Tag Archives: service

Book Announcement: The First in a Series

In celebration of International Women’s Day, I am happy to announce the publication of A Free and Wild Creature: Women, Service and Motherhood.

Book Cover I am a Wild CreatureThis book is a selection of blogs that have appeared on this website from 2014 to 2019. As the past five years have flown by, these bi-monthly reflections followed each other without any thought on my part to their cohesion or continuity. They simply captured moments in time – concerns, joys, wonder, delight, and sorrow.

And yet, while preparing this series of four small books, the reflections seemed to have mysteriously folded into one another. Like the flotsam washed ashore by the sea, these reflections seemed to have divided themselves by weight, roundness, shape and tone.

Since I can remember, I have always loved walking along the edge of the sea and collecting shells, drift wood, and polished stones. You might think of this book as a beaded necklace of ocean treasures. Each reflection has been selected, polished, and threaded together with the hope that they form a synthesis of love and will. A message of power and hope and all that it means to be fully human.

What people are saying about A Free and Wild Creature

Thank you Catherine! This book is so beautiful, and so subtly written…. you are both an artist and a scientist, and what is more, a woman with a true heart.
Isabelle Clotilde Küng Faillettaz

Thank you for your perspective and inspiration. Beautifully told and deeply pondered perspectives on the social roles and programming that we unconsciously operate from.
Amy Sundari Finlay

Reading Catherine’s writing is to find yourself drinking from a clear stream that feeds the soul’s unnamed thirst. Her words hold wisdom, gentleness, presence, and beauty. Reflect on them and your world enlarges.
Anna Citrino

Greetings dear Catherine! Che BRAVA la nostra Catherine. I am deeply touched by your recent piece. So timely. So unique. So rich in understanding. You never disappoint.
Jean Bates

A beautiful sharing, full of grace. Thank you.
Joyce Hopewell

I just want to let you know that I enjoy reading your writings and thank you for being so open.
Gedy van der Lely

To Purchase the Book or Ebook

You can buy A Wild and Free Creature with Paypal through Lulu.com, by clicking here.

The ebook is also available through Lulu.com, by clicking here.

Also coming soon!

Love and Will in a Tea Cup COVER

Harkening Within

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Etty Hillesum in 1939

Seventy-five years ago on November 30th, a young Dutch Jewish intellect died at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Her legacy of love and reconciliation, as described in her ten diary notebooks and the many letters that she wrote, continues to inspire people around the world. Etty Hillesum (1914-1943) was only 29 years old when she died, but during her short lifespan she managed to live a life of contemplative spirituality and practice in a world that seemed to be falling to pieces around her.

Hillesum grew up in a non-religious home of intellectuals. Her parents were both teachers – her father taught the classics and her mother Russian literature. Hillesum had two younger brothers, both very talented but mentally unstable. She describes having grown up in a “chaotic and sad situation … a madhouse where no human being can flourish.” Continue reading

Upon Entering Every Home…

assagioli-service-010192Recently, I have discovered a box of notes labelled Service in Assagioli’s Archives. This box is a treasure trove of inspiration and direction, especially as we enter this year of tremendous responsibility. What is special about most of these notes are that many of them are dated, a rarity among his archive material. Titles of folders inside this box include: “How to help” and “Simple ways of serving.”

The majority are written in Italian and first person, giving the impression that they were meant to encourage and direct himself as he began to integrate and synthesize his own life of service in the world. One of the notes is simply:

Servizio – (Mia) preparazione (Miei) compiti

Service – (My) preparation (My) tasks

Dates of the notes range from 1921—1931. This decade of Assagioli’s life was very fertile – personally, professionally, and spiritually. Assagioli was to become a mature man of 33-43 years. In 1922, he married Nella Ciapetti, and a year later became a father for the first time to his son, Francesco Ilario.

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Stop Saving the World

saving-the-worldThe title of this blog might be a strange one for Christmas week, a time when many of us make a special effort to help those in need, donate money to charity, and volunteer our time to a deserving cause. Given the state of our world, you might argue that “stop saving the world” seems incongruent with what the world really needs today.

To better explore what I mean, we once again turn to Assagioli’s essay “Martha and Mary: The Active Life –The Contemplative Life.” This time we focus on his ideas about service. [i] Assagioli writes:

“If we examine our motives with all sincerity we often discover that the reasons for our preoccupation with helping others are not as pure and noble as we thought. We begin to realize that the shining alloy, mixed with gold, also contains the base metal of vanity, presumption, proselytism, and – most subtle and concealed of all – the desire to appease our conscience so that we will have some excuse for not undertaking the hard work of inner purification.”

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Collect Your Mind

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Assagioli’s note from Freedom in Jail

In his book Freedom in Jail (now available for purchase), Assagioli referred twice to the Gospel story of Martha and Mary, and even indicated that he wanted to have an Appendix that would reflect upon it. This appendix was never written, but later his eloquent essay was: “Martha and Mary: The Active Life –The Contemplative Life.” [1]

In this blog and the next, we will take a closer look at his essay. First of all, Assagioli asks that we read this gospel story with an open mind. So let’s begin with the story:

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