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Friday, August 30, 2013

Some Good News for a Change!

This morning I was reading the news headlines on the computer. It was no surprise  to find them very dis-heartening. So I clicked across to the Gratefulness site which I hadn't browsed for a while and found this wonderfully re-heartening piece about the power of gratitude and how children led the way.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cynthia Bourgeault on Raising Consciousness

I don't usually add two posts in one day! But here is a very good ten minute You Tube interview with Cynthia Bourgeault and an interviewer from Raising Consciousness Now. Given that it was a spontaneous interview I thought the quality of the questions, responses and camera work were exceptional! At the end of the interview Cynthia speaks briefly about her new book:

Real Transformation

 An excerpt from this book - which I haven't yet read but found on the Spirituality and Practice Newsletter.

"Bernard McGinn says that mysticism is 'a consciousness of the presence of God that by definition exceeds description and . . . deeply transforms the subject who has experienced it.' If it does not deeply change the lifestyle of the person — world view, economics, politics, and ability to form community — you have no reason to believe it is genuine mystical experience. It is often just people with an addiction to religion itself, which is not that uncommon.

Mysticism is not just a change in some religious ideas or affirmations, but it is an encounter of such immensity that everything else shifts in position. Mystics have no need to exclude or eliminate others precisely because they have experienced radical inclusivity of themselves into something much bigger. They do not need to define themselves as enlightened or superior, whereas a mere transfer of religious assertions often makes people even more elitist and more exclusionary.
True mystics are glad to be common, ordinary, servants of all, and just like everybody else, because any need for specialness has been met once and for all."

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human. 
~Henri Nouwen.

I came across this quote in a newsletter from the Charter for Compassion. You can access the whole newsletter here.

The newsletter includes links and many great resources in areas of  Education, Business, Healthcare, Spirituality, Peace and Non-violence - and one that intrigued me - 

I love the logo and the by-line: Survival of the Kindest! 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Kite Surfing, Wind, Breath, Spirit

This morning I walked in the bracing wind on Long Bay beach. On the way back I stopped to watch as a kite surfer spread out his kite and prepared to fly!

It took about 15minutes of preparation - laying it all out in the right direction, letting the wind "blow up" the kite sail, making sure the cords attaching the kite to the harness were not tangled... Finally he picked up the board, attached himself to the harness and lifted the kite into wind. In an instant he was dragged sideways across the sand. Up again and with more control he trotted towards the water. Getting his feet into the foot straps without being dragged by the kite required patience and two more falls. But finally he was up, skimming the surf and rising above it in what I'm sure felt a jubilant sense of freedom. It was exhilarating to watch and I admired his tenacity - and no doubt the many hours of practice that had gone before.

It particularly struck me because before my walk I had been reading a book about deepening the practice of Centering Prayer (which has been my daily practice for some time). In it David Frenette writes about using awareness of breath/breathing as a way to stay centered in openness to God. (Most often in Centering Prayer a sacred word is used as the anchor point.) Though attending to your breath is not a new thought in many forms of meditation one of the things Frenette said particularly struck me: "Your breath, like God, is always with you in this life, from the moment of your birth until the instant of your death." This makes attending to breath is not just a "meditation technique" but a way to connect with the Spirit of God who is ever present - just like our breathing - whether we are aware or not. Of course the practice of being aware is where the joy and freedom lies.

Like the kite surfer, there is preparation, patience and faithful practice involved. But wonderfully, the only equipment necessary is our own breathing and the location is anywhere we may be!


"The Lord God took a handful of dust and formed a man. God breathed life into the man, and the man started breathing." Genesis 2:7 (CEV)

"The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear the sound of it but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." John 3:8 (NIV)

"Jesus said: 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.' And with that he breathed on them and said: 'Receive the Holy Spirit'." John 20:21-22 (NIV)