Yearly Archives


Time of Transformation

Glimmers December 26, 2014

Dear Friends,

As 2014 comes to an end, I sit in wonder at the year’s lessons and transitions. If we are awake to it, life is filled with moments and invitations for deeper awareness. Some transitions are painful, of course, as we are hollowed out to contain so much more of life’s energy and gifts. And still we keep going…taking risks, loving, staying alive to life.

I’ve been thinking a lot about change and transformation lately. We choose a major in college, a mate, a house. We seek new friendships, retirement, or adventures. At the same time, though, friends move away, we face a serious illness, a job ends, a loved one dies. It seems change is both an internal and external presence in our lives.

As Buddha taught, “Everything changes, nothing remains without change.”

But transformation is a different matter, isn’t it? I’m wondering…is transformation how we response to change?

Victor Frankl explains in Man’s Search for Meaning that

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” 

That is how I understand the invitation to transformation, and it’s an invitation that many don’t want to accept. This type of change requires digging deep and facing truths. It requires letting go of painful patterns and attitudes that are familiar, even safe. Transformation means considering a new “way of being.”

If my words have touched upon the unending or demanding changes in your life right now, I’d like to suggest an experiment to help soften the daunting task of transformation. 12-step programs call it “Act, as if” or “Fake it until you make it.” I call it “It’s time to play dress-up!” Do you remember digging through a box of old clothes as a young child? Were you blessed to jump into this world of imaginary play where skirts, hats, wigs or suspenders became a spark for a whole new way of talking or interacting in a made-up scene?

I offer you, friends, this image of playing dress-up to try new responses to the changes that come your way. Try on “Life is ok” for 10 minutes or pull “I am ok” over your head for 8 ½ minutes. Walk in the shoes of “I can do this” for that next difficult encounter and see what it feels like. Give yourself a break from self-consciousness or anxiety and, instead, breathe in peace or confidence. This experiment is not offered as an alternative to inner work, but as a companion or respite from the hard work of knowing and transforming oneself.

I’ve also been thinking about courage. As we consider and embrace the invitation to transformation, let us call upon courage to guide the way.

Poet EE Cummings reminds us, “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”

Blessings to you this day, Lisa

The simple choice to “pause”

Glimmers November 26, 2014

Dear Friends,

I am pondering the dance between technology and a reflective life….

Have you found yourself missing steps or tripping over yourself as you keep up with your newest device? Or are you madly following a new set of instructions, as if learning dance steps in a crowded room, eyes locked on the instructor? What am I talking about? We all know that our day-to-day lives have changed with the increasing use of and dependence upon technology. And we have acknowledged that things can get lost when we take on this relentless relationship with our smartphone, computer and GPS. These amazing tools provide instant connection and information, and at the same time, they are distractions from the voice within… a sense of peace… or of Presence.

So before the added energy of the holidays take hold, let us take a minute and consider…the pause.

In fact, take a pause right now as you’re reading this November Glimmer.

Come on….no one’s looking….big breath in….let it out slowly….pause.

To pause, to linger, to tarry – do we even use those words anymore? Aren’t they lovely? Instead of seeing myself match steps with the dance teacher and avoiding the moving bodies around me, I imagine a quiet lane through a park or sleepy town. I experience myself meandering, (another lovely word) and taking in the sights and sounds as they appear. Big breath in…let it out slowly….

When I give myself permission to pause, I honor my inner world. When I choose to slow down and listen to the music from within, I am introduced to new dance steps that seem more organic, more me. Let us raise a glass to the holy pause. Let us embrace JRR Tolkien’s line “not all those who wander are lost,” as we take a big breath in…let it out slowly…

The dance between technology and a reflective life? My husband and I have discovered the pause button on our TV remote. We just do it! This simple act allows us to place one another as a higher priority than images on a screen. May we all learn to do that for ourselves, to pause and to welcome Mystery into our lives.

Thinking of you this day with love, Lisa

Shedding layers

Glimmers October 25, 2014

Dear Friends,

I find I am falling under the yearly spell of falling leaves. Do you know what I mean?

Do you feel a shift as summer turns to fall? We are, indeed, part of creation and, if we wish, can tune into the seasons and let them teach us. Year after year, autumn arrives and reminds us of “letting go” as the leaves change color and tumble down.

