cycle of life
beauty of life
fragility of life
all three wrapped in
we all have them
on a drive one afternoon in rural Ontario
the no-longer-existing fence
with its tall weeds
and grass wildly growing all around
caught my eye
and led my attention
to the farmhouse waaaaaay off in the distance
what stories the building could tell
stories of a time when it
stood tall and erect
… romp and laugh and grow
… become elders and move on
that was long ago
now the farmhouse is beginning
to tilt to one side
and before long it will be a relic
we too will be like the old farmhouse
let us not wait to remember and share our stories
stories of long ago
stories we are experiencing now
stories to learn from
stories to laugh about
stories to cry over
stories to celebrate
stories we would like to forget
stories of our childhood and youth
stories of our travels
stories of spiritual awareness
stories of our mistakes
stories of our successes
stories of our loved
stories of our sad times
stories of our difficult times
stories of our survival
stories of personal growth
stories of when we thrived
stories of self-care or lack thereof
we all have stories
but when we die they die with us
unless we share our stories
now is the time
to journal, blog, speak our stories into a tape recorder
so those who follow
can one day remember and say
… “oh the stories!”
as I stepped out of the car to take this photo
the bird appeared on the beach
the sun began to set
and a transcendent peace seemed to enfold me.
it was a quiet moment
… a gentle experience of Love
and I wondered “what will Tomorrow bring?”
not just tomorrow
… of the next day
but the Tomorrow
… of when we die.
many who have died and been brought back to life
speak of feelings of
… a Love that transcended any love they’d ever experienced before.
my mother was such a person.
fearful of death before her experience with death-before-Death
such an experience changed her forever
and then she lived her remaining years
and in anticipation of
the peace, gentleness and Love
she believed awaited her
when her sun set for the final time.
when tragedy happens and people perish
when accidents happen and people die
when illness happens and people succumb
and on the anniversary of 9-11 each year
my mother’s experience comforts me.
what will Tomorrow bring
for all who have gone
… those known to us?
… those unknown to us?
… rest in a peace that passes understanding
… rest in a gentleness beyond comprehension
… rest in a Love that is inexplicable.
may peace, gentleness, Love
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As Hurricane Irma makes its way across the Atlantic ocean
toward islands, homes, businesses, animals, people
these words appear more and more on Facebook.
What to do in the midst of experiencing fear
that “gut-wrenching, can’t explain, keep-me-awake” type of fear
… medical diagnosis, painful medical/dental procedure
… violence, homelessness, hunger, abuse, deportation
… emergency evacuation due to fires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes
I wish I had the definitive answer.
I find help in
… admitting my fear to myself/another
… focusing on slowly breathing “in – peace; out – fear”
… playing my flute
… “creating” something
… repeating the words of Dame Julian of Norwich
“All shall be well. All shall be well. And all manner of thing shall be well”
… nothing seems to help.
The feelings of
… lack of control
My breathing becomes shallow.
My heart races.
My mind won’t stop thinking.
At such times
I take comfort in the reality
that somewhere in the world
… someone is meditating
… someone is remembering me/the situation
… someone is praying the Daily Office
… someone is at peace and wanting peace for others
… someone is sitting cross-legged and chanting
… someone is saying the Rosary
… someone is receiving Communion
… someone is reciting the Shema
… someone is thinking/sending/praying/whispering good thoughts
… someone is holding those experiencing fear in their heart, mind and spirit.
I am comforted.
Because of our common humanity,
I am not alone.
To all in the path of fury
… be that human nature
… be that Mother Nature
may you be comforted.
You are not alone.
It may feel like you are.
But you are not alone.
We are connected.
We are connected
by the intangible essence of
compassion, empathy, prayer, love
… our humanity.
It’s okay to admit our fear
in spoken and written word.
Admitting our fear
helps move it out of the darkness
and the power fear wields over us
is no longer as strong
as it was even a moment ago
when fear was boxed-up inside us.
and each night
I remember those
who are huddled in a corner
… of a room
… of their thoughts
It’s okay to admit
“I’m afraid. J’ai peur.”
Photo and Text © June Maffin
The wind has changed direction.
Smoke from nearby fires is frighteningly strong.
Families fear losing their homes, livestock, pets, lives.
The wind has changed direction.
Young men and women
brought to their new home as babies or children
will be facing deportation in six months.
The wind has changed direction
floods and rising waters
continue their devastating invasion around the world.
Families have lost or fear losing their homes, livestock, pets, lives.
The political wind has changed direction.
People are standing up, speaking out
making their opposition known
not only in peaceful ways.
but in not-so-peaceful ways.
Evacuations continue to happen
as yet another hurricane begins its journey
towards islands, States, Provinces.
Illness continues to happen
… addiction, chronic illness, mental illness, death.
The political wind is changing again
Two men hurl nuclear threats back and forth.
Is war on the horizon?
I continue to shed painful tears that
… fall from my eyes and cover my face
… fall from my heart and cover my soul.
Putting a lid on festering garbage only hides the putrid smell
where eventually the garbage can bursts open
So I continue to pray
I continue to hope that
will be diminished by
… naming the fears and not letting them fester
… keeping my eyes open to integrity
… not stifling conversation about the media, politics, DACA, global warming, the future
… being open
… letting Light in
so that healing can begin
for this world
<Photo taken at Remembrance Day
service in Duncan, British Columbia>
Sometimes, our hearts skip a beat
and we ask the worrying questions of “what if …”
after a situation/relationship/election/crisis/etc
What if …
… ‘xyz’ hadn’t been done or said
… the stock market hadn’t plummeted
… the relationship hadn’t gone sour
… an election hadn’t turned out the way it did
… the accident hadn’t happened
… a loved one hadn’t become so ill or died
… Mother Nature hadn’t unleashed such fury
Why do we continue to ask
the “what if” questions that cause
… our personal heart to beat irregularly
… distress and anxiety
… our corporate heart to pound
Why do we continue to ask
the “what if” questions
that bring about
… less compassion
… less focus on issues of justice
… more fear
… more depression
May those “what if” questions of the past
have no more power to distract us
or cause us concern.
Instead may we focus on the
“what if” questions of the future
… what if I journey down path A instead of path B
… what if I say yes to an invitation extended my way
… what if I take the risk and explore a new line of work, vocation, interest
… what if I join a group, take a course
… what if I make time to ‘be still’ and consider the gifts around and within me
… what if I pick up the phone and call someone who is hurting
… what if I reach out in love to myself as well as to God and my neighbour
… what if I …
While “what if” questions can bring
… regret, grief, self-blame, guilt.
The “what if” questions can bring
… challenge, encouragement, nourishment.
What has passed
… has passed.
What has passed
… cannot be undone.
What lies ahead
… has yet to unfold.
What lies ahead
… ‘can’ be done.
What if the haunting “what if’s” of the past
become our teacher
… instead of a soul-ache deep within us
and we are led to discover
the hope, the challenge, the joy
of soul-enriching possibilities.
Photo & Text © June Maffin
It’s easy to point fingers and blame.
It’s easy to mock and ridicule someone who is different.
It’s easy to harass and bully those unable to defend themselves.
It’s even easy to pick up a gun to settle an argument.
These may be ‘easy’ – but they are not only ‘not right’
… they lead to more finger-pointing, blame, mocking, ridiculing, harassment, bullying
and even murder.
In Texas and Louisiana
… something is happening.
The rain continues and waters rise.
People are trapped in their homes.
Will they get rescued?
And, by whom?
People *are* being rescued
… by professionals and ordinary citizens alike.
Rescuers aren’t asking “Are you an American?”
“Do you believe what I believe when it comes to politics?”
“Are you a Christian?”
They’re expressing love
… by their selfless actions
… by their compassion
… by their concern
… by their prayers and kind thoughts.
The weather in Texas and Louisiana
has given rise to people recognizing
the true essence of what it means to be
© June Maffin (photo & text)
“My courage does not roar.
It whispers to my heart.
It makes me dig deep
and find it in my soul
to fight on.”
<Firefighter Kim Fitzsimmons>
Thank you, firefighters everywhere.
You valiantly and selflessly serve long hours at great personal cost.
We continue to hold you close in our hearts.
We pray for your protection
… those whose homes are being destroyed by fire
… your families, wildlife and vegetation
… those whose lives have been lost and their families
… firefighters still fighting the fires
… those who are besieged by fire-fighting experiences PTSD.
Your selflessness and sacrifice are not forgotten
and we are grateful
… grateful beyond measure.
for letting the courage that whispers to your heart
help you dig deep
and find it in your soul to fight on.
“When will it happen?” we wondered.
The computer showed us that the eclipse *was* happening
but other than no wind movement in the trees
a darkness on the left side
and a drop in temperature
not much seemed to be happening where we were.
But tonight, when I downloaded the photo I took this morning
I saw something I hadn’t seen during the eclipse
… fascinating swirls of light!
Those swirls of light made me stop and think
about things we miss
about people we miss
when we are not
… expecting the unexpected
… being open to possibilities
… dealing with the “ism’s” we don’t want to admit
… acknowledging the negativity we feel
and there is an eclipse in our corporate soul.
May we see beyond the things and people seeking to
… cloud our minds with negativity
… confuse our thoughts with misinformation and lies
… obliterate light from this world.
… your time has come to a close.
May swirls of light of
replace our obscured vision.
When I grabbed my camera
all I got was this photo which only represents
about a quarter of how majestic a sky it was.
I couldn’t help thinking about
… how beauty and potential destruction can go hand in hand
… how goodness and evil can exist side by side
… how grace and suffering can be present at the same time
These days, sadly, we’re getting to know all about all of that
because of Charlottesville, Virginia where
… clergy walked quietly and peacefully, hand in hand
as armed white supremacists flooded city streets.
… ordinary citizens stood watch outside a synagogue as people of all ages
gathered inside to pray and KKK members marched with flame-torches in their hands
shouting “Jews will not replace us”
… and much more.
When we encounter storms
may the words from Rudyard Kipling’s “IF” poem
Photo & Text © June Maffin