Yearly Archives


A Time for Trust…

Glimmers December 6, 2021


“You’ve got to trust this God who doesn’t tell you in advance what the future’s going to be. He doesn’t tell you. And that’s the contract. Once you say yes, then you begin to find out. It begins to make sense. It begins to reassure you and so on. But here is where Mary stands out magnificently for all of us, and that’s what we mean by saying, ‘Imitate Mary’s fiat,’ which means a lot more than, ‘Okay, I’ll put up with it.’ It means, ‘Here I am. Do with me anything that you want. I’m ready to go anywhere or nowhere. To be something or to be nothing.’ ” Fr Thomas Keating


Dear Friends,

Read that again….

What is Fr Thomas saying to us? What is he saying to you?

This journey of Mary’s, available to a person of any faith tradition for consideration, is our journey. Her assent creates space for surrender.

‘Here I am. Do with me anything that you want. I’m ready to go anywhere or nowhere. To be something or to be nothing.’

This idea stirs up such a range of reactions, thoughts, feelings and responses for me. My own journey has led me to an interesting place these days, and I suspect that’s the case for you too? These complicated times and the constant demand to “adjust” to changing information and points of view is so challenging. Sometimes it’s even hard to just relax on the couch, let alone move into a “Letting go, Letting God” mindset.

But the fundamental movement of surrendering to God’s invitations still calls out to the wayfinder within each of us.  And we ask ourselves…What would it be like to “let go” that deeply? To trust that deeply? Who would I be on the other side of such a transformation?

This call to Surrender, found in many spiritual paths, sometimes feels like a standing-on-a-cliff-kinda-trust. Fr Thomas explains:

…it’s by means of these apparently impossible situations that bear no solution that one is pushed to a new level of consciousness in which one perceives the whole of reality from a new perspective,

Surrender is, indeed, a call to trust, ever more deeply. And that is my prayer today, to move into new understandings of what trust means in my life….in relationships, family connections, ministry, as a citizen…all the way down to the molecules and microbes of my life. I wonder what a deepening trust means in yours?

With hope and encouragement in my heart, for each of you dear friends….

and with tender love, Lisa



Attending to Loss – receiving support

Glimmers November 18, 2021

Dear Friends,

A new day…we step into the 2021 holiday season with open eyes. Last year’s November and December changed us, as we learned to cherish what we held most dear. With Thanksgiving around the corner, Christmas and Hanukkah coming soon, perhaps our hearts will deepen further into the mystery of our human connection.

I gratefully experienced that connection from this community of hope, following my November 7th Glimmer. Thank you for responding with prayer, love and kindness toward my request for prayer. When I decided to share my loss with you, my intention was to ask for that prayer and, possibly, allow a bit of my journey to support yours. I did not expect to be taught how to receive your support, I did not expect to experience a wave of sustaining love as my days moved forward. The retreat went well, the Sisters heard of your prayer and were grateful for our time together. But if I may, I’d like to explore this other side of asking for prayer – the willingness to receive love. 

I suspect that many of us resist the idea of receiving love and prayer, let alone asking for it. But I am learning, as a pilgrim in the Land of Loss, what a gift it is to read/hear words of encouragement and faith on my behalf. I allowed my heart to open and my soul to be nourished. There is a degree of surrender in the process, though, a measure of letting go into the Mystery that makes this exchange difficult. To ask for and to receive your prayer, I must admit my vulnerability. To ask for and to receive your prayer, I move toward a new understanding of trust. 

Another element of the journey became very clear…. while we do not know the very intimate details of another’s loss, our heart’s willingness to be present becomes part of their healing. I initially “pushed away” the messages that presumed I was in deep sadness at my stepfather’s death. Unfortunately, my sadness has lasted through 60 years of wounds from a dysfunctional relationship. His death brought difficult things to mind, my Land of Loss experience is complicated. But as your messages of prayer and support continued, I relinquished my grip on the narrative. My heart softened and healed, as I allowed myself to receive God’s love through your intervention. 

I share this with you friends, to offer a glimpse into another’s journey. I know I am not the only one with challenging relationships, confusing loss, and complicated grief. Perhaps my vulnerability will support you, my prayer sustain you, as we wander together through the fields and forests of loss. Thank you for sharing your willing hearts.

peace, Lisa

Attending to Loss – asking for prayer

Glimmers November 7, 2021


Dear Friends,

For those of you who know me through my work in loss and grief, you know about the Land Of Loss. This image, and the travels through it, are how I understand the powerful experience of loss, change, grief and transformation. When I was writing my book, I hoped that no one died in my little world until I was done because when you are in the Land of Loss, you look at things differently. I have entered the Land of Loss, my 97-year-old step father died on Tuesday. This loss has stirred up long-ago feelings and memories that, once in a while, return for my attention.

