top of page

- Learning Pages -

Appendix One

APPENDIX ONE

Ten Takeaways from Random and Nebulous—Nuancing the Psalms

  1. Choose well. Choose God. In the minutiae, in the maelstrom, in the moment, choose well, choose God.

  2. Let God lead. Let God be your Shepherd. Let God shepherd your life, your journey, your faith formation. Let God lead you into the Light.

  3. Listen for God deep within. Truly listen. Listen with your heart. Know and feel and intuit his Sacred Wisdom in your soul, in your depths, in the now.

  4. Be still and come to know God. In the sweetness of spaciousness and in ethereal expansiveness, be present—be present to God. In solitude, in stillness, simply be.

  5. Seek forgiveness. Let love and compassion reign in your heart. And, in the face of all falseness, and falsehoods, and failures, stand tall with integrity. Be responsible. Be accountable. Be aware and sensitive. Forgive. Seek forgiveness. Shine the Light of forgiveness to bring healing—to bring Light.

  6. Rest safely with God. Live in sanctuary. Walk on, strong, sure, safe, with God in your heart.

  7. Seek God’s Presence and Provision. God’s gifts are timely and abundant and free-flowing, for all who are open and receptive to God.

  8. Let God help. As sure as the mountains stand up tall and strong, God’s help and God’s grace are there, for you.

  9. You are formed, known, and loved by God. God knows your heart. Live strong in this truth.

  10. Celebrate God! With your whole being—with body mind and spirit—praise God! Celebrate God of the ages, God of eternity, God of all our hearts, God of our here and now. Amen!

Appendix Two

APPENDIX TWO

Random and Nebulous “Let the Psalms Speak for You”

The Reverend Dr Colin MacDonald writes in his Foreword, that “while the Scriptures speak to us, the Psalms speak for us.” This simple revelation is epiphanic truth! Our well-lived lives are certainly chock-full—bursting with highs and lows, darkness and Light, laments and loves, chaos and calm. Our life experiences are rich with emotive curves and curls. Our journeys are alive with wonder and awe. Our faith gives expression to our very being—in the moment, in the wider world, in the Light. Yes, the Psalms of David—shepherd boy and king—speak out. They give voice to our innermost songs. They are colourful choral cantatas of despair and lament, of hope and love, of joy and bliss.

            Collect yourself. Gather yourself. Bring your whole self into stillness. Choose a Psalm and enter into it deeply. Use Lectio Divina as a framework for your spiritual practice. Let the ancient Davidic words and images and visions arise within you, random and nebulous as they may be, and allow them to dwell in your spaciousness, in your wide-open receptivity.

            Then, in time, let the Psalm speak for you. Identify with the person, the times, the message, the need, the personal relevance, the wisdom, the truth, the pain and the joy. Identify with what the Spirit is asking you to know, to see, to do, to be—to become, to embody. Take the Psalm and make it yours—make it your own. Own it. Then pray and move forward, having turned, having discerned, having learned.

            The Psalms will indeed speak for you. Open yourself to listen, to hear, to receive. Open yourself to the voice of the Psalms. Amen.

Appendix Three

APPENDIX THREE

Random and Nebulous—A Few Questions for Study Groups

In Random and Nebulous, I chose a theme in each Psalm upon which to centre my thoughts, prose and prayers. That theme, is the very first title in each chapter. (For Psalm 1, the theme was “Choose Well, Choose God”).

  • Are there other themes or threads or tangents or perspectives that emerge for you as you contemplate deeply on each of these beloved Psalms?

  • Can you name these themes—identify them?

  • Is there an issue or story in your current life journey, or faith journey, or spiritual formation journey, that makes you pay close attention to these themes/threads/perspectives?

Allow yourself to reflect deeply, in silence, in solitude, and then enter into prayer with the words of the Psalm leading you. Feel free to journal any of your new insights, visions, revelations. Feel free to share these with your study group.

 

+ + +

 

Was there one particular prose or prayer in each chapter, that spoke to you—that called out to you—that resonated deeply with you?

  • Do you know why?

  • Did it teach you? Affirm you? Comfort you? Heal you?

Please feel free to share your story with your study group. The Psalms indeed, speak for us.

 

+ + +

 

Consider writing a three-to-five-line paraphrase of Psalm 1. Use your own language and images. Use plain speech, or colourful metaphor. Listen for what the Holy Spirit is opening up for you, as you reflect on and rewrite the Psalm, in your own words. Make it personal, or, make it global. The joy is in the reflection. The joy is in the depths. The joy is in your deepening relationship with God, through the Psalms.

