Surveying the landscape

‘Are you doing a survey?’ My questioner could be forgiven for making such an assumption. There I was, sat with pen, paper and folder in hand. Overlooking the beautiful landscape in and around Coleton Fishacre, a National Trust property in South Devon. Boats on the sea, birds of prey in Read more…

A thin place

In the recent BBC series The Pilgrimage, seven celebrities (although I’d only heard of one of them) walked the Pilgrim’s Way in North Wales. Along their journey, they discussed many aspects of spirituality and belief, and displayed both understanding and vulnerability (although the programmes were notable for the absence of Read more…

No words for love

‘Mindful of what you feel, look at Rembrandt’s masterful depiction of the parable… Give your attention to how the light falls on the scene. Record all that you observe about the light. Stay with it… what do you hear when you listen and what is the light in the painting Read more…

One more step

Six years ago I bought a FitBit. A little one that clips on to a pocket. I was finally emerging from a second episode of M.E./Chronic Fatigue. Strangely, that period had been longer (7 years) but less serious than the first time some 20 years previously when it was worse Read more…

The iron wall

‘Henri said that for Vincent, and anyone trying to reach compassionate solidarity, it was also “like breaking through an iron wall. This was excruciatingly difficult, but also exhilaratingly beautiful when one succeeded.”’ My companion on retreat at Sheldon this week has been Carol Barry’s beautiful book Learning from Henri Nouwen Read more…

A name to remember

‘The first stroke of eleven produced a magical effect. The tram cars glided into stillness, motors ceased to cough and fume, and stopped dead, and the mighty-limbed dray horses hunched back upon their loads and stopped also, seeming to do it of their own volition. ‘Someone took off his hat, Read more…

Windows for prayer

‘Sometimes I sit and think, sometimes I just sit.’ The last twenty years has seen an increase in awareness of mental health issues. The last twenty years has also seen a resurgence in the use of mindfulness. The two are not unrelated. Adopting the philosophy of Winnie-the-Pooh (not forgetting his erstwhile companion, AA Milne), Read more…