Yearly Archives

2022

A new day – a new way

Glimmers September 1, 2022

“Life goes on without your planning.”

Dear Friends,

These words were offered to me today as the morning came into fullness. Sweet sparrow sang her daily greeting, insects chirped to life in response to the sun’s arrival, a family of squirrels danced in the grass and ran up the tree trunks….and I, witness to it all, opened my eyes to this new day. I watched the congregation of geese, multiple sets of goslings now alongside their parents, glide across the lake, surprisingly silent. And as I write this to you, our sweet bunny hopped through the yard on her way to the next adventure on this first day of September.

I receive these gentle reminders that life, indeed, goes on without my planning.

This is not to say that I’m not a good planner! I’ve been known to create moments and events that require keeping track of lots of details and of coordinating many moving parts. At the same time, I have created a framework around an experience of shared worship and then, let go, trusting the flow of love. Life, and the sacred thread that wraps around it, definitely goes on without my hand in the mix. The arrival of this lesson on this day invites me into a deeper trust in Love’s presence. It aligns with the ongoing movements in my personal story that are filled with healing and hope.

I share this story with you, my companions on the journey, because I suspect that all of us get caught in the desire to control the circumstances and people in our lives. Many of us plan and then get rattled when our plans are disrupted. Many of us turn to planning and control to defend ourselves against long-ago wounds that reverberate in our current life. And many of us, hopefully, learn to say “yes” to the great mystery of Love that is present right here and right now. Let us open our hands, together. Let us cultivate trust, together.  Enjoy these lyrics from a long-ago favorite song, composer unknown:

“With open hands, we reach to you, our heart await to be made new.

Peace, like the empty skies above us, is shining with light.

Breath, like our incense rise to greet you, day in our night.

All we know now, will pass away, and Love alone will ever stay.”

with love, Lisa

Growing Pains

Glimmers August 8, 2022

Dear Friends,

An unexpected phone call, a plan’s “rearrangement,” the weather, a detour sign – all, and many more, are examples of the need for an inner adjustment. We accommodate these small demands in daily life, some days better than others. In fact, our ease with change reflects some of our temperament, our history, our maturity, right? I can say this about myself and am guessing it might be true about you, too. Our practice of accommodation is also influenced by the repeated demands of change, isn’t it? If, let’s say, a vacation plan gets turned around, flights are cancelled, luggage lost – we become weary with the situation. Our patience is strained at the exact time when more patience is needed!

In my last Glimmer, I spoke of change and the growth it often demands. Many of you responded with thoughts about “growing pains,” do you remember those? I recall the term being used to describe the physical aches from young bodies growing, muscles and bones getting longer, bigger, stronger. But, of course, growing pains happen in our emotional and spiritual lives, as well. Here I am at 72, body changing yes, but the demand for growing really lands in my heart. The lessons of loss, of all sorts, continue and that internal process of adjustment becomes a pathway of growing.

“I’m so glad to find a way to love again.” I remember hearing these words at Sr Mary Fahey’s funeral. She was quoted saying them in response to a difficult person or situation. Her heart’s desire, “to love,” was the guiding light in her life, and as we know, circumstances can challenge that goal. Loss, difference, rejection, misunderstanding, betrayal – all part of our human experience – and yet, as a “lover,” I seek the path of reconciliation. I desire to love again, and again, and again. Before you misunderstand my proclamation, know that I fail miserably, that I forget to include myself in that goal, and that I often get caught in my own neediness.

These are my recent growing pains, this is where my heart is being stretched out into new shapes, new ways of holding the life I am living. And this is where I learn about love.

with affection, Lisa

Morning Light

Glimmers August 2, 2022

Dear Friends,

After a couple adventures, I’ve returned to the land of lost socks and gardening decisions.

I return home with a heart stretched open, to hold the reality of the world I am living in. Gratitude has arrived and She is shining her light all around me. My heart and I say yes, we will participate in the journey of a soul-full life. The invitation is too precious….

The socks and garden pots speak, I slow down. This is my life and, in this moment,  I am experiencing it as a blessing:

an active awareness of “the More”

a kiss of the Divine

a Deepening that calls us home.