Today’s Glimmer is a request for your loving thoughts and prayer. Tomorrow, I will be driving to the Bronx to offer a 24 hour retreat for the Sisters of Charity of New York on loss, grief and hope. I wish to continue my ministry as authentically as possible, and so will explore the Land of Loss with these dear women in a new way. I bring you with me, your losses and you desire for healing. Together, we find our way. I close with this lovely blessing from Jan Richardson.

Peace, friends, Lisa


Solace Blessing by Jan Richardson

That’s it.                                             

That’s all this blessing                             

knows how to do:                              

Shine your shoes.                                   

Fill your refrigerator.                               

Water your plants.                                 

Make some soup.                                  


All the things

your cannot think                                   

to do yourself                                      

when the world

has come apart,                                   

when nothing                                         

will be normal                                     




this blessing knows

precisely what you need.                    

even before                                           

you know.                                              

It sees what will bring                           

the deepest solace                              

for you.                                               

It senses what will offer                      

the kindest grace.


And so it will step

with such quietness

 into the ordinary moments

where the absence

is the deepest.


 It will enter

with such tenderness

 into the hours

where the sorrow

is most keen.


You do not even

 have to ask.


Just leave it open –

your door,

your heart,

your day

in every aching moment

 it holds.


See what solace

spills through the gaps

your sorrow has torn.

See what comfort

comes to visit,

holding out its gifts

in each compassionate hand.

A Hopeful Heart

Glimmers October 29, 2021

Dear Friends,   

The light is fading here in New England, leaves are scattered everywhere and we’re entering a new season of our lives. I am grateful for the distinct seasonal changes in nature that support the shifts and movements within. As I settle in, gathering blankets around me and keeping my pot of tea nearby, I wonder what this time of increasing darkness will bring. What wisdom or insight will appear? Celtic tradition tells us that we are beginning a time of waiting, a time of reflection, where the veil is thin and mystery is close at hand.

As I prepare to receive what comes my way, I find myself thinking about hope. I’m interested in deepening my understanding of hope, especially at this stage of my life and in these times in our country and the world. Author Barbara Kingsolver tells me,

“The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. The most you can do is live inside that hope, running down its hallways, touching the walls on both sides.”

Can you imagine such a thing? Running down it’s hallways or placing your hands on the walls of Hope? My place of hope would also include those blankets and my favorite teapot, how about yours? It would include memories and dreams, tears and laughter. This room, or welcoming space named Hope, invites me in just as I am –  carrying my doubts and fears and my eager heart, too, as I embrace this new day. Here, the chaos is stilled, the pieces come together, Love is revealed.

I nestle into the quiet darkness around me, too soon the falling leaves will be replaced by snowflakes. But this year, I open my heart to Hope’s call to surrender and trust. I open my thoughts to Cynthia Bourgeault’s understanding of Hope’s mystery,

“Hope fills us with the strength to stay present, to abide in the flow of Mercy no matter what outer storms assail us. It is entered always and only through surrender; that is through the willingness to let go of everything we are presently clinging to. And yet when we enter it, it enters us and fills us with its own life – a quiet strength beyond anything we have ever known.”

Hopeful blessing on your dear hearts, Lisa

Reclaiming Wonder

Glimmers September 30, 2021


Dear Friends,

Loss diminishes our sense of wonder. Loss causes us to doubt that joy could ever be felt again. And if we do feel better, sometime in that far-away-future, its been so long we may not weave the strands of Loss and Wonder together. We may not realize the deep and important movements that are taking place. We’re just glad to be breathing.

This is my invitation today. …step into the Both/And of Loss and Wonder.

Though Loss weighs us down as an ever-present awareness that seems to be in direct conflict with Contentment and Joy, we have the capacity to transcend those rough edges.  In my experience, our Either/Or way of thinking leads us to believe that Loss and all of its attending feelings must end before we can possibly feel like smiling again. Either/Or sets us up with “Life is good” on one side and “Life is awful” on the other, and we see through one lens or the other. Both/And, or unitive, thinking expands our minds and allows us to make a space for both, even all, of the aspects of life.

Yes, life can be awful. The death of a loved one, the political climate, the plight of of the poor, refugees, and marginalized in our world are evidence of serious ruptures in our human experience. At the same time, (a very key and lovely phrase), we have known love, observed selfless people caring for others, experienced moments of peace in our hearts, enjoyed the delight of a child. Both/And consciousness allows us to make room for the fullness of the human experience and find nourishment in its tenderness and joy in its wonder. As we live and work with the very real challenges around and within us, Both/And invites us to reclaim the wonder of being alive.