It is very clear why Psalm 150 appears as the last Psalm in the bible.

  • Why do you think Psalm 1 appears as the very first Psalm in the bible?!

 

+ + +

 

Consider writing a vignette, based on one of the Psalm themes. Perhaps it will detail an Aha Moment? A perfect peace moment? An epiphany? A one-with-God moment? Strength? Forgiveness? Healing? Presence? We all have stories to tell, to share. Stories that reflect our depths, our faith, our relationship with God.

Please tell your story—share it with your group that they too might come to feel, to understand, to see—to see the Light.

 

+ + +

 

Think about the title, Random and Nebulous—Nuancing the Psalms.

  • Have you ever experienced a random and nebulous state of mind? State of being? State of faith?

  • Does this happen frequently? Daily? Never?

  • How do you personally feel, with having random and nebulous thoughts?

Restless? Scared and overwhelmed versus challenged and inspired?

Consider sharing your thoughts with your group.

 

+ + +

 

  • What does “Nuancing the Psalms” mean to you?

 

“Nuance” is a noun

“Nuanced” is an adjective.

To “give nuance to” is a verb.

“Nuancing” is a verb-like gerund.

“Nuancing the Psalms” is a verb-like gerund taking a direct object (the Psalms).

 

  • Does the phrase “ a nuanced understanding” help you to understand the concept of “Nuancing the Psalms”? Are you comfortable, nuancing the Psalms?

Discuss your understanding of “nuancing” with your group.

 

+ + +

 

In the Foreword, the Reverend Dr Colin MacDonald likens the Psalms to diamonds.

  • Take one line out of a Psalm, or a nuanced Psalm, and hold it up to the light, like a diamond. See the many beautiful facets. See the Light. Consider each facet as a unique perspective, or translation, or viewpoint, or starting place for your own contemplation. Practise nuancing the Psalms, and, after each contemplative sit, pray on your experience.

Share your thoughts with your group.

 

+ + +

 

The Reverend Wanda Stride acknowledges that Random and Nebulous is “part confessional, part autobiographical, part contemplation.” She also notes “delicate humour and Holy levity” in its pages.

  • Share your feelings about these comments, with your group.

 

+ + +

 

Author Julie McGonegal speaks of Random and Nebulous as “luminous verse.”

  • Did you sense a luminosity in your reading?

  • Did you “see the Light” in the prose?

  • Was any part of your reading or contemplation or prayerful response, a light-bearing experience?

  • Did you draw closer to God on an illuminated pathway, as you were reading?

  • What does “luminous verse” mean to you?

 

Please feel free to share your thoughts with your group.

 

+ + +

 

Author Michelle O’Rourke speaks of my work, stating that I “breathed new life into the Psalms.”

  • Do these words resonate with you?

  • What does “breathed new life into the Psalms” look like to you?

  • How does this “new life” make you feel?

  • Are you called? Led? Hopeful? Inspired? Renewed or refreshed?

  • What does “new life into the Psalms” mean to you, in your own spiritual formation journey?

Please share your thoughts and responses with your group. There will be many and varied responses!

 

+ + +

 

Social Worker Judi Shields used these words to describe Random and Nebulous “a personal journey of transformation, gratitude, and assurance of the Holy Lovelight” to describe this devotional book of prose and prayer.

  • What three words would you use to describe Random and Nebulous? Why?

 

Feel free to share this with your group.

+ + +

 

The Holy Lovelight is well defined on pages 6 and 44, and is mentioned liberally throughout the book.

  • Is the Holy Lovelight a term that has deep meaning or relevance to you?

  • Have you experienced Lovelight moments?

  • Do you have a word like Holy Lovelight that grounds you, centres you, connects you, leads you, inspires you—that draws you closer to God?

  • Is the Holy Lovelight real, or is it simply a poetic notion, or a construct of the spaciousness and expansiveness of the contemplative mind?

Please enter into a discussion with your study group, on your understanding of and your experience with, the Holy Lovelight of God.

 

+ + +

 

Marmalade page 36. Truth page 82. Metaphor and Mystery page 91. Looking Glass Wisdom page 95. These selections are somewhat more difficult to read. They present complex images and vague metaphors, both requiring a real spaciousness and expansiveness of mindset and perspective. They may seem to be heavy, mysterious and/or confounding.

