Monday, December 27, 2010

Never Give Up

Never Give Up
No matter what is going on
Never give up
Develop the heart
Too much energy is spent in your country
Developing the mind
Instead of the heart
Be compassionate
Not just to your friends
and to everyone
Be compassionate
Work for peace
in your heart and in the world
Work for Peace
And I say it again
Never give up
No matter what is happening
No matter what is going on
around you
Never give up

His Holiness
the XIVth Dalai Lama

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Practice...the Mountains

A young friend recently asked how to find time and space to be quiet when you live in a busy household.
Patrica wrote,
" So, I suppose I am seeking a kind of mini-wilderness each day. Where do others find this? Especially others who don't have the luxury of living alone?"

The answer, the good news and the bad news is

A tibetian yogi, living in the high mountains in a seclusion box for many years was asked what was his greatest challenge.
"Quieting the mind" ,he replied.

Outward distractions are simply that- outward distractions.
Stillness and quiet must be cultivated and nurtured from within and the only way to do that is to practice being quiet and still.
I find for myself living in the world i need a minimum of an hour of quiet still practice a day; to stay in balance to be able to be actively still, and keep stillness in my actions.

I also practice M and M's- small and sweet-a minute out of every hour i stop and still my mind, breath, give thanks, pray. Mini Meditations.
The more time I spend practicing quiet and stillness, the easier it is to use it in everyday life.
Storing stillness and quiet in the top of my good times tool box makes it easier to reach for these tools when times get busy and noisy and rough.

Thich Nhat Hanh suggests telephone meditation. Let the phone ring three times, while you take three breaths, quiet your mind, center and then you can answer the phone as your best self.
You can greet whoever is on the line with loving kindness and compassion.

And this practice is what has brought me to the mountains.
They stand and sit in meditation, regardless of outward distractions, becoming who they are, in spite of ,as well as because of, wind and rain and lack of wind and rain.

At the beginning and end of everyday the mountains are always there- for me, and all beings who seek their peace, comfort, shelter.

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry

Hang in there Patrica .

Still Waters Refuge is here, Practicing, even if you can't be.

Seeking Stillness? Come visit, leave a comment.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Silent Leadership

I often hear we are all called to be leaders. I think it would be more useful if we all feel led to be followers and encourage others to do the same.
New movements are often started by someone willing to stand alone and look silly- someone willing to walk into the Dead Sea and eat strange Manna that falls from the sky.
One leader alone, is one leader alone. the movement begins when we can welcome the followers, embrace them as equals and lead them in the ways of the movement. It is no longer about the leader. It is about the movement. It takes followers to transform a lone being into a community.
Servant Leadership must be about the movement and not the leader.
Equal courage is required to lead and to follow. Courage is fear mixed with faith.
I often wonder why our movements- peace, ecology,justice- seem to fail.
Partially I think it is because we know more about what we don't want than what it is we do want.
Partially It is because we need to practice the art of following and silent leadership.
I'm willing to stand alone and look silly.
Will you join me?
Please leave a comment.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Thought, words and change

A few days before the end of a long silent retreat, my teacher suggested it was time for me to start thinking again in preparation for returning to the outside world.
I cautiously allowed my mind to wander into thought during my sitting meditation and I found myself thinking about hungry children. Within seconds I was writing( in my mind) a huge scenario, of how I would return home and raise billions of dollars to create a healthy eating curriculum in inner city schools,fill lunch rooms all over the world with local organic foods and on and on.
Within a minute I began to question these thoughts. "how many children could I feed? 100?, 1000?, a million?How was I going end hunger for all children?
I sat and sat, quieted the mind, sat and sat.
In the present moment, it became most real to me that the best and most useful I could be to all hungry children everywhere, was to keep sitting and pray.
Pray for loving kindness, compassion, safety, wellness, peace, happiness.
This I could do for all children, everywhere.
Words, spoken and unspoken have great power.
"Words are a form of action,capable of influencing change.'' Ingrid Bengis
I am who I am and do what I do because I believe that the Spirit working through and in me, is the physical manifestation of God's Love in the world.

Jesus told his disciples to feed the multitudes, and their perception was they didn't have enough.
"Look again", was Jesus' reply.

The Love that feeds, heals and is always enough.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Silence to simplicity

My Mind, through the Power of Truth, was in a good degree weaned from the Desire of outward Greatness, and I was learning to be content with real Conveniences, that were not costly; so that a Way of Life, free from much Entanglement, appeared best for me, though the Income might be small. ...I saw that a humble Man, with the blessing of the Lord might live on a little, and that where the Heart was set on Greatness, Success in Business did not satisfy the craving but that commonly, with an Increase of Wealth, the Desire of Wealth increased. There was a Care on my Mind so to pass my Time that nothing might hinder me from the most steady Attention to the Voice of the true Shepherd.