I close with this message from Thich Nhat Hanh, “Our True Home.” Many blessings of wonder to each of you, Lisa

“Our true home is in the present moment.

To live in the present moment is a miracle.

The miracle is not to walk on water.

The miracle is to walk on the green earth in the present moment, to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now.

Peace is all around us -in the world and in nature -and within us – in our bodies and our spirits.

Once we learn to touch this peace, we will be healed and transformed.

It is not a matter of faith; it is a matter of practice.”


Moving Forward into Mystery

Glimmers August 25, 2021



Dear Friends,       

I have been experiencing this Summer as a time of passage. I bet many of us have. Our year of pandemic lockdown, with the ongoing transitions and adjustments, has been so challenging. It feels like I have to work extra hard to be patient or relaxed or silly. But this faithful attention to my inner life is not just a by-product of these times, it is vital to live in 2021 and beyond.

Thomas Moore has something to say about passage,

 “You don’t go through a passage once and for all. You have repeated experiences that stun you briefly, cause you to rethink your life and your identity, and be in the world in a different way.”

Loss, for example, is a type of passage. We all know loss, each of us grieving the people and events of our lives in our own way. This shared pandemic experience, however, leads us through a passage at the same time, stuns us and causing some rethinking, at the same time, and teaches us how to be in the world in a different way, all at the same time.

Last month, I mentioned counting the days to see our eldest son, in person, after a 20 month separation. He was born 4 years after my mother died, following her life of waist-down paralysis from a car accident. As I gather my son and daughter-in-law in my arms, we will be sharing love, an adventure and, at the same time, a reminder of the great gift of family connection…all shining more brightly due to this extended separation. Our passage as a family has indeed caused me to rethink my life and identity, and reconsider another of Moore’s lessons…legacy. He tells us,

“A legacy can activate your heart and expand your vision…The sense of leaving a legacy can fit into the rhythm by offering not just an ending, but a feeling of completion…legacy is not about the size of our impact on those who will come after us, but only the fact of having been significant to someone.”

As I count the days until I hug my eldest son, I wonder what passages you have  experienced? What transitions have stunned you into deeper reflection? And on this new day, what legacy activates your heart and calls to you? How will your energy, your light, be present to others in the world? I do know that every bit of hope that we each can muster will make a difference. Let us join our hearts in the quiet moments, trusting God, praying for each other.

“In the stillness of the quiet, if we listen, we can hear the whisper of the heart giving strength to weakness, courage to fear, and hope to despair.” Howard Thurman

Peace, Lisa


A new day, with friends by my side

Glimmers July 30, 2021

Dear Friends,   

You’ve been in my heart these recent weeks, forgive my delay in writing this month’s Glimmer.

Call it Summer fun, call it Covid ennui, call it I’m-in-the-middle-of-a-17-book-series-about-Maisie-Dobbs-and-I can’t-stop-reading-!

But as July comes to a close, I think of you with such gratitude and affection. I hope you are well and that this message reminds you of our connection with each other, the universe, and with the Divine whose Light will not cease to be.

Recently, I was splashing in the YMCA pool with my friends Cathy, Nancy and Janet and remembered Cathy, Nancy and Janet from my childhood. It helps that these names are generational, doesn’t it? It’s not surprising to meet the same “crowd” from coast to coast, all these years later. But that access to my memory is a gift, drawing me into a time of innocence when playing was easy and expected, when friends shared imagination without filters and laughter filled the space. 

I’ve written to you about innocence before, I’m not sure why the theme is returning. Perhaps it’s the ongoing reflection about my childhood and the desire to write the memoir that has been waiting within. We all have our stories and the telling of them can be a form of connection that is very satisfying. In fact, psychologist and author, Thomas Moore teaches that my experiences of the “original” Cathy, Nancy and Janet are as alive as my life today! He encourages us to enjoy the fullness of who we are, as the years accumulate, bringing the vitality, laughter and innocence right along with us into present day.

I like that invitation, I like seeing my friends in my mind’s eye and seeing myself responding and joining in. This, for me, is a form of connection that grounds me as I go forward in this day and welcome the splashes that come my way. And you, friends, are part of that network of memory and affection. Thank you for filling my heart and sharing my journey. Thank you for teaching me about belonging.

peace, Lisa

Learning the Language of Love

Glimmers June 25, 2021


Dear Friends,   

We’ve traveled through many topics these years together: loss, hope, authenticity, trust. Before and during the pandemic, we have considered the stories that teach us about ourselves, people and the world around us. Today, as June unfolds in it’s own unique way, we too are unfolding. We’re considering life outside of our “Covid cloud,” and wondering what it looks like….where do we belong?

