mindful and heartfelt
willing and creative,
to the songs of the soul
to the wisdom of the universe..
“Each moment is fragile and fleeting.
The moment of the past cannot be kept, however beautiful.
The moment of the present cannot be held, however enjoyable.
The moment of the future cannot be caught, however desirable.
But the mind is desperate to fix the river in place:
Possessed by ideas of the past, preoccupied with images of the future,
it overlooks the plain truth of the moment.
The one who can dissolve her mind will suddenly discover
the Tao at her feet,
and clarity at hand.”
Hua hu Ching: The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu
We are very excited to share our news with you!
As most of you know, Jill founded and incorporated a nonprofit society, World Hearth for Peace and Friendship, in 2003. For many years, we lived on the Yucatan Peninsula, during our Canadian winter months, sharing life with friends from Nicte Ha and Punta Laguna. We opened life-long learning environments, offered humanitarian care and deepened friendships in the spirit of sharing daily life in peace and common interests.
We have been on a hiatus for personal reasons, but are now re-emerging with continued love for our friends and world peace, the environments we create and hold open through World Hearth, and for the exciting new ideas we hold for our continued growth.
One of our many premises is that when there is genuine interest discovered and cultivated in each other and each other’s lives, there is a unique possibility to unfold living friendships. Where there are friendships, a new culture of peace can begin to blossom. We value the common environments of home, hearth and sanctuary in the diversity of cultures. We treasure sharing daily life through what we call the art of accompaniment which is filled with a myriad of questions and heart-felt, mindful intentions. We love imagining that when we open the environments of World Hearth, there is a sense of a roaring fire of love and warmth with seats placed in a circle for anyone wanting to join in this circle of friends, this community of peace.
We feel it is a unique way to hold space open between friends around the world for the purpose of cultivating interest, generosity, compassion, happiness, curiosity, and a world culture of peace one friendship at a time.
We love the cultural diversity on this planet and we love the potential of touching in with each other, one person, one family, one community at a time, igniting in each other the wish to get to know one another better, to share life, to open one’s home, hearth and sanctuary, enter the gardens and landscapes of community, experience the colours and aromas of cooking, and discovering the diverse cultural expressions of the artistic lives around the world. We also recognize that amidst the cultural diversity there is human commonness, joys and sorrows, gifts and needs. As a friendship society, and in the art of accompaniment, there is always room for care, love, questions, compassion, health and wellness.
So why are we writing to you today?
We have decided to once again open our World Hearth environments, in new ways, welcoming individuals, welcoming you, to join us in this newly formed circle and community of friends. Please think about our invitation. We have much to do like re-opening our website and fb page, designing a new logo. We want to start an active group in Victoria. We will be looking for Board members. We will be planning new projects and making lists of our hopes and dreams. This is a world-wide organization and we already have friends from different countries and cultures. Please let us know, after you’ve read our email, if you would be interested in joining us or learning more as we take fresh new steps enlivening this organization and our vision.
This year we have two projects currently planned.
1. The first is an exploratory and planning trip to La Paz where we have been asked to volunteer and work with a group of 30 women who currently have or have recovered from breast cancer. We would be offering environments of health and wellness. We have been asked if we could offer meditation, yoga, breath work and nutrition. We have many ideas and will take an exploratory trip this winter, with our friend, Karina, daughter to one of the women, to meet everyone, enter into their homes, their lives, their culture finding our place of common interest and meeting new friends. We hope to create an on-going World Hearth project out of this where we can invite World Hearth friends from around the world to join us and offer their gifts to this learning, wellness, healing, peace and friendship environment.
2. The second project, involves a direct invitation to you! We are going to be returning to the Yucatan this winter as well and would love to invite you to join us. We will be rekindling our friendships that have spanned years. We will be visiting Rosalia and family in the Mayan village of Punta Laguna. We hope to find Daniel, Maria and Pablo, which is a beautiful story. Miguel and Lucy and family live in Nicte Ha and Martha and family live in Chetamal.
We are looking for apartments at the moment where we could live together or close to one another. We would love to do yoga, meditation and breath work together daily. We’d love to share meals and the local culture with you. Of course, we will always do our green smoothies in the mornings. Long walks and conversations on the beach, time to write and read at sunrise or sunset, and an opportunity to spend time with friends who have a things in common, is the picture we wish to paint for you.
We are looking at two weeks in Playa. It could be that you have one week. We can work with everyone but we need to know if you’re interested, so we can begin booking our housing needs.
We have many more ideas for World Hearth environments around the globe, in different communities, with different questions and focuses, but for now. We will stop here.
Please let us know, if any of this speaks to you, if you’d like to have a conversation with us, or join us in some gatherings we are considering starting as World Hearth potlucks, or be a supporting member.
Thank you so much for reading our letter of intention and for sharing our excitement. We’d love to hear from you to let us know if you’re interested, not interested, partially interested……or whatever you’d like to share with us.
In our lives, we recognize that what has always been important to us, still is, and we want to continue to grow more community gardens of peace and friendship. We want to live out of what we value with others. We want to create a new world culture and world hearth community of peace, one friendship at a time. We want to know that we continued staying true to what’s really important and tried our very best, in small ways to contribute to making the world a place of happiness.
And most of all, we recognize that within each one of us lives love, peace, wisdom, and compassion, and that it is through each of us touching each other and each other’s lives in genuine ways out of pure interest, that those butterflies of capacity, deep within each one of us, can be released. The magic lies not in one person, it lies in the beautiful ways we can be present to each other, seeing, hearing, feeling, thinking, creating ……in the circles of life. Therein, lies the beauty of living.
It is with my deepest gratitude that Rod and I send this pure intention out as invitation to each one of you.
Would you like to join our community garden of peace and friendship as it continues to grow? Would you like to sit in front of World Hearth’s fire and share?
Would you like to go to Mexico with us this year?
We look forward to hearing from you.
In deep sincerity and true friendship.
Jill and Rod Shouldice
World Hearth for Peace and Friendship
469 Monterey Avenue
Victoria, BC V8S 4T8
In my heart and soul,
in my self and my life,
I have carried a wish
an intention from the beginning
and have time and time again
in small and humble ways
as much as I understood it
I experienced it
as much as I could live it.
The first line of the quest
was a wish to bring love into the world
in my age and eyes of innocence.
This is not the story of the journey or
the challenges and shortcomings,
instead it is a quiet moment of
watching a caterpillar of thought
emerge as a butterfly.
Here’s what has emerged as an insight over time.
Love lives within all of us.
It is there within every single living being.
The quest is not to give love but to share it.
As we leave the outer life to explore the inner life
of our selves, our souls, our spirits
we discover hallowed halls of beingness.
Places to become aware of the substances and essences
pulsing and breathing
flowing and moving.
Practicing, learning and creating from it.
Until the quickening comes
of an awareness that serving
oneself or others
no longer serves.
Re-emerging in the sunlight of living wisdom
a moment comes
when the awareness is clear and strong
that it is through the touch of humanness,
the gentle gaze of genuine interest,
the hand of a friend
sitting beside you
stroking your hair
in moments of life,
that love is not given,
it is awoken in the other.
And in that awakening
there is a vulnerability and delicateness
that can be shared
in the trusted circle of this love.
And through time
this true love awakened deep within
is a quiet magic
that anyone can share
by touching the heart,
and the hair
to awaken the love
that lies within them
waiting to be born,
waiting to emerge
It is to this beautiful wisdom
that I continue to
kneel in devotion
with an undying willingness
to be there
for all living beings
a space where
and be born
written by Jill LaBelle Sophie
I feel currents in my life, the kind that take you on rides, challenge you to awaken and dive in all the more intentionally, and then my favourite are the healing currents that come in the calm after the rush….a calm that has both quietness and potential, a calm that has eyes closed, while still smiling…..because there is always that pulsing current that runs through all currents, bearing the essence and substance of life itself…..life force, pranayama, qi….living wisdom….a never ending living wisdom that flows through all of us, and every living thing, guiding, quickening, awakening, and loving us just by its presence……
I have been journeying……
And in that flow of experience,
I have come to understand many different things,
some with my mind, some with my body,
some with my soul, and others through the movement itself.
I’m going to pick up three words and place them in the palms of my hands
and continue my dialogue of changing…..perspective…..
The three words are essence, substance and life.
These three small, infinite words, were the three gifts I received
after being thrown into the speed of light and then out again
many years ago.
It’s taken me seven long years to find my way
in the transformative chrysalis,
that began with a loss of breath, his and mine,
only to both find it again, in new ways
and new dimensional perceptions and studies.
To have risen out of the ashes, like a phoenix,
after everything I had known or built up was seared away
by the heat and light of that speed,
I can only call grace.
To continue the search for words and experiences to further express
and live within and out of this new altered every day life,
is my quest, and herein lies the beginning of my musings.
was rich, multi-layered and complex,
well built and well seasoned.
For years, I was held by a sense
of such loss as it all changed,
in one, precious moment,
until I began realizing it was a new beginning….
and the sooner I learned how to breathe
while birthing in the new, the better.