John Woolman

Friday, September 24, 2010


Full moon equinox

From The Daily Word
When my car needs gas, I refuel the tank. When my faith needs refueling, I pause and pray. I sit in silent meditation, allowing the strength and peace of Spirit to fill me. God is as near to me as my breath.

Come all who are weary and in need of rest, renewal and refuge.
Leave a comment to join me in the silence.

And those who wait on the Spirit shall renew their strength...
they shall run and not be weary----Isaiah 40:30

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Still waters coming of age/Why Silent refuge-#1

Through the generosity of Dick and Betty Ernst, Still Waters is becoming a physical place for silent refuge and Spiritual Nurture.

Mindful Mondays- a day of silent refuge this fall. There will also be opportunities for residential stays.
Leave a comment with contact info and I will get back to you with more information and availability.

Love, Prayer, patience, curiosity and hard work bear fruit.

Why silent refuge?
There are times when we wonder,
"Am I truly doing God's will? Is what I want to do serving the highest good?
In these moments I know guidance is available to me , if i can slow down, be still, and quiet. I can only follow the guidance and understanding I am given, if I can hear it.
You may need to step out of your life and come away to a place of refuge to listen,rest and renew your spirit in order to return with a renewed ability to be stillness in a frantic world.

I invite you to come to the Still Waters to seek, and to be free of seeking.

I look forward to welcoming you.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I am enough

Bill Tabor used to speak of minster’s belly. A feeling in your gut that would help you know when it was time to speak in meeting. I know that feeling when a message comes upon me and there is a physical feeling of great urgency to share what seems at the moment to be an important universal truth that would benefit all beings;

And then the mind goes to work and I begin seeking the “right” words, with a good opening line and catchy closure.

I am undeniably and gratefully blessed with the gift of being close to the Spirit and clearly hearing and sharing the messages She chooses to share with us all.

What is clearest to me now is that I have enough of words.

I am enough.

When I do need to speak, I wish to speak from a place of calm and equanimity.

I pray to exercise my use of the languages of silence and creativity to minister with universal comprehension of message.

May I always be teachable.

Being silenced by others has revealed it’s self to be a great gift.

Standing, sitting, walking and lying down in Grace and Simplicity is sufficient.

Stand with me.

Pray with me.

Be enough.

Wealth consists not in having great possessions
But in having few wants.
Esther De Waal

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Shelf

I (think) i need:
a new car
a new home
a new partner
a new job.
So i bought a shelf
I am ripping apart everything i have control over
and putting it on the shelf.
Nice and neat, new ,organized.
There is room on my drawing table to draw.
We'll see what comes next.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

American tune

Today I was ministered to by the good people of the Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry. Thank you for giving me hope . Thank you for being fully present to me in my time of medical need just because I am in need. Thank you for modeling what healing is all about, rather than what medicine has become. Thank you for treating me as a whole person in need of healing with compassion and mercy, rather than my body and illness as a commodity.
Thank you.

Many's the time I've been mistaken
And many times confused
Yes, and I've often felt forsaken
And certainly misused
Oh, but I'm all right, I'm all right
I'm just weary to my bones
Still, you don't expect to be
Bright and bon vivant
So far away from home, so far away from home

And I don't know a soul who's not been battered
I don't have a friend who feels at ease
I don't know a dream that's not been shattered
or driven to its knees
but it's all right, it's all right
for we lived so well so long
Still, when I think of the
road we're traveling on
I wonder what's gone wrong
I can't help it, I wonder what's gone wrong

And I dreamed I was dying
I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly
And looking back down at me
Smiled reassuringly
And I dreamed I was flying
And high up above my eyes could clearly see
The Statue of Liberty
Sailing away to sea
And I dreamed I was crying

We come on the ship they call the Mayflower
We come on the ship that sailed the moon
We come in the age's most uncertain hours
and sing an American tune
Oh, and it's alright, it's all right, it's all right
You can't be forever blessed
Still, tomorrow's going to be another working day
And I'm trying to get some rest
That's all I'm trying to get some rest.

Words & music by Paul Simon

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Our Fathers

I give thanks today to all my Fathers-regardless of gender-and all those who have served as mentors in my life. People who have believed and supported me no matter what.
I also give thanks to all who might be counting on my support and mentorship in this way.
Giving to others returns thanks and honors those who support and guide me.
I am grateful to be a giver and receiver of unconditional love and support.