I played squirt gun with my son last week, learned about his island on Animal Crossings, and I hugged him. Simple pleasures with an adult child, but after eighteen long months on different sides of the country they were everything. It felt like we shared a core part of our mother-son relationship, it felt like home.

This past year was filled with loss and adjustment, two areas of life that are challenging in the usual rhythms, but this year strained our capacity to cope. We learned patterns of survival which can restrict our ability to thrive. As we step back out into the world, we step back into ourselves in a new way – into those emotional touchstones that remind us of who we are and where we belong.

At least that’s how it is for me. The spontaneous tears that arrived as I wrapped my arms around my 6’2″ son, nourished my heart and eased the grief from this extended isolation. I’m grateful that this loss of physical contact is over and hold extra empathy for those whose loved ones cannot be hugged anymore. I pray that we all find ways to give voice to our losses and expression of our love. Those moments draw us into our heart of hearts, where Love resides, and holds us close. 

As life moves forward, may we trust the threads that tell us where we belong. May we be open to God’s blessing upon the sacred weaving of our lives, as we make meaning out of joy and sadness, new life and loss. May we learn the language of love in all it’s forms – squirt guns, hugs or quiet moments – and become emissaries of hope. That is my call, please join me. Let yourself love even when it hurts.


I think my son enjoyed the hug too, and I can’t wait to wrap my arms around his brother in 97 days……96……95……





Ta-weeeet! Ta-ta-ta-weeeet!

Glimmers April 29, 2021

Dear Friends,                         

Spring has arrived at Lake Beseck! New life in the form of yellow-er goldfinches,  greening tree branches, and bright, red tulips popping up to say, “Hello!” The birds sound so happy! Trills call out, tweets and ch-ch-chats follow, geese honk as they stop by for a visit – but not for long, if the swans have their way. Strong swan wings create music as they flap in flight, chasing the geese or anyone who dares to trespass. New life on the lake, and I find myself, once again, grateful for the rhythm of seasons that invite reflection. I am grateful for the invitation for new life within myself, as well.

You have been on my mind, friends, April is almost over – how did that happen? I have been busy and fully engaged, I know that’s part of the reason that time is passing by so quickly. I have also been aware of the fullness of a day, the richness of a moment, for I have learned to slow down in new ways. The pandemic demanded that, I believe, it was a year like no other. This Spring is like no other, as well, isn’t it? New life is being birthed in each of us sitting upon our dear Earth. (I am mindful of my “sister” in Australia, whose seasonal rhythms are the opposite of mine, but no worries. New life and Spring extend beyond time and space, they are invitations to the soul.)

I was gifted with another invitation for my soul this week, it came in the form of two little girls. Five year old and four year old little packages of wonder and delight! They embodied Spring, I guess you could say, with their innocent faces, evolving language, and bright, little-girl colors. They touched a long-ago part of myself who remembers the joy in learning to balance, new shoes, and a neighborhood puppy. They gave me permission to embrace wonder, even if it makes me look like “that crazy lady down the street.” Joy is too precious to contain, friends… when it arrives – go for it!

We have traveled many paths together over the years. I pray that this time of new life brings ease into your day, joy into your heart, hope into the world around you.

With affection, Lisa

Lunch with my Dad

Glimmers March 13, 2021

Dear Friends,             

I’ve started a new “practice.” I’m having lunch with my dad.

As I put together a salad or warm up some leftovers, I anticipate the warmth of our connection. Sometimes I light a candle, sometimes I just look outside, but always I experience a calm that I associate with his calm, his kindness, his deep love for me.

This is a big change from my life-long habit of talking, reading or looking at a screen while I eat. Of course, it’s a healthier choice too – I’m tasting the food, noticing my hunger or fullness, even slowing down and chewing mindfully.  My renewed commitment at 70 is affirmed by my dear dad, gone so long ago at 36.

I think you could call this new prayer experience a return to innocence. I imagine this nest of safety and love, myself as a little girl, and I gratefully rest here…held by loving arms, at peace, and experiencing deep trust. My dad speaks and strokes my hair, I am truly nourished. I hear Enigma’s words and see entrancing images as I return to innocence:

Don’t care what people say
Just follow your own way
Don’t give up and use the chance
To return to innocence

Irish poet and philosopher John O’Donohue speaks of our ancestors in the “Celtic circle of eternity.” In a recent post, Richard Rohr quotes O’Donohue’s vision, stating,

“The Celtic Irish tradition recognizes that the eternal and the transient worlds are woven in and through each other. Very often at death, the inhabitants of the eternal world come out toward the visible world.”

I’m grateful for Rohr and O’Donohue’s affirmation of the mystery that I am entering and I love Enigma’s video that illustrates something of my experience. But, mostly, I am content to sit here – in silence – with my dad.

I might just start having breakfast with him, too.

with love, Lisa