I have two favourite words.  The first is a popular choice I’d guess: Love.  James Taylor wrote “There ain’t no doubt in no one’s mind that love’s the finest thing around.”  I agree, James.

I venture to say that my other favourite word is the choice of no one else.  Mind you, I haven’t met all eight billion of us.


I’m not talking about cartoons.  No, there’s another meaning.  To animate has its origin in Latin: the verb “animo” means to fill with breath, make alive, encourage, embolden.  It’s to see the extraordinary in the ordinary, to bring to vision an extra layer that shines like the sun.

We’re surrounded by ordinary moments.  How can we breathe life into them?  Take a bus for instance.  In Canada I was used to a sign that said “Out of Service” – not open for passengers.  Yesterday I saw one in Ghent that said “Pauze” – approximately the same I imagine.

Pretty basic stuff.  Nothing really to notice … until you glance at the graphic: a steaming hot cup of coffee.  The driver is taking a break, and enjoying it.

There is a blessing in the sky if we have eyes to see.  It’s not just blue and clouds.  No, it’s blue … and a fairy princess who slowly drifts away.

I love it when my mouth drops open without being prompted to do so by my brain.  There is wonder here, a majesty, a feeling of being dressed up in your finest.

It’s possible to see inside things, to fall into their essence, to unite with a mystery hanging out there in the mist.

Our fingers grow longer when we reach to touch the unknown, when we don’t compare this moment to a previous one, when depth appears in what many see as flat.

The moments of awe are sitting beside us, waiting for our approach.  Some very large being wants us to come along for the ride.  Something is here that’s always available, something that feels like home.

Let’s go find it.


I participated in an online course about relationships on Saturday.  About twenty-five of us spent two hours together.  Most of it was a presentation about “mutual awakening”.  We reflected on what’s possible between two human beings.

And then it was time for dessert.  I had propped up my Samsung phone on a book.  The moderator’s face disappeared, replaced by a sign inviting me to “Join breakout session 9”.  I said yes and suddenly there was a woman looking at me from her living room in Alberta.  I’ll call her Megan.  Time stopped as I looked into her eyes and said hi.  And she was just as happy to see me.

The moderator had coached us about the process.  We’d start by having Megan ask me “What are you experiencing right now?”  I’d take ten minutes to reply and then we’d switch roles.  No censoring of the words spilling forth.  Not trying to make them sound reasonable.  The listener doesn’t say anything, and doesn’t evaluate the speaker’s words.  She simply stays “with” the other person.

During the final ten minutes, we’d answer the question “What are we experiencing right now?”  For that last bit, we wouldn’t be sharing “What I think we’re experiencing”.  Instead, we’d ideally move our consciousness into the other person and sense our unity.  Oh.  That sounded like a tall order.

Having been assured that there was no right or wrong way to do this, I let go.  I was in wonder, facing this person so far away geographically and somehow so close in my heart.  “How can this be?” I asked myself.  I just met Megan minutes ago.  It was clear that we had willingly entered a sacred space together, where anything that came out of our mouths was perfectly fine.

“I’m astonished.”

“I feel happy … new … wonder … chuckly … at home.”  Megan smiled and I was at peace.  I was receiving wonderful permission to be totally me in the moment.

When Megan spoke, I went inside her, or so it felt.  The first thing she was experiencing was “bubbles”.  How sweet.  And her smile spoke volumes.  I could tell she trusted me, this stranger from Ontario.

The whole group came back at the end, for comments and questions.  I put up my hand.  “I’m so astonished.  I’ve never experienced anything like this in my life.  I’ve read Patricia’s book and I’ve gone on lots of retreats … ”  And then I was silent, shaking my head in wonder for all the folks to see.  As much as I love words, sometimes there are none.

The journey continues for the next three Saturdays.  I feel so open to what these mutual awakeners will bring me and ready to let go of thought in my communication with them.