Dear Father God,
"I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following our will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if i do this you will lead me by the right road through I may know nothing bout it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone."

Thomas Merton- Thoughts in Solitude

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

silent rant

I'm tired of talking about silence. I don't want to go to a workshop and talk about facilitating silent retreats. i don't want to talk about who's fault it is that we stabbed our mother in her heart and can't heal the wound as she bleeds to death.

I'm praying for equanimity of spirit and a cheerful heart in the midst of sadness.
Thank you trees for speaking to me in the language of compassion and comfort.

We are not powerless. We are powerful. Sending Love to our Ocean multiple times daily can shift the balance of destruction that is happening.

We don't have to know how......we just have to recognize that the power of love is greater than any power active in the Universe today.

When I Am Among the Trees

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness,
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, "Stay awhile."
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, "It's simple," they say,
"and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine."
~ Mary Oliver ~

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Crocus Mind

Shout out to the Woman's Circle Bible Study of the Montreat PCUSA Church for their welcome, support and inspirational peer study groups.

Thanks to Mary Collins for sharing this prayer


It Takes Courage To Be Crocus-Minded

It takes courage to be crocus-minded.

Lord, I’d rather wait until June

like wise roses,

when the hazards of winter are safely behind,

and I’m expected,

and everything’s ready for roses.

But crocuses?

Highly irregular!

Knifing up through hard frozen ground and snow,

Sticking their necks out because they believe in Spring

and have something personal

and emphatic to say about it.

Lord, I am, by nature, rose-minded,

even when I have studied the situation here

and know that there are wrong things that need righting,

affirmations that need stating,

and I know also that speaking

out may offend –

for it rocks the boat.

Well…I’d rather wait until June,

Maybe later things will work themselves out,

and we won’t have to make an issue of it.

Lord, forgive.

Wrongs don’t work themselves out.

Injustices and inequities and hurts don’t just dissolve.

Somebody has to stick her neck out,

somebody who cares enough to think through

hard ground because she believes

and has something personal

and emphatic to say about it.

Me, Lord?


Could it be that there are things that need to be said,

and you want me to say them?

I pray for courage.

From Bless This Mess and Other Prayers by Jo Carr and Imogene Sorley.

Copyright ©1969 by Abington Press.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Going Home

One thing I ask of the Lord,
that I will seek after:
to live in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord,
and to inquire in his temple. psalm 27 v.4 NRSV

I heard a story this morning.(I'm leaving out quotes)
Jesus asked Peter to follow him, and peter said, where? I'm not telling you, just follow me. Peter asked, why won't you tell me. If I tell you you might not go.
and peter asked what will we do there, and Jesus said follow me. Peter said, why won't you tell me what we will do there? and Jesus said, you might not want to do it.
and Jesus said, follow me, and Peter said, who will be there, will my friends be there? and Jesus said, maybe not.
so Peter said, you want me to follow you where I maybe don't want to go and do things i might not want to do with people I might not like? what should I bring?
and Jesus said, Bring yourself, follow me.

This church is very welcoming to me. In kindly voices they ask me to meet with them about becoming a member. I say let's just meet, and they smile.

I belong to the church I can walk to. The church ,that the only thing I need to bring ,is myself.
The church of what's happening now. The church of the living Christ and present moment. The church of the moment.

Thank you God for being present in my life, for the homeward invitation and all who walk along with me and the gift of silence to reflect in all this goodness.
Some keep the Sabbath going to Church
I keep it, staying at Home
With a Bobolink for a Chorister
And an Orchard, for a Dome

Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice
I just wear my Wings
And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,
Our little Sexton sings.

God preaches, a noted Clergyman
And the sermon is never long,
So instead of getting to Heaven, at last
I'm going, all along.

Emily Dickinson

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Pathetic, huh?

This from Rosemary Ellis, Editor in Chief of Good Housekeeping Magazine
" I spent a recent Saturday at a very improbable place: a womens's retreat. It went from 9:00am to 2:00pm- a huge chunk of the only day in the week that is unscheduled for me, I didn't really want to go;and I didn't have the time..........So I went and ironically the topic of the retreat was time- .......
And I discovered something that morning that was not on the agenda, and is a little embarrassing: It was all but impossible for me to just sit still and listen- not take notes, not check my blackberry, not multitask in any was. I realized that the only other time when I am absolutely still is...when my head hits the pillow at night. Pathetic, huh?" (April 2010, Good Housekeeping)
Couldn't have said it better myself. Sign this woman up for a weekend at Still Waters Refuge.
Please leave a comment

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Laugh and the world laughs with you

"Silence is golden and it is rarely misquoted", Bob Morehouse

"I'm at a loss for words, thank goodness", Barbarajene Williams

Have something funny to share about silence? Leave a comment.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Where can I go?

