Random Free Fall

Posted: November 9, 2015 by Ty in Musings

His knuckles showed the signs of a life of fighting, about as much as the mushed nose broken once too often or the scar tissue under the eyes. Four careers before forty, not what most people know about? Rex O’Neil journalist, then adventurer of the paranormal, to minister of a United Church of Canada…one sadly that garnered new congregants under his ministerial lead (a Designated Lay Minister) but not enough from the local neighbourhood to replace the monies of the Greatest Generation passing away, the Baby Boomers jumped to the local Evangelical Lutheran Church because they had the money to keep a building.

Funny thing with the outreach work almost qualified for a government grant to keep the doors open, and a heritage designation, but yeah then the hail storms of the summer came. Golf ball size hail through the stain glass, and the rotting roof finally giving up the ghost. The sanctuary became sealed off. O’Neil, and the last 20 congregants began meeting in the basement, until the boiler blew and the sewers backed up. Used his office until that night…

Some say it was a crooked land developer, others a new gang trying to move onto the drug trade in the area. Despite or in spite of the collapsing building, Francis of Assisi United Church was still being seen as a beacon of hope in the community. It was metaphysical bible exploration night. A chance to explore ancient stories, drink coffee, eat donuts and talk about life.

It was what created the rubble of the office Rex is standing in now. The broken computer monitor where the SUV shattered through the plate glass window and wall, through his desk. Papers everywhere. A white file box is what he had to collect belongings as the condemned signs became screwed on, and the metal gating went around.

The SUV sent the 7 others scattering. Rex’s shoulder still has the stitches from the first bullet. Two shooters, thank fully they were the only two causalities, thanks to quick response time from the police. But the hail of bullets was enough to scare off the rest of the church members.

Rex picked up his journals, his ratty edition of the Good News Bible. The hiking boots crunched through the pieces of glass. Rex scratched the stubble around his scalp, catching his reflection in a broken mirror on the floor he notes the gray coming in to his goatee. “40 happening, and starting over once more.”

Rex stands in the doorway looking at the carnage, the new beginning, looks like it is time to start back to the second type of work he had done, paranormal adventuring allowed for him to stay in the neighbourhood, but drastically lower his overhead by working out of the second bedroom in his apartment as an office.

Besides, the church presbytery kind of frowns on moving around staff that literally destroy buildings, so it wasn’t like there was a new pulpit awaiting his unique skill sets. But first, Rex wanted to discover who had actually sent the shooters into end the church’s life.

Rex stands outside of the collapsing building and stares in through a broken stain glassed window, a metaphor for his journey thus far.


Casablanca droned on in the background as John poured his fourth cup of coffee in the hour. It had been a long morning leaving little to the imagination on what was to come in the future for him. His throwback flip phone laid on the kitchen table waiting a text or call from his long term friend, Rick, to discover what one outcome may be. Yet nothing had been decided yet, next to it opened into Christian gospels was a well work Bible, that as a defrocked minister John was not certain that he believed the mythologies of any more in relation to the Cosmic Story that was life and discovery. Yet in times of crisis it was the most familiar narrative to lean upon.

Missing Matriarchs

Posted: November 8, 2015 by Ty in New Thought Journal
Tags: , , ,

It is a silent rule

regardless of family structure

when crisis strikes

the ear of the Mum, Nan

is always open and available.

Then you grow

some call you adult

the matriarchs do not remain

young eternally…

but still only a phone call away- –

Then there comes a time

when transitioning happens

and you stand witness

of empty chairs

once filled with love

now simply empty spaces

at the family circle,

an open heart sought

to share pain

gain insight

hear wisdom

feel love

all that is there

is the shadow

of emptiness.

What a whirlwind it was leading up to the vacation time, which was a staycation to truly rediscover time with the family. A whirlwind for anyone who serves the public knows that if you do not keep a beat on your own soul it is easy to flame out. As the soulmate would say, something is off. Yet it was most summed up early on this vacation week.

See since the summer when we packed up my Mum’s belongings for a final time, I had her Tibetan prayer beads I wore around my wrist. In an attempt to keep the neighbour’s cat from using my backyard as their litter box (it drives our dog a bit barmy). I felt the beads leave my wrist and heard them hit what I thought was leaves. Went back to look, only to discover that the bracelet was no longer in tact, and that little black beads vanish into leaf piles quite quickly.

Yes it is a loss.

Yet it is also a time for reflection for me, yes it was a sad time, as it was something from my Mum, but it was also just a thing. Yet in the essence of the spiritual journey it was a representation of something else. Something that my wife touched upon in our Sacred Circle time. Yes they were Buddhist prayer beads, which for some raised Christian spoke volumes to the way my family believed (all one God just different ways of knowing)…yet as they vanished, it was also a door closing for me as I realized that the spiritual journey of practice and equipping to be a pulpit pastor closed off and vanished.