Some folks place “blessing” in a religious realm, but for me, there’s more.  John O’Donohue is quoted in this wonderful article saying, “Blessing is a more robust and grounded presence.” I am so grateful to have socks and a place to lose them! In the morning light, the garden awakens – each petal smiles hello, vines join me in the expanse of this new day, and I listen. Blessings appear, arrive, descend, are…

I return to you, dear friends. My spirit settles down and listens for the oriole’s call and the mourning dove’s coo. The heron’s prehistoric form rises into the sky and the squirrels continue their dance. My heart responds to the dawn of this new day and says, yes, I will embrace the life before me and, at the same time,  I will pray for the concerns of the world. I cannot turn away from weeping brothers and sisters in Afghanistan, startling fires and consequent destruction in California, global political discussions rooted in fear and the need for power. How do I cope?  I respond to the challenges in my little life with love. I get honest, grieve losses as changes happen and, ultimately, grow. I respond to the call of love we all are hearing, and I keep going.

I’m on the lookout for blessings and the morning light is a place to start, besides thinking of each of you, of course.

peace, Lisa

 

 

 

 

Is it just me?

Glimmers July 12, 2022

 

Dear Friends,

Last night I attended a concert alongside the Connecticut River. It was a perfect night – relaxation and low humidity, sky resting in shades of blue and pink, breeze off the river tossing my hair, and great music dipping into my heart and soul. Christine Ohlman affirmed my desire to “jump right in to the deep end of the river of love, love, love.”

The space outside the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, CT was packed with people! People wearing hats, summer colors, and smiles. Lots and lots of smiles! Many stayed in the their seats, but many others moved their bodies to the music – up near the band or in the small spaces between their chairs. Children ran around, dancing too, joining the adults in a celebration of life. When I wasn’t dancing, rare but occasional, I looked at the faces around me. I watched people talk and hug, sit and stare, all absorbed in the moment, and I wondered, “Is it just me, or is something different here?” “Are the colors brighter? The music more poignant? Our hearts a little softer?”

We’re all different. You. Me. The lady in the lime green caftan, the guy swinging his partner around with abandon, the young mom moving her little one in time with the music. We’re all different this July of 2022. Our shared experience in the last two years has changed our understanding of life, of innocence, of loss. Just as after the death of a loved one, our lives are not returning to “normal.” We are forever changed, transformed, by the losses and associated grief while living through a pandemic and time of social unrest.

So what is my response? Friends, I am acknowledging the reality of this sea change in my life on Earth. I’m accepting the demands it makes on me, am riding the waves of “adjustment,” but I am not without resources.  I dance. When I dance, my whole body moves to the music – catches the rhythm, slides with the groove, sings the anthem of life. I listen. I listen for wisdom from friends, like Christine, who are traveling these times with me. I listen to the symphony of birds outside my window. I know Love, I am gifted by time with loved ones – we are nourished and changed for the better.

My heart extends to unnamed people around me because it isn’t just me, it’s all of us. Our human family. Let’s choose love as often as we can, life is too precious to miss.

I wanna be baptized, let’s go there! 

Down in the river of love….

Join me? much love, Lisa

“We’re all just walking each other home.”

Glimmers June 15, 2022

 

“We’re all just walking each other home.” Ram Dass

Dear Friends,

It’s been an interesting time here at Lake Beseck, awareness speaks as Spring moves toward Summer and makes me smile. My recent experience on a retreat team at Mercy by the Sea nourished this gift of awareness as I sat with 6 women each day, listening to their hearts. Each told stories, I was present to my own, and the Divine was holding us all in Mystery and Love. When one steps into a time of retreat, there is a surrender to the experience and a trust in God’s care. These sacred days become a passageway into an unknown, yet holy place. We travelers rest in a different layer of understanding and receive nourishment for the transition back into our lives. It’s a very private, personal experience and, at the same time, a collective one as souls sit with each other in a silent dining room, honoring one another’s prayer.

“We’re all just walking each other home,” we say with our eyes during the week and through our hugs on the last day. This humble prayer speaks of trust and love, patience and hope. “We’re all just walking each other home,” a reminder of a Directed Retreat and, for me, a response to the great, shared passageway into the Unknown of Post-Covid, Post-George Floyd, Post-January 6, Post-Invasion of Ukraine. “We’re all just walking each other home” speaks of our humanity, our compassion, our shared desire for peace, it is an invitation to see our traveling companions, brothers and sisters all, with love in our eyes.

You have been in my heart, friends, in these weeks since my last Glimmer. While I often share what is happening in my own little world, I also pray for you and your unique stories as we all navigate the complexities of our shared world and contemporary times. Our connection, across miles and experiences, transcends our individuality and, at the same time, highlights the brilliant light that each of us offers. Our connection, grounded in our shared humanity, invites us to put on good walking shoes, gather the needed resources, and indeed, accept the call to companion one another as best we can. It’s a privilege to be a part of your journey.

