Prayer of Reconciliation and Peace

by Rev. Dr. Barbara Billey

I invite you to close your eyes and to feel into your breath, the gentle rise and fall of inhale and exhale. With each wave upon wave of breath, enter the refuge of welcoming silence. Feel yourself embraced by the luminous quiet of Mystery, of Holy Presence. What you need is here.

Ask yourself: Is there someone with whom I need to reconcile? A person with whom I am angry or who has hurt me deeply? Someone who incites my judgment, avoidance, or exclusion?

If comfortable, allow the image of this person to surface in your imagination. Notice thoughts and memories that arise, how these live as feelings or sensations in your body.

Gaze into this persons’ eyes. She/he is sometimes afraid, hurting, angry, joyful, and loving, a person with hopes and dreams, sorrows and joys. She/he, like you and all of creation, is filled at the core with Holy Presence.

Bring your awareness to the space of your heart. Breathe deeply into this space the always abiding and already healing love of our Holy One. Breathe out peace and healing into the heart of the other.

Repeat this circle of breathing until you feel a softening in your heart, a release from separation and alienation from this person. (If this is not possible, surrender any and all judgment of yourself. You can return to this prayer at another time.)

Allow the image of your person to fade.

Take a few more moments of silence to rest into the freedom of healing and peace. What you need is here.

You might end this prayer by dancing the dance of releasement, writing a poem and/or listening to lovely music.

Often we are unwilling to surrender our “righteousness” perspective or we refuse to accept “what is” true in the reality of our life situation, leading to all kinds of suffering within ourselves and between persons. There are also persons who have caused us immense pain through abuse. We can forgive them, too, without engaging in further relationship, thus releasing ourselves into peace and healing, while wishing them healing and all good things. This is often a longer process.

A helpful resource is found in a chapter from “The Grace in Aging” by Kathleen Dowling Singh entitled Forgiveness as Liberation from Aversions: Freedom from Anger and Judgment.

Another resource is: “Forgiveness in the Service of Justice” by Sr. Margaret Farley

Barbara J. Billey, M.Ed., M.A., D.Min.

Registered Psychotherapist
Registered Canadian Art Therapist
Wedding Officiant
Priest, ARCWP, Windsor, ON, Canada

Square Foot Art – Westland Gallery, London, Ontario

Westland Gallery is an amazing place for art. In the heart of London, Ontario’s Wortley Village the Westland hosts new, original art shows each month.

Their biggest show of the year is undoubtedly The Square Foot Show, opening July 12th, where you will see over 500 pieces all measuring 12″ x 12.” That alone is reason to go see this unique show.

Square Foot Show 2016

You will find all manner of artistic media, from painting to mixed media. And all at very reasonable prices.

Here are my entries for this year:

Old Tears Series: Time Moves Fast So Make it Last

Detail – Old Tears Series: Time Moves Fast So Make it Last

Old Tears Series: She Spilled the Flour

Old Tears Series: Letter to Mabel

Pop into The Westland sometime between July 12 – August. You will not be disappointed. Make sure you meet owner Karen Stewart and tell her I sent you.

 

SaveSave

Gimli Yacht Club 50th Anniversary

I wrote this in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Gimli Yacht Club, July 1, 2017

(tune: This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land)


This Club is your boat, this Club is my boat

From speedy cruisers to anything that will float

From the harbour mouth

To this great lake’s waters.

This Club was made for you and me.

In ’67 we hosted Pan Am

So we got buildings and some nice land

Then lots of dinghies came to sail here

This Club was made for you and me.

Chorus

They made improvements to Gimli harbour

That kept out weather and made us safer

That meant big changes as we brought keels in

This Club was made for you and me.

Chorus

We have some Opti’s to teach our youth in

And offer schools where skills are honed in

We’re good at teaching this lifelong hobby

This Club was made for you and me.

Chorus

With pirate hats we do our racin’

We like to cruise north, up to the basin

To Hec and Back, and to George Island

This Club was made for you and me.