  • How did you feel in reading these selections? Challenged? Worried? Upset? Lost? Overwhelmed?

  • Why do you think you felt the way you did?

  • Were you still able to draw your own conclusions and glean some sort of message from these readings?

Please feel free to share your feelings. Not every notion or nuance will rest easy on your heart—in your inquisitive mind. Answers, meanings and truth can be evasive!

+ + +

After a few weeks of your study group meetings, consider these last two groups of questions ….

+ + +

 

  • Did you have a favourite prose or prayer? Why?

  • Did you have a least favourite prose or prayer? Why?

  • What words would you choose to describe this book to a friend, a congregation member, to your minister, to a co-worker, to someone you feel would benefit from reading this book?

 

+ + +

 

Like a beautiful Celtic knot or braid, the tenets of the ancient Celtic Wisdom are woven and interlaced into these nuanced Psalms. There’s a certain simplicity and truth in the Celtic Wisdom.

 

To learn more about the ancient Celtic Wisdom, consider reading any of the fifteen books written by author and Celtic scholar, John Philip Newell. And, consider visiting my author website blog.

 

Upon the arrival of the early Christians to the UK in the 5th century AD, the ancient Celtic people embraced the mystical words of the beloved disciple, John, and they came to view Jesus Christ as the figurehead of all their ancient teachings and truths. They already understood and embodied the terms “God as Light” and “Light within” and “All life as Sacred, Holy”. They already lived out their lives in these simple truths. They became the early Celtic Christians.

 

Please share your feelings about the ancient Celtic Wisdom, found in these few simple terms.

+ + +

 

In closing, a Thin Place is defined by the Celtic Christians as a place where the veil separating the Human and the Divine is thin, so very thin, that the Presence of God is truly palpable in the translucence, in the luminescence, of that very time and place. A Thin Place is Holy, Sacred, cherished. May your time spent in Random and Nebulous—Nuancing the Psalms become a Thin Place for you, time and time again. Like the running waves upon the shore, may you ever return—intrepid, placid, sure. Amen.

APPENDIX FOUR

10 Takeaways from Light Beyond the River

 

  1. Always begin with prayer—and end with Amen

  2. Attune to the Sacred in your midst—everywhere and always

  3. Be open—fully open—in all place, time, plane and realm

  4. Prepare yourself—wear good shoes for the journey

  5. Commit to lifelong learning, formation and transformation—feel comfortable in seeking beyond that which centers you

  6. Take time to understand what you believe

  7. Live what you believe—Linger long and live loud in the Light—Let mystery be

  8. Be hopeful—Be mindful—Be grateful

  9. Listen to your heart—to your dreams—to your God

  10. Become more/most fully human—Become that which you are called to be

Appendix Four

APPENDIX FIVE

Light Beyond the River .... God Speaks to Us .... A Few Truths

 

God speaks to us, through

  1. Creation

  2. Sounds of the Eternal

  3. Sounds of Silence

  4. Scripture

  5. Holy Mystery, Visions and Dreams

  6. Time and Eternity

  7. The River

  8. The Light—The Lovelight

  9. Life and Story

  10. Prayer, Presence, Provision, and Revelation. Amen.

Appendix Five

APPENDIX SIX

Light Beyond the River .... A Few Questions for Study Groups

Hello Study Groups! Thanks for choosing Light Beyond the River as your book for your discussion group! Please feel free to use these questions simply to launch an open discussion about Light Beyond the River and see where the conversation leads you in a random laissez-faire style meeting. Or, if you prefer a more orderly approach, consider using them as a guide, to lead your entire discussion. Or, try a more popcorn-style approach by allowing each member of the group individually, to choose their own question "to speak to". Be sure to allow sufficient time for stories to be shared, and reflection questions to arise. The questions can be used in any order. Random or ordered—your choice! In any case, enjoy the conversation. Let your discussion be an extension of Lyra’s journey, of Lyra’s newfound wisdom, of Lyra’s prayer. God bless you in your sharing. God bless you with Light for your journey.

  1. God speaks to us in many varied ways. Lyra communed with God, in silence, in solitude, in prayer, through her contemplative sits, and through nature itself. Reflect on the many ways you have communed with God—the ways in which you communicate and converse with God. Share this reflection with your group, if you feel comfortable sharing.

  2. God is present to all. Name some of the most memorable “God’s presence moments” in Light Beyond the River. What in particular made these memorable for you? Have you had similar moments in the presence of God? Have you had memorable encounters with the Sacred? Feel free to share these with your study group. Detailed story telling is encouraged.

  3. God is with us—within us all. God’s Light is deep within us, would we be open to its very presence. Reflect on your feelings of God-within. Reflect on moments when you were aware of God’s Light within. Feel free to share your experience and your understanding of God’s Light within.

  4. You are Sacred. All that is living is Sacred. Creation itself is Sacred. The sun, the moon, the water and the breeze, the trees and the bees, are all Sacred. When we understand this, when we embody this, we live out our lives differently. We love freely, and we show compassion and respect more readily, when we acknowledge the Sacred in all. Is this hard for you to embody in your daily living? Are there any obstacles in your acknowledging the Sacred in all life and living? How does the knowledge of universal inherent Sacredness change your approach to relationships, to the earth, to your own spiritual formation journey?

  5. List Lyra’s spiritual formation practices. List your own spiritual formation practices. Do you desire to proactively direct your own spiritual formation journey? Why? Why not? Would you like to know more about what a spiritual formation journey is, and how you can begin?

  6. Lyra wanted to shine brightly. Discuss what this means, and what this might look like in your own life. Detailed story telling is encouraged.

  7. Lyra faced many life events that were difficult, and her faith remained strong throughout her trials. Feel free to comment on faith as a source of Light in the darkness—on faith as a source of strength in hard times. Reflect on your own faith, and share your understanding of “strength through faith”, with your study group.

  8. Do you have a favorite Scripture? Did you find it somewhere in Light Beyond the River? Did you find a number of Scriptures imbedded in the story? They are in there! Have fun on your reread!

  9. Have you ever been in such a deeply contemplative sit, that when you came back into the present moment, you struggled with the reality of your person, time and place? Have your contemplative queries ever led you deeply into prayer? Have your prayers ever led you into a deeply contemplative journey? Share as you are able.

  10. Who do you think wrote the block-lettered four words in Lyra’s notebook, at Lyra’s cabin by the river? Your understanding of your own spiritual formation journey, will lead you to the answer that sits right with you! Take time to ponder. Go deep. God works in mysterious ways! Feel free to share your thoughts with the study group, but, continue to ponder this challenging question on your own time.

  11. Who was your favorite Celtic creature? To whom were you most drawn? Which creature was most endearing, and why? With whom did you feel most comfortable? Zoli, Yala, Bradn, Xavad, Aorla, Cruith, Zaba? Were they meaningful to you because of their personality, or their style of approach, or their message? Have a lively discussion with your study group. Its fun to share opinions, and hear other’s thoughts and preferences.

  12. Celtic Wisdom can shape us, from the inside out. It can center us. It can lead us to the edges of our own faith, to the edges of our own comprehension, to the reaches and the edges of our love. Take time to reflect on the ways that Celtic Wisdom CAN AND WILL shape you, lead you, call you, change you—and affirm your faith.

  13. What is the Light beyond the river? What is your understanding of Light beyond the River, as related to the title of this book, as related to encountering the Sacred in everyday living, as related to your current and evolving faith journey? Is Light beyond the River conceptual, or real?

  14. Our faith is real. Our faith journey is real. Our prayers are real. Is Light Beyond the River real, or only a concept? What steps can you take, to bring Light Beyond the River out of its conceptual form, and make it real for you, in your own faith journey?

  15. Are you intrigued by the Celtic Wisdom, and how it merges into the Celtic Christian Faith? Are you curious enough to ask for more reading materials, or arrange for guest speakers at your church, or learn more about studies in the Celtic Christian Consciousness? There are many books by renown UK author John Philip Newell, and he does travel for guest speaking throughout Canada and the USA. As well, his Celtic Christian courses are ongoing throughout the USA and Canada, and information and class schedules are available through his website, www.earthandsoul.org

Appendix Six
Appendix Seven

APPENDIX SEVEN

10 Takeaways from My Indulgent Interior Life

 

  1. Spring is all about newness, freshness, and beginnings. May we ‘see’ all life with a Spring-like perspective, with a Spring-like outlook, through a Spring-like lens.

  2. Springtime sets the pattern, the template—the rhythm and the reach—of interconnected-ness. May we know the joy and the wonders of connectedness—of belonging—of being part of—in our everyday living.

  3. Summer is the pause button, the nudge or the call to slow down and pay attention, the stop-and-smell-the-roses-season. Summer says be still, notice, and just be. May ‘the Sacred stillness of now’ be yours—may it nurture your soul.

  4. Summer is an invitation to enter in, to wade in, to immerse, to go deep, to wander, to be free. In this mindset, body mind and spirit can most surely open and grow—and transcend. So be it. So let it be.

  5. What is eternity? What is eternal? May we turn our hearts and our minds to Autumn with our questions, with our needs for understanding, with our inherent need for hope. In our seeking, in our looking, may we see, may we understand, may we come to know—eternity.

  6. In our changing, in our evolving, we are becoming. Breath by breath, moment by moment, season by season, Autumn-leaf-on-branch by Autumn-leaf-on-ground, change is happening, we are becoming. WHAT or WHO we are becoming is still unfolding, and perhaps unclear. Let this mystery be. Let it simply be. Let mystery be.

  7. Winter is a generative time. May we all reflect on who we are, where we are, and what we are, in this place and time. And may we see ourselves not only as energy or matter, but as spirit—generative spirit in the interconnectedness of life. May we prepare. May we generate. May we create, using all of our God-given gifts—ever and always.

  8. In the readiness of Wintertime, we await, we imagine, we re-imagine, we vision. In our groundedness, in our quietness, in our silent preparedness, our physical matrix is standing ready, our mental fortitude is building, and our spiritual formation takes shape. In body mind and spirit, we quiesce. We lean into tomorrow, wholesome, wholehearted and whole. So be it. So let it be.

  9. An indulgent interior life is an impassioned prayer life. A deep and reciprocal relationship with the Divine, the Sacred, the Holy, the One—with God. May this life be yours.

  10. May your seasons be many and colorful, may your faith be deep and wide, may yours be the Light—the vibrant and Holy Lovelight of God.

Appendix Eight

APPENDIX EIGHT

Seasons of the Deep—The Seasons Speak

Listen. Attune. Notice. The seasons speak. They speak to you at times softly, sometimes shouting, sometimes barely even audibly. But they speak. And they are full of wisdom, would we only take the time to open ourselves. Wisdom of matter. Wisdom of energy. Wisdom of time and space. Wisdom of the minutiae and the vast. Wisdom of the ages and wisdom of the  here and now.

     When we liken ourselves to a river or stream, we can feel the flow of wisdom in around and through us. When we liken ourselves to the vastness of the oceans or the deepest forests, we realize that we have space and room to be filled and filled and even more-filled. When we liken ourselves to a seed, newly planted, we feel the urge to take root, to grow, to reach upward to the Light—to become in the Light.

     Seasons of the Deep—Mystical? Yes!  Lyrical? Yes!  Real? Yes!  Approachable? Yes! Here and now? Yes!  Just listen, attune, notice. And yes, the seasons speak!

Appendix Nine

APPENDIX NINE

My Indulgent Interior Life—A Few Questions for Study Groups

 

  1. Do you have a favorite season? Is there a season where you personally feel more grounded, more centered, more connected, more settled, more in tune and more aware, more “you”? Do you know why you feel this way? Do you know what it is about your favorite season that warms you, draws you, gathers you, collects you? Maybe you have more than one favorite season, for different reasons? Do you know why? Feel free to share your thoughts with your group.
     

  2. Do you have a least-favorite season? Is there a season where you personally feel more anxious, more easily overwhelmed, more unsettled, more fearful and doubtful, less prepared? Not yourself? Do you know why you feel this way? Do you know what it is about your least-favorite season that brings you down, that worries you, that hardens you, that derails you? Maybe you have more than one least-favorite season? Do you know why? Feel free to share your thoughts with your group.
     

  3. Can you liken the seasons to personalities? Start by thinking of adjectives to describe each of the four seasons. Then associate those descriptive words with words that describe people (sunny, breezy, warm, fickle, intrepid etc.) “Stay with” each season for a few minutes each and see where your descriptive words take you—see what personalities emerge. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll end up in prayer ….
     