Unfortunately, its far easier to say “letting go”, than actually do it. In fact, I find the leaf imagery a little misleading. I mean, they’ve been around for only a year! And the leaf is holding onto the tree by such a little stem! What about feelings we’ve held onto for a decade? Or longer? What about the fears that have become part of our identity or the way we look at the world? How do we move beyond such fundamental places inside of ourselves, even if they’ve become self-rejecting beliefs or outright lies?

Lately, I’ve been paying attention to pieces of bark I’ve found on the ground. tree trunkA tree sheds its bark because its literally growing out of its skin. For me, this is a more apt image of the difficult transitions in life…as we evolve, our old layers of protection are no longer needed. We “shed” attitudes, behaviors or beliefs and sometimes are left with an open place, almost a wound, as new bark or new wisdom grows back in its place.

My pondering has reminded me of a story from long ago. Do you remember “The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams? It tells the tale of a little boy’s toy and it’s desire to be loved. When the soft velveteen rabbit feels displaced by the newer, more exciting toys, he turn to the wisest toy in the nursery, the Skin Horse, who explains that love from the boy is indeed a great gift. Love, he tells the rabbit, is how you become Real. The idea of becoming Real captures the rabbit’s imagination and he asks more questions:  “Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse.
“You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t
happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp
edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the
time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off,
and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints
and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all,
because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except
to people who don’t understand.”

Love is how you become Real. Love softens hard edges, eases fears, and transforms hurting hearts. A friend of mine says, “It’s an inside job,” because when we welcome Love into ourselves the transformation can occur. As created beings, we too are invited to grow from within and shed the layers that no longer fit.

Our journey toward Realness isn’t easy and may never be complete, but it is always sacred. It cannot be simplified by a phrase, instead it is lived into, trusted. Love is both the path and the sustenance for such a journey.

I send each of you blessings on your time of shedding.

With love, Lisa

Tangled Patterns

Glimmers September 25, 2014

Dear Friends,

“Light, dark, light, dark…..light……dark, light, dark…..light….”

This was one of the favorite games we played with our young sons on road trips. Perhaps you’ve played it too? We traveled along in the car, surrounded by trees, the sunshine coming through the leaves and creating a pattern of light and dark on the grey road. Because of our continuous movement through the pattern, we experienced the transition almost as a staccato of shadows.

“Dark, light, dark….dark…..dark, light, dark, light….”

I remember the fun of trying to keep up with the pattern as it flew by. I remember the trust this game cultivated for me, I could rely on light or dark to fill my senses. Sometimes in a flash, sometimes for extended periods of time. I could rely on the trees and the sunshine to play with us, even if it was just a ride to the store.

Recently, my husband left for work and said, “Enjoy the ride,” as I prepared for the morning commute. Long ago, we learned that “the ride” on our motorcycle was far more important than the destination. When our awareness is on the ride, we smell the orchards we’re driving through, feel the coolness of a nearby lake, and lean together as the curve invites us to the left and then to the right.

As September appears in our view, its easy to complain about summer going by too fast. Its easy to focus on the “end” of summer or the next event – school, fall foliage, Hallowe’en. If our attention is on the next thing, however, we can forget to enjoy the ride. Perhaps what caught my interest in our “light, dark, light” game was the requirement to stay in the present moment. I had to pay attention to each shift of brightness and shadow to name it.

Lately, I’ve been paying attention to some darkness in my life. Some old memories that were hidden away under the demands of everyday life and years of growing older. Into my growing awareness, I brought my trust that light always follows dark. With focused attention, I engaged my capacity to stay in the present moment. I stayed with the memories allowing them to teach me and to release me from patterns and beliefs that are no longer life-giving.

Our capacity to see and name the darkness is just as important as reaching out and dwelling in the light. Our willingness to move between the two, teaches us how to lean into the curves and keep our balance. As the new season brings shorter days, let us call out the shifts that we see along the way. Let us trust the ride, and each other, as we embrace both the dark and the light of our lives, as one.

With love along the way,

Coming home…

Glimmers August 24, 2014



Dear Friends,

Have you been to Alki Beach in West Seattle, Washington? To me, it’s one of the most beautiful places on earth! The expanse of sandy beach and blue water is surrounded by a panoramic view of the Cascade Mountain Range, the Olympic Mountains, Mt Rainer and Seattle’s skyline. It takes my breath away and at the same time, it is home. A recent visit brought back little girl memories of visiting my cousins in West Seattle after making the long trip from Northern California. I remembered our strong young legs running up the hills, after a day of play. I remembered fish and chips at their favorite spot. I remembered feeling included in their joy for life and love for one another. Home.

As we get older, our memories pile up on one another, some get forgotten, some retain a kind of “shimmer.” Some memories become the story of our lives that we tell ourselves, over and over, even if others may not remember things the same way. I’m thinking that some memories, join with the great collective unconscious that all of us share. Even though you were not part of my personal experience on the beach at Alki, you have your own beach memories, your own cousin memories, your own sunny-day-and-the-world-is -wonderful kind of memories. At least I hope you do! And its in that place of connection, of shared consciousness, that you and I meet as you read these words. And that place of connection, I would offer, is also a feeling of “home.”

I guess my August Glimmer is an invitation to expand our definition of “home.” Think for a minute of a time you were relaxed…safe….loved. Isn’t that an experience of coming home? If we add new images around the concept of home, we would have more opportunities for the inner peace that results. And, in this world of constant change and uncertainty, we’d have a way “in” to our hearts, in to the place where we know love, where we come home.

I am learning to trust a place within me that is not defined by words. While words enter through thoughts and memories, they are not the core experience. When I enter this place of rest, I even suspend my emotional response as best I can. For me, this inner home is much larger than feelings, although my feelings do surge in response to the peace I find here. Sharing this time of rest, of prayer, with others offers an experience that is rich as we are silently present to each other and to the great Mystery of Love.

So I offer here, humbly but passionately, a suggestion….
Listen to This two minute piece of music
It’s “Gabriel’s Oboe” from the soundtrack of The Mission, a movie made in 1986. As you listen, close your eyes and relax. Let the music’s vibration travel through your heart, mind and body. Be present to the music as you would to a sunrise, let it unfold as you sit in wonder. Don’t search for words to describe it or responses to explain it, just be…

You know, as I write this Glimmer and imagine you reading it, I am nudged into that same place of peace I’m trying to describe. I imagine your precious heart working so hard to manage all the responsibilities and pressures around you. Today I am sitting with you and holding your story, for a bit, so your heart can return home. Allow your heart to find its way back…

Come home…what might that really mean for you today?

With love, Lisa

Discovering hope wherever it lives

Glimmers July 24, 2014

Dear Friends,

Where does Hope reside?

I ask myself this question as the earth spins into July. I scan my emotions, easily finding surprise and silliness, amusement and anxiety. My emotions respond to Hope but I do not see her nest among them. I consider my thoughts, the teachings over the years, the truths and messages I have embraced and grown from. My understanding of Hope has been enriched by the wisdom of others, but the experience of Hope that calls out to me and draws me forward is more than a universal understanding. Hope lives within me. Wrapped in the colors of the human story, Hope is designed to respond to me, to my story.

I don’t hear people talking about Hope too much. They hope for something, like a sunny day or a good time. When faced with crisis, hope becomes more urgent, more of a plea. But what are we doing when we “hope?” Are we reverting to childhood “wishes,” when we hoped Santa would bring that certain gift? Are we practicing a creative form of denial, ignoring what is in front of us and attaching ourselves to the outcome we would prefer? What is Hope, exactly?

Emily Dickinson likened Hope to a bird, a force of life and energy. Albert Camus set Hope as a promise that winter will indeed move into spring and summer. I would offer an image of Hope as a warm, inviting room in our hearts, a place we “enter.” Hope, for me, is a strength we can draw from, a sweetness we can rest upon. When I enter Hope in my heart, I move beyond the neediness that runs much of my day. Instead, I walk into a deeper understanding of Spirit. There, I let go and trust.

It takes courage to have Hope, for as Cynthia Bourgeault states,

“(Hope) is entered always and only though surrender; that is the
willingness to let go of everything we are presently clinging to.”

If this is so, no wonder our tendency is to place Hope within the context of Christmas lists and weather predictions. We are being asked for so much more of ourselves when we enter a relationship with Hope. And we receive so much more than we realize, as Bourgault goes on to say,

“And yet when we enter it, it enters us and fills us with its own life.” ☀

Morgan Freeman’s character, Red, in Shawshank Redemption, allowed Hope to enter his heart in the final minutes of the movie. Earlier, he had proclaimed Hope as a dangerous thing. But through faith in his friend Andy, Red surrendered his fear of a better life and chose Hope. I share this 2 minute clip to inspire you, too, to find and walk through the doorway of Hope in your heart. Let the deep vibrations of Hope sustain you as you face life challenges. Discover an image that teaches you and draws you closer. Open your heart to Hope’s healing presence in your own story.

With Love…Lisa

☀ from Mystical Hope: Trusting in the Mercy of God, Cynthia Bourgault, 2001

Will you join the dance of love?

Glimmers June 24, 2014

Dear Friends,

Happy June!! I have missed you! I heard from some of you following my May Glimmer and am grateful we are sharing this human adventure. For me, this last month was so full that I feel as if I lived three months within the 31 days. My son, Paul, got married. I met many new life experiences and feelings as I witnessed the amazing moment of “YES” that he and Shaila shared. A wedding is a powerful catalyst to contemplate love. We are drawn into it’s mystery, into the new creation these two hearts bring into the world.

Weddings lift us up and remind us of love’s ever-presence. The celebration allows the community to share in this personal bond between two people and rejoice. We’re also reminded of love’s power at times of loss. Our hearts ache at funerals, and for many days after. The painful anguish might mask the source of its scream, naming it the separation from one we love. But without the great gift of love-shared, we would not know such loss. And love, my friends, is everywhere else in between, isn’t it?…in the simple offer to help a neighbor, picking up milk on the way home, or finding patience in moments of stress. Love is in the daffodil that reaches to the sun, in the night sounds that come through an open window, in the stillness of a sleeping baby resting in her grandma’s arms.

Have you seen the movie “Love, Actually”? In the opening scene, one of the characters describes the expressions of love found at an airport. For me, this movie is an anthem to Love! In the midst of brave or fearful behaviors, we see confused, selfish, endearing, lonely, loving people seeking a connection with someone else. And as the opening scene so sweetly shows, “love actually, is, all around.” Our job as sojourners on this planet is to see it, share it, create it, and receive it. Love needs each of us to join the dance! Love needs us to open our hearts to the music, raise our arms and and say “yes!” We danced at Paul and Shaila’s wedding, oh how we danced! Will you join the dance of love?

With love on this June day, Lisa

Join the promise of Spring

Glimmers May 24, 2014

Dear Friends,

During my walk this morning, I inhaled the sweet, fresh air of Spring!
Ahhhh… So grateful for this lovely May day and for my allergy-free breathing. 🙂

I need to tell you that you have been in my prayer all month. It’s true! Ever since I started this monthly Glimmer ministry, I find my heart and mind turns to you….wondering how my words might help…. wondering how you are doing. I find this dynamic, holding another in one’s heart, to be such a tender, yet powerful gift. Let me say more…

We get distracted. Outside demands, inside anxieties or expectations, excitement and celebrations! All human activities “pull” at our energy, asking for our attention. Our lives can seem like a balancing act of fitting it all in, or sometimes it doesn’t fit at all! So the energy we might bring to loving thoughts for another can get lost in the great stream of life.

And yet, what is life without one another? What is it to be human if we’re not connected to other warm, living humans? When we pray for another, holding their intentions in our hearts, we establish this gentle tendril of Love that weaves its way through all the commotion. We affirm our shared humanity and, in the Mystery, our shared Love becomes another reality in this world. It is as present and real as Wall Street or the ocean or a work of art.

So, my friends, in the words of E.E. Cummings,
“I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)” 
And I invite you to do the same. Allow your consciousness to embrace this tender yet powerful act of holding another in the depths of your heart. Start with your loved ones, as I’m sure you do already. In the quiet moments, bring them gently within your gaze of Love. But don’t stop there – your neighbors, co-workers, all you meet, those you hear about in the news, those who’s lives are as far from yours as possible…bring them all into the Light, wish them well, send them Love.

The world needs you and me, you know. Join with the Promise of Spring! Let the sweet tendrils of Love unfurl in your heart and reach out to the world. Our Love is a gift we can offer…as I offer mine to you on this May morning.

Peace, Lisa

Rest in the palm of God’s hand

Glimmers April 24, 2014

Dear Friends,

It is my hope that these monthly messages bring a little more light into your lives. Some days I see the light blazing through the darkness, and others, like today, I am grateful for the glimmer, the subtle but consistent, flickering light of Love.

April is an interesting month, it brings the promises of Spring and the celebration of Easter. April is all about “new life.” Yet as I wait for April to begin, we still have cold days, ice along the edges of the lake, and naked maple trees surrounding the house. Where is the new life in Connecticut when cherry blossoms are blooming in Seattle? Or, how can one celebrate those cherry blossoms when the Snohomish County mudslide is just miles away?

This disparity of images continues in other ways.

A dear friend faces loss while another celebrates an accomplishment.

                                        Families gather for a wedding as they hear of their relative’s car accident.

                                                                                  Repeatedly, it seems we are faced with the highs and lows of life.

Our hearts are worn out in response to external events or sometimes just waiting for the thaw to begin. And the question returns, how do we trust in new life when we’re surrounded by cold or darkness?

It’s not enough for me to “believe” anymore. It reminds me too much of Peter Pan asking me to clap to keep Tinkerbell alive. I find I’m attracted to Carl Jung’s words. “I don’t believe in God, I know God.” I am learning to trust my own experience, even using it as a reference point. When the darkness of doubt creeps into my heart, I remember Doris – her faithfulness and her unfailing regard for each human being. The image of Doris’s integrity stands between doubt and me, giving me a chance to breathe and recollect. When the chill of fear grabs me, I can now return to the gifts of my humanity. I see the sunrise and experience the peace it elicits in my heart. I recall moments on retreat or holding hands with my husband and am reminded…I know Love.

To paraphrase Jung, I don’t just believe in Love, I know Love. My human experience has reminded me over and over that Love is an energy, a reality that surpasses all the disparities around me. Love holds them as One. Remember the Irish blessing asking God to hold us in the palm of his hand? Well, what is he holding exactly? I would answer our joys and sorrows, tensions and gifts, fears and dreams. In this warm and safe place, our lives are tenderly nurtured and cared for. Here, in this loving embrace, new life emerges and we begin again. Let us remember those who are hurting today.

May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
The rain fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

With love on this new day, Lisa

Listen deeply…

Glimmers March 1, 2014

Dear Friends,

Re-entry into “regular life” after an 8 day silent retreat is an interesting experience. As much as I might have resisted the silence behind the stone walls of the retreat center, I find myself just as startled by the noise of everyday life. The wide open space of reflection….gone. The profound depth of shared listening….gone. Instead, I’m surrounded by music I didn’t ask for or voices filling in where quiet used to be.

These cold March days I am seeking ways to bring the retreat with me into my routine. I’d like to integrate what I heard along the frozen shoreline of Gloucester into the responsibilities and relationships that are here in my “one, wild and precious life.” *

It seems fitting to continue my reflection on the retreat as the Christian practice of Lent begins. Lent is a time of opening our minds and hearts to the mystery of God. This is no small task! The church suggests fasting, praying more, and giving of ourselves. Lent is a time to lower the volume of our needs and increase the volume of God’s message of Love.

And that is my prayer for you, my friends. May you find the volume control in your heart that allows you to turn down the voices of fear or doubt or guilt. They are not the voice of our loving God. They are wounds that are calling out for healing, remnants of old patterns or misunderstandings. Let them teach you so you may be free of them, but not controlled by them. 

Instead, find that other little dial or slider in your heart…you know the one, its tinged with gold and fits perfectly in your fingers. Tune it carefully and listen…keep increasing the volume until you can’t miss what is being said…you are loved, you are loving, you are lovable. Let the music of these words fill your mind, your heart, your being. Trust this message and enter into your own retreat time, your own deeper connection with your God. May it be so…

With love, Lisa
*thank you to Mary Oliver and “The Summer Day”