Did you know that true love asks for nothing?
Her acceptance is the way we pay
Did you know that life has given love a guarantee?
To last through forever and another day

Peace, Lisa

 

 

 

 

Entering a week made holy by Love….

Glimmers April 11, 2022

Dear Friends,

I went to church yesterday.

After receiving communion, I kneeled in my space and watched the people come forward. The choir was singing, the organ was playing and my heart was resting quietly. I was grateful, in the moment, to experience peace. Old and young, electric wheelchair rider and then families, people of multiple colors, male and female – coming up the aisle with open hearts to receive Christ.

Like many of us, Covid altered my lifestyle and the routine of church was one of the casualties over the last two years. I attended worship and a variety of prayer experiences via Zoom, my  contemplative life has deepened, but weekly attendance at my local parish changed. The time away changed me. I found other ways to connect with God’s love and, happily, my relationship with the Divine has grown. I suspect some of you have experienced an evolution in your prayer and worship in these years of the pandemic, too.

I went to church to enter into the mystery of Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week. Truly a mystery, this sacred time invites us into lessons of death and the promise of resurrection. We hear of Jesus’ experience and are humbled by his example of surrender. We are reminded, friends, through this dramatic and powerful set of events, of God’s invitation to our surrender, to our dying, to our resurrection. 

I am not speaking of our physical death. Instead, this invitation to join the Paschal Mystery asks us to accept the “little deaths” that we face everyday, the losses in relationships, the broken promises, the loss of control in our lives. This invitation asks us to accept and surrender, to move into the emotional space of “not-knowing” but still trusting. This movement invites us into a deeper layer of love, into a realm we may not be able to describe but when we arrive, it feels like home. 

This year, Christian celebrations of new life coincide with the Jewish tradition of Passover. I am always grateful for that occasional overlap, for the stories of the Israelites exodus from slavery speak to the new life promised to peoples of deep faith in God. The stories and ritual of Passover spoke to Jesus. For centuries, human beings have been called to freedom from slavery, both external and internal, to trust the abiding presence of the Holy and the invitation to come home. You are in my prayer this week made holy by our human capacity for love and forgiveness, made holy by the Love that stretches through Divine presence toward our humble, human hearts.

Lisa

Conscious Grieving – Cultivating Hope in the Land of Loss

Glimmers March 31, 2022

Dear Friends,

Before March slides away, I wanted to reach out and let you know about an upcoming program I am offering at Mercy by the Sea Retreat and Conference Center in Madison, CT. It is on-site, only, and will be held Monday, April 25th, 9:30-3:30. More information can be found on my “Upcoming” website page or go to Mercy by the Sea directly by clicking here. 

Loss and grief are part of our human story, there is no way around it. And these last two years have heightened our awareness of and deepened our experience of loss, collectively and personally. My 2018 book, “Grieving- the Sacred Art,” offered the idea of conscious grieving as a way of navigating our feelings, thoughts, resistances and desires in the world of grief. Due to our general avoidance of painful feelings, grief is usually managed, as best we can. Conscious grieving, however, invites us to move past the templates of our upbringing, learning new ways to honor the losses in our life….conscious grieving respects our unique experience and suggests a level of participation, a “leaning in” to loss, letting the natural movement of healing to move through us.

So our day at Mercy by the Sea will offer some ideas, create an open space for prayer and sharing, and allow the beauty of the grounds and Long Island Sound to minister to our souls. Together, we will cultivate and nourish seedlings of hope for each other, for ourselves and for our hurting world. If you or someone you know might be interested, I hope you’ll consider joining us.

All the best, Lisa

Growing Trust

Glimmers March 27, 2022

 

Dear Friends, 

I’m so glad to think of you as I write this message, you warm my heart as the sun warms the land around me.

I hope Spring is appearing where you are. In my world, I see snowdrops replace snow in quiet corners, tree buds tightly bundled and ready to burst, the goldfinch’s yellow returning and an ease when I walk outside. Winter’s cold has loosened it’s grip at Beseck, thankfully, and a new season outside invites a new season within.

Just like the faithful farmers and gardeners who tend their seedlings in the basement or greenhouse, I too am caring for new life. A little seed of Trust was planted in my heart, tucked away in the darkness and nourished by prayer and promise. The green seedling is strong now, leaves outstretched, reaching for the light and fed by the warmth and water below. I am growing trust.

