Love Letters from God

I’m here. I love you. I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long, I will stay with you. If you need the medication again, go ahead and take it—I will love you through that, as well. If you don’t need the medication, I will love you, too. There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love. I will protect you until you die, and after your death I will still protect you. I am stronger than Depression and I am braver than Loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me.
Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

When Elizabeth Gilbert heard God speak to her, she felt so known and loved that she began to listen for that voice every day. 

“Imagine what God, a loving person, or your future self might say to you,” Tara said to listeners of The Radical Compassion Challenge. “Write it down in a letter and ask a trusted friend to read it back to you, twice.” 

This is what I wrote on the heels of last week’s post. 

Dear Esther,

I see you. I see your desires, your struggles, your victories, and your disappointments. I see your anxiety, confusion, and fear. I see your openness to love and your desire to be open. I see your beauty, your heart. I see all that others love about you, and I get it. I know why people want to be with you and have you as a friend, mother, spiritual director, wife. And I see that you don’t see it.

I can see who you would be if you believed there was nothing wrong with you. And I am giving you my eyes to see that.

Forgive yourself for not being who you think you should be. Come home to who you are. I am right here. It’s okay that you don’t understand, that you can’t do what others do, that you don’t know what they know. Not being them means that you are being you. When you do that you come home. You are home. I’m right here.

–God

Tears came as I wrote these words that spoke of my fears and longings. Brené  Brown says our deepest need is to be known, and I felt known by the One who matters most to me.

I believed these were God’s words, but some doubt remained until I listened to a trusted friend read this letter back to me twice. “It’s true,” she said, then she got specific and provided proof. 

In a podcast about Teresa of Avila, James Finley said “. . . what happens to one of us in
the order of grace belongs to all of us in the mystical body.” I take that to mean that what was given to Elizabeth Gilbert and what was given to me was also given to you. God feels the same way about you. God knows you, sees you, is with you, and will never leave you.

I wonder what words God would use to express that to you? What are you longing to hear from God? I’m sure God would be delighted to write a love letter to you.

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
–John 15:9

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Love Mischief for the World

I have rarely hear a sermon on Acts 8:26-40 (Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch), let alone one that is so lifegiving and inspiring. I am grateful to Eric Mason of St. Laurence Anglican Church in Coquitlam for delving into the background of this text and listening to how it relates directly with the people in his church and in our lives. Love mischief, indeed.

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:
Girl Reading a Letter by an Open Window  by Jan (Johannes) Vermeer (1659) by cea +. Used with permission.
Note about Elizabeth Gilbert from an interview with Tara Brach during the Radical Compassion Challenge.
The Love Letter (Chie Yoshii) photo by June Yarham. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2021.
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 2013-2021.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
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The Song That Is My Life

Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
Instead, create
a clearing
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there
patiently,
until the song
that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself to this world
so worthy of rescue.
Martha Postlethwaite

It happened again. I was asked to do something that I was particularly gifted for. I got excited about it and jumped in. Months later, I realized my ego had talked me into this. I was caught again by the lure of seeing the person I wanted to be and following a shortcut to it.

Eight years ago, when I began this blog with a quote from Frederick Buechner: “Listen to your life.” “Notice what you notice,” Father Elton said as he listened to my life with me when I prayed the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. In Advent, Jan Richardson challenged me to let go of what other people tell me I should want.  At the edge of the year, I considered Teilhard de Chardin’s claim, “Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be.”

If I have been doing one thing in my weekly writing it is this. Paying attention. Listening. Noticing. Waiting for the song of my life to fall into my cupped hands.

Recently I noticed that my first reaction when any social gathering is cancelled is relief. The same week, I noticed that the last visitor in my day is a ping of anxiety in my chest just before I fall asleep.

I have also begun to notice how often I don’t understand some aspect of what’s going on in a situation. Eventually, I figure it out, but I wonder how much energy that has taken accumulatively. It makes sense now why I like going back to vacation places I’ve been to before. No wonder I like long stretches of time alone. Then I don’t have to figure out why that person said what they did and what I was supposed to get.

