy Reserve of the Holy will Awaken our FULL selves.  It is an invitation to live LARGE in the world.  Unashamed.  Whole.  Strong.  Joy-filled.  Centered.   

It starts with that cosmic bursting within our Souls that propels us forward; that invites us to explore where our passion is; where our hearts are most alive; where are Spirits are least contained.  It beckons us to put one foot in front of the other as we follow the journey of considering what is most basic, what is elemental, what survives after all that is extraneous is burned away.  It is a journey to work through the chaos stripping away layer upon layer that threatens to dulls us to the presence of the Holy, and insulates us from that Energy that can bring us to a place of full Awakening.  

My advice:  allow that Cosmic Energy to burst forth from your soul and follow it.  It will take you to places you never dreamed of.  It is worth it!!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Sacred vs. the Critic

I paint regularly with a group of women, Intuitive Painting from your heart.  It is, for me a healing modality.  I missed the last session because I was on retreat.  My teacher gave me the topic the group painted on — My True Self.  She told me to quiet myself down and ask to experience the vibration of my True Self and then to paint that vibration.

I did that.  I journeyed to my True Self and experienced Her in powerful ways.  Then I began to paint.  My True Self gave me the place to start.  I started there.  I flowed with the painting for quite awhile until I began to feel tired like I could crawl in my bed and fall asleep.

I ignored it or a bit.  Then I decided I needed to eat — that was why I was tired.  Then I found myself reading, but could not keep my eyes open.  Then I found myself crawling into my bed, pulling a blanket over me and closing my eyes.  Then everything changed!

I closed my eyes and I heard an inner voice saying “Pearlescent White” over and over again.  I began to feel some energy for that color but did not want to get up.  Then the inner voice screamed at me, “Get up and put Pearlescent White on your painting!!!”  and I was flooded with images and reminders of the Critic.

The Critic is sneaky.  My painting teacher talks about how seductive and sneaky the Critic is.  She would tell us you can be painting along having a great time when all of a sudden you feel hungry and want to stop to eat.  The Critic!  Or you begin to get bored, or tired.  The Critic!

I had forgotten about the Critic.   When I paint in a group, the energy of the group feeds me, helps me continue to engage my painting.  When I paint alone it is a totally different thing.  It is my energy alone in the room.  There are no other voices to keep the Critic at bay.

So, I found myself seduced by the Critic!  The Critic was winning…

I got up and put Pearlescent White on my pallet and put it on my painting.  Energy came back a little.  I could keep my eyes open, but I was still exhausted.  Then I glitter glued the entire painting and was dancing with vibrant twinkly energy!!!  

The Critic is sneaky.  But my inner voice is stronger!!!  My Heart — my Still Center — that place where the Sacred Lives within me — is stronger than the Critic!

No matter what the Critic throws my way, the Sacred will invite and entice me out of the grasp of the Critic.  If that does not work, the Sacred will try something stronger — like yelling at me.  My Heart and the Sacred will not give up on me.  They will continue to companion me through whatever I am processing, working on, etc.

I can trust in that!  I can trust in the power of my inner voice.  I can trust that my Heart will not give up on me.  I can trust that the Sacred will continue to move with in me.  I can trust that the Critic will not win.

How about you?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Walking with the Sacred...

Anouk, my dog, had what I call an opinionated day.  She knew what she wanted and where she wanted to walk and would not have anything to do with my decisions.

I had to trick her by exciting her to see someone walking toward us to get her to go the direction I wanted to go.  It would work for a bit.  Then she would realize she was tricked, stop dead in her tracks, turn around or sit down and not budge!

It did not matter how much I tried to convince her that MY way was the best.  She would not budge.

So, I finally gave up.   I surrendered to my dog — the one thing dog owners are told not to do by trainers.  And the funniest thing happened.  We were walking back toward Anouk’s place when she turned down another path.  Then we walked on for a good 20 minutes having a pleasant and fun walk.

It got me thinking.  How do I walk with God?

Do I try to stubbornly force God to walk in my direction?  As I imagined God as Anouk, I could hear Spirit talking to me, “Sure, Jocelyn, knock yourself out walking down that path.  It’s not the right one, but go ahead.  Sooner or later you will realize you are going the wrong direction or you got sidetracked.”

Here I was stubbornly trying to lead my dog the way I wanted to walk.  When I surrendered, everything changed.  When I surrender to Spirit and allow Spirit to guide my steps, lead me down my life’s path, things seem to manifest right in front of me.  Life grows.  I laugh and enjoy myself.  I feel content.  I am happy.

How do you walk with the Sacred?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Lessons from my dog...

Today is a gorgeous day.  The sun is shining.  The temperature is perfect for a walk with a coat and no hat.  So I headed out for a walk with my dog, Anouk.

She taught me again about enjoyment and living fully and vibrantly in the present moment.

We walked along and off she went into the snow.  Flop.  Rolling. Digging her head under the snow.  Rolling.  Romping.  Full delight.  Full focus.  Full presence.  No worrying about what is next.  

I was struck today by how important a lesson that is for us humans.  We worry about tomorrow, our to-do list, and a whole variety of things.  We live in our heads.  We think about our future, hoping for something to happen — living not in the present but rather in our hoped for future.  We remember the past, the ‘good times’ wishing they would come back — we live in our past.

What is it about the present moment that challenges us?  Why is it so difficult to live fully in the here and now — the present moment?

Here’s the thing:  when I do surrender to the present moment time slows down.  Spirit is tangible.  I notice beauty.  I experience peace and harmony.  I hear the call of my Heart.  I feel my breathe entraining to the breathe of God.  I know, at the core of my being, that I am not alone in my life; and that even in the midst of my most challenging moments I am loved. 

So why do not choose to live fully in the present moment more often?

For now, I thank Anouk for reminding me that the present moment is a grand place to live!  

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Confession time...

The past few weeks I have been in a funk.  I have eaten according to my mood — stuff I would not choose to eat.  I have watched more Netflix in the past two weeks than in the past year.  I am sleeping horribly.  I am in a funk!

Then it snowed.  Again.  For like the 15th time this winter and I was stuck inside.  My funk got worse and I yelled out the Spirit, “What is causing this funk?”  I do not know what I expected.  No voice yelled back at me.  There was silence.  I sat down on my couch defeated and closed my eyes.  I sat there in silence.

Then I realized I had not sat in silence before the Sacred in weeks.

Oh, I had not sat in silence in weeks. So, I opened my eyes, turned and picked a SoulCard.  I picked this woman who was standing in a prayer position.  Red strands were going from Her up to Heaven above.  Blue strands were flowing down from Heaven to Her, surrounding Her.

I do not think Spirit could have been clearer.  I have been neglecting my spiritual self-care.  My wellspring was dry.  Hence the funk.  That dialogue, that respect, that love, that grace, those blessings…all that I have experienced when I am connected to the Sacred was lacking.  I was not taking the time to notice Spirit’s movement in my life; to send my love and respect to Spirit.

So, I took a retreat in my own apartment.  I accepted the blessing of the snow days.  I went deep into prayer.  I sat in silence.  I painted my prayer.  I journaled.  I journeyed.  I reconnected!!

And guess what?  My funk is dissipating.  I have more energy.  I am writing again.  I am feeling like I want to care for myself better.  I am out and about more.  I am laughing and enjoying Spirit’s presence in my life.

It is important that we pay attention to our connection to the Sacred.  It makes a huge difference in my day.  I would guess in yours as well.

I invite you to be conscious of how you are connected to God.  Make a conscious choice.  Take the time YOU need to fill your wellspring.  Watch what happens inside you and around you as a result of consciously connecting to the Sacred.