Category: Winter 2018-19

Keep What’s True in Front of You!

“Keep what’s true in front of you, Old Man said. You won’t get lost that way. I was asking about making my way through the bush. He was talking about making my way through life. Turns out, all these years later, it was the same conversation.”
Richard Wagamese, Embers, One Ojibway’s Meditations


Keep what’s true in front of me.

“What is true for me?”, I ask myself. This is what I know to be true:

Love is.

My dreams are filled with love.


So that’s what I’m supposed to keep in front of me— Love. And my dreams that are filled with love. Not the definition of love. Not the concepts. Not the science of it. But the experience of love in all my relationships. And the vision of life being better than it is for all my relations.

When I keep my experience of love and my vision, my dream where love makes life better, in front of me, I am not lost. I have a compass with my North Star clearly visible or felt for me. To keep love in front of me, then I also keep the truth of what I value in front of me. And then as Rumi says, I am in a position where I am ‘silently drawn by the stronger pull of what I really love … for it will not lead me astray.’

Love speaks the truth. Love offers freedom. Love creates harmony even in diversity. It does not invade my privacy, nor does it require me to be someone I am not. Ah, the truth of what I genuinely need and am passionate about can be in front of me. I don’t need to alter it, minimize what I need, lie about my needs, dull it, displace it, project it, or make them ‘acceptable’ in the eyes of others. Love seeks to be true and free and respecting.

Love in front of me. That means with my family and ancestors. That means forgiving them and being at peace with the past. Seeing love freely flowing from the stranger in front of me who smiles and says a kind word to me.

When I keep love in front of me with its foundation of truth and freedom, then I can keep my heart open to the flowing of love to me and from within me out, here and now. I can keep my heart open to my dreams, even when my dreams feel distant and unachievable.

Keep love in front of me. A mantra. And suddenly or slowly and gently, I’m recognizing:

  • love being shared in the heart-felt conversations with my personal coach.
  • love when my heart opens and connects with the beauty and power of Nature, the bald eagle who flies down the river behind me.
  • the sun which radiates through the trees and bounces off the backs of my dogs running through the grove of trees in sheer delight.
  • the mystery of love from a client or friend when I have failed to be at my best.

Keep what’s true in front of me. Higher Love is true.

Love calls me to participate in sharing and receiving. Moment to moment. Day to day. Its present to me. Calling me into freedom. To return home to my truth, my soul centre. The more I keep Love in front of me, the more I find myself, here and now. Grateful for what was. Grateful for what is. Even grateful for what will be.

Love is not dominance. Dominance is about power. Dominance and power becomes politics. Who gets what and how much. The relationship becomes about politics, not about truth and freedom. When relationships become about politics, about power, then what’s in front is the same thing as what is behind. Conflict arises.

I will fail, falter and fumble. I will forget to keep what’s true in front of me. But I know now. When I keep what’s true in front of me, higher love, then my dreams will be my guide, my core values will be the lens for my choices, my truth will light my darkness. I will know where I am, no longer lost.

When I am with higher love, expressed in the ordinary and deliciously simple moments of life, then life is blessed and I am home. Peace.


Shirley Lynn

The Reiki Way: Simplify Your Spiritual Practice

    • A friend of mine shared with me a teaching he received from his mentor – his mentor said to him, I cannot teach you about being awakened or enlightened, but I can teach you about being honest. This deeply resonated with me. Being honest is my path to freedom, happiness, inner peace and health. Live honestly. Work honestly. Speak honestly. Relate honestly. I don’t always get it perfect, but I do know that truth and honesty are grounding for me. If I’m feeling ungrounded, the first thing I check is if I’m being emotionally honest with myself.
    • Recently, I read a remarkable teaching by the late Richard Wagamese from his book, EMBERS: One Ojibway’s Meditation, which best describes my own experience of Reiki practice. It reads: “What defines me is not what I do, but what I receive. Out of a deep spiritual yearning, I have received sobriety, recovery, and a working relationship with the god of my understanding—so that I have received grace. Out of that same yearning, I have received community, belonging, home and the opportunity to be productive—so that I have received prosperity. Spiritual yearning has brought me friends, fellowship, brotherhood, family and a life partner who expands me—so that I have received love. That same yearning has brought me calm, peace, prayer, compassion and forgiveness—so that I have received joy and freedom. What defines me is not what I do but what I receive, and I have received in great measure.” (p.155)
    • Above all, be kind. These are words that came to a member in our Reiki community during our two-year in-depth study of the Reiki precepts. Whether one understands it as loving-kindness, compassion, love, or ‘unconditional positive regard of all sentient beings’, choosing kindness in any situation requires a great level of discipline, courage and humility. Respecting our common humanity and treating one another with the golden rule with regularity, takes the strength of 10,000 suns (an ancient way of speaking about infinity).

These teachings are simple spiritual practices: honesty, kindness and being open to receive from the god/dess of your understanding/the Universe. Living these practices as a daily habit is incredibly challenging and brave. To live a spiritual life is to surrender and say ‘yes’ to receiving from the god/dess of your understanding, from the Essence of All Life, from the Universe/Cosmos.

Surrender, open and receive.

That’s as simple as it gets. That’s all I do in my Reiki meditation. You might think that is easy enough to do. What it requires, however, is releasing all and every need for control of outcome. And that is a most difficult thing to do each and every day. As I practise ‘surrender, open and receive,’ I become more honest. The layers of defenses, hurts, karma and fears all begin to fall away. I encounter my true nature, my authentic being, my diamond soul … naked, revealed.

We yearn to know and be our true nature, yet we fight against the honesty it requires. We yearn for compassion and kindness, toward ourselves, in our families, communities and in our world. Yet, in a flash of a moment, our emotional triggers and memories become activated and we have fed our anger, our resentments and our judgements, shaming and guilting ourselves or projecting this shame wherever it lands.

The simplicity of my Reiki practice as a spiritual practice often takes my breath away. There is nothing I need to do. A colleague shared with me a teaching from our Reiki Master/Teacher, Huyakuten Inamoto: “Not thinking is good. Not doing is best.” Open and receive. Become your honest self. Be compassionate.
The incredible irony is that I cannot open and receive except in love and gratitude. To open and receive is to be gifted in grace. The only appropriate response to this gift is gratitude, right here, right now. And in this experience of grace and gratitude, a gift unimaginable on some days, I find myself doing what I must do. Living purposefully. Living with focus and clarity of heart, doing what is needed. Humble discipline.

And with this gift, this receiving of Reiki, we find ourselves doing what we never imagined. We start following our inner guidance, living in the spirit of the moment, listening to the awakened heart and learning to love it all. And somehow, in the journey of all of this, I receive my health, my happiness and my prosperity.

I wish this for you as well. If you are yearning for a deepening of your spiritual life, a betterment of your health, join me for the next Reiki Level One class starting on January 25th, 2019.

Shirley Lynn

Winter Solstice: An Extraordinary Path to Peace

You think this is just another year in your life? This year has been given to you – it’s the gift you have been living all year. It has given you a unique opportunity to cultivate peace in your relationships and in your world. What did you do with this gift? … I have been asking myself these questions as I’ve been pondering the closing of 2018 and opening to the seeds of 2019.

This past fall, I have supported others in their grief and losses and have also experienced my own. Facing the death of loved ones is a certainty, a reality of life from which we cannot be spared. In fact, every fall and winter season, we are given the opportunity to prepare ourselves for this experience of death and letting go. The leaves fall off the trees. Plants go dormant or die. Wildlife patterns shift with migrations. Temperatures drop and people move indoors, a form of preparing for the darkening and wintry days.

Nature teaches us to let go. To surrender. To let ourselves die in some manner. We often convince ourselves we are outside of Nature – that we don’t need to follow its laws, its flow, the changes it ceaselessly undergoes. But we do.

Each year, we enter this season of dying and death whether we understand this principle and activity or not. We try to skip over it and go to the birth, to Christmas and its pageantry, to the holidays, to spring without ever opening to and surrendering to the death that calls us. However, the order is clear. Birth and life and death cannot be separated from each other.

Now what is the grace in this? Where is the grace in death? How can death be sacred, holy even, when it requires that we let go of those we love and dreams we cherish? I’ve lived with this question since I’ve been 10 when my father was killed, over 40 years ago.

The grace I have experienced has gifted me with the deep inner knowing that as Father Thomas Keating says, ‘in the death is the resurrection’. And Leonard Cohen sang ‘there is a crack in everything, that is how the light gets in’. In the grace of the Universe, death is the birth to new life. It is the path of transformation. The water, the fire, the air/breath, all return to the Source to be utilized in all of creation’s pure spirit.

As I have mentioned above, this fall has presented numerous deaths around me. I am also have dying conversations with others. I have also realized there is a dying happening within me. There are moments when fear comes knocking. Yet, when I deeply enter into my heart and open to the love between the heart-spirit, I realize that love transcends all death, and I am pulled into a sublime joy and peace words cannot convey.

When fear knocks, I remind myself to go deep within where the light is. As Richard Rohr writes: “What’s dying is not the deepest self, but our dependence and over-identification with the mental ego and its projects, and our cultural conditioning and over-identification with it, including our roles in life.”

The gift of grace in this dying is that already I can glimpse the joy of becoming fully alive. Some might say that I cannot prove that life exists beyond death. And they are right. What I do know from my own heart’s experience is the joy of resurrection/new life through the purity of love, spirit to spirit, a profound mystery to experience through the doorway of death. Whether it be my father’s spirit, my animal companions, my friends, my ancestors, Usui Sensei, their love and kindness, their compassion and guiding presence calms my spirit, restores hope and purpose along my journey, and grounds me in the life I have here and now, fully and completely. And so, love and hope become a healing balm to grief.

As Father Keating says, one aspect of creation is that, once you have been born into this world, you never die because, as the Hindu religions teach, each of us possesses deep within us an inalienable spark of divine love. [The Song of Songs says that love is stronger than death (8:6).] That spark is the same energy that created the Big Bang.

Shortly, Winter Solstice, the longest day of the year will be upon us. This day is a ceremony of letting go and surrendering to the death of what is now done and a time of going within to connect with the divine light deep within. It is a ceremony of the death of a mental ego projection and conditioning if we surrender to it. And it is a ceremony of planting a new seed, having trust and confidence that new life, a fresh and vital life will be resurrected as the days of light grow longer.

I believe we desire and yearn for ceremony, for the seasonal rituals, observances, and sacraments that bless us with vitality, with meaning for our humanity, with deep mystical moments that unite us with the cosmic presence and beingness of love and peace beyond our capacity to fully grasp it all. It is simply something we open to, surrender to and say ‘yes’ to. I am saying ‘yes’ to this death (yes, it has had its challenges!) and I will plant a new seed of peace for 2019.

I have been shown again this fall, several times, that the freedom and joy in death is not to be feared but to be celebrated, inspired by the love and compassion so profound that it powerfully can hold us in our grief, in the journey of acceptance of what is now forever transformed to new life.

This year of my life I have lived in community with all of you. You each connect me to my truest self, the place where I can drink from my holy peace. And so I invite you to this year’s Peace Circle: Planting a New Seed of Peace on December 19th. More details are available on my website.

For those of you who wish to join me in gratitude, in hope, in confidence that we can let die what is done in us, and then let the seed of new peace be born in us, flow out into our world, do so in your own good way.

May this Winter Solstice offer you something magical, fresh and new in the death of what is already done. Nature is showing us the way. We are not lost if we follow Her deep into our own inner light of peace. May the deep inner light in you be experienced, intimately known, as though you are discovering it for the first and wondrous time. May it be cause for joy and celebration!

I close with this poem as a blessing!

Settle in the here and now.
Reach down into the centre
where the world is not spinning
and drink this holy peace.
Feel relief flood into every
cell. Nothing to do. Nothing
to be but what you are already.
Nothing to receive but what
flows effortlessly from the
mystery into form.
Nothing to run from or run
toward. Just this breath,
Awareness knowing itself as
embodiment. Just this breath,
awareness waking up to truth.
~ Danna Faulds