The summoner saw the boy through the leaves. She looked at him until the boy looked at him. She summoned the boy over, moving so slowly it was as though time had no hold on her.
The boy’s eyes suddenly saw the summoner. He too slowed down and stepped out of time. The summoner stepped on to his hand. He felt the tight grip on his thumb and fingers.
In the moment the boy saw that the chameleon was made of many little moving words. He watched transfixed as the words moved into a story. A window opened in his soul and a wordseer was born.
The chameleon stepped back onto the branch and disappeared in an instant among the leaves. She was looking for someone else to summon. The boy began to see pictures as words.
(From a tale of mind lore II, how a gift found Hudor…)
A friend of mine Bruce Thompson posted this photo on Facebook. I was immediately taken to a place of wonder as I looked at it.
Alister McGrath in his beautiful book ‘C S Lewis A Life – Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet’ writes:
‘A central theme in the Chronicles of Narnia is that of a door into another world – a threshold that can be crossed, allowing us to enter a wonderful new realm and explore it.’ (p.269)
Each moment of our life is a threshold to different possibilities, including possibilities of wonder. Sometimes we need a photo, a painting, a poem, a story, a face, a beautiful view to remind us of this, to fill us again with hope.
This coming Friday is the 50th anniversary of the death of C S Lewis. Perhaps you could find the thresholds of wonder in your life by re-visiting, or visiting for the first time his stories.
Press Release: New Book 23rd October 2013
‘Flat Earth Unroofed’ – Mindful Fantasy-fiction For All Ages
The Isle of Ge is a post-apocalyptic, post-religious land ruled by the Fowler, a ruthless cult leader who is prepared to sacrifice his own daughter to stay in power. All that stands between her and an agonizing death is her friend Hudor with his mind lore and time craft.
A trained counsellor and psychotherapist, Shaun Lambert has imbued his new children’s and teenage fantasy fiction novel, Flat Earth Unroofed – a tale of mind lore, with his extensive academic knowledge of mindfulness, creating a world where mind lore matters. Inspired by C.S. Lewis’s idea of this everyday world being ‘invaded by the marvellous’, Shaun has woven together the everyday and the strange with humankind’s mysterious capacity for awareness and compassion as well as mindless brutality. Shaun’s heroes are real, soul warriors who display incredible resilience in the face of familiar anxieties, depression and existential doubts.
During his long walks in the ancient woodlands near Bentley Priory, from where the Battle of Britain was directed, Shaun considered the local folklore of tunnels running from there to a military site in nearby Northwood and began to imagine another battle between good and evil happening there. But this was not a battle where mindless oppression would be fought by men with weapons of iron and steel – rather it was one where darkness would be overcome by a teenager through the inner power of attention and awareness.
Is this the first children’s fantasy book to incorporate mindfulness into the very fabric of the story? We don’t know! But we do believe a new sub-genre in fantasy fiction is going to develop.
This is a book for those aged 8 to 80 who enjoy the fantasy genre and are willing to consider that awareness could be part of the very fabric of being.
Spent yesterday with Gary Dell (@wisewordtv) and Cathy Le Feuvre recording six podcasts for A Book of Sparks – a Study in Christian MindFullness.
These were done as interviews, with readings from the book and example meditations or mindful awareness practices.
The idea came about for this to become a resource for small groups or individuals to use as they work their way through the 40 meditations in A Book of Sparks, along with a study guide.
An ecumenical prayer group are going to use the book as a post – Alpha course, and these recordings were initially done for them, as they begin their six-week course shortly.
Cathy’s new book is out this week, entitled ‘William and Catherine’ – the love story of the founders of the Salvation Army told through their letters. You can read more about this and her work in media communications, and background in broadcasting and production on her website: http://www.cathylefeuvre.com/.
Gary also has a wealth of experience in production and broadcasting and I am hoping to interview soon about his work via @wisewordtv.
‘When I stand before customs-officers and police-commissioners,
I smile mischievously, for no one detects
the divine contraband, the stowaway,
whose highly discreet presence is visible
only to angels’ glances.’
Dom Helder Camara
I sometimes smile when I hear people say that we must keep God out of certain things. That idea came back to me when I read this quote from Dom Helder Camara, a political bishop and mystic from Brazil, who died in 1999.
Troublesome priests are locked up, or worse, by repressive governments, not just for themselves, but because they carry divine contraband, they have a divine stowaway on board.
But this idea of divine contraband is also one of hope. In politics there is divine contraband, a divine stowaway hiding in someone. God can’t be kept out. In the world of business there is divine contraband, a divine stowaway hiding in someone. God can’t be kept out.
But this is also true in our own lives. There is no part of our own life that is unworthy of our attention, or God’s.
We can pay attention to our body and find divine contraband. We can step out of clock-time for three minutes, for one minute, and find divine contraband. There is no place where God cannot emerge.
A cat forms the right-hand margin of the initial Luke page of the Lindisfarne Gospels. It’s head faces the bottom line of text, apparently attentive towards the mass of inattentive birds on the other side of the page – of which it has already swallowed eight.
A little picture showing the importance of being attentive, and the perils of being inattentive; the importance of being mindful and the dangers of living mindlessly.
As a child I learnt to see a lion’s ear, in the spear grass. I saw the leopard draped across the dappled tree. Attenborough’s Africa took me back to the place I was born.
Tsavo,Serengeti, Samburu, Nandi, Naivasha, Mombasa, Masai Mara,Malindi,Amboseli…the names are all there in my heart.
I wonder if my children will see the animals Africa shows us, in Africa, or only at Longleat? Will they see the subtle patterned coat of the reticulated giraffe, or the remarkable painted stripes of the Grevy’s zebra?
One day there will be a last wild lion waiting in the grass, so hard to spot, so at one with its surroundings. One day all the animals will have been taken out of Africa.
The Prior of the Taize Community which is in deep connection with young people from Africa and around the world, has said recently that believers need to talk together about faith, but also with agnostics and atheists.
One area that we need to talk with all others about, and form alliances and networks, is about the environment, the natural world, the living planet. The word Kalahari means ‘the great thirst’ – an apt name for a desert.
We are people consumed with a great thirst for the wrong things. We will make the world a desert. We are like the Cuckoo, there is only room in the earthnest for us.
Saving the earthnest will require a pilgrimage of trust in each other, those who believe in the quest.
We need hope. As one of Emily Dickinson’s poems (no. 623):
It was too late for Man-
But early, yet, for God-