The fitting of the square peg into the round hole, ended…but wholeness was left.

It has been a month of reflecting trying to struggle through pain that for many years has been put aside as I served as the glue to hold others together, until the glue itself was drying out, but was it too late? Had a hurdle been reached that one would not be able to turn back from?

See, my life has always been about chasing a passion and discovering how to make a living at it. A life lived completing dreams, and passions, and now as a family man, arriving at where I feel professionally I believe I fit, personally loving my life, yet in those moments an ache of missing for the family that are not here to journey with anymore.

Living in the family home, with the ghosts of the past constantly present. Creating memories in the present, and talking of what the future holds.


Are there new dreams? New passions to ignite? What is the next wall to tear down? The next circle to dance?

As the beads hit the leaves it was a feeling of loss, but it was a loss that was more like a release of what was before, and making a conscious choice that in that moment, yes it is sad, but it opens up a new future.

The question is how to be present in the now so the future reveals?

Regular followers of my writing will know the last free e-book I tossed up centered on reflections around the Good Samaritan parable from the Christian Gospels. The ethos of the story is simple, a question given to reflect on: Who is My Neighbour?

In the early 1900’s it led J.S. Woodsworth who was superintendent of the Winnipeg Shelter to reflect on this, as his shelter aided immigrant and refugee resettlement into the Canadian prairies. It was the question that led to decisions to march in the General Strike and go to jail.

Now it is time to raise this question as a nation again. For one drowned Syrian boy has sparked outrage in the world about the refugee crisis in Syria. In contemporary/modern western world fashion it is not about vision and answering the call of our shared humanity, it is about managing the spin, the “economic and political cost”; what is the numbers game we should play. In some circles it is creating the divisive debate of whose taxes will pay? It is about choosing between refugees and our current Canadians living in poverty and without homes of their own.

But what if this ancient story held a deeper truth for us in building our national and local communities. Who is my neighbour? Go and do likewise… Provide aid, provide shelter, provide H-O-M-E. Cross international borders, drop stereotypes, and see that at our core we are a shared humanity. Quit stating the issue as helping our own first, and then possibly the other later. It is not that type of issue, or that type of answer.

Help both, nay, help all in need to have a home, and an ability to grow into a new hope, a new community, because of a simple principle of love in this global family.

The question for us as politicians avoid our door steps, a try to duck questions at debates, are we willing to hold the candidates to account to a higher level of dialogue, a higher level of vision…how are they going to build a New Canada where we do not FEAR but WELCOME the strangers at our shores? Where the neighbour in our community is helped before they lose hope and home?

What is the Liberal? Green? NDP? Conservative? Add your own political colour of the rainbow true vision for building a nation that will leave the world in awe for its wonder, inclusion, kindness, empathy, love and beauty? As Tommy Douglas once said, “dream no little dreams” Let us raise the level of debate in our great nation from one of management to one of vision and accountability as citizens of our city, province, country and world.

Yup, rolled out tonight playing around musically with the kids, sung to the tune of “Jesus Loves Me”

Spirit loves me this I know for my heart tells me so.

We belong to a great source, the universe is always ours.

Yes Spirit loves me, yes Spirit loves me. Yes spirit loves me the universe has spoke.


800 years ago, give or take a few years St. Francis of Assisi, the Patron of my Spiritual Charism, cast a new order to go beyond Order of Friars Minor (think Robin Hood’s Friar Tuck) and the Poor Clares (think Nun’s with Feminism dashed in, kind of like Sister Act with Whoopi Goldberg if you will)…

Yet. Much better than a but, Y-E-T- as Francis’ mendicants (insult meaning beggar) travelled spreading the gospel message of poverty, charity, love, and justice for all the interconnected of creation many who were married wanted to forsake their vows and join the celibate orders and…

Yup plus an A-N-D- there was some friars and sisters that well, let’s be honest humanity like every species on the planet is designed for procreation. Francis was an astute spiritual guide in that he realized this and blessed those that are called to be together, to make babies, to populate the world for that is the original commission within the Hebrew Scriptures go forth and out of the indwelling love of Spirit populate the world in love.

This is what birthed the Third, Lay or Secular Order. It was a work by one of these Franciscan’s 19 years into my journey of trying to remember paradise, discover the Spirit within, that working in a bookstore I stumbled upon John Michael Talbot’s (1998) The Life Lessons of St. Francis: How to bring Simplicity and Spirituality into your Daily Life. For someone who had journeyed through many Eastern, Celtic, Pagan, Western and Alien spiritual paths finding myself back in the Christian Church as a Sunday School teacher, this little volume showed me how my beliefs around love and inclusion worked together with belief and living out of God’s love, from the divine spark, the star dust that we are created from.

So dear reader, you are probably wondering what this 800 year history lesson has to do with anything? Especially the book you have picked up to read on different centering values to create a fuller you?

Simple, it is part of the formation of the writer of this book, it has influenced my understanding and shaped any bias within the stories to be found within. Also, when in the mid-2000’s I took the Munay-Ki Shamanic Rites, I was blessed to be labelled a Wisdom Keeper, one that holds the truths of the ancient stories for today.

In the Franciscan story there are many truths for today, but the one to remember as we move through these pages is perhaps the simplest lesson of all:

Within Francsicanism there is no historical Reformation (where the Protestant Church split from the Roman Catholic Church) rather it is a moment by moment reformation of one’s own heart, soul, spirit and community that one is called into.

So thank you for stepping into this new journey, it is a collection of values for all ages. To prepare for this spend time cleansing your energy, exhaling out the negative, and opening your heart to seeing things in a new light. There may be terms that are unfamiliar or may not resonate with you, this is due to my family’s Judeo-Christian Heritage, simply as you are reading replace them with terms that resonate with you.

I encourage you to find the best time of day to do the soul work with these values, take along a prepared kit:

Monk’s Bag of Tricks

  1. A simple bag, back pack or attache case
  2. Place within pens, pencils, crayons, pencil crayons, pastels,
  3. A fidget toy (perhaps a koosh, some Lego, a slinky, mystery box figures, something to play with to clear your mind when you get stumped).
  4. A journal
  5. A book of Wisdom teachings that you can read a snippet of each day.

Armed with this bag in your daily life, either identify a place in your community or your home that you can use as a retreat space to commune deeper within yourself.

So are you ready? This will not be your traditional spiritual formation journey, I mean the book is called Left Field, which for any sports metaphor you know it is usually the unusual team members that do not fit anywhere else.

That is us, those that are seeking the personal ongoing moment by moment reformation of St. Francis of Assisi, not only for ourselves but for our community and out world. So the question is now in your hands, close the book and walk away…

Or turn the page, step into left field with gusto and accept the challenge to create a new you.

Left Field

A new spiritual work…this is a draft of a chapter thought I would share:

For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus.

-Philippians 1:8

Ah the first step in understanding the Cosmic Christ you are, that’s right the star stuff we are created from, that is the Cosmic Christ within, the divine you in unity with the human you in the here and now. The first step in this reality is living a life of compassion. These are simple lessons of life shown not told. It is in the way that you observed your family behaving, how others were treated. Perhaps it was stories told after the fact, or those that became family legend.

For those without a happy family life, perhaps it was the mentors and family you chose to have in your life that laid out the new reality. This is the reality that exists, and that by beginning this new journey you may see again.

One who is not envious but who is a kind friend to all living

entities, who does not think himself a proprietor, who is free

from false ego and equal both in happiness and distress, who

is always satisfied and engaged in devotional service with

determination and whose mind and intelligence are in agreement

 with Me-he is very dear to Me.

                                                –Bhagavad Gita 12: 13-14

The fruits of the Divine within whether you term it Spirit, God, G(o)od, Vishnu, Krishna, Dharma, Karma—the list can go on, but what is evident is we know the star stuff exists as science says, and from that we live out the compassion that burns brightly. By acknowledging it and listening to it, we move beyond the “Old Laws” like Moses character was used to lay out in the 10 Commandments (and the 617 in Leviticus) that in our infancy story guided us towards a selfless self-love life that drew us closest to the divine.

My family was raised with many living examples of the simplicity that is compassion, as Paul wrote to the church in Philippi there is a compassion within each of us as was witnessed in the life of the Master Teacher Jesus of Nazareth. This is the compassion that if you take time to be present in your own story, and the great story around you will see.

In my own life it was being 16 years old and being at my Granddad’s funeral, having many of the now adults that grew up in the town with my grandparents and them sharing the open door they had in their home for the neighbourhood kids, always having the open listening ear to help them work through life issues to come to a solution.

It was hearing about my Grandma Ragan working in a diner in Canada around the Air Force bases, and refusing to bend to American soldier’s whims not to serve African Canadian Soldiers and welcoming them all in. Her following the life of a friend of my Uncle’s of Japanese descent and celebrating his milestones, even though she should have been of a generation that saw him as “enemy”.

It was the open welcoming door in my own home growing up, where whichever person entered became part of the family. My Mum and Dad always having a helping hand for friend, family, neighbour or stranger whether it was help with child care, food, rides or just a listening ear, and a strong shoulder for tears.

These were not people that trumpeted their simple acts of compassion as anything more than simply what one did in life to help another member of the family that is humanity. It is stepping away from mourning what “we don’t have” or “what we can’t do” to looking at the blessing we are, the purpose we have been given and are doing, to something deeper.


The divine in me sees and recognizes the divine in you.