I’m sort of proud of myself, I have to admit. The news of the world and our country weighs heavy on my heart. The faces of people in distress and anguish, the injustices that are fermenting around us, and loss – personal and collective loss…all are part of my awareness and thus part of my prayer. And still, I tend my little seedling of Trust. I suspect there are many varieties of Trust, like tomatoes, and, like tomatoes, they serve different purposes. I’m not 100% clear what the purpose is for this particular sprout, but that’s part of the deal with Trust, isn’t it? For me, it’s an invitation to openness and a generosity of spirit. We shall see…

In my quiet time today, I sat with that seed. Pushed aside, broken apart to make room for the emerging seedling, I saw the pain that comes with new life. I offered a prayer of gratitude for the promise it protected until it was time, I honored the pain of transformation that all living things endure. I told the seed that I will participate in the care of it’s seedling, this young and most eager, tendril of Trust. I will mind her lovingly and faithfully, as she, and I, mature in the warmth of the sun and the light of Love.

with affection and gratitude,

Lisa

 

 

Sitting in this time and place….

Glimmers February 25, 2022

Dear Friends,               

Are you a perfectionist?

It was recently suggested to me that I am caught in a web of perfectionism. “How can that be?” I asked. “I’m overweight, the house is a mess, I’ve multiple unfinished projects piled in the corner! How can I be a perfectionist?”  Perfectionists, in my mind, complete their projects, clean the back of closets and definitely are the proper weight for their body size. They are, in my thinking, perfect. In writing this down and admitting it to you, I glimpse the fallacy of my thinking…just a glimpse, mind you, this is big stuff.

Wikipedia tells me that perfectionism “is not a synonym for excellence or conscientiousness.” Instead, its defined as “a person’s concern with striving for flawlessness and perfection and is accompanied by critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations.” I have to admit, I am caught in that web of constant critical self-evaluation. Even right now, as I write about this personality style that some of us struggle with, I’m saying to myself, “Lisa, there is an unjust war breaking out in Ukraine. That is where your focus should be…what’s wrong with you!”

Recently, I’ve come to appreciate the the multiplicity of me…appreciate and more importantly, have compassion for the many parts that make up who I am. I have learned that we carry the memories, desires, gifts, fears, wounds and visions through our lifetime, and with a sacred lens, we can learn to welcome them all. When Jesus invites all to the table of love, could he be inviting all of me? Even my perfectionist self?

When I open my heart to my not-so-perfect-self, when I trust that all of me is truly loved, something shifts. There is more space. I am able, in this moment, to experience a deeper compassion, for myself and beyond myself; a compassion that flows toward my brothers and sisters in Ukraine on this sad February day. I have space to hold their fears and losses. When my love-fire is fueled in this moment of vulnerability, my tears join with theirs and my prayer cries out on their behalf. Sitting in this time and place, I rest in perfect Love.

Thank you for being you,

Lisa

I begin

Glimmers January 16, 2022

Dear Friends,

A new year, a new beginning, at least in my little world at Lake Beseck. The holidays, come and go with their own special rhythms, and now it is January. Here in New England, we sink into deep darkness and stunning cold as the challenges of life continue. I’m glad the ice fishermen have returned, especially in this 2 degree morning. Their resolute stance of Hope is undeniable…inspirational.

I, too, am making a choice infused with hope. I am gathering together my thoughts, resources and view out the window to complete a memoir started long ago. The process is like packing for a big trip, as I make sure the essentials are at hand and, tucked away, the extra bits needed for unexpected moments. You never know when a button needs attaching, a headache needs soothing, or an island cove needs floating. This particular “trip” comes with built-in challenges, of course, that is the nature of life. So, I am learning to make adjustments – visits with the physical therapist to tend shoulders bent toward the keyboard and special headphones to manage the construction noise next door. Yes, my intention is Hope in the midst of the expected and unexpected nuances of life. 

Life in my seventh decade is a resource, as well. The years have shaped who I am, and at the same time, supported the emergence of my ease with who I was created to be. The losses, in particular, have held great lessons that teach me still. I move through the template of the Land of Loss – Alone, Passage, Surrender, Changed – and find myself thinking a little differently about relationships or experiencing feelings in new ways. This has been, for me, a path of healing and I am ready to tell the tale.

I am grateful to you, friends, who read these Glimmers and share this human journey with me. You are a resource for my project. At the same time, it is my prayer that these personal images and stories become part of your resources for the path of life. You, me, and those ice fishermen – we stand together. Let us sing together, too, with full hearts ’cause “we’re going to the end of the line.” Join the Traveling Wilburys and smile when you click on this reminder:

“It’s all right, even if you’re old and gray,

well, it’s all right, you still got something to say.

Well, it’s all right, remember to live and let live,

well, it’s all right, the best you can do is forgive.

With gratitude, Lisa