  4. Name a color for each season. (There is no right or wrong answer!) Pick your favorite season and then imagine its color (the one you chose to represent it) in lighter pastel variations, in deeper historic hues, in brighter jewel tones, and possibly even in neon illumination! Now think of that same favorite season, and name all of the places or things that would showcase these pastel/historic/jeweltone/neon colors! (If you chose orange, think peaches (pastel); pumpkin (historic); marigold (jeweltone); fire tongues (neon). Have fun! Go deep in your vivid imaginings. Have fun in your colorful world! Paint a picture in your minds eye of the color of each season. Give thanks to God for seasons, for colors, for creativity, for the vastness of imaginal thinking. Follow your heart of gratitude into prayer.
     

  5. Consider associating titles of your favorite songs, with the seasons. Name a song title for each of the four seasons and think about why you chose these four titles. Is there an event, a memory, that you already associate with each season, that fits the song title? (For example, I met my husband Barry in the Autumn, and one of the movies we watched at the theatre was Dirty Dancing, featuring the lyrics of the song The Time of My Life. It’s easy for me to associate these lyrics with my favorite season—Autumn—and with meeting my husband! I always feel wholly exhilarated, and enlivened in the Autumn. Bring your four chosen titles to your study group and tell your stories. Share your stories. Watch and see how the seasons speak to you through story, through music, through memories.
     

  6. Place yourself outdoors. Dress for the weather! Take up something from the natural world into your hand. Curled birch bark. A fallen pinecone or pine needles. A fallen bird’s nest. A stone. A bullrush. A broad leaf of grass. A feather. A ladybug. Spend time with your “chosen something.” Watch it. Notice details. Imagine its past, present, future. Imagine its relationship to the environment. Imagine it as part of something greater (a life cycle, a process, an interim stage or phase). Think about its purpose. Personify it and make it speak to you and let it tell you something! If you’re comfortable, talk to it, and tell it something encouraging. Share your experience with your group.
     

  7. Select a favorite photographic image in this book. Discover why you favor it—why you are drawn to it. Imagine its story. Imagine a deeper meaning or a symbolic meaning in the image. Maybe you see more than one theme or symbol or message in this image? Share your findings with your group. Feel free to choose another, and another, and another. There are 32 images!!!
     

  8. Take a good look at these two images, 
    ‘Looking Up in the Forest’ page 37
    ‘Ancient Stone Footpath’ page 89, and place yourself there, in place and time. What do you see, feel, sense, smell? What questions arise? What do you wonder about? To where does your mind wander? Is there awe or fascination? Gratitude? Contentment? Uncertainty? Zeal? Describe your energy level, “in being in” these places. Try to discern “the why” behind your energy level. Do you have a sense of connectedness? Presence? Sacredness? Ancient-ness or anscience? Please share your thoughts with your group. Please talk to God in prayer if you are so moved.
     

  9. Take a good look at these two images,
    ‘Bench’ page 79
    ‘Deep Open Waters’ page 109, and ask yourself these questions. What story do you see in these images? What symbols do you see in these images? What feelings arise in you from these images? If the image could speak, what would it be telling you? Do you think that the images themselves are guiding your thoughts in this moment, or, is it your life-experience speaking, or, is it the Sacred soul within you nudging you, or, is God speaking to you? Take your time with these questions and with your thoughts. Breathe. Listen. Listen deeply. Consider sharing your thoughts with your group.
     

  10. Choose the prose
    “Light Within” page 17, or,
    “Layers” page 81. Take only the last two paragraphs of each prose and enter into silence, reflecting on these words. See where this reflection leads you in your prayer to God.
     

  11. Choose the prose
    "Light Within” page 17, or,
    "Layers” page 81. Remove the last two paragraphs in each prose. Now, write the endings, in your own words!!! In two paragraphs each. Finish the prose, finish the thinking, with your own thoughts, and your own conclusions. Let your own contemplative soul speak! Please feel free to share your new endings with your group.
     

  12. Please name your favorite prose entry. Why is it your favorite? What made it stand out in your memory, in your heart? Have you had similar thoughts or is this novel thinking for you? Did it strike a chord, or resonate deeply with you because of something in your lived- experience? Or, is it healing for your soul? Did it bring you closure? Did it draw you closer to God in the moment? Did it take you—transport you—to somewhere? Did you linger in the prose? Take time in answering this question. Notice your feelings. Notice what thoughts arise from within. From deep within. Notice your own attentiveness, and your attention to detail. Feel this prose. Embody this prose. Make it yours—"own it”, whatever that means to your heart! Share these feelings with your group.
     

  13. Educator Edite Sammons likens this read to “thought-provoking forest bathing”, in her endorsement. Compare your thoughts on this!
     

  14. Reverend Elizabeth Cunningham speaks of this read, as “waking up your imagination to things unseen”. Compare your thoughts on this!
     

  15. Parish Nurse Carole Beam uses these words “photos with soul” and “a healing read”. Compare your thoughts on these words!
     

  16. Educator Peter Sullivan calls this read “approachable”. He uses the verbs “invites”, “listens”, “notices", "feels” and “Step in and find”. Compare your thoughts on these words!
     

  17. One final question from me. How has My Indulgent Interior Life formed you? Informed you? Did you sense God’s presence with you? Did you feel closer to God? What is your greatest takeaway from My Indulgent Interior Life? What would you tell another seeker about this book? How has this book helped you in your spiritual formation? In your faith journey? In your relations—in your interior life—in your prayer life—with God? God bless you. Listen. Notice. Sense. Pray. Amen.

APPENDIX TEN

Ten Takeaways from Wholehearted Me A-Z!

 

  1. Wholehearted Living is an intentional practice—it is a chosen lifestyle. It is deeply engaged living. It is simply a way of being.
     

  2.  Wholehearted Living is mirrored in colourful facets of positivity—optimism and glass-half-full living, self-awareness and affirmation, and a real sense of personal connectedness and belonging.
     

  3. Wholehearted Living is an intricate matrix for a balanced well-being—body, mind and spirit.
     

  4. Wholehearted Living is accessible—it has no boundaries or borders. It is relevant to all people, all cultures, in all places. It is indeed, timeless.
     

  5. The touchstone of Wholehearted Living is the genuine honouring of the Sacred in ALL life and form. When we choose to engage deeply in our own lives, by respecting, loving and showing compassion for one another—all from a stance of true reverence—we are wholehearted—we are intentionally living the Wholehearted Life.
     

  6. Wholehearted Me is simply a mindset—and a heartset—of the all-in openhearted seeker. It is an approach to all life and living. It is proactive interior work and self-focused self-care. It is worth the time and effort and energy taken to grasp the wonders of its reach and power.
     

  7. Wholeheartedness like hope, like optimism, like positivity, is contagious.
     

  8. Wholehearted Living is a journey which is no different than any other travels. There is a destination in mind—Wholehearted Living. There are markers and measures and milestones along the way. There are glorious places and amazing people and fun times. There are struggles and misgivings and doubts. There are friends on the journey.
     

  9. Wholehearted Living fuels your spirit, sparks and kindles those in your Light, and veritably guides you on a pathway to becoming—on a pathway to personal fulfillment, affirmation, and self-actualization.
     

  10. Wholeheartedness is already in you. Hearken. Listen. Attune. Hear the call!

APPENDIX ELEVEN

Wholehearted Me A-Z! "Words Speak"

Words speak to us. And they speak to all of us differently!

 

Old words resonate. They are comforting simply by their inherent familiarity.

 

Uncommon words when well-used, can pique our curiosity.

 

In contrast, new words—conflated words and portmanteaus—can be off-putting, scary, and initially resisted until context is fully understood, syntax and usage are clarified, and inference innuendo and tone are clearly defined.

 

And, sometimes, we have personal baggage, lived experience, or a human memory associated with a particular word. Certain intended positive words can therefore be perceived as negative, or dark, or inappropriate, in these circumstances.

 

Reverend Maya Landell, in her Foreword, speaks of Janis Constable’s words as “invitational .... for rumination .... for wonderment .... to take to heart.” She speaks about Janis’ writing as being “with an honesty and a hopefulness that summons something out of you.” She notes that Janis’ words “ask you to awaken to your own life, and to choices that are right in front of you.” She claims that Janis, in her words, “models being all-in, taking a path that pays attention, and practises gratitude for what is right in front of her. In this way, she points to life itself.”

 

Extrapolate this now! Take this thinking and run with it! See where it leads you!

In Wholehearted Me A-Z! Janis has presented her words, her understanding, her lived experience of Wholehearted Living. So, here and now, look for truth in these words, arising from Maya Landell’s words: “If Janis’ words truly point to life itself, let it be safe to say then that ‘Wholeheartedness points to life itself’.”

 

Enter into these words. Go deep. Extrapolate Seek new truth and seek your own truth. Words indeed speak to us. Let us hear them, and know them, explore them, and then embody their meaning, wholeheartedly. Amen.