Chorus

On Wednesday nights now out on the water

Jibs are up and the odd spinnaker

‘Cause skippers like to see who’s faster

This Club was made for you and me.

Chorus

It takes great people to work together

To have a place like this to gather

We’ve made it this long, we can be happy

This Club was made for you and me.

Chorus

So raise our glasses to all the sailors

Who know the only rope is on a bailer

Who read the wind and keep their sails up

This Club was made for you and me.

Chorus

Now to the future, we must stay brave and

Show our kids how to meet the next wave

And keep our boats out on the water

This Club was made for you and me.

Chorus

10 Ways to Enjoy an Artist’s Studio Tour

Art studio tour signs brighten my day.

For an artist to let you into their private space is a treasure and an honour.

Wave Tour

 

If you have never ‘done’ a Studio Tour or wanted to do one but not known ‘how to’, here is my listicle:

  1. Get the brochure ahead of time and circle your ‘must see’ stops. Include at least one artist who is totally out of your comfort zone. Most tourist bureaus have copies of upcoming events brochures and each artist should also have copies. Or go to the website and print it out. Or use a mobile site as your map.
    The Wave brochure
  2. Take a friend!
  3. Plan a route but don’t feel you have to stick to it. Plan at least 10-15 minutes minimum at each stop. Of course some stops will surprise you and you will feel you’d like to stay for hours!
  4. Take snacks in the car. Some studios treat their guests with light refreshments but not all artists do this, nor should you expect it. View this as a bonus. There may not be a restaurant nearby.
  5. Wear easily-removable footwear. You may be asked to take off your shoes as you trek through someone’s home.
  6. Make sure to meet the artist in person. Ask the artist one question about their work.
  7. Ask before taking photos and posting anything on Instagram. Ask each artist for their hash tag.
  8. Plan to purchase one piece of art at least at one studio. Yes! Everyone can afford a greeting card or bookmark! Whether it be an expensive original work or a greeting card it is amazing what you will find and these artists really want your support. Take cash and your cheque book. Many studios are not set up to exchange credit cards or debit. Some are, but don’t count on it.
  9. As a fun exercise, choose your favourite piece at each studio and explain why to your travelling companions. Sort of like a treasure hunt at each stop.
  10. Notice the surroundings. Sometimes the outside of the studio and yard are just as fascinating.

Stretch out of your comfort zone. Let me know how it goes.

SaveSave

Thoughts on Grief

A year ago I drew this labyrinth in the sand on my favourite beach.

Dragging my fingers in the barely-warm April sand felt wonderful after having spent three days in a nursing home. My mother was struggling so overwhelmingly. The only thing I really knew how to do was play the piano for her and sing the hymns she liked. (During those moments I was very grateful to her for forcing me to take piano lessons so many years before.)  She was a very good mom.

At the moment I drew this little spiral I did not know that a few hours later I would watch my mother leave her earthly body. That morning I just drew something very familiar, a small Cretan labyrinth. Into the centre and out, one path. Death is sort of like that. Just one way in and one way out. I will spare you the selfie I took of me laying beside her in the bed that spring evening as she struggled with her last few breaths. My need to crawl up beside her was more to comfort myself than for her benefit. I kept whispering to her “Don’t be afraid mom”. Whether or not she heard, I do not know. People say that hearing is the last to go. I felt privileged to hold my cell phone up to her ear as I called her grandchildren near and far and had them say their goodbyes. From many miles away her daughter-in-law sang a hymn to her over the phone and her son recited her scripture. Her son-in-law prayed on the phone as she took her last breath while her other daughter-in-law held her hand. 

It was a good death. And a good funeral.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about both.

When my husband was a clergyperson I loved it when he would take some sand or earth and make a the symbol of the cross on top of the coffin as it was lowered into the grave. I reflect that putting my hand in the sand that morning was a sort of ‘ashes to ashes, dust to dust’ kind of moment for me.

These moments are necessary. This last year of grief has been good. 

from The Good Funeral: Death, Grief and the community of Care by T.Long & T.Lynch.