For my whole life, I’ve learned to function well by looking outside myself to discover what a good person is, does and feels. I’ve become accomplished at it. People like that me. But who will I find as I continue to look inside myself? What song will I sing when I fall into my own cupped hands?

Tears are streaming down my cheeks as I write this.

I hear Love say, Fall. I will catch you. 

I don’t know what life I will greet. So far it has far more noes in it than yeses. It will disappoint people. It disappoints me. So many good things I will not do. So many people I will not be.

I got my COVID shot at the Anvil Centre in New Westminster two weeks ago. The building was liberally signed, and assistants were clearly identified and ready to direct. I needed directing. More than once. And when I thought I knew how it worked and where to go, I was wrong.

There was an elderly woman in front of me who, I suspect, didn’t speak English. She needed even more help than I did. She stood there not even knowing she was not where she was supposed to be until an attendant came and moved her along.

She didn’t know she didn’t know. I think I have lived a lot of my life that way.

I left the vaccination centre feeling fragile.

So often I think I’ve reached the bottom of my cup of self-compassion only to find Love filling it up again. This is hard, I hear You say.

So often, I think I’ve rested too long, and I need to get doing something. But You’re not moving me on from these still waters.

You wait with me in the clearing. You can hear the song that is my life falling into our hands. You close your eyes and smile.

And so, now our dilemma then becomes something intimate, for now we see our tendency not to see the divinity of ourselves that alone is real as a capacity to be actualized. That is, I am this because God says so. This is who I am. I am the beloved. God is seeing me here now. God’s seeing you here now, through and through and through and through, as precious as God is precious, as vast as God is vast, in your nothingness without God, in my nothingness without God. This is true. –James Finley, Turning to the Mystics, Teresa of Avila 1

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Love Mischief for the World

The City of Burnaby has proclaimed May 10th, 2021 as A Day of Action Against Asian Racism.  In light of the over 300% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in Burnaby over the last year, members of the Burnaby Together Table, Burnaby Inter-Faith Committee and the City of Burnaby are looking at ways to address this issue within our City. Burnaby resident and Stand With Asians Coalition (SWAC), Doris Mah wirites, “The National Day of Action Against Anti-Asian Racism is a nationwide movement that was initiated by a group of grassroots activists in Burnaby, BC. Organizers include residents of Burnaby, Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa. Event description: https://www.facebook.com/events/322523849293072. May is Asian Heritage Month. . . . SWAC is organizing a National Day of Action Against Anti-Asian Racism E Rally on Zoom on May 10 at 5 -6 PM PT/ 8 -9 PM ET. Sign up herehttps://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe8REOUWaRhNCYW9NwoYCa1-w7WMC6asOW82hrcalXMTsjZlw/viewform?vc=0&c=0&w=1&flr=0&gxids=7628

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:
“Clearing” by Martha Postlethwaite used with permission. Note that what I have above is an earlier version of her poem. She has since revised it. The line that was “the song that is your life” is now “the song that is yours alone to sing.” Thanks, Martha!
Girl Seated on Hillside Overlooking the Water by Winslow Homer, 1878. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons 
366 • 36 • Two hands, one cup” by Svein Halvor Halvorsen. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2021.
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 2013-2021.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
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You Can’t Always Get What You Want

. . . we start to notice the dynamics of this welling up [of the longing for God] out of the most fundamental day-by-day realities of our life, in our daily intimacy or lack thereof, our physical health or lack thereof, our security or lack thereof, our direction in life or lack thereof. And in the midst of it, if we don’t panic, we can start to see kind of underlying continuity at the same rhythm of a deepening invitation to hand ourselves over to God’s care who is achieving this work in us that we don’t understand in ways that we don’t understand, and I think this is the purgative process, this kind of unraveling of ourselves on our own terms. —James Finley, Turning to the Mystics, Thomas Merton 6

What if the COVID numbers keep going up and the health authorities close the campgrounds? What if there aren’t enough registrations for Living from the Heart, and I don’t get to cofacilitate this fall? What if I get sick or injured and am unable to walk or bike?

Just thinking about the possibility of these losses makes me anxious. I was grateful to hear on April 22 that the campgrounds are still open, but new travel restrictions were put in place and Fred and I can’t go camping on Vancouver Island in May. I can take comfort in the possibility that we could camp locally (though it is strongly discouraged). I can tell myself that the registration deadline for Living from the Heart is months away and that my bones and body are fine. But the idea that I wouldn’t be fine if I couldn’t camp, cofacilitate, or be active lingers.

I was eleven years old when The Rolling Stones released “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” All I remember of the lyrics is that one line.

We can’t always get what we want, and if we don’t panic, Finley says, we can start to see God working in what is, “delivering us and carrying us beyond the boundaries of everything less than love and enfolding it in our heart in the midst of our situation.”

It’s what John of the Cross speaks of in the dark night of the soul and what Ignatius is getting at in his principle and foundation.

In everyday life, then, we must hold ourselves in balance before all of these created gifts insofar as we have a choice and are not bound by some obligation. We should not fix our desires on health or sickness, wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or a short one. For everything has the potential of calling forth in us a deeper response to our life in God.

When I don’t get what I want, I feel disappointed, uncared for, and restless. Getting what I want brings me pleasure, and I feel adrift without it.

I don’t like those feelings, and my first instinct is to regain what I’ve lost. But if I don’t panic, and befriend those feelings of disappointment and loss, I may begin to see a gift in not getting what I want. Sometimes, it’s simply the gift of seeing how much I was relying on someone or something to make me happy.

Noticing is freedom. If I were to get a tattoo, I would ink those words onto me. Because when we see our attachments, they begin to lose their power over us.

I listened to the Rolling Stones song again. The next line after “You can’t always get what you want” is “but if you try sometimes you find you’ll get what you need.”

I think of what I’ve had to let go of during COVID. I miss being physically close to people I love, seeing their whole faces and hugging them. I miss gathering as a faith community, passing the peace, and sharing the Eucharist. I miss the freedom of being able to cross borders or get on a plane to see my sister and brothers or vacation on the Oregon coast. I miss life without a pandemic and the fears it generates.

I think of what I’ve found during COVID that I’ve needed–a new relationship with my body and the earth, a boundary that keeps me from endlessly giving myself away, communication  through technology with those farther away that I wouldn’t have considered, a bluer sky and greener earth.

I love to camp, cofacilitate, and move my body outside. I would be very sad and irritable if I lost those things. But if I don’t panic, I might remember that why these things are so important to me is that they are the places in my life where I meet God. That meeting doesn’t depend on any thing or any place to happen. What I need is God, and that’s what I always have and always will.

We cannot arrive at the perfect possession of God in this life. That is why we are traveling and in darkness. But we already possess Him by grace; and, therefore, in that sense, we have arrived in our dwelling in the light. But, oh, how far I have to go to find You in whom I have already arrived.
Thomas Merton, The Seven Story Mountain

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Love Mischief for the World

I have begun adding “Pronouns: she/her/hers” under my name in emails. The link takes those curious enough to click on it, to an article by Rachel Garrett called As A Cisgender Woman, Here’s Why I Share My Pronouns In My Email Signature. Being assumed to be one thing and having that one thing judged as more acceptable than the thing you actually are is an oppressive way to live. I don’t want to perpetuate that oppression. I hope my bit of love mischief makes it easier for you to add the pronoun that liberates you.

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:
“Giving Hands” by Artotem. Used with permission.
“Kodiak and the butterfly” by doug ellis. Used with permission. 
“Different” by Christopher Owen. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2021.
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 2013-2021.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in Ignatian Spirituality, Mystical, Poverty of Spirit, Prayer, Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Right Road

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. –-Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude

Maybe I wasn’t clear enough, I thought when something went wrong. But as I considered what led up to this, I remembered that we’d had a conversation about it. I was clear. 

I let it go. 

Maybe he was trying to tell me he wanted to do things differently? I sat with that question and thought of this capable person. He could ask for a change if he wanted it.

I let it go again. 

A third time I returned to what happened and thought about how this misunderstanding may have affected him. It bothered me. I felt responsible even though I wasn’t.

I listened to that thought: I felt responsible even though I wasn’t. Doing something about it felt like the right road, but it wasn’t.

I heard it. I felt it and told Cherie about it when we met together to do some focusing

In the opening guided meditation, Cherie invited me to sense my solar plexus and my personal power there. I felt a surge of energy. The words I HAVE A CHOICE popped up in capital letters. I wanted to leave my body and live in those liberating words, but when Cherie asked me to notice what wanted attention in my body. I felt a gnawing in my stomach. As I welcomed that sensation, a picture of myself as a toddler curled up in a ball came to mind. 

“If something is wrong and no one owns it, and there is a shred of a possibility that it might be my fault, I take responsibility for it. I have to fix it. I can’t relax until someone owns or fixes what’s gone wrong.” 

I sat longer with the image and feelings and allowed that scared little girl to be there. She crawled into my arms and snuggled into my neck. She felt heard and understood.

After our session, Cherie and I talked about how regularly I experience this. “No wonder I get angry when people don’t own up to their mistakes. No wonder I want them to. But they can’t always do it, and it’s often complicated. But I have a choice. Even though something’s gone wrong and the one responsible for it isn’t admitting it, I can let it go. I don’t have to take responsibility for it.” 

Noticing is freedom. 

Over the next few days, when things didn’t go the way I’d hoped. I noticed how I felt responsible. With that awareness, I began to see the right road I had known nothing of. I had a choice. I could do something to make things better or I could let it go and trust. 

You are true to your name, and you lead me along the right paths.
–Psalm 23:3

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Love Mischief for the World

The poet Rumi said, “Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” Giving ourselves to beauty allows us to honour the way we’re made, the Creator of all, and creation itself. April 22 was Earth Day. We care for the earth when we see its beauty, when we open our eyes and see.

Today’s photos are by Mike Beales who also took the photo that’s on the cover of my first book, Stories of an Everyday Pilgrim. I am so grateful for Mike and all the other photographers who share their work through Flickr or other sources. They help us see the world’s beauty.

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:
“Which Way to Artlegarth?” by Mike Beales. Used with permission.
“Forest Road” by Mike Beales. Used with permission.
“More of the Alpines” by Mike Beales. Used with permission.
Rumi quote from The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2021.
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 2013-2021.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
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Now I See

. . . we attribute authority to [our weaknesses] to name who we are, and they don’t because only love has the authority to name who we are. –James Finley, Turning to the Mystics Thomas Merton 4

My weaknesses don’t have the authority to define me. My false self/ego doesn’t have the final say in who I am. Only Love does.

For so long, I lived under a black cloud of shame. My weaknesses defined me as selfish, insensitive, fat, unattractive, and never good enough. Believing that was true, evoked harsh, loud feelings to disable me. All I wanted to do was shut them out and feel better, even if what I did to feel better was momentary and destructive.

I couldn’t see it then. I thought I had to be different to be worthy of love, and I couldn’t change myself, no matter how hard I tried. I knew there was goodness in me, but as soon as I bumped into my “badness,” it canceled any goodness I had. I believed that if I had any weaknesses that’s all people could see.

But that isn’t true.

It’s not true.

It’s not true at all.

For so long I wanted to believe it wasn’t true. I thought it and could say it, but the fear that it was true was so big and so strong that anytime something went wrong, my fear got reinforced.

That fear is not so big anymore. I feel it sometimes. It’s a part of me I can sit with. When it comes out of the shadows, I keep it company and offer myself compassion. Fear comes and fear goes like waves on the surface while an ocean of Love holds the truth.

Finley says, “You can’t get the ocean into a thimble, but you can drop the thimble into the ocean.” For years, my capacity to believe that I am worthy of love and good enough was the size of a thimble, and yet I couldn’t fill it. Now that capacity fills my whole body, and my fear barely fills a thimble.

I’m so grateful to be here, so grateful for the ways God has opened my eyes. God never got tired of finding me stranded on an emotional rooftop and offering me another cup of compassion. No matter how many times I turned away, Love turned toward me.

If you’re reading this and thinking, Well, that’s great for you, but that hasn’t happened to me. I hear you. You’ve come to believe–and your experiences substantiate your claims–that Love is only for other people, as if somehow God has overlooked you, or has given up on you–your fault, of course. Your frustrated ego has named you unworthy and unlovable.

I thought that too.

But it isn’t true.

It’s not true.

It’s not true at all.

Your ego doesn’t have the final say in who you are.

Even if you continue to believe the lie your fear is telling you, Love doesn’t.

Love is right beside you. Love is all around you. You are swimming in an ocean of Love. One day your eyes will be opened, and you will see it.

I was blind too, but now I see.

Listen! The Lord, the Eternal, the Holy One of Israel says,
In returning and rest, you will be saved.

       In quietness and trust you will find strength.

But you refused. You couldn’t sit still;
        instead, you said, “No! We will ride out of here on horseback.
    Fast horses will give us an edge in battle.”
        But those who pursue you will be faster still.
When one person threatens, a thousand will panic and flee.
        When five terrorize you, all will run pell-mell,
    Until you are as conspicuous as a single flag standing high on a hill.

Meanwhile, the Eternal One yearns to give you grace and boundless compassion;
        that’s why Love waits.
    For the Eternal is a God of justice.
        Those inclined toward God, waiting for God’s help, will find happiness.
–Isaiah 30:15-18 (The Voice, adapted)

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Love Mischief for the World

When I look back on the past year and what talks significantly shaped me, The Radical Compassion Challenge was among them. I am so pleased Sounds True and Tara Brach are offering it again April 26-May 5, 2021–and it’s free. Each day of the Radical Compassion Challenge brings you short talks and guided meditations on core topics such as self-compassion, self-forgiveness, seeing goodness, and deepening lovingkindness; a daily compassion-in-action challenge; and an interview with Maria Shriver, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Elizabeth Gilbert, Van Jones, Sandra Oh, Dr. Daniel J. Siegel, Valarie Kaur, Dr. Dacher Keltner, Dr. Kristin Neff, or Krista Tippett.

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:
“Dark view in trees” by Demetri Dourambeis Used with permission. 
Finley quote about the thimble in Turning to The Mystics Turning to Thomas Merton
“Let there be light” by Sylvia Sassen. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2021.
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 2013-2021.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
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Perfectly Me

Finally, I’m coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am, that I will never fulfill my obligation to surpass myself unless I first accept myself. . . . The unaccepted self that stands in my way and will continue to do so as long as it is not accepted, when it has been accepted, it will be my own stepping stone to what is above me. –Thomas Merton, A Search for Solitude

I have been meditating on the words of Thomas Merton and James Finley. Each morning, they invite me to have a rendezvous with God in silence and to believe that the desire to please God does in fact please God and that receiving God’s love is what pleases God most. God has awakened me to these truths, and I’ve set an intention to not break faith with my awakened heart. 

In my latest rendezvous, Merton, Finley, and God invited me to accept myself as I am. So, as I go through my day, I ask God to help me become aware of who I am. This is what I noticed.

I noticed that I often prefer to be alone, I come alive when I’m outside, and I don’t like change unless it’s my idea. I noticed my attachment to money and the thought that I’m indispensable.

I also began to notice how I interpret people’s words or actions to mean that who I am or what I do isn’t enough. Before I know it, I’m forming a plan to improve myself.

Noticing is freedom. As soon as I notice, I can ask myself,

What if your writing doesn’t need to be more literary?

What if it’s okay that you didn’t call that person?

What if your “mistake” is how you learn?

What if you don’t need to do so much in a day?

What if you “failed,” not because you aren’t trying hard enough, but because you’re trying too hard?

What if being who you are right now is enough?

When I listen to the voice of Love asking me these questions, I begin to accept myself as I am. It’s as if I were an artist painting a masterpiece with Jesus beside me. He says, “You can put your brush down. It’s perfect just the way it is.”

I can see the flaws, and I think that one more touch here or there might fix it. But Jesus gently takes the brush from my hand. “Trust me. If you could see yourself through my eyes, you would know you’re perfect.”

I let his words and the tone of his voice sink in. My shoulders relax and my belly softens. Wonder fills my chest. This is what it feels like to be perfect.

Being perfect doesn’t mean being perfectly loving, perfectly kind, perfectly consistent, or perfectly compassionate. It doesn’t mean flawless. It doesn’t fulfill a universal standard of good or beautiful. It means being perfectly me. And since no one else is me but me, no one else but God and I know what that looks like or feels like. 

“Be perfect,” Jesus says, “perfectly you, just as God is perfectly God.” 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 15265108659_91b1a6727c_k.jpg

I was neurotic for years. I was anxious and depressed and selfish. Everyone kept telling me to change. I resented them and I agreed with them, and I wanted to change, but simply couldn’t, no matter how hard I tried. Then one day someone said to me, Don’t change. I love you just as you are. Those words were music to my ears: Don’t change, Don’t change. Don’t change . . . I love you as you are. I relaxed. I came alive. And suddenly I changed! — Anthony de Mello, The Song of the Bird.

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Love Mischief for the World

I joined the You Are Enough 8-Day Tapping Solution Challenge. I downloaded the Tapping Solution app and am spending 15 minutes each day tapping along with Nick Ortner. I love that this is an easy way to allow my mind and body to sink into truth I have awakened to. 

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:
“Apple on a tree” by Greg Clarke. Used with permission.
Quote from Thomas Merton, A Search for Solitude (San Francisco, HarperSanFrancisco, 1996  220-221
“Pomme” by Kristina Servant. Used with permission. 
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2021.
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 2013-2021.  http://www.estherhizsa.com

Posted in Mystical, Poverty of Spirit, Prayer, Reflections, Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Christ, I Rise

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
— Colossians 3:3

Hidden in Christ, I rise.
I leave the tomb of freedom
and emerge 
awakened to Love.
For an eternal moment,
I tasted the completeness of it,
the exquisite settledness of myself
in all that is.

Yet I rise tethered
to a graced discontent.
That eternal moment remains hidden in me,
but I cannot live out my intention
to abide there.

And so I pray,
that I will not break faith
with my awakened heart.

Though I lose you,
you never lose me.

Though I turn away,
I can turn again
and find you
right here.

 

So, in this way then, we start to see that as I start to have faith in my moments of awakening, I will not break faith with my awakened heart. In my most childlike hour, in the arms of the beloved, reading the child the good night story; in the pause between two lines of a poem, lying awake at night, listening to the rain, I was intimately accessed by a fullness without which my life will be forever incomplete. And having tasted it, I’m incomplete without it, but I, by my own finite powers, cannot find my way to abide in it. This is the graced discontent of the seeker; that one was granted something, and I will not break faith with my awakened heart . . .

And I also know, the intuition is, that in this moment, it isn’t as if something more was given to me, but a curtain opened and the infinite love that’s always been given to me, it touched me. And so, I then seek to know how can I then learn to accept in humility that actually I tend to get absorbed in my obsessions over what I think is the meaning of it all, and I catch myself imposing of it upon myself, the very dilemma I can’t bear. And here I am. Here I am.

And then Merton says that it doesn’t matter very much because no despair of ours can alter the reality of things. We’re staying in the joy of the cosmic dance, which is always there. Indeed, we are in the midst of it, and it is in the midst of us for it beats in our very blood whether we want it to or not. — James Finley, Turning to the Mystics Thomas Merton Meditation 1

Credits and References:
“Wheat” by FarbenfroheWunderwelt. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2021.
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 2013-2021.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
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Hidden with Christ in God

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
–Colossians 3:3 (NIV)

She is dead
but not lost.
She is 
hidden with Christ in God–
consummated
whole
one
decomposing and becoming
soil.
The grain of wheat fell to the earth and died.

