Who's Here?

Hi everyone,

Please take a moment to add a sentence or two about yourself and/or what brings you here. What, for example, attracted you to this particular book or topic?

For me, I have had a small handful of very numinous experiences in my adult life that I can identify as profoundly transformational—moments of grace perhaps. I am deeply intrigued by the historical character of Teresa of Avila, and her relationship with the Divine—clearly an archetypal numinous force was at work in her life.

What was happening for her, I wonder, and how are those glimpses I get of a similar manifestation of the archetypal Divine connected? Was she channeling something? Attracting something? Living her everyday life with one foot in another realm of sorts—or did she only get rare glimpses of it herself?

Please hit "Reply" below here to share a little about your own story or wonderings....

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  • Linda,

    Thank you for all of your writing. I love that you included the saints of your ancestors. The webinar Jung, Alchemy, and The Tree of Life helped me to re-adjust or transition to attending Catholic church again –  symbols including from the webinar were on the church walls - a mandala of four quadrants, a Vesica Pisces in stained glass. All preparation for approaching Teresa of Avila? Thich Nhat Hanh says we have to go back to our religious roots to facilitate a deeper understanding. Jung, Alchemy, and The Tree of Life seemed to help that process. I especially hear the songs in church in a new way. I am remembering several Teresa of Avila quotes I surrounded myself with for a long period years ago. I carried one prayer all of the time: “Let nothing upset you, Let nothing frighten you, Everything is changing; God alone is changeless. Patience attains the goal. Who has God lacks nothing, God alone fills all her needs.” ~The Bookmark Prayer of Teresa of Avila. The other prayer was on my kitchen wall: “The important thing is not to think much but to love much; and so do that which best stirs you to love.”

    • Dear Lyn, this is a beautiful posting. Those quotes from Teresa go down to the essence of soul. The quote about letting nothing upset you, everything is changing, God alone is not changeless...this captures in one sentence the reality of our human existence and relationship to the divine. I am warmed that you have found a place in the church during your dark night of the soul. The beautiful imagery, the return to religious roots. There is a Carmelite monestary up the street from my house. I didn't even know it was there until I started working on this play, and synchronistically, a client came in and told me about it. I went there and found a beautiful statue of Teresa. I go there when I want to be in community with others who also treasure the divine, even though I don't know them, and we don't speak. The very anonymity of it is soothing, a way of not letting anything upset me. I am so moved that you are doing "that which best stirs you to love>" It was marvelous to see you yesterday at the webinar. Thank you for your questions, and for sharing with us that you are with Alma in seeking nourishment for the soul.

    • Hi Lynn - this is our special morning meeting day for sure!  I am so humbled and elated that we were both able to participate in the Tree of Life and now, St. Theresa of Avila [webinars] together.  Thank you DPA! How awesome for you to see the symbols come to life for you within hallowed church walls you go to mediate, pray and be closer [on earth] in one of the many places of worship [assimilatory of God’s house] for that is what places of worship are suppose to be – welcoming, warm and heart-felt – sacred places and spaces! 

      I agree that we all need to “go home” and revisit our roots and ancestry for after all 20% of our genetic make-up arises from the union of the two branches of our biological parents genetic codes.  As for the rest of us, the remaining 80% falls under the nurture components: the predispositions, life circumstance and potential for recessive genetic matter: manifestations of spirit, expressions of faith secondary to state-dependent memory, learning + behaviours and  “choice points” that all remain codex mysteries! 

      I am so relieved God is in charge for it is all so complex, all encompassing and overwhelming at times – the anomalous, phenomenal experiences us mere children of God may have the privilege to behold.

      I love all of the St. Theresa of Avila quotes you share with us and so happy the saint you are inclined towards is our book club re-lauching subject matter, and so, you and your saint are merging presence for all of us to behold.  The deeper messages provided are good to absorb, and allow entry into our inner "love" [hear-of-hearts] - so very moving and touching indeed.

      God is LOVE and that which loves does not hurt you! I am so excited about this morning’s webcam – OMG we can be seen and heard in synchronous virtual time and non-locality space – how awesome is DPA cyberspace!  Peace + Love Linda

    • Dear Linda, thank you so much for these beautiful reflections. I wish we could have seen you yesterday, but you were with us by phone. I love the way the Alliance can knit people into community from the far reaches of geography. Surely we are a community of people who love the divine, and find a home in his/her loving essence. Your contributions nourish us all.

    • Good evening Elizabeth - your so kind...truly I am fortunate to be here with you all.  I had a very interesting time loading programs - SKYPE, Zoom - setting up accounts and really did believe I was going to be able to see/be seen for when I was set up...a box with Face Time Sign In came up, so I did that and low and behold...there was a sweet young man's face was present asking me to do face time with him!  

