Imperceptibly Shaped

Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.  And yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability—and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you; your ideas mature gradually—let them grow; let them shape themselves, without undue haste. Don’t try to force them on, as though you could be today what time (that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will) will make of you tomorrow. Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be. Give Our Lord the benefit of believing that His hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ

In summer, water rises through the xylem and disperses out of the million tiny mouths on the undersides of leaves, a hundred gallons a day evaporating from the [chestnut] tree’s airy crown into the humid Iowa air.
Richard Powers, The Overstory

I listen to others
feel their tears
envy their stories
of connection
and transformation

while I
like the trees
have little to say
imperceptibly shaped
by seasons and smoke
yet gallons of water
are released in the air
as I give the Lord
the benefit of believing
that I am being led.

∗ ∗ ∗

Love Mischief for the World

This week I watched The Need to Grow, a California-based documentary about the depleted state of the soil due to pesticides and harmful agricultural practices and what an inventor, farmer, and Girl Guide are doing to make a change. They talked about living soil, regenerative agriculture, composting, and seed banks. Right here at home, Jo Tobias, founder of RootShoot Soils, is working “to help farmers regenerate the natural balance and symbiotic relationships between their crops and soil microorganisms.” Jo and Javan Kerby Bernakevitch of All Points Land Design are offering a 12-week online workshop starting November 17th, 2020. Javan and Jo will share knowledge and practical skills to adapt and transition towards regenerative practices conducive to soil life.

What love mischief are you and God doing for the world?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References:
Chestnut tree by eltpics. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2020.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2020.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in Creation, Mystical, Poetry, Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Impermanence of Things

Fred and I are on vacation in the Okanagan. After we visited my parents in Vernon, we found a campsite north of Oliver. My first bike ride was on the spectacular Okanagan Rail Trail which is flanked by steep rock faces on one side and Kalamalka Lake on the other. “The CN Rail line was constructed in 1925 to bring the produce and lumber of the Okanagan Valley to markets across the country. Challenged with high costs and low revenues, Kelowna Pacific Railway entered receivership and ceased rail service in July 2013 (website).” The Rail Trail was made possible by the impermanence of the rail line.

Summer comes because of the impermanence of spring, and winter from the impermanence of autumn. Whatever I experience–whether I love it or hate it–this too shall pass.

We say, “Nothing lasts forever.” Yet, I’m surprised when the radiator leaks or I break a tooth. I don’t want to believe that nothing lasts forever when times are good, my loved ones are settled, and my favourite foods are on the table.

But, as Anthony de Mello says in his little book, The Way to Love, we’re rarely at ease because we’re either trying to get things we think will make us happy, or we fear losing what we enjoy. De Mello reminded me that these impermanent things may give us pleasure, but they can’t make us happy.

The failure to recognize the impermanence of things makes me fear death, illness, and change. Every job, every relationship, every hope or dream will eventually end. Two questions I’ve been walking with are: What is in my cave that I’m afraid of, and how might God be wanting to meet me there and turn my fear into courage? God does not alleviate my fears by telling me I won’t lose my life, my loved ones, or my health, but by telling me I will, and that it’ll be okay.

When I told my grandson, Hadrian, that I too may be on the autism spectrum, he had this piece of advice for me. “Expect things to change.”

Expect change. Expect things to quit working. Expect them to end.

His wisdom brings me some peace when something goes wrong or when I catch myself hoping life will continue on as it is when I see how well my parents are doing at 87 and 92.

I suppose the impermanence of things could compel me to make sure I get the most out of every moment I have. But that feels like trading one compulsion for another.

It’s enough for me to remember when I’m faced with disappointment or enjoying a spectacular view that this too shall pass. Happiness is not found in holding onto what brings me joy. Happiness is knowing we are in Love and always will be.

For everything, there is a season.
–Ecclesiastes 3:1 (ESV)

∗ ∗ ∗

Love Mischief for the World

Fred found Let’s Go Biking: Okanagan & Beyond by Colleen MacDonald in Oliver’s Visitors’ Centre. It showed us a way to avoid the hills on the west side of Skaha Lake and will be instrumental when my sibs come west for our next biking vacation. MacDonald is the author of the popular biking blog Let’s Go Biking and the guidebook Let’s Go Biking Around Vancouver. She has cycled all over the world and still thinks British Columbia is one of the best places to cycle. (from letsgobiking.net)

What love mischief are you and God doing for the world?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References:
“Okanagan Rail Trail looking north to Coldstream” from TripAdvisor.
“Blueberry” by Hannah Nieman. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2020.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2020.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in Aging, Reflections, Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

That Person

Where do I need to stay when everything in me wants to flee?
Where do I need to leave when everything in me wants to stay?

I’ve been thinking about these questions from last week’s post and Tara Brach’s invitation to be a receptive presence to another. I recalled a conversation I had that I really wanted to get out of. Someone was talking a lot, and I wasn’t interested in what they were saying. It takes effort to listen to that person sometimes.

I also remember two conversations in which I was the one who talked a lot about what my friends might not be interested in. As soon as this came to my awareness, I quickly apologized for talking too much. I didn’t want to be “that person.”

Then I saw it: two places where I need to stay. I need to stay with the person who requires effort to be with, and I need to risk being “that person.” If it’s good to stay present and listen to another, it’s good for others to stay present to me. As I write that, I feel myself tense up.

Now I see the places from which I need to flee: judgment and pride. I judge another as boring or irritating. I pride myself in being neither.

What if I let that go? What if it’s okay to be bored or irritated? What if I let those feelings be there and see what else emerges as I remain present to myself and to the other person?

Fred and I were camping with our grandkids on the weekend. By 8:30 it was dark and too early to go to bed, so I asked Hadrian if he wanted to go for a walk around the campground. I was pleased that he said yes, and then I realized why he agreed.

“In Minecraft . . . ,” he said, as we began. I know little about this video game, nor do I want to. We walk and he talks, and I can’t follow what he’s saying. But I love being with him. Maybe that’s how my friends feel about me too.

Be completely humble and gentle;
be patient, bearing with one another in love.
–Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)

∗ ∗ ∗

Love Mischief for the World

I’ve been a vegan for six months now and finding places to eat out has been a challenge. I’m grateful for restaurants that serve a couple of things I can eat, but I love it when I can choose from anything on the menu. This week I tried out Virtuous Pie. They make their own plant-based cheese and their pizza is delicious. I also like the V-Cafe in New West and the Chickpea in Vancouver. Hadrian’s new favourite is Sun Bo Kong in East Van. I love their tag line: “Eat right–for the love of our animal friends and our beautiful planet.” I’d add: and for Hadrian’s children and grandchildren.

What love mischief are you and God doing for the world?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References:
Brown Deer under Tree by Photo by Devon Rockola from Pexels. CCO Creative Commons
Dog and Cat by 紫流. Used with permission.
Image of pizza from Virtuous Pie.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2020.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2020.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in compassion, Reflections, Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Wisdom of Tara Brach and Pádraig Ó Tuama

Last week’s Love Mischief led me to a talk by Pádraig Ó Tuama. Before I had a chance to listen to it, this short video from Tara Brach landed in my inbox.

What came up for me as I listened to Tara is how beautifully and easily a receptive presence can turn an experience of irritation and displeasure into an opportunity for love and transformation. Receptive presence requires three things: intention, inner listening, and opening to another. It requires staying with yourself and the other person when everything in you wants to flee.

The next day, I listened to Pádraig Ó Tuama. In his talk “In the Shelter: Finding a Home in the World,” he begins with this quote.

To turn from everything to one face is to find one’s self face to face with everything. —Elizabeth Bowen. 

And this one:

When you stumble, there lies your treasure. The very cave you are afraid to enter turns out to be the source of what you are looking for. The damned thing in the cave that was so dreaded becomes the centre.– Joseph Campbell, author of The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

When Pádraig was twenty-five years old, a dream, a sermon, and a National Geographic article led him to enter the very cave he was afraid of and find himself and God there. This eventually gave him the courage to leave the places where he wasn’t safe and didn’t belong and released him to live more fully “with integrity as a loving presence in the world.”

Pádraig talked about the power of language and of story and how reconciliation and healing can happen when we tell our stories again, leaving space to hear something new in them.

So I listened again to my story of how I felt punched in the gut. What I didn’t tell you when I wrote that post was that I was dismissed from a volunteer job managing the Wednesday Lunch Club, an outreach ministry I started ten years before. Within months of that sad event, the volunteers from St. Stephen the Martyr who had been helping out at the Lunch Club and I started hosting a community meal at St. Stephen’s. Eventually, the Wednesday Lunch Club was relocated there as well.

As I look back on it now, I realize that for a long time the church that first hosted the Lunch Club was unhappy with the way it was being run, but I didn’t want to hear it. I kept trying to make it work. I was trying to stay where I didn’t belong.

Something else in Pádraig’s talk stood out for me. He said that in American sign language, the sign for courage begins with the sign for fear and moves out from it. Courage begins with entering our fear.

Eventually, these questions came to me.

    • Where do I need to stay when everything in me wants to flee?
    • Where do I need to leave when everything in me wants to stay?
    • What is in my cave that I’m afraid of?
    • How might God be wanting to meet me there and turn my fear into courage?

So I am walking, biking, and praying with these questions. Perhaps you will listen to Tara and Pádraig and find questions of your own. Maybe even these ones.

∗ ∗ ∗

Love Mischief for the World

Here is a poem by Pádraig Ó Tuama. You may also want to listen to Krista Tippet’s interview with Pádraig on On Being or watch his Ted Talk Imagining Peace. More “Tara Talks” can be found here, and there are links to numerous videos and podcasts by Tara Brach on her website and on Youtube.

What love mischief are you and God doing for the world?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References:
The image of flowers on post banner is “Stand Again” by Joel Olives. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2020.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2020.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in compassion, Mindfulness, Poetry, Prayer Retreat Outline, Reflections, Stories, Wednesday Lunch Club | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Big Reveal

(Warning: This video contains strong language.)

Comedian Hannah Gadsby begins her new show, Douglas, by telling her audience what to expect. “This way I can meet your expectations–or alter them,” she says with a smile. Gadsby goes on to say that partway through the show, “The lights will come in, I’ll sit on this stool here, and there’ll be a ‘big reveal’.” The big reveal is that she has autism.

I sat there, gobsmacked. For most of her life, Gadsby didn’t know she was on the spectrum. Wow. And despite having autism–or perhaps because of it–she has become very successful.

Slowly over the next two days, I began to connect the dots. Our grandson, Hadrian has high-functioning autism. Like Hadrian, I can be intensely focussed on a special interest and instantly upset when plans get changed unexpectedly. I can be blunt and unaware of other people’s feelings.

When I expressed my suspicions to a couple of friends, they listened compassionately without questioning me. I was onto something.

Two online tests I completed indicated that I may have borderline high-functioning autism. In those tests, I saw more evidence of autism: I tend to notice and get
disturbed by small sounds that others may not notice or care about. I have difficulty putting myself in another person’s shoes. It takes effort to be a good diplomat. I somehow get into tricky or complicated situations. It takes me longer than others to get a joke.

As a longtime ally to a loved one with autism, I know that people on the spectrum can learn to compensate for these tendencies, and I have. But it takes effort. I need more time and calmness to get there.

When I talked about my revelation with my spiritual director, I cried through most of the session. She asked me about my tears.

“I’m relieved to understand why some things are so hard for me and what contributed to hurtful events,” I said, then teared up again. “And I feel such compassion from God. I’m not selfish, as I have believed for so long. I’m just wired differently.”

I went on to say that I can see how being wired this way has been a gift. “Being on the spectrum has helped me write my blog vulnerably without being held back by how my words might affect others.”

The week it all came together, I wrote and posted this poem. Last week God gave me this prayer: May I live with integrity as a loving presence in the world.

Living with integrity means I need to be an ally and lovingly present to myself now as I see myself and the world through new eyes. I sense such tenderness from God who calls all created things good.

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
 –Psalm 139:13-14a (NIV)

∗ ∗ ∗

Love Mischief for the World

Kei Miller’s poem ‘Book of Genesis’ asks us to imagine a God who makes things spring into life specifically for us,” writes Pádraig Ó Tuama in Poetry Unbound. “Just as the poet of Genesis proclaims, ‘Let there be,’ Miller wonders what freedom and flourishing we’d find in imagining a ‘Let’ pronounced not for the person others say we should be, but for the person we are.”  Click here to listen to Ó Tuama read and comment on this “Poem for Letting Yourself Be.” Miller, who was born and raised in Jamaica, is a professor of English and creative writing at the University of Exeter. His books of poetry include The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion, winner of the Forward poetry prize, There Is an Anger That Moves, and A Light Song of Light. His novels include The Last Warner Woman and most recently, Augustown.

What love mischief are you and God doing for the world?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References:
Artwork and photo Knit Together by Kelly Dycavinu © 2011. Used with permission.
Photo of Kei Miller from his Facebook page.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2020.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2020.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in compassion, Poetry, Reflections, Spiritual Direction, Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Becoming a Loving Presence in the World

May I live with integrity as a loving presence in the world.
–Nan C. Merrill,
Psalms for Praying, An Invitation to Wholeness, Psalm 10.

Prayers come and go for me, but these simple words by Nan Merrill have stayed with me. They echo my desire to live with integrity and be a loving presence.

In response, God has invited me to practice forgiveness. Whenever I think about forgiving, I recall the big hurts and resentments I’m trying to forgive. But in his book The Five Invitations, Frank Ostaseski encourages me to start small.

I remembered my teacher’s kind counsel years before, “When you go to the gym, don’t pick up the five-hundred-pound weight. Start with the twenty-pound weight.” I practiced forgiving the smallest slights: A driver cutting me off on the freeway. A colleague who used sharp words to disagree with a point I made. I developed the muscle of forgiveness by working through everyday grievances.

As I considered this, I recognized that it’s easy for me to forgive when it’s clear that the other person just made a mistake. It’s not so easy when I perceive that I’ve done something to deserve the slight against me or am somehow responsible for what went wrong. When that happens, I get stuck in anger, confusion and self-doubt.

Years ago, I remember telling my pastor about a car accident I’d had. My frustration was evident as I listed what the other driver did and said that was wrong.

“We all make mistakes. Can you forgive him?” the fatherly pastor asked.

I remember my surprise. I realized then that there was no question in the pastor’s mind that the other driver was at fault. Yet, despite all I’d said, there was a part of me that still believed I was at fault because that was what the other driver believed.

When people hurt me, others, or the earth and believe their actions are justified, I feel my anger rise. Yet who am I to say they’re wrong? Instead of getting stuck again in confusion and self-doubt, what if I trusted myself, took a bold step, and named their action as wrong and, with compassion for their blindness, forgave them?

That feels so freeing. It also feels scary to disagree with those who hold positions of power or act like they do.

To live with integrity is to be bold enough to name the wrongs I’m angry about, brave enough to disagree, and loving enough to forgive.

Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.
–Martin Luther King Jr.

∗ ∗ ∗

Love Mischief for the World

At 9 am on Thursday, Fred and I, along with 489 other cyclists rode past this counter on the Lochside urban trail in Victoria. That’s not counting joggers, walkers, and those in strollers and wheelchairs. We saw one dad on a skateboard pushing a stroller with a baby in it while his preschooler biked alongside. When we passed by this counter on our way into Victoria at 5 pm two days before the counter was nearly 2000. Victoria is a bike-friendly city, and credit is due, in no small part, to the CRD. “The Capital Regional District (CRD) was incorporated in 1966 to provide regional decision-making on issues that transcend municipal boundaries and to enable effective service delivery to residents regionally, sub-regionally and locally. Today, the CRD is the regional government for 13 municipalities and three electoral areas on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, serving more than 418,000 people. (CRD website)” CRD protects and manages 34 regional parks on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands and 3 regional trails in greater Victoria: Lochside, E&N, and Galloping Goose. We rode on all three of these flat, beautiful trails and through a number of CRD parks.

What love mischief are you and God doing for the world?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References:
“Love Heart” By Louise Docker from Sydney, Australia (My heart in your hands) CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Quote by Frank Ostaseski, The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully, 66.
“Setting The Free” by Brooke Hoyer. Used with permission.
Photo of the CRD cyclist counter by Esther Hizsa. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2020.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2020.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in Creation, Reflections, Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

In God I Play

While Fred installed the new radiator, I set out on Gracie to do my first century ride in ten years. The hundred-kilometer route I chose was accessible by public transit which allowed me to get home on my own if I had a breakdown. I cycled the Greenway in Burnaby into Vancouver, along the waterfront to UBC, over the Skytrain bike/pedestrian bridge to Richmond, out to Steveston, through blueberry fields to the Fraser River, over the Queensborough Bridge into New Westminster and back to Burnaby.

When I ride on my own, I tend to keep going and don’t stop often enough to rest and refuel. So I promised Fred I would text him where I was and what I was eating every 20-25 kilometres.

I loved it. I enjoyed views of the ocean, mountains, and rivers, riding under leafy canopies, and chatting with cyclists I met along the way.

A few days later, Fred and I took the ferry to Langdale and cycled the hilly Sunshine Coast to Sechelt and camped in the biker site at Porpoise Bay Provincial Park. We stopped often to sit by the ocean, have coffee, or eat out. We found seaside trails we hadn’t been on before and met a couple from Terrace who were bike-camping with their baby for the past six weeks.

Before the fall, we plan to ride the Galloping Goose Trail in Victoria and through the vineyards around Oliver.

It’s been the first summer in a few years that I haven’t done an 8-day retreat, formatted a book or written sermons. In fact, except for seeing people for spiritual direction, I’ve done nothing but play.

I haven’t had to strive to get close to God. God has come to me in the taste of cherries, the wonder of the night sky when we are far from the city, and the stillness of the forest.

In God, we live and move and have our being.
Acts 17:28 (NIV)

∗ ∗ ∗

Love Mischief for the World

I have featured the love mischief of trees before but Suzanne Simard, professor of forest ecology at the University of British Columbia, has more to say.

What love mischief are you and God doing for the world?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Photo Credits and References:
Kitsalano Beach by fujitariuji. Used with permission.
Boat in Steveston by Bruce Foster. Used with permission.
Horses and bikes on the Galloping Goose trail Vancouver Island by Joe. Used with permission
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2020.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2020.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in Creation, Reflections, Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Big Problem and No Guarantees

“What’s that?” I said, pointing to the profusion of what first appeared to be dust. Fred turned off the engine. Steam continued to billow out from under the hood, and an “Oh no!” clenched my stomach. We were in Manning Park, seventy kilometres from help.

We’d gotten up early to hike the Skyline Trail to Snow Camp Mountain and were now parked at the trailhead. After Fred looked under the hood and determined the vapour was likely caused by leaked radiator fluid, we decided to go ahead with the hike. But how could I enjoy it now, without knowing how serious this was? Eventually, I was able to put the problem out of my mind, going with the scenario Fred suggested, that perhaps he hadn’t put the cap on properly when he’d last checked the level of radiator fluid.

Skyline is a beautiful trail, that begins shaded with trees and leads up to glorious views of Goat and Redcap Mountains nearby and the jagged peaks of  Mt. Hozameen in the North Cascades.

The next day, I stayed at our campsite while Fred drove ten kilometres uphill to fish at Lightning Lake. He came back at noon with the story of the fish that got away and the news that there was at least one significant leak in the radiator. While he thought about what he might do, I began making lunch. But I had no appetite. My stomach was knotted with anxiety as I thought about how this story might turn out–that it could involve a tow truck, finding accommodation in Hope, and would certainly end our time away sooner than planned.

As I paid attention to the anxiety and my body’s reaction, I recognized I was caught up in the future. I pulled my thoughts back to the present, reminding myself, “We are here under the trees eating a delicious lunch. We are safe. We are fine.” Whenever my mind wandered off into the “What Ifs” and “Oh Nos!” I brought it back to the present, appeasing it with the thought that this is a problem that money can solve, and we can afford it.

After lunch, Fred figured out how he could fix the leak in the radiator with what he had on hand  (see picture below). It looked like it would hold. Then he found another small leak and glued that. Meanwhile, I was able to relax and read.

The next day we got up early, packed up and left the campsite. “If we can make it to Hope, there’s a chance that when we get some stop-leak and Goop, we can get all the way home,” Fred said.

“And then?”

“Then I’ll put in a new radiator.”

I love this guy.

So we babied the car to Hope, keeping the speed down, the heater on to divert heat from the engine, and stopping every twenty kilometres to let the engine cool down and to check the radiator fluid level. We got to Hope then inched our way home on back roads for another 150 kilometres. On our stops, we went for walks or I biked ahead and Fred caught up with me. We bought a bag of Chilliwack corn and twenty pounds of fresh-picked blueberries at roadside stands. It was actually pleasant, although we breathed a sigh of relief when we arrived home twelve hours later.

We didn’t get to do the Three Brothers hike, but I was able to enjoy being in the moment even when the moment was in a day with a big problem and no guarantees. That was a huge gift.

Of course, so was Fred.

Jesus woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!”
Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm.
–Mark 4:39 (NRSV)

∗ ∗ ∗

Love Mischief for the World

Snow Camp Mountain and Three Brothers hikes are in Stephen Hui’s book 105 Hikes In and Around Southwestern British Columbia. Hui offers “an at-a-glance summary of all the hikes in the book; tips for hiking safely and ethically; full-colour topographical maps; a rating system for hike quality and difficulty; Indigenous place names where appropriate; and shorter or longer options for many outings. The book is extensively researched and field-tested and a portion of the revenue from its sales  will benefit the British Columbia Mountaineering Club (BCMC), one of the province’s oldest outdoors clubs.” (from website)

What love mischief are you and God doing for the world?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References:
Photos of the car are by Fred Hizsa. Used with permission.
Photos of Skyline trail and Snow Camp summit are by Esther Hizsa. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2020.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2020.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in Mindfulness, Reflections, Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Way God Is Transforming Me

Even your own life is not your business. It is also God’s business.
Leave it to God.
–Frederick Buechner, Telling Secrets

So I left my life in God’s hands
and trusted
that if I kept listening
to God’s still small voice
I would know what to do
and how to love.
I thought
I would be transformed
by grace
into Christ.

I thought
in entrusting my transformation to God
that eventually
kindness, generosity, and compassion
would flow from me effortlessly,
accessible on the surface.

But that has not happened.

The kind word
the generosity action
the compassionate sigh
keep arriving late to the party
and only after I’ve seen it in others.

I do not lack these attributes.
They are in me
buried
under layers of stuff
about me
about life
and what needs to be done
under layers of memories, desires
and responses to all that stuff.

A new thought came.

What if, in my design,
kindness, generosity, and compassion
never get dislodged and bubble up to the surface?
What if
God doesn’t intend them to?

I know that when I sink down under the layers
I find them.

What if
sinking down is something I must do
if I want to learn to love?

I want to do what comes naturally to me
but, for the most part, this doesn’t.
I want love to come easily
but often it doesn’t.

What if knowing that
is the way
God is transforming me?

This mystery has been kept in the dark for a long time,
but now it’s out in the open.
God wanted everyone, not just Jews,
to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out,
regardless of their background,
regardless of their religious standing.
The mystery, in a nutshell, is just this:
Christ is in you,
so, therefore, you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory.
It’s that simple.
–Colossians 1:26-27 (MSG)

∗ ∗ ∗

Love Mischief for the World

Over my lifetime, I’ve experienced a lot of self-judgment and shame about my inability to be more other-centred. But whenever I talk about it in spiritual direction or with ones dear to me, I see the face of Jesus, the face of compassion. Slowly I have learned to offer myself compassion and keep trusting that God is doing God’s business. When I signed up for the Radical Compassion Challenge in January, I was introduced to Kristen Neff, Ph.D. She is one of the world’s leading experts on self-compassion and yet remains “the girl-next-door.” In this Ted Talk, she explains why practising self-compassion is so important and how it differs from pursuing self-esteem.

What love mischief are you and God doing for the world?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References:
The first image is from a collage I made in March 2019.
Painting “Mustard Seed” by Wendy Linnington. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2020.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2020.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in community, compassion, Reflections, Spiritual Direction, Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Staying the Course

It’s been almost three months since my convergence, and I can feel the difference. I fit into clothes I haven’t worn in years and can now bike up Burnaby Mountain and down again in just under an hour.

But the energy that first motivated me has lessened. I still have a way to go, and I’m not giving up. So whether I feel like it or not (and right now I don’t), I will stick to my routine of prayer, yoga, eating healthy foods without snacking, and getting outside for a bike ride or walk every day.

I’m reminded of something Ignatius of Loyola taught: when you are in the dark, don’t change a decision you made in the light. I remember my Rule and how I promised to only discontinue a practice after a time of discernment. I remember a friend who often wakes with a “no” to life and has learned to open to God and wait patiently for a “yes.”

So I sit in this lackluster mood and open to God in the silence. The distractions are relentless.

I pray tonglen for those who are grieving a great loss and others who carry great weight.

I pray tonglen for myself, breathing in my malaise and breathing out trust.

Then I roll out my mat and cue today’s Yoga with Adriene.

Awaken, O Love. O You who created me, 
return to my side;
forget me not in my weakness.
–Psalm 10:12,
Nan C. Merrill, Psalms for Praying, An invitation to Wholeness

 ∗ ∗ ∗

Love Mischief for the World

During this pandemic, we are repeatedly reminded to stay home. As a result, many have discovered a wonderful new restaurant called the kitchen. This is a great time to try out new recipes. A friend of mine sent me this one. It’s delicious.

What love mischief are you and God doing for the world?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References: “Feet on bathroom scale” from Wallpaper Flare. Creative Commons.
“Yoga Surrender Pose” from by Stocksnap for Pixabay Creative Commons.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2020.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2020.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in Overeating, Prayer, Reflections, Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments