Love divine

cross

A blue-sky bank holiday weekend! Stunning! Unexpected! Glorious!

I bumped into a friend this Easter weekend. She is grieving for her mother who died a few months ago. She shared how lonely the grieving process can be, as we each grieve in our own time and ways – and therefore out of kilter with others in our families or friendship group who are also grieving.

It is sunny but the weather inside us may be very different.

For me Good Friday and then Easter Sunday are of great significance. They remind me of love, a depth of love in fact beyond my imagining so I catch just a glimpse. Good Friday when a Father and a Son were separated – death. Easter Sunday when grieving friends of Jesus were afraid and then amazed – life. A story of love, a powerful love, with as many different emotions in it as we have weathers!

Easter may or may not be significant for you. But love, I am sure, is.

As we each recall, seek out and show love, we all share in something stunning, often unexpected and glorious.

Whatever the weather inside, allow yourself to remember those who have loved you, seek out those who love you now, and show love to others, the stranger and the friend.

For me, as we each do this, we experience something of the divine among us. Love divine.

This is Mindful Monday on 22 April 2019.

Join Julie Hill and Sara Shailer for an evening of mindfulness on the theme of growing in self-control at the Oasis in Cheltenham on Tuesday 14 May. Book your place ahead so we can prepare the space appropriately!

Do not be afraid

angels

It’s Christmas and my mantle piece hosts a variety of angels. I’ll let you debate whether it is in fact a host of angels, a flight of angels, or a gathering of angels!

Angels appear several times in the Christmas story. I love reading the story of shepherds on a hillside at night having an angel appear to them from whom the first words are “Do not be afraid.”

The story of Christmas is a story of hope: a move from fear to love.

And the story goes on, as the angel says, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”

Look closely and you will see the angels celebrating – a bit of music tends to be part of a good celebration.

Whatever your situation, may you experience love and joy this Christmas time. Even in the darkness of the night, may it burst upon you. Happy Christmas.

This is Mindful Monday on 24 December 2018. 

 

What if . . .

What if . . .

What if we did everything we do with love?

It’s a bold thought. And I have been observing myself over recent weeks.

I do a lot of things on auto pilot, in neutral. Of course I only even realise this as I look back at what I have just been doing – you don’t notice much in auto pilot!

I do other things with a meanness, a lack of generosity to myself and others as I seek to achieve a goal in my mind regardless.

When I do seek to do something with love, it changes what I am doing. I am not thinking here of our nearest and dearest relationships but the everyday relationships with others as we journey through our every days.

I claim no massive changes; the changes have been small. Like not interrupting someone when they are speaking or going out of my way to give someone a lift when they missed their bus. They have cost me a little patience, a little time. But they have changed everything. There is richness, a beauty, when – however clumsily (in my case) – there is love in the action.

I came across this from Mother Teresa

“I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, he will not ask, ‘How many good things have you done in your life?’ rather he will ask, ‘How much love did you put into what you did?'”

This is Mindful Monday on 15 October 2018.

Live in or near Cheltenham? Join Sara Shailer and Julie Hill for an evening of mindfulness looking at growing in love tomorrow – on Tuesday 16 October – at the Oasis Centre in Cheltenham. You can book even on the day.

 

Our story

Once upon a time . . . who I am . . .

We each have a story to tell. It is story about how we see ourselves. Who we are.

I heard an ancient story this week. There were three characters in the story: a father and his two sons.

One son’s view of himself was ‘I am not worthy’. Or you could phrase it in a dozen of similar ways such as  ‘I am hopeless’, ‘I am a bad person’, ‘I have done bad things’, ‘I am unlovable’. You get the picture.

The other son’s view of himself was ‘I am hard done-by’. Or he could equally have said ‘I am angry’, ‘I am bitter’, ‘I am taken advantage of’, ‘I am unloved’.

The third character, the father, reached out to both of them, with love. He gave them everything he had. Both sons seem to miss that they are loved.

The ancient story is told here. It is a story about how the divine reaches out to each of us with love in our unworthiness or our bitterness – whatever our state.

I wonder how different the sons’ stories would have been if they had paused to notice, if they had been able to say ‘I am loved’. It changes everything. It changes who we are.

We don’t know what happens next. What if the sons experienced that love? What if their story became ‘I am loved’. It is a very different place from where they were. It is a place of life and living.

This is Mindful Monday on 6 August 2018.

If you live in or near Cheltenham, join Sara Shailer and Julie Hill on Tuesday 21 August 7-8.30 pm for an evening of mindfulness in the outdoors (weather permitting). The theme is the ‘gallery of the outdoors’. As usual all activities will the optional and there will be time for shared meditation as well as individual reflection. No charge and no donation. Contact us to confirm details of the venue.

Love big ears

Love big ears

Two ears; one mouth. Listening more than talking.

Listening to what someone is actually saying, going deeper than the words they are using. Or perhaps even listening to someone’s silence, going deeper than the words that they are not using.

Being listened to. Not someone just being there while you speak but that person hearing you. Really listening.

There is joy in listening (although it is a life-long learning) – and there is joy in being listened to. I came across a quotation this week:

 “Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.”

I am not sure that anyone is average – but there seems truth within what is said. Being listened to is part of receiving love. Listening is part of giving love.

Listening is one of those wonderful things of life: it has no financial cost but changes everything.

This is Mindful Monday on Monday 18 June 2018.

Join Sara Shailer and Julie Hill for an evening of mindfulness on Monday 25 June 2018 at 7.30-9 pm at the Oasis in Cheltenham. It’s on the theme of listening!

The still axis

still axisIt’s easy to lose sight of what is important in the happenings of daily living.

I keep a journal of things that have made me think deeply: treasure for the journey. Here is some treasure on how easy it is to get things wrong!

I know a wheel is starting to fall off when the meal I am preparing become more important than the people I’m preparing it for. When a point I am making becomes more important than the person I’m making it to. When my work becomes more important than the family I am working for. That’s how I can tell I’ve lost the still axis. When I lose sight of what’s more important. When I lose a sense of the sacredness of another human being, especially the human beings closest to me, the ones in my family.

These words are from Windows of the Soul by Ken Gire, a book I have read a couple of times and will read many more times.

It seems easy (to me) to relate to that sense of ‘a wheel starting to fall off’: it is that feeling of being out of kilter. I also know a little of ‘the still axis’ –  just a glimpse.

We are talking about things that are hard to express but at the core of living well. There is a still axis we seek – we seek it so that the wheel, the daily living, happens from a stable place. There is also love in the place we seek – we seek to give it and to receive it. I am reminded that love protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres.

It is a choice to seek the still axis. It is a choice to seek love. No-one says it is an easy choice. But it is a worthwhile choice.

We need others to help us on this journey. We can learn from one another how to better manage the noise within us and around us.

For me, it also takes me on a journey towards God where stillness and love seem to unite in a glorious whole – and even a glimpse is so beautiful it feeds my soul.

As we come into another week, let’s make choices that recognise the important. Let’s seek the still axis where the greatest thing is love.

This is Mindful Monday on 12 March 2018.

If you live in or near Cheltenham, join Julie Hill and Sara Shailer for an evening of mindfulness at the Oasis tonight, 7.30-9 pm. There is no charge but please get in touch to say you are coming so we can prepare the space for the right number of people.