APPENDIX TWELVE

Wholehearted Me A-Z!—A Few Questions for Study Groups

Question 1 

In the Introduction, Understanding Wholeheartedness, pages xv-xvi, I took care to lay the foundation—the cornerstone and the touchstone even!—of Wholehearted Living. Specifically I name “the honouring of the Sacred in all life and form” as the very matrix of Wholehearted Living.

Reflect now on your own understanding of “honouring the Sacred in all life and form” and see how you might take steps to embody this approach in your life and living. If you truly honour the Sacred in the other, you will ever and always approach with respect and love and compassion, and you will be ready to serve—and serve from the heart.

 

Question 2 

Reverend Maya Landell states in her Foreword that this book, these words “are an invitation to be found.” Did you feel “invited” as you read this book?

Can you dig deep and articulate in your own words what that invitation was for you? And, how have you responded to that invitation?

 

Question 3 

I commented in the Preface that “Wholeheartedness has no boundaries, or borders—it is relevant to all people, all cultures, in all places. It IS timeless.” Do you agree? Why or why not?

 

Question 4

In the Opening Prayer, page xix, I spoke to God in truth, saying “All life is truly interconnected and Sacred, thanks be to you, God.” This truth is a core teaching of the ancient Celtic Wisdom. Did you see how this theme was woven throughout the story, prosetry and prayer of Wholehearted Me A-Z!? Did you feel it? Did you want to rise up with conviction and embody this truth, and make it your own? Was this something you had already intuited in your own faith journey or was it a fresh and new lens through which to see yourself in life?

 

Question 5 

Review the Table of Contents. Can you name your favourite entry? How did it make you feel? Did it change you? Make you grow? Did it incite something or stir something deep within you? Will you view yourself or conduct yourself or approach life differently as a result of this prose entry?

 

Question 6 

Review the Table of Contents. Can you name a least favourite entry? How did it make you feel? Did it offend you—did it stir up negative or resistive feelings? Was it confusing? Too off-the-wall? Too out there? Did it cause you to take a stand in opposition to its content, or did your heels dig down deep defensively?

 

Question 7 

Review the Table of Contents. Can you name one or more entries to which you will return, to nurture and sustain you, for healing, for inspiration or affirmation, or for contemplative query/deeper consideration/reconsideration? Is there an entry that you would share with a friend, in the hope of engaging in a deeper contemplative conversation? Is there an entry you would choose to post in your church bulletin, or Facebook even—an entry that simply filled you with conviction and resolve to live out your life, wholeheartedly? (I’d be honoured if you did! Please, just quote your source!)

 

Question 8 

If you were to write a new mantra

—one that was self defining, and self-affirming

—one that challenged you and inspired you

—one that called deeply to your heart to make you speak it/voice it daily with 

   conviction and verve

—one that strengthened you and brought you hope

   If you were to write such a mantra, would you use this book as a starting place  

   for vocabulary, concepts, ideals, or approach? If so, enjoy the writing of your new

   mantra! If not, maybe consider revisiting your understanding of the power of a

   mantra in your daily life. Try and find its place in your life and living. Have fun!

 

Question 9 

Reread Chapter D. Take time and ponder the three entries in the chapter. Can you find yourself within these words? What is your greatest takeaway from Chapter D? What did you affirm about yourself through Chapter D? Do you have a new conviction, or resolve, stemming from Chapter D?

 

Question 10 

Reread Chapter P, and evaluate as in Question 9.

 

Question 11 

Reread Chapter S, and evaluate as in Question 9.

 

Question 12 

Reread the story Wholehearted Me—Brenda’s Light, in chapter W.

Now reread the dedication. Can you see that Brenda embodied Wholehearted Living? How has this story impacted you, changed you, or given you any more colourful insights into Wholehearted Living?

 

Question 13 

Greg Taylor speaks of Wholehearted Me A-Z! as “a reflection to be savoured—heart head and soul.” Reflect on Greg’s words.

 

Question 14 

Laura Van Loon speaks of Wholehearted Me A-Z! “its words are not to be noted fleetingly. They are to be synthesized and absorbed.” Reflect on Laura’s words.

 

Question 15 

Tim Tentcher speaks of my writing as having “a whimsical contemplative depth.” Reflect on Tim’s words.

 

Question 16 

Maggie Haynes says “Janis Constable has challenged me to reflect on my path.” Is this true for you? Reflect on Maggie’s words and create a visual image to describe what your pathway forward looks like, in the Wholehearted Life.

bottom of page