Warm greetings, dear Friends! Grace abounds on this sparkling spring day. Rachel Naomi Remen, in her book Kitchen Table Wisdom, writes about the story of a poor man walking along a dusty road one day, wondering whether he would have anything to eat that evening, when suddenly the gods took pity on him and dropped a bag of gold in his path. He was not ready to receive this gift, however, and detoured around it without investigating, thinking himself fortunate to have avoided stumbling over such a large rock in his path. Our lives are full of such a "bags of gold" appearing in our path, but they rarely look like the gifts they are. Sometimes they even appear to be just the opposite, and only looking back do we perceive their value. As we meet in the Silence, let us seek the vision to recognize the many gifts of grace with which we are richly blessed every day.

"Is there enough Silence for the Word to be heard?"

Springtime Greetings, dear friends! Although at a casual glance the landscape may still look a bit barren, we know things are stirring and soon we will see signs of new growth. That welcome first sighting of green grass...the earliest tiny spring flowers, sometimes peeping through a lingering snow...a little more light each day...fat buds popping out on the trees -- all these signs tell us that much has been gestating in darkness, deep within the earth, unseen during the bleak winter days. And what of the depths within our human souls? Like our earth, we, too, have fallow times when it may seem nothing is happening; but something, some new insight or idea, the seed of a new awareness may be trying to break through into consciousness. In the silence, let us tend our own inner gardens, that we may find springtime signs of new life within ourselves: blessing to us and our world.

"Is there enough Silence for the Word to be heard?"

IN MEMORIAM

Nan Crerie Merrill, December 3, 1931—January 23, 2010

On January 23, 2010, at 11:15 p.m., Nan C. Merrill, founder and director of Friends of Silence, slipped through the veil to her Beloved. The daughter of Ernest and Merle Crerie, Nan was mother to 3 sons and 2 daughters; "Nana" to 6 grandchildren; and "Auntie Nancy" to 6 nieces and nephews. She is also survived by one sister and a whole host of friends and colleagues across the country and abroad.

Nan touched the hearts of thousands of people through her monthly publication of Friends of Silence. She started this newsletter over 22 years ago in Detroit, Michigan, where she spent several years as a lay volunteer in an inner-city church. FOS has grown from a beginning group of about 40 members who came together at the church to pray silently over the city to more than six thousand subscribers world wide.

Nan shared her deep spiritual insights and love of writing by authoring six books and editing numerous others. She encouraged and nurtured everyone who came into her path. Nan has led retreats, worked with inner city residents and been involved in prison ministry for many years. She had a wonderful sense of humor and was an avid sports fan who enjoyed watching golf, basketball and football.

Nan and I met by mail through her FOS newsletter nearly 20 years ago. As she did for so many, she mentored me by being my "pen pal" for several years before we met face to face. Nan assisted me along the way through the intense spiritual search in which I was engaged, lending an ear or a shoulder as needed. She became my dear friend and colleague as the years passed, and I will sorely miss her. Still, I am so aware that she is here, that she lives on, not only in her published work, but also in our memories and our awareness of her strong spiritual presence in our own lives. Friends of Silence will continue in her footsteps.

Warm greetings, dear friends, on a cold winter's day!  The sun sparkles on a field of snow, dazzling us with a sudden awareness of the miracles Love wrought in creating our beautiful world.  Perhaps one of the greatest of these miracles is that a spark of the Great Love also exists in every one of us.  The seeds of Love are planted in our hearts that we may blanket the world with fields of love.  We have only to open our hearts to enable that love to grow and bloom and spread across our world.  Look deeply into your own heart as you sit within the silence . . . find the love there, and as the husk falls away from the seed, allowing it to grow and bloom, allow any hardness of heart to dissolve into the flame of Love.  Love can change the world!

New Year's Greetings, dear friends of silence!  As we move through the winter season, let us, like the earth, lie fallow for a while, allowing unseen and as yet unknown life to gestate within our depths.  With deep humility, let us reflect in the silence upon what it means to surrender to the Divine Spark that resides in each of us and allow that creative Life Force to do with us what it will.  It is a gift of this quieter season that we can be released from our ego-driven lives and draw closer to the source of Love in the silent darkness.  Let us surrender ourselves in humble recognition that we are called, through faith, simply to be open and accepting; to listen, without expectations, to whatever is coming to birth within us.  We are called to a humble openness, to walk the way of goodness with the comfort of Love, at one with all humanity and with our earth.  May we surrender to the call, whatever it may be, as it comes to each of us.

"Is there enough Silence for the Word to be heard?"

Winter Greetings, dear friends, and deep peace of the season's first silent snowfall to each of you. As we naturally turn inward in response to the more reflective nature of the season, may we find there reminders that we can carry the peace of this slower, quieter season within us to every place and every time. For peace, fostered by silent communion with the Love that ever accompanies us, is not confined to any outward season or circumstance. Rather, it is born of our constant awareness of and gratitude for the companioning Presence that accompanies us all the days of our lives. May our innate longing for peace foster a growing ability to nurture it within ourselves and each other by turning within in silence. Discover the "still point" of peace within your sacred heart-space and listen for the Word to be heard.

"Is there enough Silence for the Word to be heard?"

Bountiful blessings of the Silence, dear friends!

Taking time each day to allow the Silence to permeate your whole being is a gift to your Self that keeps on giving. For, in Silence we are never truly alone. Indeed, as we abide in the Silence, countless beings are drawn to the peace and well-being that radiates around us ... those from the unseen Realm of Love along with the angels and community of heaven. Since silence is the language of Love, we are practicing the Presence daily each time we surrender ourselves into holy Silence, be it for a few moments, minutes, or hours. As our souls yearn for the Beloved, in stillness and silence our souls are guided to the Divine Indweller. To maintain a daily discipline of silence is to nourish and nurture the Divine Child within us. ... May we each sink again and again into the Silence of Love and listen ... Silence speaks.

Warm greetings, dear friends!

Ah, the sweet mystery of our lives on Journey ... the mystery of being touched by nature's wonders, great and small ... the mystery of relationships–friends, family, community, nations ... the mystery of deep Silence, inner and outer ... the mystery of our own being–Who am I? ... the mystery of our own birth and death ... the mystery of Life beyond the Veil in the unseen Realm of Love. To sit in solitude and silence and contemplate the Mystery can bring surprises and blessings of new insight, deeper peace, and the joy of simply Being within the Sacred Chapel of our hearts.

No one else can know what work will make our hearts sing, but we ourselves in our own inner being. Two mystic poets can, however, help us with the essence of what our Work can aspire to be: Gibran – "Work is love made visible" and Rumi – "Let the beauty we love be what we do." Work as an offering of our Selves in love, with all our strengths and limitations, to the wider community becomes a mutual blessing that honors our very being. To know Work as a sacred vocation no matter how lofty or how humble it may seem becomes equal in the eyes of Love. For all good work contributes to the Whole ... nothing we do with love and kindness is too little.

In the silence we can ponder the ways we work in love, create or honor beauty, and bring blessing to others. What makes your heart sing?

Summertime Blessings of sunshine's radiance, blossoming's beauty, laughter of children at play ... Love's eternal and infinite variety at the heart of Life. In the stillness of no-time we are free of fear, free to simply be without burdensome thoughts of past or future. Here, "I am who I am" ... here, we are One in Being with All. In the deep Silence of timelessness, may we surrender to the Eternal Now, be present to each holy instant, and know Love-with-us always.

Blessings of great beauty be with you all, dear friends of silence.

Without Beauty what a dull world this would be. For, when we are able to see and feel the beauty that abides within us, we, naturally, begin to see the beauty within everyone and everything. Beauty hides Her face only to those whose eyes see others and things as objects to be collected or used. We can, however, learn to see beauty everywhere through the eyes of Love abiding within our hearts. When you love — especially those you would rather turn from — Beauty will gently reveal Herself, if you are open to Her. Then, you will both begin to shine with the Divine Beauty of Love and extend it out to the world. Be still, silent, and see.
 

Blessings, dear friends around the world!

Throughout our journey into the Silence, we experience new landscapes, the beautiful country of our soul. Here our minds are stilled and we "know without knowing," a clarity beyond our little selves in no-space and no-time. Our creativity expands as our soul is attuned and aligned with our higher Self, where our soul is at One with All. These may be but fleeting moments; yet, as we dive deeper into the Ocean of Love that stirs us and ever embraces us, our soul expands, our life becomes rich and full even under difficult circumstances, our fears diminish in the presence of Love. We become beneficial co-creators as we engage with the world. Let us be mindful, as Meister Eckhart reminds us, that "God is not found in the soul by adding anything, but by a process of subtraction." For, our souls thrive in silence, stillness, simplicity, and times of solitude.
 

Dear friends...Blessings of Springtime renewal and growth—Nature’s eternal new beginnings, a time to be still and listen.

 She whispers to us in blue sky days, where bird songs fill the air as the work of nest building and birthing create fresh starts, new hope. She invites us to co-create with Her to renew the Earth! She speaks to us of Her sickness and pleads with all to come to Her aid. She weeps with those who bear the brunt of Her inevitable storms and droughts that are but terrible Wake-Up calls to every one of us.
 
Nature is showing us that the time is now as She calls us to the Great Work of renewal, peace, justice, and Love . . . For, She knows that we are blessed as we honor Her Body, as we work--even in small ways--for Her survival, as we take responsibility to help Her heal and, once again, know well-being. And, as we respond, we will come to know that we are One in Being in the Divine Milieu of Life . . . and, rejoice!

Winter blessings, dear friends! Home evokes a unique image and feeling for each individual: home is an origin, a place of belonging, a family or familial abode for everyone in every possible state, from humble hovels to rich mansions. For many of us, home is where our heart is, be it a haven of comfort or a challenging place endured. For all too many, home is on a bench, over a ventilator, under a bridge, or even with thousands of refugees in make-shift areas in the desert. To be homeless is a suffering, sorrow, and great unjust imbalance in the world. Home is often associated with our body. To be at home with who you are—body, mind, and soul—is pure blessing creating confidence and self-esteem. To remember that wherever we dwell, our true Home is in the Heart of Love ... we can never truly be alone, for Love is our eternal Home—here now or in Life beyond the Veil. And, one day, as the world recognizes that we are all interrelated, One in Being, Love will lead the way for individuals to share so that everyone will have a home to "nest" in.

Blessings to you all . . . friends around the world!

True hope is rooted in a Reality beyond ego and illusion.  Hope that rises in our hearts is like a buoyant bubble of champagne; for some, it brings tears of relief, while others, may sense a new way to the future that will bring healing to us—personally, communally, nationally, globally—to all of Creation.  Hope recognizes that many challenges await us on the path, obstacles and possible pitfalls that may delay outcome.  In hope we are made new; for it is a sure and steadfast anchor of our soul that enters “the inner shrine behind the curtain,” where the Divine Guest abides.  So, in the Silence, let us embrace Love and dare to hope: the promise for all of Creation.
 
“For in hope we are renewed.  Yet hope that is seen is not hope.  Who hopes for what is seen?  Then, if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with trust, patience, and assurance.”  Hebrews 8:24

Winter Blessings, dear friends!

Recall for a moment the innocence, spontaneity, and energy of your childhood years . . . the world of growing pains and joy, dancing and singing, running and jumping, magic and mystery, of freedom and friendship . . . of hiding in quiet spaces in silence under bushes, a willow tree, or in a closet where you could create a secret, imaginative life for a while . . . Then, all too soon, it was as if a door opened into the adult world and childhood dreams slowly seemed to fade away. For some children, however, childhood held more fear than fun. Some grew up in tragedy never really having a chance to grow and mature "normally." Still, the Divine Child dwells within every one of us. What if you were to take time to call upon your inner Child, ask him or her to lead you in the Dance, the Play, the Music once again? It is possible!

Mechtild of Magdeburg, an early sage, was affirmed in her prayer, "I God, am your playmate! I will lead the Child in you in wonderful ways, for I have chosen you."  Love has chosen us all! It is never too late to learn from the Divine Child within your heart.

The way I treat my inner child is the way I am going to treat my outer child.

"Is there enough Silence for the Word to be heard?"

Holiday Blessings, dear friends! And so much gratitude for each of you!

Gratitude is an expression of heaven on Earth ... a treasure that enhances our lives so we feel rich, as in "all is well with me, all is well with the world." For, in truth, we usually receive far more than we are able to give: we have Life and all of nature's gifts, and an open door to Love without end. We have the hidden world of Silence and the Holy Counselor to walk with and within us all the way.

May deep gratitude for all that has now passed inspire us with trust for all that is to come. O, may we ever be rooted in gratitude!

"Is there enough Silence for the Word to be heard?"

Greetings of the season, dear friends! Silence can be a great revelation, a gentle revolution, and can evoke resolution. Ever awaiting us in the Silence are insight, intuition, and inspiration. Be still, remain awake, and listen! While shallow ponds and brooks are noisy and busy, still waters run deep; they are calm and silent. True Silence is the blessed, eternal language of soul-Love. Silence: a sacred garden of meditation. In the Silence be still and Know; be still and See.

"Is there enough Silence for the Word to be heard?"

Every Blessing, dear friends. As summer dies into autumn, we can feel new energy, new life. For life is eternal ... how could it be otherwise? There is a universal continuity, an infinite and ever-flowing consciousness that we forget at our birth and return to at our physical death, where we pass into the Realm of Love. This Love is present to and with us throughout our lives. As young children, we naturally live in both the earthly and heavenly realms until the material world with its wondrous possibilities and myriad distractions becomes the norm.

Blessed are those who learn to see beyond the Veil, who communicate with the angels and lovingly co-create with the community of those who have entered true Life! As we die to all that is not life-giving here and now, we more easily make the transition when Love calls to us.

"Is there enough Silence for the Word to be heard?"

Heartfelt good wishes, dear friends!
Creation ... Creator ... Creativity. We are all born into Creation to become co-creators with the Great Architect of all Life. Moment by moment, creativity flows through us, inviting us to create and re-create our own lives into Love being expressed. Silence is like a river that keeps our "creative juices" flowing. At each new dawn throughout eternity, the world is made new. And so it is with us; how we choose to live, think, and act becomes the blueprint of our own creation. Wherever we are, whatever our age and circumstance ... creation continues.

"Is there enough Silence for the Word to be heard?"

Summertime Blessings of sunshine's radiance, blossoming's beauty, laughter of children at play ... Love's eternal and infinite variety at the heart of Life. In the stillness of no-time we are free of fear, free to simply be without burdensome thoughts of past or future. Here, "I am who I am" ... here, we are One in Being with All. In the deep Silence of timelessness, may we surrender to the Eternal Now, be present to each holy instant, and know Love-with-us always.

"Is there enough Silence for the Word to be heard?"

The universe is singing, blanketed in a cocoon of sublime music. Listen in the silence and let music enter the secret places of your soul, and be soothed. Allow harmonic resonances of music to lift your spirit to higher vibrations. For, joy dwells here. Nature in all Her glory eternally sings creation's Love-Song orchestrated by the Great Musician. All is music! In the Silence, tune in.

"Is there enough Silence for the Word to be heard?"

Blessings, dear friends of silence, wherever you may live! Many are the facets of friendship. To befriend ourselves--body, mind, emotion, spirit--and to make friends with our Inner Being, from the dark areas of fear and illusion to the golden glow of our gifts and goodness, can be like cultivating a sacred space, a garden that reflects our lives.

Then, one's friends are like the flowers in our garden, each a treasure with its own unique blossoming. While to befriend strangers--the poor and disenfranchised, peoples of all nations, even those we view as enemies--the unjust and greedy who create war and inequity while ignoring the devastation left behind--can be a lifelong challenge, we must seek the source of discord in prayer and friendship with the Source of all life. And to befriend our Earth in all we do may be our greatest and most important challenge. For without a viable planet, we are left homeless.

Throughout our lives, as we befriend the Silence, we travel deeper into the light of our Inner Sacred Chapel and higher into the Light of Love. Whatever the form, friendship is a mutual gift that eternally warms and blesses our hearts and souls.

"Is there enough Silence for the Word to be heard?"

Every blessing, dear friends, in this season of new growth.

To spend time in Nature's tapestry of Life is like opening an amazing gift: an instruction book of Love and Life given to us by the Creator, Source of All Being. Here we can see how we participate in the seasons of our lives, the interplay and interconnectedness of all things that sustain our lives, the beauty and wisdom of unity in diversity, and the intricate patterns of every variety of flora and fauna. Celebrating, honoring, and learning from this Divine Gift is in a very real sense to reverence our own lives and the life of the planet, which depend on Nature's abundant bounty. May we share and care for Nature's gifts with equity and gratitude. May we gift ourselves with times in the Silence while basking in some of Nature's sacred settings, even if it be in our own backyard. Here, peace, harmony, and renewal will be sure to nest in your heart.

"Is there enough Silence for the Word to be heard?"

Blessings of spring, awakening anew in our lives, dear companions on the Journey.

May our prayers include pauses of simply be-ing ... of gratitude in the Silence for the present moment of life, nature's gifts, and Love-ever-with-us. Throughout each day may we be mindful of our thoughts, for strong thought--positive or negative--are, in a real sense, our prayers. As has been wisely observed, "as we thinketh, so we become." Thoughts, like prayer, radiate energy that matters, depending on our focus, intensity, intention, and accompanying source of reception. May our prayers be from the heart, breathed into the Silence ... May our thoughts be loving, gentle, and kind ... May both our prayers and thoughts lead us to fulfillment: service and sharing wherever we meet a need ... May our gifts and creativity grow in the Silence.

"Is there enough Silence for the Word to be heard?"

Blessings of peace and love, dear friends and companions.Love at the heart of our lives brings all to fulfillment: a peaceful soul ... a life that blesses. So, what could be more practical than awakening to Love? Here we may experience the Oneness we are with All and know, know for sure, that we can never truly be alone. For, Love abides in everyone, everywhere, notwithstanding outward appearances. So, let your love shine. Love ... be loved.

"Is there enough Silence for the Word to be heard?"

Blessings of the new year, dear companions on the journey. Just as the daily renewal of sunlight sustains the earth, so our inner soul-light nourishes and guides our lives.

"You are the light of the world."

Astonishing! In stillness and silence may you recognize the light you are and the Light you bear. May you more consciously radiate your heart-light out to the world and shine, wherever you may be.

"Is there enough Silence for the Word to be heard?"

In this season of celebration, may angelic blessings be yours, dear friends. Living with an awareness of their companioning presence, even if only with trust to begin with, we come to realize angelic joy is working with us, surprising us, and reminding us that we are loved beyond measure. Limit not the myriad ways your angelic companions may knock on the door of your heart. Spending time in the Silence draws them nigh. And you might ask, "When was the last time I thanked my angels?"

"Is there enough Silence for the Word to be heard?"

Warmest greetings to one and all in this season of homecomings, thanks-giving, and gratitude. In the midst of our noisy pain-filled world, may we come home to the Silence. May we bless ourselves and the world as we stop talking and thinking for a while and allow the Silence to still us and, perhaps, to speak a word to our soul. Listening to the silence is an art form where the infinite harmony of the universe calms and nourishes body, mind, and soul. Be still. Listen. Love's silent heart-song will bring you Home to your Divine origin.

"Is there enough Silence for the Word to be heard?"

May Blessings of the Mystery greet you in the Silence, dear friends! Sacred Mystery abides within us all. As we develop a deeper connection to the Infinite Source of Life, we learn to love the Mystery and trust the Process of its life in us. We become aware that wherever the journey leads, Divine Presence travels in us, through us, and with us amidst the joys, challenges, and diminishments in our lives. We are never alone! So in the Silence, may we make room in our hearts, minds, and souls for the Divine Mystery of all life to more consciously unfold in our lives ...

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