To one step more…even when you don’t I will see it and respond to it, and interact with you as such to help bring you begin to see you as the truth of divinity you are.

An ancient story was used by Jesus of Nazareth, Brother Jesus in Franciscan teachings, from the Gospel of Luke. Luke was a physician and a historian who tradition of the church states in his works Luke and Acts of the Apostles set out to write an orderly historical account of the early church. What is also noted as you read these works as one, these are not high faluting theological texts like John (Greek) or Matthew (Jewish) or a Roman Action Flick like Mark, no Luke is like the investigative reports of the ancient world.

It starts with the story of a girl without voice, nothing more than property, that God breaks that culturally established walls of propriety and asks Mary of Nazareth, if she wants to take on the shame, the outcast, the challenge of a lifetime in becoming a living example of compassion to the world. Would she become a mother out of wedlock? Essentially if her betrothed did not choose to follow would lead to her execution by stoning or being cast out the city to become a beggar/child sex trade worker for survivial.

Yet she chose the power of love, hope and compassion. Mary chose her yes.

The rest of Luke’s works are filled with stories that poke the bear if you will of cultural norms and challenges them. I do believe if Luke was writing in the Twenty-First Century about the church he would tear open the idiocy of the debate around full inclusion by sharing power stories of the divine within the lives of Trans folk, LGBTTQ, the single parents, the addicts, the abused, the fallen from grace and those with disabilities in such a way that they would be as fully included as Mary of Nazareth and lives as celebrated.

But I digress. For this is the backdrop of the writer as Brother Jesus is answering questions. And then a powerful story emerges over a question of “who is my neighbour?”

25 Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus.[a] “Teacher,” he said, “what must

I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What

do you read there?” 27 He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all

your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your

mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have given

the right answer; do this, and you will live.”

29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell

into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving

him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when

he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came

to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan while

traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34 He

went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then

he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The

next day he took out two denarii,[b] gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care

of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ 36 Which

 of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of

the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go

and do likewise.”

-Luke 10: 25-37

At this point it is time to pause and let the story speak to you. This is a mix of breath prayer and Lectio Divina. The Divine Reading as taught by Ignatius of Loyola as a method of study to allow the inner divinity to speak to you through the ancient stories. Read the story three times, if you can find an audio link online then listen to it. With each reading/listening there will be a question to reflect upon.

Sit comfortably, slow your breathing, focusing on it. Feel the environment you are in fade away. Feel the gritty sand get between your toes, the arid desert air, the sounds of the market place, bleating of live stock, haggling. Take in the aromas of the sacrifices, the fresh food, cooking, children singing and dancing, soldiers moving in and out taking what they want. You find the small group surrounding the labourer who has become a rabbi. How not many know, but they have all heard the legends of this man, the whispers that he is the bastard child of a Roman soldier, yet there is something in his manner, the way he looks upon everyone with tenderness, and compassion regardless of who they are or where they are from, he draws you into the conversation. The lawyer asks the question…who is my neighbour? The priest and the levite are so heavenly minded they will not stray from the rules of holiness to help someone in need, which makes them no earthly good. The Samaritan is part of a race from an exile of ancient Israel that saw them remain in exile and inter-marry with the conquerors, they worship God differently, they are seen as traitor’s to the chosen people, the stereotypical villain of every story.

Hear the story for the first time, during this reading as you walk through as the priest. What times in your life flash back to when you responded as the Priest and Levite? What truth emerges in these memories as you sit with them? Now as you sit write them out, colour them out to cleanse your Chakra energy of this negativity.

Sit looking at the old, are you ready to release this way of being? If so walk it out the garbage bin outside your home, rip it up and throw it in, walk away from this old way of being. If not note why, and come back to it later.

Hear the story for a second time this time as the Samaritan left hurting and bloodied by   bandits on the road side. What comes to you, with those that at first walked past  that you expected aid from and none came as with the Priest and Levite? Write and colour this out in your breathing again to get it out of you. In these moments where did aid come from surprising sources, take this thought and enter it into your journal as a reminder of times when someone else’s divinity came to you.

Are you ready to dispose of the hurt and pain of being left by the roadside by those you believed to be friend or helper? If you are take the walk as before and dispose of, if not place in your journal and note why you are not ready yet?

Hear the story for a third time, this time hear it as the Samaritan. What makes you stop? What times in your life have you lived out this compassion regardless of labels? Not these in your journal to remind yourself of living compassionately, invest these in your heart and sit with them.

Slowly bring your breathing back to normal, the aromas of the market place vanish, the sounds dissipate, the sand and breeze are gone, feel the chair reform around you, hear the sounds of your world, and the new aromas of your world. You are back and have a question to answer? As you interact with your world, others in your community, your workplace, your place of worship, your home and within yourself.

One simple question to answer: 

Who is my neighbour?


One simple question to answer:

Who is my neighbour?