I attended Friends meetings on and off most of my life. I never saw myself as a joiner. As I married and raised a family I wanted a sense of belonging for myself and my family and asked for Clearness at my local Meeting. I was clear that for me , membership must be an enlargement of who I am rather than a negation. Joining the Meeting would enfold my identity as a woman, catholic, Buddhist, jew, tree lover , magic maker, rather than name me as a Quaker.
I'm feeling the call for retreat and refuge. Where can I go? I've spent time at many retreat centers that welcome me as only one part of myself. Where can I go and be me, fully being, and supported by others and place in refuge, rest, renewal and prayer.

A dear friend may be near to death. We rarely spoke of religion or spirituality. I would call her a religious refuge. In this time of great need of comfort, where does she go? Where does her family go?

A good friend is seeking a place of refuge and retreat. She seeks a place that will nurture and guide her unique spirit, a place to listen to the One that can speak to her condition. Where can she go?

For me, right now, the answer is to put one foot in front of the other, walking meditation, and to be faithful to this journey I am on. I pray constantly for physical reality of the leading to Still Waters Refuge.
My personal desire is to find an existing place willing and open to enfolding me so that our beings will enhance each other. Members one of another, in God's holy room.
Please leave a comment if you know this place.
Please pray with me for Still Waters Refuge to come into being.
Blessings on this prayer and this place.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Firstday Message

This morning I hope I was able to share the clear message I received and chose to share silently without verbal words.
Quakerism attracted me in the 60's with its support of political and social outward activism.
May 4, 1970 ended this period of my life(another post) and I began to read George Fox's and Woolman's journals.
Listening, waiting, being in the life and the Light to take away even the occasion of war, was what I needed to hear. In my own head, my own listening to the prophetic stream.
Outwardly I was in a fearful place and thankfully that fear led me into my own mind to find quiet, clearness and refuge there.
What I began to see then and know more fully each day is that I must live my life each moment, being peace and love, regardless of apparent outward cost. The Spirit is my constant companion and the closer I can stay to her the easier it is to be in her body, Light and Way and Life.
It matters little what horrors, hate and warring is going on in the world as I ,holding on to Christ's robe, am in it (the Woolman part) and yet not of it.
There are times when what we know to be the Truth calls us to travel and speak and we must be as faithful to this call as the call to listen and wait.
There is still more stripping /falling away of outward cumbers , to come , for me.
I'm ready and willing and lighter each day, as I pray and pray and pray.
Words fail to express the joy of even knowing that I can listen and know purely through Grace.
My Lenten prayer is to be the Light and Love , in visible human form , Jesus and others call us to be and to hold out my hand and robe to any seeking the path of Truth and Light.
Resurrection is ours for the asking. Thank You God.
Present Moment, Beautiful Moment.
Each moment given to us as a gift.
Pass it on.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

day of silent refuge

I shared a day of silent refuge today with women in Montreat. We created simple journals, set our intentions for the day and enjoyed sitting and walking prayer and meditation.
It was shear joy to take refuge in God, the Word and this faith community.
The beauty of the day and our mountains was a big plus.
Special thank you to Clair, for the invitation, the welcome and the delicious lunch.
May the merit and all the good work of this day be of benefit to all beings.

There is a feast, with finest grain
Where poor and lowly at table reign
Where love is shared, the meal begun
The call is given, yet few children come

The invitation is now made known
All through the land to all God's own
Come share this banquet and be made free
And dance together, one family.
(Colleen Fulmer)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Right speech

After living in almost total silence for two weeks I began to hear my unspoken thoughts. I was shocked and sometimes horrified at what I was about to speak out loud. Over and over for several days, I said to myself,"you were going to say that!" and thankfully I didn't.
Coming back into the world I try to practice right speech.
I want what I say to be kind, truthful and necessary and if it is not all three I want to be peaceful with silence.
God is not calling us to say everything there is to say about every subject.
Living in the Light illuminates equally what you wish to see and say and what you don't.
As you become skillful at discerning and following the way of the Spirit, it can become challenging to watch others make serious mistakes, harmful to themselves and others; watch them and be ok with it.Speaking aloud only when you can do so with compassion, honesty and fully knowing that they are ready to hear what you have to say.
Fortunately, by the time I have gone through the mental check to see if what I have to say is rightly ordered, usually the time and need to speak has passed.
'Nuff said. Please leave a comment.