In the tomb of the earth
she is free
of all that held her back
of all that was not her.

She is not lost.
She is found
hidden
ready to rise.

We’re on this earth to learn to love. That love [is] in God, in death, so the dead aren’t dead. They’re not annihilated; they’re consummated. And they don’t go anywhere, because in God, we live and move and have our being.
James Finley, Turing to the Mystics, Introductions for the Practice

Credits and References:
“Soil” by Tina Reynolds. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2021.
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 2013-2021.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
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With Christ, I Die

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
— Colossians 3:3

In the silence,
I close my eyes
and die.

I release
all I love
all I desire,
all I wanted to do
all I wished to become
all that is not resolved.
My hands open one last time.
I release my life.

We breathe our last breaths together,
yours laboured with every breath ever breathed,
mine among them.

I have feared this moment more than any other.
Now, I am here
in the valley of the shadow of death.
You are with me.

We go into death,
your heart beating in mine,
your voice a knowing,
that pulses,
beats,
speaks.

In me, you have always and will always
live and move and have your being.
I will never, never, never
not know who you are.
In a moment, 
I will take in my breath
and your soul will come to me
like a needle to a magnet.

I breathe my last
and the illusion
that we were ever separate
vanishes.

 


From all eternity, God eternally contemplates who you eternally are hidden with Christ in God before the origins of the universe. This is the unborn you that never began, because God never, never, never, never, never has not known who you eternally are, who God eternally contemplates you to be . . . 
Mechthilde of Magdeburg says, God says to her, “Do not fear your death for when that moment comes to, I will take in my breath and your soul will come to me like a needle to a magnet.” See? So, when God inhales and takes us, we go back home, like, lesson learned. We’re on this earth to learn to love. That love [is] in God, in death, so the dead aren’t dead. They’re not annihilated; they’re consummated. And they don’t go anywhere, because in God, we live and move and have our being.

James Finley, Turing to the Mystics, Introductions for the Practice

Credits and References:
“Extinguished” by Earl. Used with premission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2021.
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 2013-2021.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
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Will I Enter This Holy Week?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 1024px-palm_sunday_icon_lebanon.jpg

As Jesus pauses
before he enters Jerusalem,
I pause here.

In the silence we share,
I descend from head to heart
and pass through the doorway
of Love
into Oneness 
and rest in my Beloved,
the Ground of our being.

As Jesus opens his eyes and mounts the donkey, 
I rise and set an intention with him

to not break the thread
of oneness,
of belovedness

to return again and again to the Ground of our being.

As I enter into this holy city,
this holy week,
this holy day,
let me be present
moment
by
moment.

This holy palm branch.
This holy house plant.
This donkey.
These birds outside my window.
These voices crying out.
These voices crying out.
These feelings of hope and dread.
These feelings of welcome and resistance.

Each step of the donkey,
each step I take,
we arrive
home.
Arriving.
Home.
Welcoming.
Letting go.
This step 
a birth.
This step
a death.

In the silence,
I pause before this holy week
and set an intention
to not break the thread 
of Presence
as we step into
what is.


 To pray is
to descend
with the mind
into the heart,
and there to stand
before the face of the Lord,
ever-present,
all seeing,
within you.
Theophan the Recluse (1815-1894)

∗ ∗ ∗

Love Mischief for the World

Our seventh Lenten question asks: Will you enter this holy week (another week that is holy because God is in it) and Holy Week (the week leading up to Easter in which we contemplate the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus). In my poem, I echo a number of voices and images that help me enter into each moment of this week: scripture, Theophan the Recluse, James Finley (not break the thread), Thich Naht Hanh (Arriving. Home), Thomas Keating and Mary Mrozowski (Welcoming. Letting Go). What helps you enter into this present moment grounded in Love?

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:
“Entry of Christ into Jerusalem” (Lebanon) Michel Bakni, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
“Palm Frond” by Samuel John. Used with permission.
“Walking” from Pixabay. Public Domain.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2021.
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 2013-2021.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in Easter, Lent, Mindfulness, Mystical, Poetry, Prayer, Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment