Yearly Archives


Comfort on the Path of Life

Glimmers April 30, 2023

Dear Friends,

I think of you on this last day of April 2023. I pray for you, too, as the transitions in your own life are surrounded by the constant stream of difficult news. Our walk on Earth, these days, calls for an increased ability to adjust, and then adjust again and again. And I wonder, what are our resources for such a path? How do we stay centered, conscious and compassionate? How do we take care of ourselves? 

There is not a one-solution-fits-all answer, we have many options to consider. Lessons of resiliency, meditation and expression help us return to the truth. If we listen, we hear wisdom in our traditions’s scripture and song, nourishing our heart and soul. If nature is our conduit of the Divine, time spent in the forest, along the shore or with a favorite winged friend can offer an opening to wholeness. There is not a one-solution-fits-all for self-care, but all of us are invited to find the ones that support our unique self.

During a recent encounter with travelers in the Land of Loss, I shared that our vulnerability is a secret passageway to healing…. a path of self-care that leads to a strong and hopeful heart.  In my experience, my vulnerability always brings me to the center of who I am, to a place of tender trust, a place where I feel loved. Researcher and author Brene Brown puts it this way,

“If we want to reclaim the essential emotional part of our lives and reignite purpose and passion, we have to learn how to own and engage with our vulnerability and learn how to feel the emotions that come with it. Owning our story can be hard, but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky, but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy.”

So, from that tender place of knowing myself as a child of God, I offer you this lovely song by Carly Simon, “Life is Eternal.” You too, friends, are God’s beloved that I’ve the privilege to know. When we meet one another’s vulnerable hearts, we encounter the truth  – a primary resource – we are walking together in the Land of Love.

“Life is eternal and love is immortal and death is only a horizon. Life is eternal as we move into the light. And a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight, save the limit of our sight.”

Peace to you, Lisa


A Welcome Spring

Glimmers March 24, 2023

Dear Friends,

Last week, I was driving behind a school bus as children were let off, one or two at a time. I didn’t notice in the moment, I was preoccupied  from my recent entry in the Land of Loss, that the bus pulled over without the stop-arm swinging open. The bus took off again, before I realized the pull-over had been an invitation to pass, to avoid the monotony and delay of go – – stop – – kid off – – go – – stop – – kid 0ff – –  again and again.

Friends, this was an ordinary day. It wasn’t a holiday or the last day of the year, or even the last day of the week! Yet, at each stop the child walked quickly or ran toward the adult and was greeted with a full body hug! a kiss at the top of the head! a look in the eyes that said, “I love you!” My own eyes tear up telling you this story, as I remember what it felt like to witness Love, over and over again.

I admit, I have felt weighed down lately. As a companion with those in the Land of Loss, I enter with them. To create a safe space for them to be with their feelings, I return to my feelings around Loss. In addition, I, like all of us, am weighed down by the ongoing concerns around our Earth, political tensions in our country and the world. It’s like the Winter that never ends.

And it yet it does end, doesn’t it? Spring arrives with a change in the air, with daffodils and blue birds, with hope blooming right before us. In this change of season, we are invited to expand our awareness of the Life that surrounds us. Loss, conflict and decline will continue – but so will Love, hope and forgiveness. We are invited to open our hearts to the co-existence of things, the both/and of things, and nourish that understanding as we watch parents loving their children, families texting songs of love on an ordinary day, people offering kindness to strangers. Join me in welcoming Spring for the gift of hope it offers.

May I add a huge thank you to those of you who responded to my last Glimmer? I was so touched and comforted by your care for me and your connection to the song and video I offered. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’d also like to add a reminder of a couple April programs I am offering for those who seek support with their losses. April 1 brings me to Holy Family Retreat Center for a day entitled “The Path of Conscious Grieving.” There is still room for registration. Then, on April 15, I will be on the Cape at the Center for the Spiritual Journey for a gentle day we’re calling “Permission to Grieve.” Both of these are highlighted here with links for more information.

Peace on this brand new Spring day! Lisa

“Thank you for who you are.”

Glimmers March 7, 2023

Dear Friends,

A long-time friend of mine died last month, she was a year younger than me and faced multiple health issues. Her soul, though, was (is) one of the healthiest and dearest that I have encountered. She touched people’s hearts with deep faith, humor and kindness, but mostly by being herself. My heart is broken open.

Her last words to me were, “Thank you for who you are.” I don’t know about you, but I’m more aware of my flaws, not my “okness,” so I pause in response to her gratitude. In my time of grief, I choose to reflect on her message to me, her prayer for me.  What if someone said this to you? Would you receive it? Are you willing to be thanked for being yourself?

Years ago, I came across this video of Lana Wachowski as she is being given the Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award. Lana is a transgendered woman, formerly Larry, and one the creators of “The Matrix” series and the movie, “Cloud Atlas.” I was transfixed by her courage, as she shared her most personal and unique journey of being who she is. At the 6:35 mark in the video, she tells a story about the upcoming award to her hairdresser. He asks, “Award for what?” She replies, “Well, I guess, kind of, for being myself.” Imagine that? I’m often moved to tears by this exchange, Lana’s journey toward authenticity inspires me to hang in there, to accept who I am with a little more compassion and patience.

My last words to my dying friend came in the form of a song, “How Could Anyone” by Shaina Noll. Oh, I so hope you click the link and listen to it, friends. It so happened, she had told me years ago of this song’s significance to her. Gratefully, I remembered and shared the gentle tune and message with this sweet soul as she traveled into the arms of her God. May we all truly receive this reminder of our intrinsic beauty as children of God. May we all hear these words and believe….

How could anyone ever tell you
You were anything less than beautiful
How could anyone ever tell you
You were less than whole
How could anyone fail to notice
That your loving is a miracle
How deeply you’re connected to my soul

God’s peace to you this day, Lisa

Choosing Hope

Glimmers February 11, 2023

Dear Friends

I recently made an interesting decision. I decided to let go of shame.

It was a slip-off-of-a-stool kind of decision, it was just the next natural thing. Considering how I process things to death, it feels like a moment of Grace.

As a spiritual director, I sit with people as they share their hearts. It is a remarkable, grace-filled experience to be present to another’s heart. But listening to my own heart? It has been a rough path. I think I’m stubborn. I suspect that’s how it is for some of us, some would say Ego is putting up a fight.

I recently sat with a man who described a moment as “freeing.” The look on his face when he spoke was so inspiring. His expression invited me to imagine what it feels like to b-e  f-r-e-e. Free of self-consciousness, free of questions about self-worth, free of fear, free of doubt. I’ve had “freeing” moments, a sacred awareness of God’s love for me. But in daily life, the very human patterns slide back in and I get caught in the “not enough.”

I’ve been writing to you, friends, for 9 years – drawing connections between my little life, the complex world that we share and the healing presence of Divine Love that surrounds us. Primary themes have been Hope and Conscious Grieving, since many of you, like me, come to these Glimmers through the path of Loss.  As I consider my call as a guide in the Land of Loss, I pause and gratefully remember, that I am, like you, a child of God. And as I consider our journey together, I rejoice. With your companionship, I deepen my trust in the Abiding Love that surrounds us all. Together, let us open our eyes to the Land of Hope that has been here, all along.

To continue the conversation, I invite Connecticut friends to join me on Thursday, March 2 at 7pm, at John P Webster Library. Part of First Church in West Hartford, JPW is hosting, “An Evening with Lisa Irish: Hope in the Land of Loss.” It’s free, will include book giveaways and sales, and is designed to share messages of hope that I have encountered in my journeys. I hope you can come, it would be a gift to share the experience with you. You can find JPW at 12 S Main St in West Hartford and register for the program with this link. And if you can’t be there, please keep those who attend in your prayer, in your loving intention for peace in human hearts.

All my best, Lisa

Seeking Clarity

Glimmers January 23, 2023

Dear Friends,

I’ve joined the statistics, was it inevitable?

My husband and I had symptoms, each tested positive, and landed in bed for several days. Our schedules were rearranged and I repeatedly thanked God for a working furnace and the kindness of neighbors to keep us safe.

I’m fully aware that the circumstances of my encounter with Covid were very fortunate. During these long, isolated days I thought about those who suffer and those who grieve. As our world-wide pandemic becomes endemic to our way of life, we are confronted with loss. How do we find our way through the consistent drumbeat of difficulties in 2023? I offer a hopeful reminder, the gift of those who accompany us, our human family.

“I’ve heard it said that people come into our lives, for a reason, bringing something we must learn.And we are led to those, who help us most to grow if we let them, and we help them in returnWell, I don’t know if I believe that’s trueBut I know I’m who I am today, because I knew you”

This message from the musical “Wicked” arrived in my life, recently, and offered comfort to my lonely heart.  A golden arrow pointed at the relationships in my life as the Covid-enforced quarantine prevented simple, every-day contact. I thought about friends long-past, our lives moving apart in different directions, but the gifts remaining. I recalled single moments of connection, never followed-up, but sacred in their way. Filled with love, I remembered hugs, a shared cup of tea, a quiet breath of another…. And I, too, could sing, “I know I’m who I am today, because I knew you.”

How do we find our way? Where is Hope housed in these confusing times? For me, on this first day of the rest of my life, I place my trust in our human connections of love and compassion, of tenderness and kindness. I rest in this singular moment, dear friends, and continue to sing “because I knew you, I have been changed for good.”

“You’ll be with me like a handprint on my heartAnd now whatever way our stories end, I know you have rewritten mine by being my friend
Like a ship blown from its mooring, by a wind off the seaLike a seed dropped by a sky bird in a distant woodWho can say if I’ve been changed for the betterBut because I knew you, I have been changed for good.”
I invite you to take a moment to listen to this song written by Stephen Lawrence Schwartz, let us all be changed for good.
Peace, Lisa