Thomas Merton

I’m a huge fan of the late mystic Thomas Merton and, recently, discovered he got into photography the last few years of his life.

This inspired me to take a series of images that I’m calling Tree Scars.  All these images were taken in the woods where I wander every day here.  I hope you enjoy the pairing of images with his words.  (the pics look more impressive if you click on them and see them in bigger size. just sayin’)

Branch broke off during a storm

Branch broke off during a storm

“Be anything you like, be madmen, drunks, and bastards of every shape and form, but at all costs avoid one thing: success…” Thomas Merton

I love the swirls on this tree trunk.

I love the swirls on this tree trunk.

“It is precisely this illusion, that mechanical progress means human improvement, that alienates us from our own being and our own reality.  It is precisely because we are convinced that our life, as such, is better if we have a better car, a better TV set, better toothpaste, etc., that we condemn and destroy our own reality and the reality of our natural resources.  Technology was made for man, not man for technology.  In losing touch with being and thus with God, we have fallen into a senseless idolatry of production and consumption for their own sakes.  We have renounced the act of being and plunged ourselves into process for its own sake.  We no longer know how to live, and because we cannot accept life in its reality life ceases to be a joy and becomes an affliction…” Thomas Merton

fungus on dying tree

fungus on dying tree

“I want nothing more than never to have to argue with anyone again as long as I live!  Argument with words only strengthens us in our stubborn resistance to everything that gives us peace – only increases our own prejudices…” Thomas Merton

tree root

tree root

Life is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be lived. Thomas Merton

a home for spiders

a home for spiders

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.  Thomas Merton

Life in the midst of decay

Life in the midst of decay

“I can no longer see the ultimate meaning of a man’s life in terms of either ‘being a poet’ or ‘being a contemplative’ or even in a certain sense in ‘being a saint’…  It must be something much more immediate than that.  I – and every other person in the world – must say: ‘I have my own special, peculiar destiny which no one else ever has had or ever will have.  There exists for me a particular goal, a fulfillment which must be all my own – nobody else’s – & it does not really identify that destiny to put it under some category’…”   Thomas Merton

growth on tree tree trunk in ground

growth on tree tree trunk in ground

“The language of revelation is mysterious not in order that its meaning may be concealed from us, but in order that we may be moved to seek it with a more fervent love…”  Thomas Merton

and this remains

and this remains

“To love another as an object is to love him as a ‘thing,’ as a commodity which can be used, exploited, enjoyed and then cast off.  But to love another as a person we must begin by granting him his own autonomy and identity as a person.  We have to love him for what he is in himself, and not for the good we get out of him.  And this is impossible unless we are capable of a love which “transforms” us, so to speak, into the other person, making us able to see things as he sees them, love what he loves, experience the deeper realities of his own life as if they were our own.  Without sacrifice, such a transformation is utterly impossible.  But unless we are capable of this kind of transformation ‘into the other’ while remaining ourselves, we are not yet capable of a fully human existence…”  Thomas Merton

Sunday Stillness Aug 16th

Bay of Fundy at Cap d'Or

Bay of Fundy at Cap d’Or

Every child has known God.
Not the God of names,
Not the God of don’ts,
Not the God who never does anything weird,
But the God who knows only four words.

And keeps repeating them, saying:
Come dance with me.

Come dance!

~ Hafiz ~

Burdening Ourselves

Road trip one window abbaye

We burden ourselves

so much

with expectations




The simplest task

the gentlest

sinking into self

becomes mired

in steps

in ways one

must be

Do we ever

stop to see

how silly

we humans are?

The rose does

not hesitate

to bloom

because she

might be unfolding

in the

wrong way

We need to allow

ourselves to

simply be

without seeking to

see if we

followed the

right map

to get to where

we are

3 steps to enlightenment

4 ways to lose weight

5 practices of leadership

6 days to liberate your soul

and on the seventh

we give up

realizing we are

never going to be

who we are

supposed to be

Let’s return to

our body

our breath

hand on heart

feeling our own


trusting in the


way of


of simply


Every question

has no answers

every problem

has no solution

every crisis

no way out

Every day has

a sunrise

every prayer

an emerging

every heart

its own rhythm

As we release

our need

to know

to be sure

we are getting it


doing it right

we allow

space for

the Holy One

to stir us

like the gentle

caress of

a mother’s kiss


you are

oh so loved

today, this moment

This love

this amazing


carries no


no burden

we cannot

get it or

do it


~Joss Burnel

Nurturing Thursday August 6th

It’s been months since I have participated and that’s okay.  Some great bloggers abound each week on Thursday. For a list, and for the woman who flies the Nurturing Thursday flagship, visit Becca’s blog here.

I’m always on the look out for blogs that make me smile and sigh and remind me of our connection to all life forms.  So, I’m happy to introduce you to Agent Clarice Starling, FBI aka my daughter’s cat aka Stinky!

She is the sweetest, prettiest, smartest –  oh, sorry for a minute I switched to thinking about my daughter! – cat I know.

Go visit by clicking here.  Subscribe and I promise you will be delightfully entertained.  Both my daughter and Stinky are quite magical.

Agent Starling's first day home with my daughter

Agent Starling’s first day home with my daughter

Weekend Words August 1st

spider web

Having done it three times now, I think I’ve begun a tradition of sharing words I’ve read and photos I’ve taken once a week.  So, in honour of that I will name these posts Weekend Words!

Andes mountain range, Ecuador

Andes mountain range, Ecuador

The sun peeks through an overcast sky and momentarily cheers you up; you see a brightly colored bird, hear strange music, suddenly get a whiff of fresh manure; you are shocked by the power and energy of a thunderstorm; someone touches you affectionately. The unexpected and penetrating quality of such perceptions captures your attention and, like a fresh breeze, can wake you up to what is happening at that very moment—the only moment in which you can actually live and experience your life. These glimpses of our ordinary but sacred world can lead us into a deeper reality beyond the surface of our perception.   ~ From “Sacred World: The Shambhala Way to Gentleness, Bravery and Power” by Jeremy and Karen Hayward

The Watcher, Ganges, France

The Watcher, Ganges, France

I learned that the only thing I can truly give to another is the willingness to allow myself to be loved, to be seen and to be honored for who I am.  If I am willing to do this, my heart’s beloved will become a reflection for others to see, to know and to love themselves.   ~ In the Heart of God by Gwenievere Maria

Sunrise March 8, 2014 over the English Channel

Sunrise March 8, 2014 over the English Channel

May your weekend bless you with moments of stillness, of being.

Blue Moon Blessing

Blue Moon July 29, 2015

Blue Moon July 29, 2015

Although nothing to brag about, photography wise, this shot appeals to my mystical soul.  This month brought us, for the first time since 2012, a Blue Moon (the second full moon in the same month).  So when I uploaded the pics I took and spotted this one, I smiled.

I leave you with an Irish Blessing on this blue moon night:

“May you have warm words on a cold evening,

a full moon on a dark night

and a smooth road all the way to your door.”