Tag Archives: travel

God likes small places…

Line Drawing of Restaurant by Jenny Beale

Roseleen’s Restaurant’s entrance, by Jenny Beale

Twenty years ago I published God is in Roseleen’s Restaurant, a small book of reflective meditations about my time working as a waitress in Ireland. Can two decades go by just like that? Twenty years ago I was 44 years old, living in a round wooden house in Kinvara, a small village on the West Coast of Ireland. I had just met and fallen in love with my Dutch husband. We would marry in May the next year and have our wedding feast at Roseleen’s.

When I got the job as a waitress, I was an unemployed technical writer with little knowledge of either psychosynthesis or Assagioli. But (as always) I was searching…

Waitressing in Ireland – the performance of this simple everyday task – unexpectedly led me to the Divine. Not only did I discover God amongst the cutlery, boiled potatoes, Irish eccentrics and lost tourists, I also discovered my own human limitations and vulnerability. God is in Roseleen’s Restaurant is a collection of vignettes that capture Irish character and wit and reveal one woman’s soul in her daily meditations on Universal Love.

This is what Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul, has to say about God is in Roseleen’s Restaurant:

“This charming and deceptively simple book re-awakens the kind of sentiments that ultimately form the foundation of social justice and world peace. The meaning of life is to be found in a small restaurant in a small place as seen by an author with a large heart and a great imagination.”

After five years of writing this blog, I have decided to dust off the pages of God is in Roseleen’s Restaurant and take a brief pause from my usually “Love and Will” reflections. For the next few months, I will offer you my voice from twenty years ago, the voice a younger woman during younger times – before Kinvara was riddled with gigantic €500,000 homes, the world was oblivious to smartphones and Facebook, and the Twin Towers stood tall in NYC.

I hope you enjoy the journey – both in time and space. The place itself – Roseleen’s Restaurant – disappeared a long time ago. Today there is a supermarket with a guest house above. Roseleen still lives in Kinvara.  With much gratitude, I thank her for letting me share her beautiful paintings as part of this series.

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Artwork by Roseleen Tanham, http://kava.ie/rosaleen-tanham/

And now…let’s begin…

Introduction to God is in Roseleen’s Restaurant

God is persistent. I learned this after receiving my third rejection letter when seeking work as a technical writer of computer manuals, a job I’ve performed successfully for the past twelve years. “We are sorry, but you are overqualified and too highly-skilled.”

God has a sense of humor. I learned this after ordering a cup of coffee and a scone at Rosaleen’s new restaurant. “Catherine, do you want to work as a waitress?” Rosaleen’s eyes pleaded with me. It was May, and every young girl in Kinvara was busy studying for her Leaving Cert — the Irish college entrance exams that determine, not only where you can study, but also what you can study. I had waitressed twenty-five years before. I laughed with God, and said yes to Rosaleen.

God has a plan. I learned this as a waitress at Rosaleen’s Restaurant. On my very first day, I realized I was going to learn more about myself and life in general while working for five hours in Rosaleen’s Restaurant than I had in more than a decade of working in front of my computer screen.

God likes small places. Kinvara has a population of about 3000 people and is nestled in a crook of Galway Bay in the West of Ireland. It is a place of megalithic tombs, holy wells, a 14th century castle, ancient cairns, Irish music, and weekly set-dancing.

God likes big places. Like the hearts of all the people I worked with, served, and met. Like your heart and mine too.

God is not dead. God is alive and in Rosaleen’s Restaurant. I promise, if you look, you’ll find God alive in your life too. That’s why I wrote this book. To help you to look.

A Mystic’s Gift

Evelyn-Underhill

Evelyn Underhill

Recently I wrote about Sorella Maria – “A Wild and Free Creature”, who founded a small Franciscan community in the heart of Umbria. While further exploring the life of this inspiring spiritual pioneer, I discovered that Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941) also visited the Hermitage of Campello in 1927 (a place that we too will visit on September 20 during  Journey to Places of the Higher Self). (You can read the essay Underhill wrote for The Spectator about her visit, A Franciscan Hermitage.)

According to Underhill’s biographer Dana Greene, this one-day visit was fundamental to her decision to return to active participation in the Anglican Church in which she had been baptized and confirmed. She wrote:

“Certainly nothing has ever brought me so near to the real Franciscan spirit as a few hours spent in the Vale of Spoleto with a little group of women who are trying to bring back to modern existence the homely, deeply supernatural and quite unmonastic ideal of the Primitive Rule.”

