The Boat of Anxiety and Mindfulness

A beautiful description of using mindfulnes to beging getting free from anxiety

Once upon a time this was my boat of anxiety with the light of mindfulness (and of God) shining on it. In fact the boat was me.

The boat was swamped with anxiety, beached with worry. The hull of my boat, which is as strong and as fragile as wood was collapsing, barely holding its shape.

I had no rudder, no sail, even if the wind was blowing and the currents flowing.

Anxious thoughts, like crows pecked at the rotting frame, as shame like worms ate away at the wood. Anxious feelings soaked into the hull, and weighed it down, stealing its strength.

Those of you who have experienced anxiety will recognise this, it doesn’t always help to have the condition explained in cold, logical, propositional language.

But in the corner of the boat I built a mindful nest, my breath, a prayer word, the practice of awareness. And then…

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Thomas Merton : Hooked on God

I was shown the photo of the ‘SkycHook’ yesterday, in a seminar on Mindful Photography during a Conference on Christian Mindfulness.
I hope to share with you some of my own mindful photography.

Video Caelos Apertos

Evernote Camera Roll 20140128 174614 ©Merton Legacy Trust

Thomas Merton, The Sky Hook

This image, described as “ the only known photograph of God,” is the work of Thomas Merton (1915-1968), Catholic monk and photographer.

It captures the essence of Merton’s humorous and profound personality, as well as the evocative and finely-observed nature of his photography. Searching for God, – in his friendships, his monastic life, his writing, his art and photography and supremely in his prayer and meditation, was Merton’s lifelong work. This image draws us immediately into the heart of his contemplative vision: “We must begin by learning how to use the visible creation, which mirrors the story of the invisible God” (The Monastic Journey).

When his eye alighted on this hook, hanging above the horizon of the Kentucky hills, Merton saw it as a mirror of this invisible God, who cannot be known until we acknowledge the inadequacy of our…

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Mindfulness: a brief guide to some books from a Christian perspective

lists some useful books on Christian mindfulness

Quodcumque - Serious Christianity

All who find refuge in you will be glad.

Psalm 5:12

At the end of the last summer holiday I led a mindfulness day for school leaders and Governors at Hope University. Over twenty people attended and all asked that we repeat the day and extend its availability. Further encouragement from one of my fellow priests in the diocese of Liverpool (Chris Daniel McKeigue) has led me to design a five session programme of Mindfulness Training which we are calling Refuge (a deeply biblical word that is repeated frequently in the psalter). I have set up an outline website with further information including a programme outline. I would welcome invitations to deliver this for parishes, clergy chapters or other groups to gather feedback and further improve the material.

The first series of after school events will run in June/July this year and we hope to offer the series once…

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Where Do You Begin with Prayer? Try Thankfulness

Linking mindfulness, prayer and thankfulness

Ed Cyzewski: Author // Contemplative

The following post is adapted from Flee, Be Silent, Pray: An Anxious Evangelical Finds Peace with God through Contemplative Prayer:

“When I trust deeply that today God is truly with me and holds me safe in a divine embrace, guiding every one of my steps I can let go of my anxious need to know how tomorrow will look, or what will happen next month or next year. I can be fully where I am and pay attention to the many signs of God’s love within me and around me.”

– Henri Nouwen

After the birth of our first child, I resolved to finally establish a regular, scheduled prayer routine. There was one barrier to any routine, or sanity, in our home:  Our son did not nap.

The only way to coax him into a reliable nap was to take him for a walk. This plan worked well throughout the…

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Evangelicals Lack the Language for Slow Transformation

Ed Cyzewski: Author // Contemplative

Evangelicals know about discipleship, which is often synonymous with accountability and learning.

Evangelicals know about conversion and revival, going from blindness to sight.

Evangelicals don’t have language for slow, gradual transformation. It’s not surprising then that we generally lack the practices that can lead to slow transformation.

I love the charismatic gifts and teachings. I’ve had intense moments that were deeply transforming and meaningful.

I’ve also wondered, “Now what?” after the moment passes.

I’ve immersed myself in Bible study and had life-changing insights as the Spirit used the scriptures to reshape my thinking and choices. I’ve also hit the point where I’ve felt like I’m just cramming information into my brain and God appears distant, if not non-existent.

My own assessment of my place in the evangelical subculture is that I have lacked the language and guidance into the full spiritual tradition of the Christian faith. I have found renewed…

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When Will Conservative Christians Address Racism and Climate Change the Way They Address Same Sex Marriage?

Ed Cyzewski: Author // Contemplative

With only a self-imposed deadline to release a statement on human sexuality that surprised exactly no one, the Council of “Biblical” Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) has demonstrated just how disconnected many conservative Christians have become from the issues that are actually impacting people today. Here’s a little round up of the news from this month:

White supremacists marched through Charlottesville with clubs, shields, and body armor, beating people up, threatening the black people, and chanting Nazi slogans.

Climate change has brought yet another devastating hurricane to the American mainland, leaving a major city under water, and dozens dead (including a brave police officer assisting with rescues). Extreme floods are devastating sections of southeast Asia as well, leaving over a 1,000 dead.

The DACA act that created the Dreamer program for immigrant children has kept families together, but the Trump administration is poised to end it, ripping children and parents away…

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Is There Hope for Anxious, Doubting, and Burned Out Christians?

Ed Cyzewski: Author // Contemplative

If you’re a Christian who is burned out, falling flat, discouraged, struggling, or doubtful, I have a suggestion based on my own experiences. This suggestion may or may not help, but just consider it for a moment.

What if Christianity is bound to fail you no matter how often you say sincere prayers, no matter how hard you study the Bible, no matter what theology you adopt, no matter how often you attend church, and no matter how sincerely you commit to follow Jesus?

What if your faith can only survive if you approach God in a different way?

I don’t necessarily want to undermine practices such as Bible study, attending church, or praying sincerely. These are all good things in their place. However, one can lean too heavily on these practices, expecting them to provide what they cannot, and then burning out as you continue to come up empty.

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After the Storm

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#MoreThan Survival #MHAW17

Some simple advice on how we can help ourselves and others have better mental health. See #5 especially.

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Introducing #MoreThanSurvival


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