• Blog,  Prayer and Reflections

    A leopard can’t change its spots? I’ll take your word for it…

    I was thinking this morning of how so many of the stock phases we use in our daily lives are actually self-limiting and disempowering of ourselves and others. Try these ten out for starters and see if you can hear yourself saying them. If so, try out the correction underneath each phrase. The journey to empowering ourselves begins by catching how we can disempower ourselves and pushing against it. I hope this helps.   A leopard can’t change its spots: There aren’t too many leopards here in deepest, darkest West Belfast but I’ll take your word for it… when it comes to leopards that is. People are not leopards. People…

  • Blog,  Prayer and Reflections

    Uncomfortable, disruptive friends

    The same darn thing would happen every day at this time of the year. She would be woken by the clang of sharp clawed feet bouncing on her bedroom’s flat roof. The bounce was accompanied by a sharp ‘kaw-kaw’ cutting through the blissful silence of sleep. For the last ten years, a succession of magpies had chosen her house as a venue for an early morning rendezvous. Just as the sun came up (stupid o’clock, she called it) the black and white winged warriors would congregate and bounce back and forth across her roof, ‘kaw-kaw-ing’ with the enthusiasm of school children on a day trip to the zoo. The result…

  • Blog,  Prayer and Reflections

    Deep Breath- First Steps

    9 years ago today I woke up with a hangover. It wasn’t from drinking too much red wine or beer. It was from having been in hospital for surgery the day before. I’d had half my meniscus (cartilage) removed from my right knee having torn it 8 months earlier. You can read more about my surgery here: https://gymforthesoul.life/prayer-and-reflections/losing-control/   For now I want to say something about the day after the surgery. So back to the hangover. My head was sore, my tummy was sore, my leg was sore. I was sore. My leg was swollen and still had the arrow marked on it from the day before to ensure…

  • Blog,  Pray,  Prayer and Reflections

    For the Gift of Humilty

      These small holding crosses are at the start of an epic journey. After starting out as trees, they have found their way into my workshop here in West Belfast, Northern Ireland. But from tree to workshop is not the end of their journey. They are about to undertake a journey of transformation and then another journey of great distance as they make their way to Florida in the Unites States of America.       As they sit now, they are barely roughed out shapes bearing the saw marks of their recent shaping. They have sharp edges and uneven surfaces. In many ways they are rugged, and that brings…

  • Blog,  Prayer and Reflections

    What is your mission?

    I invite you to reflect on the topic of SERVICE, WORTHINESS and DISCERNMENT. And to do so using the words of St John Henry Newman as our guide. “God has created me to do Him some definite service.” As we go on the journey of life may we know that we are all called to serve others in love. Service of others is not easy. It is, however, a core element of the Christian life to which all of us are called. Let us pray then that we who are called may grow into a ministry of service for all in God’s name and in whatever way God calls us…

  • Blog,  Pray,  Prayer and Reflections

    One Minute Litany Prayer

    One Minute Litany Prayer   For all that I have, gratitude. Hear our cries, Lord.   For those who are sick and dying, healing. Hear our cries, Lord.   For those undergoing treatment or awaiting results, positive outcomes. Hear our cries, Lord.   For those struggling with addictions, fortitude. Hear our cries, Lord.   For those who are lonely, friendship. Hear our cries, Lord.   For those who find themselves in foreign lands and discriminated against, compassion. Hear our cries, Lord.   For those caught up in war, peace. Hear our cries, Lord.   For those wrestling with a difficult decision, wisdom. Hear our cries, Lord.   For those in…

  • Blog,  Prayer and Reflections,  Prayers

    For a Rose in the Midst of the Struggle.

    There once was a path. It went on for a very long distance indeed. The path was steep. It was bumpy and sharp. Those who climbed the steep path rarely even looked up to see where they were. They never saw the grass or the trees or the animals who lived there in the park. The path and its difficulties stole all of this from the travellers. Truth be told, that path was one that feet struggled to travel on. But there, in the midst of the struggle- not separate from it, but in the midst of it- lay a little, delicate rose. Its petals were thin and wonderfully shaped.…

  • Blog,  Poem,  Poetry

    Precious, the words spoken in love

    She spoke your name today. Precious, the words spoken in love. They were conceived in her heart, Grew within, And were given life through her lips.   The new born words fell, Gently from her mouth, In all but silent compassion.   Fell, but did not hit the floor. Words spoken in love never do; They are too precious, As you are precious.   And so the new born words of your name, Floated above the ground. And as she looked upon them, She saw her prayer for you.   They floated, For a second only, Before, Rising,   High, High, High,   Carried by love, To love itself; Into…

  • Blog,  Poem

    Plankectomy- the removal of one’s own plank…

    Inspired by Luke 6:39-42…   Planks are curious things Huge, yet invisible To the self-delusional Hypocritical Eye of… well all of us At some time Or another   Planks that bind to us And blind us To our own wee foibles (Big ones too) And yet provide us With a line to aim Down, straight To the perceived faults of others Splinters, of course   But…   Planks Seem to have A kind of magnificatory Ability To lead us to the sin Of diagnosis (Seeing the bad And need to change) Of those with splinters Without first, gently And honestly Performing surgery On ourselves A ‘plankectomy’ if you will  …

  • Blog,  Prayer and Reflections,  Prayers

    Love Is All

    I invite you to find a quiet spot and allow yourself a little time to relax, meditate, pray.   Begin by sitting still, focusing on your breathing. Don’t try to change your breathing; just notice that you ARE breathing. Acknowledge each breath as a sign of the life you have within you.   Now, speak silently or aloud as you breathe.   On the in breath: “I am loved” On the out breath: “I am love”   Repeat this for a minute or so. As you do, my invitation is for you to know that God loves you. Whatever your relationship with God (or even if you don’t really think…