By the time Underhill paid a visit to the Hermitage, she had already published her best-selling book Mysticism: A Study in Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness. This book, published in 1911, reclaimed mysticism as part of the human condition. In her 500+ page book (with more than 1000 footnotes), she explored for the first time in a systematic and scholarly way mysticism throughout the ages and across cultures, nations, and religions. While she focused on mysticism in Christianity, she also examined Sufism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and other belief systems. She defined mysticism as:
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San-Ni-Ichi

Peak Experience3 ClombardTranspersonal experiences have blessed my life for many years. Perhaps one of the earliest and strongest occurred in 1987 while I was living in Japan. After graduating from UC Berkeley, I moved to Fukuyama, about 400 miles south of Tokyo to teach English.

Before I left, my brother gave me the name and address of Takashi (not his real name), a friend of his from business school who lived in Tokyo. Soon after settling in, I contacted Takashi and introduced myself. He replied with the suggestion that I meet him in Kyoto where he was planning a business trip. During the weekend, he would have time to accompany me through the ancient capital city.

I happily agreed to this idea. Kyoto is renown for its numerous temples and shrines. Surrounded by mountains and graced with bamboo gardens and philosopher paths, Kyoto seems to hold the essence of Japan. With a guiding hand, I hoped to touch this essence. Continue reading

Places of the Higher Self

Five-day Journey Through the Green Heart of Italy

September 18-23, 2017

Assagioli at camadoli

We will visit the Camaldoli Hermitage near Florence. Here is a photo of Roberto Assagioli (fourth from the left) outside of this same hermitage (courtesy of Fernando Maraghini).

In our everyday lives we are often too busy, distracted, or caught in the mundane to be open to the places of the Higher Self. Throughout history and across cultures, our ancestors have always created ritual space and time for the transpersonal to enter into the ordinary. Such holy places are often located on mountaintops and deep inside caves, in silent havens and in nature. Churches, temples, and mosques have been built to hold the polar tensions of spirit and matter, inner and outer space and light, as well as the community that shares the transcendent experience. As an expression of beauty, awe, and awakening, art has also always played a great part along this journey to our Higher Self.

La Verna, Italy

La Verna, Italy

Continuing with the theme of “Synthesis,” after the International Meeting at Casa Assagioli, we embark on a Journey to the Higher Self. Starting from Florence, we travel east to visit medieval churches and mountain hermitages, allow our souls to soar from La Verna, discover beautiful villages and, of course, enjoy the cucina locale. During this five-day journey, you will have a chance to discover places of transcendence in the green heart of Italy – in the forest-covered Tuscan and Umbrian Apennines, the home of many generations of seekers and saints of the transpersonal.

The journey is especially meant to be an open voyage of discovery and a direct personal experience of all that presents itself during its various stages. We will go slowly and quietly, allowing you the time and space necessary to directly experience the reality of the Higher Self, the key part of you that connects the personal with the transpersonal and, hence, the personal with the universal.

DSC01520This journey promises to be a fonte of inspiration for anyone seeking the Higher Self in the natural beauty and surroundings of Italy. We hope to provide you with a journey that might help transform and strengthen you when you ultimately return to your daily life.

This trip is organized and hosted by Catherine Ann Lombard and Kees den Biesen, the guides and facilitators.

Cost: € 985.00 per person. For more information and registration, see A Journey to Places of the Higher Self.

Beauty – Where Spirit and Matter Converge

John
As an expression of beauty, awe, and awakening, art has always played a great part along our journey to our Higher Self. Throughout the world, holy places have been built to hold the polar tensions of spirit and matter, inner and outer space and light, as well as the community that shares the transcendent experience within the architectural space.

Assagioli noted that:

“Matter is the highest form of Spirit and Spirit is the lowest form of Matter.”

In this way, spirit seeks matter to express the full beauty of the transcendent. Assagioli also noted that Plato, Plotinus, and Christian mystics have recognized and proclaimed that “beauty is the essential attribute of the Supreme.”

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Parisian Love Lessons

Dear Readers,
     August is the time most Europeans are on holiday, so I thought we would also take a break from psychosynthesis and travel to Paris …


This is just the first floor! You need a degree in Satellite Mapping Technology to find your way in the Louvre.

Paris. A big city of grid-like streets lined with pale-yellow palatial buildings which all loom above me seven-stories high. I feel like an ant scurrying between these 19th century edifices of glory as I and my husband run for four days between every tourist site in town— The Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Sacré-Coeur in Montmartre …

We are not alone, but followed by throngs of tourists (28 million per year!) seeking…what? I’m not sure. I’m not even sure what I am seeking. A Parisian experience? A glimpse at artistic genius? Alluring romance? Haute cuisine?

I suppose I am not seeking anything … I can only tell you what I found.

Luxembourg Park, Paris

Luxembourg Park, a nice place to lose one’s way …

The first evening upon our arrival, we strolled through the holiday-packed Luxembourg Gardens where some things remain simply and quintessentially French. Older men (and even a few women) were playing jeu de boules under shaded trees and beside them, standing in the open air, was a coat rack so the players could properly hang their jackets.

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