In my inner worlds of self,
I began experiencing life, the essence of life and it’s substance,
artistically, emotionally, perceptively in new ways,
and I was both grateful and bereft, often,
not knowing what to do, how to begin a new life,
and how to sort out what I felt.
Until I stopped trying,
and then realized that there was no new life to begin,
because the presence of life in all its forms and changes,
in it’s essence and substance,
is always present, and I could stop searching
and just be….alive within it.
The wordless expression of essences of this life,
kept pushing up against
what it looked like as a substance,
swinging back and forth
until all I knew I could do
was carry these three words in my basket,
my heart, my womb of worlds and my human willingness,
as a seed, or a pilgrimage,
until the quaking and metamorphosis stopped shifting
in my being-ness
and I could look out again.
that quaking of shattering sorrow,
grief, suffering, and quiet discernment,
came to rest, I found my breath again,
that breath that feeds and
gives life what it needs
to carry on, and grow,
in order to discover that within it,
there is always a new wave of possibility, which constantly moves
between the substance and the essence,
the ebb and the flow, the substance and essence,
the sun and the moon,
the yin and the yang, the inner life and the outer life.
Twining that cannot do, or be, or live without the other.
And in that realization,
of the continuous letting go of one or the other,
consciously and unconsciously,
through uncontrollable circumstances,
of everything I was, of everything I knew and loved,
of everything I held on to as my world,
I found the key to perceiving……..
a new pulsing wisdom………
a living wisdom, a life force,
that knows how to sustain life,
unfold life, and
it was flowing through me
in a new way.
Starting through a family, mother/son trauma
and being thrown into the speed of light,
I’ve come to know
was the invitation
and the awareness of a forceful pressing presence,
I called light.
Being willing to enter into these mysteries in a place called altered,
is where I’ve been, is where I am, in an up and down fashion,
And yet today, I realize the search is over.
where, and why,…..because
I’ve already arrived in the present moment,
between the essence and substance of myself through time,
within the inhale and exhale of my breath,
but now I see it,
I feel it, I’m in it,
in the flow of this life, in the energy of this life,
and in the continuous waves of possibilities
filled with something I’m calling living wisdom.
And in this place, there’s a resonance, a fragrance,
a beauty, a grace, a tangibility that ultimately
has no name,
only a presence and a quickening
that can be felt as the pulse within a seed,
that can be seen as the beauty around a rose
and fostered within a touch and a movement of the body.
It has no form or destination,
only the grace of sensing and renewing
refreshing, through accompaniment,
choice and holding open the prepared spaces and places
and environments, where it can live and breathe,
this living wisdom….through personal choice to care for it
and birth it through personal intentions.
What else can one do
but foster genuine interest
to work out of ,
this something so divine,
with reverence and awe,
it gives breath to life itself.
And so today I
in the centre of my life
in the centre of my being
in the circle of communing,
with a willingness to tend,
and in-tend…….the infinite, the endless
and the wordless eternal,
the spark of life,
this presence of a
magnificent living wisdom,
that flows through all of us,
in devotion, consciousness,
awareness, compassion, love
peacefulness and grace.
written by Jill LaBelle Sophie
“This that we have now is not imagination
It is not joy or sadness
Not grief or elation
These things come and go
This is the presence that doesn’t”
When the air is thin
and the light is bright,
there is a clarity
and possibility to see
on a clear day,
those things which hide
within the layers of life
that are not visible
by the sense of seeing
On a clear day
when the soul is present,
there is a place that opens
within, that sees and hears
within realms beyond sight and sound.
A place that carries the breeze,
offers the light,
enlightens the mind,
and brings sense to the heart.
The fragrances of life
fill the interior with a mist
clearing the air
and allowing the breath
a place to move in and out of
and energy of living substances
to life, within,
on the wings of breathing
through the corridors of structure
and plasticity of matter.
On a clear day,
one can open the stain glass windows of the soul,
the inner sanctuary of a living wisdom,
so pure, so bright
in perfect stillness,
that one feels only the essence of clear, ,
connected to the light of the universe
connected to the sounds of the universe
and a clearness
the personal places that matter
giving way to a sense of
the raindrops of eternity
the winds of time
the warmth of living and
the embrace of perpetual beginnings.
On a clear day,
there is beauty everywhere.
And I raise my hands to my heart
palms pressed together
and quietly sing ah… om……
with the universe.
Written by Jill LaBelle Sophie
And then suddenly this song arose in my mind.
How lovely, indeed.: