Dancing in the Doorway

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From a cottage in Ireland to a cottage in Center Harbor, I continue the journey of writing my next book, “Dancing in the Doorway:  A Life’s Journey Between Worlds.”  I’ve given myself a publishing deadline for May, 2020, just to get it done…just to say that it will be good enough.  Good enough is my goal because as I travel around speaking to groups about the topics I’m addressing in this new book, I am hearing how much folks need validation, support and guidance in finding balance and depth in their own lives.

Life is a journey, it’s true…but writing is another journey equally full of twists and turns and surprises.  I started out writing a memoir, an autobiographical story of my life experience.  It now seems the book is turning into a purposeful memoir, my life story framed in a way that others can relate to, learn from, and follow if they wish.

I’ve had a normal, extraordinary life.  It may seem like an oxymoron to say that, but when I share my stories of trauma and wounding, people respond with, ‘Me, too.’  When I share about the struggles to find myself and my voice in a world full of pressured convention, people respond, ‘Me, too.’  When I share about feeling the presence of the dead, the angels, the ancestors and nature spirits, people respond, ‘Me, too.’

I’m pleasantly surprised by the experience of the equalizing revelation that every human being wants to heal, know the beauty of nature, feel the influence of otherworldly beings, and seek their true self.  This is a delight to behold and an honor to encourage.  I may have more experience or sensitivity or facility in these things than some folks due to my training, study and practice, but our shared humanity allows for a mutually uplifting experience where others might have an easier, quicker go of it as I am leaving signposts, maps and supports along their way.

I couldn’t be more pleased with the feedback I’m getting, and I can’t wait to have this book in hand to share with anyone who wishes to receive the fruits of my contemplations and the blessings of my life experiences in this world and in the other worlds.  Watch for book launch parties and readings in May and June!  And in the meantime, send me some good vibes to get this thing done!!!!

Thanks for reading!

Blessings to all,

Mary Francis

Irish Musings

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Hello, from Ireland!

I’m 8 weeks into my 12 week sabbatical here in the magical, mystical land of Ireland.  I don’t mean to sound cliche…but this place has a hold on me!  It’s been a bumpy ride so far with travel, writing, death, visitations…let me tell you a bit about it…

As you may know, I came here to write.  I’ve done a bit of that and am up to about 100 pages…maybe 1/3 of the way to completion.  This part is going ok except for my persistent waffling as to focus, purpose, format…the story’s not the problem, but the delivery is another matter entirely.  I’ve taken 3 writing classes and met with a local editor so I have lots of really good advice about how to proceed…the question is, will I take that good advice?

I have three main threads of story to tell in my memoire…the first is about my early life and the impact of traumas that few people know about.  This, of course, leaves me with the concern about loved ones who will be concerned about me when they hear of such things.  There’s no way around stirring up those closest to us when we share our truths.  Like Maya Angelou says, ‘There’s no greater agony than bearing an untold story.’  So, these things must be spoken.  Besides, I’ve done my own processing and healing work around them, so they’re not traumas to me any longer.  I’m just sharing the fruits of my experience and my contemplation in case those might be of use to someone.

Next comes the thread of spiritual/religious experiences I’ve had since childhood…again, many of which I’ve not shared to date…at least not to the level that they’re pouring out of me now.  Fears arise in regard to who will do what with the details of the sublime and sometimes otherworldly things that have happened to me from childhood and into religious training.  Beyond the spiritual/religious are the wild, earthy, otherworldly experiences that restore the balance between heaven and earth in this earthwalk we’re all taking together.

Finally, there’s my long history of visitations from the spirit world…yes, I see dead people.  There, I’ve said it.  And I have lots more to say about it, including the story of how my dead husband visited me here in my tiny Irish cottage for over a week and all of the happenings of that happenstance.  Whew…it’s challenging to put all of this stuff out there and I haven’t hit the ‘publish’ button yet so I still have a chance to pull back…but I don’t think I will.

In my experience in the care of the dying and the grieving, in hospice and in ministry, counseling and my own life, I find that many people suffer from not knowing what I know is true.  I don’t profess or pretend to know everything…but what I do know for sure is what has happened in my life.  I also know for sure that I’m here on the planet to share these happenings with others who want to know about such things.

Running in parallel to this writing process, is the process of my own aging/croning/elderhood.  I know it’s presumptuous to say at age 55, but I’m experiencing a metamorphosis of sorts that includes a deep reclamation of all aspects of my being.  In the Native American tradition, they say that we’re not adults until age 50.  I find that to be true and I have so much more to learn…I guess I always will.  Nonetheless, I have a few things to teach as well, and a whole person to be in the world.

When you see me next, I may not seem different at all on the outside, but rest assured, some major renovations are underway.  Do you know that the larvae of a butterfly completely disintegrates in the cocoon and reintegrates as something completely different?  Well, there you have it…a caterpillar digests itself from the inside out until all cells are the same- ‘imaginal cells’ that can create something completely different from the caterpillar.  Check it out here… https://www.wonderopolis.org/wonder/what-goes-on-inside-a-cocoon

Now you’ll just have to wait for the rest of the details of the story until I return to NH…or until this book gets published!  Sending you prayers and hugs from the Emerald Isle where all things are possible!

peacock1_web         xoxo MF

2019 Transitions

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More than half of the year is over already…time really has sped up in my life as I move through many endings and transitions.  My hospice director position ended in December 2018.  Since early June, my youngest child graduated from high school and has gone off to the Coast Guard Academy Scholars Program; I finished up 3 years of service on the NH Hospice & Palliative Care Organization; I got married to a deep and wild and fearless man;  and I left my home of 5+ years, moving in with my sister and mother while I await departure for a 3 month writing sabbatical in Ireland.  Whew!  I feel tired…and excited…and curious about all of it.  I’m sure I have stretch marks and scars from the rapid growth, but at the same time I feel more myself than ever.

I’ve done some fun and fantastic things this year.  My best friend of 40 years became my roommate for the first 6 months of this year–what a wildly and deeply connecting and healing time that was!  I enrolled in Sharon Blackie’s online ‘Voice of the Wells’ course, retracing the ground of the feminine and our connection with place and myth.  I started a Women’s Circle.  I presided at my first same-sex wedding in California in January.–one of the women is an Irish connection as I met her in Sligo last fall on my second visit to Ireland in 2018.  I traveled again to Ireland with my youngest daughter and my mother for a week in April in which I experienced many deeply satisfying and transforming moments of connection with my Celtic ancestry and the power of the Emerald Isle, not to mention the bonding of our own maiden-mother-crone triad.  In commemoration, my mother and I and my two daughters got matching tattoos of the triple goddess symbol which has literally and figuratively left an indelible mark on our relationships.  I interviewed and wrote an article about a man with terminal cancer….and then I fell in love with him…and then we married…and then we struggled…and then…only God knows…

I’m settling quite nicely into my new temporary space in my sister’s home.  I have two rooms that offer me a sanctuary for my spirit as I prepare for my next journey and continued deepening in the solitude of the northwest of Ireland’s wild and beautiful landscape.  I’m looking forward to unplugging from the outside world and diving deeply into myself, the magic of place, the wonder of wandering, the joy of creative work.  I may decide to chart the course of that journey here…we shall see.

If you are so inclined to reflect on your 2019 transitions in the comments, I’m happy to receive them and bear witness to your internal process as you walk along on your own journey.  As Ram Dass’ recent book implies, we’re all ‘Walking One Another Home’, and I’d be honored to walk alongside you as you go.

Peaceful, prayerful blessings to you all,

Mary Francis

7/20/19

 

 

May Day – the simplicity of Spring

May musings for you to consider.  First, if you find this blog and my constant contact newsletter helpful, please spread the word!  I’m having a dream of increasing readership of blog, books and monthly newsletters….hopeful that they will expand the blessings I hold in my heart for folks to find peace within for a more peaceful planet.

All things are made new in this season of sunshine, rain, flowers, birds, more and more light….its invigorating and uplifting at the same time….feels a little like a morning coffee or a true love…how do you experience spring?

I was driving through Vermont over the weekend, noticing all the shades of green the earth is bursting forth into…grasses, leaves, sprouting plants…so many, many variations on that simple color ‘green’ that we take for granted!  I also noticed rushing waters, blue sky, puffy clouds, strong sunshine, fresh air and increased activity in and around town.  Life is busting at the seams!

Tuning into the season, I feel that energy–joyful and beautiful–waiting to be made manifest in flowers, fruits and fun.  Fun is a subjective word, but I like to think of it as whatever moves our hearts to joyful gratitude.  I believe that joy is the highest form of gratitude as it presumes the loving-kindness of the creator in creating the lovely and delightful things in life.  What will I do with it, I wonder?  What will I make of it?  And what will you….???

The world is our oyster and summer is upon us.  Time to liven up and do the dance of creation in the direction of our dreams….all aboard!!!

❤ + MF

April showers bring May flowers….

Hey, Folks,

Happy Spring!  Easter is upon us…new birth, new life, growth, sprouting, blossoming…so much newness to celebrate.  What’s new with you?  How did you survive the winter hibernation?  Are you awake and alert yet?  Ready for foraging and basking in the sunshine?  Ready for bright shades of green and deep blue skies…rushing waters and cultivating soil?  I can feel the increased energy since the spring equinox…the longer days, the brighter sun higher in the sky…it’s all so invigorating!

What will we do with all of the restored energy?  It’s the stuff of new beginnings….really a better time for ‘new year’ resolutions, don’t you think?  So, what’s new with you?  What’s new in you?  What new will you create in this year?  In astrology, Aries is the first zodiac sign of the year….the ‘starter’….gets things going….I think we should ride that wave into spring with freshness and creative energy!

Personally, I have a lot of things ‘growing’ in my winter garden…those hardy root veggies that sustain us during the cold, dark months…..work, family, friends, hobbies….but I’m itching for something new….I’m looking for the 2017 version of life…I wonder what it will bring!

While we move through the ‘rainy season’ of April (at least here in NH), just remember that we are watering and fertilizing the new life that will sprout in May.  So get in there and get your hands dirty in the fertile soil….start planting seeds of what you want to harvest this summer/fall….fill up that calendar with rejuvenating, relaxing activities, shake things up!

Most of all, enjoy!

Mary Francis

Be the Peace you wish to see in the world.

This New Year’s Day, like many of you, I am pondering the end of one cycle and the beginning of another, and looking toward being a bigger part of the solution for all that ails our world.  Using Gandhi’s famous quote, ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world.’ as a jumping off point, I am dedicating this year to the upliftment of human spirits and human consciousness through my personal practices of prayer, meditation, the sacraments of Christian Mysticism, and encouraging others to own the peace and power in the depth of their being.

Encouragement is an interesting word…it means to offer support for people to put their heart into something.  So here is my one resolution…to offer support for every person I meet and serve to put their whole heart into all that they do.  At the center of our heart and the ground of our being, there is great peace and great power…power to heal, power to love, power to be the change we wish to see in the world…to be the peace we wish to see in the world.

Please call on me for support and encouragement.  I will do all in my power to inspire, uplift, assist, advocate and cheer you on to reclaiming your own peace and power and fulfilling your soul’s purpose.

The Season of Light

It’s December and everyone is full-on in the swing of the holidays.  Yet sometimes in this busy season, we forget to tune into the ‘spirit’ of the holidays.   The seasons change, the days grow shorter, and we’re moved internally to slow down even while external activities are speeding up.  I wrote a poem called ‘Winter Time’ that I hope will help you slow down… down shift… take a breath… so as not to miss the beauty and wonder of the emergence of inner light in this season that culminates with the winter solstice and seasonal holidays in every tradition.  Enjoy… preferably while sipping a cup of tea and contemplating the nature of all that transpires underground awaiting spring.

May the peace of the season be with you and yours,  Mary Francis

 

Winter Time

The clock is slowing and the light is fading

Time seems to turn from liquid to solid as water turns to ice

Breathing seems to take up space not noticed before now

and thinking

Sinking into myself as I reflect on the year

Four quick seasons with a breadth of joys

Four tormenting changes as the soul rehabilitates

Settling in now, to my own heartbeat

which I hear without trying

The breath is breathing me as solid melts into solitude

No more good grasp on reality

Ephemeral expansion and dissipation

into simple being

Thank you, winter, for slowing things down,

for making it clear that we are not in charge

Thank you, time, for your enigmatic flow

that distorts reality so we can see eternity in it.

 

November

It’s the end of November already.  In the wake of the election outcome, many are stressed, distressed and scared.  This is an understandable reaction to what seems like the unraveling of American values…of human values…in our country.  Regardless of how things unfold, each of us will need more than ever to continue the practices that bring us balance, compassion and strength so that we can do our part in ensuring that our own thoughts, words and actions align with our good-heartedness.  This is a time to give generously of ourselves by sending prayers and positive intentions in all directions.  This is a time to strengthen ourselves so that we can stand strong in the face of disturbances and act for what is good and right.  We will need to call upon the best of our nature while allowing our fear, anger and grief to move through without grasping onto it.  I have chosen to take up a daily prayer time in support of peace.  I will be praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy (Rosary) daily for Standing Rock, for our elected officials, for those who have fear of discrimination, and for those who might perpetrate discrimination.  I will also donate monthly to a cause or situation that I feel strongly about…even small donations are of help.  Finally, I plan to act where/when I can by attending rallies, wearing my ‘safety’ pin and preparing myself to stand beside anyone who feels afraid or persecuted.  If we prepare ourselves to act, we are more likely to follow through on those actions.  My daily practice of prayer and meditation help me to remain focused on these small acts of love and service which I have dedicated myself to continuing.  I hope you will join in the ‘karma yoga’ of service to those in need.  As we round the corner of Thanksgiving and move into the Season of Light, may our hearts be full of gratitude and wonder, our mouths full of loving and peaceful words, and our hands full of kindness and generosity.

Blessings and peace to all,

Mary Francis

October 1, 2016…new month, new moon, new book of poetry…

October 1, 2016….new month, new moon, new book of poetry in hand!  I am beginning an endeavor in writing, speaking and counseling that has been brewing in me for some time.  Through the rollercoaster of life’s unexpected experiences, I have come to see life from a simpler and deeper perspective. I desire to share this hard-won wisdom in order to alleviate the suffering of loneliness, distraction and fear that I see so prevalent in the world.

As minister, counselor, teacher and hospice worker, I am surrounded by stories of human loss, suffering and grief.  Having served as a parish priest for nearly 10 years, I find that this post-modern world is looking for a simpler, deeper and more real connection than many religious traditions are offering.   My ministry has become equally simple and practical…. to be with those who suffer, to provide hope for relief and peace, and to reconnect those who feel adrift.  Through poetry, prose and counseling, I hope to offer a ministry of compassion, loving-kindness and genuineness.

It is in open-hearted remembering that we are restored to ourselves and a sense of unity with all of creation.  May the offerings of my heart be blessed in reaching the hearts of many.

Peace to all, Mary Francis