      I had to cuckle to myself for I am not into on-line conversations with strangers and definitely not a cougar :)...not to question folks who go on line looking for love...I am bathed in a horn of plenty...so I was so anticipating putting in the Zoom ID number and getting connected, but alas no such luck.

      When Bonnie used the Citrix [?] program at least I could see the people and probably could have been seen, however, my plan is limited and audio/visual uses much time...but I would have paid anything to be totally present yesterday.

      Elizabeth it was so hard to decipher what you were saying as your keep fading in and out and I found myself pushing the phone closer to my ear in hopes I would be able to pick up your words better.  Everyone else came through load and clear.  I was able to say hi at the beginning, Bonnie welcomed me, but then, something happened for when I spoke again...I guess I was not coming through.  I tried the #7 but was not sure if this was the phone un-mute way?

      Now every time I log on to my computer, Face Time Log-In Box appears wanting my password which I am simply cancelling [but it comes back again, so I cancel it again].  So strange.  I do have a Zoom Account set up now and do not know if this will make a difference next time around.  

      I sure would like to do a trial run before the next Webinar to see what my programs and band frequencies will or will not allow me to do with the Zoom way.

      We had a absolutely beautiful day today, so I was out cleaning up the leaves. 

      Loved all the conversations I could hear.  I do have some thoughts to share regarding your last 2 questions on Act 2.  Will wait to see what you pose to us next.  Peace + Love Linda

  • Hello everyone,

    A belated response to the invitation to introduce myself to the group. I am drawn to be a part of this group for a number of reasons. The first few are easy:

    1.  I have the great privilege to know Elizabeth, and am a great admirer of her work, as well as a friend. 

    2. I have had the great privilege to see "On the Doorstep" performed three times. The first time "blew me away". The play spoke directly to my soul in ways that I am not sure I can articulate, and my heart warmed and swelled in its presence. It was after the second time I watched the performance that a friend encouraged me to go up to Elizabeth and introduce myself, offering my help in any way needed for any future productions of any of her work. She very quickly took me up on the offer, and I was able to help in the first production of "Timeless Night", a fictionalized account of a chance meeting between Edith Stein and Victor Frankl. I'm excited to say that I am also rehearsing a part in Elizabeth's latest play, co-written and co-directed with Lindsey Rosen (Alma), "The Movement of the Moon", a play focusing on sculptor Camille Claudel (but of course about much more), which will be performed in Seattle starting in late January 2016.

    3.  As a lover of drama and theater, I love plays that invoke deep feeling and deep reflection, that ask questions about what our lives, and THIS LIFE, THIS EXISTENCE, may mean. I want to be entertained AND deeply moved, and Elizabeth's works do that for me. I find her use of language beautiful and evocative; they often guide me to a place within myself which I sometimes have a hard time finding words to express.

    Which brings me to the less formed response to this question:

    In this life, for whatever reason, I am dedicated to knowing Soul, and am actively inquiring as to how I can serve "Her". It is my belief that one thing our era and culture is lacking so profoundly is a deep connection and relationship with Soul -- with our "individual" souls as well as with the Soul of the World (and beyond). So much emphasis in our society is placed on outward appearance and reductionist thinking: 10 steps to succeed in [fill in the blank], 7 steps to a thinner tummy, 5 steps to the love of your life, etc. Cognitive behavioral therapy (focused primarily on changing behaviors at the expense of doing some deeper healing and meaning work) is touted as THE one therapy that is worthy of coverage by health insurance because it is quick and efficient -- though recent evidence is beginning to show that CBT may not have long-lasting effects. While the internet is wonderful in many ways, it is becoming a primary way for folks to connect, and our "friend" list can grow into the hundreds if not thousands, but how many of those folks who we "friend" do we actually KNOW? The World continues to be depleted of "Its" resources, and like the World, women are still often treated as commodities, not beings worthy of respect. I could go on, but suffice it to say that I want to be with people who care about Soul, about what lives within and through us, and see what I might contribute to this life-giving exploration.

    I am here to bathe in some beautiful soul language -- to read this beautiful play again, revisit these beautiful characters, benefit from others' thoughts and experiences, and share some of my own. I am here to see what voice emerges from my own depths, as I read and reflect on the play, and on the words, thoughts and experiences shared by all of you. Thank you.

    • Good morning Kevin - love the hat and elated your belatedly here!  Reading your words…great privilege, lover of drama and theatre …with passion for deep diving:  soulful words, feelings and reflections – movement in music…goes to the place with no words...I can hardly wait to receive my copy to relish in the recipe of our imminent, compelling and inspiring dramatic, play-filled feast of soulful characters offering us soul food - deserts and delights. 

      Fall is the time for thanksgiving.  Lets us nourish each other in that space, this place!  Peace + Love Linda 

  • What brings me here? What attracts me to this book/topic?

    I have been drawn to Teresa of Avila for years. I collected her books but would not read them.  This year I have had to return to the Catholic Church in assisting my mother. While staying at her home, I found some small religious pendants from when I was around nineteen. Three pendants were connected together – Jesus, a cross, and a peace symbol.  A Mary pendant was separate, but when I turned the Jesus piece over while polishing it, there was the Madonna and child on the back. There was also a pendant that I do not remember having – a picture of a child in a robe and crown. On the back it says – “the miraculous infant Jesus of Prague.” I found out that an original statue of this figure is believed to have belonged to Teresa of Avila. These pendants came together forty plus years ago and here they are. In reflecting on Elizabeth’s first questions I realize that I was like Alma entering her twentieth year and looking for something to feed my soul, then and now. Finally, Teresa of Avila is my birthday saint.

    Bashert. It was meant to be.”

    • I so appreciate your comments, Lyn. I too am famous for buying books of people I;m curious about and then not reading them! One of my hopes in creating a play of Teresa of Avila is to provide a kinder gentler way into this woman and the world of soul and active imagination she embodied. Your description of earlier times in your life when you had an "arid" soul resonates so much with me in my twenties. I was arid and didn't even know it!!

      Also, FYI, the flower, the limberbush, is a plant in Spain that looks very much like the ocatillo plant, long green arms reaching to the sky with deep crimson blooms. Often seen in the southwest and in Joshua Tree in Southern California.


      Good morning Lynn – After reading your sharing, “having had to return” to RC to assist your Mom, the pendants and references to iconic statues and attraction to particular saints, plus announcing your birthday saint is Theresa Of Avila; I got curious and wondered more about the pendants and presence of saints of my ancestors and my life.

      This September, following the close of DPA Webinar: Jung, Alchemy + the Tree of Life, [now archived], I was moved, once again without knowing the why’s], to write [told it is OK to speak], and launch another virtual opportunity: Hermitage Cyberspace.  Again, these writings belonged elsewhere, however…I am simply following my prayers, the whispers, messengers, my heart and soul…what is gifted, provided to me…and at that time this closed small group felt not quite right, but good enough.  I’m totally grateful for all that Bonnie, her calling and the lovingkindness of her soul + DPA Board Members, who continue to provide, facilitate and do for us virtual depth divers…to be, go with our flow in these moments…

      I hope it is OK for me to cut/paste those writings here… seems relevant, timely, feels good to me and much better in this book club beholding Theresa of Avila and Bonnie’s question, “Who’s Here?” verses Jung, Alchemy + The Tree of Life [no offense] for I have not felt aligned with his ways, genius or alchemy in any way, shape or form. 

      Our Founder, Bonnie [Cyber Mom/Queen Bee of this hive] is so enlightened, and her lovingkindness, always encouraging us along our way...I am mustering up the courage regarding transparency, vulnerability…went into the archive, did cut + paste my 1st Hermitage Cyberspace writings, this does feel better, right and here it is:

      What do any of us really know…our words, the writings unfolding…have a life of their own, so to speak, dare I say…divine sparks…destiny…reverie…back to my heart…images, poems and song…love this song by the Righteous Brothers: https://youtu.be/DH8rhAyZv6Y


      9142890270?profile=originalMy 1st month holding this hermitage cyberspace felt excitingly overwhelming concerning how and where to begin, so I decided to continue to simply notice what came my way [touched me deeply in my heart-of-hearts].  Upon review of the images not utilized in my photo albums, this image about the “older generation” now speaks deeply to me for the presence and majority of older women in my life are but distant memories for all have died, except for 2 Aunties [one each, Mother, father sisters] who are now frail, in their 80’s and no longer interested in reflecting and discussing historic family life.

      This is why I am reaching deeply inwards/outwards, making an effort to recall significant pieces of information noteworthy [fragmented details] overheard across my lifespan which may help me understand the feminine perspective, collective mystique surrounding our lives while I still have the cognitive ability and capability to do so.  I am fortunate to have my health and willing to take the time to go into the depths and document some of the elements, phenomenal mysteries I have experienced and/or witnessed to date.

      The baseline text is A Little Book of Women Mystics by Carol Lee Flinders gifted to me in 1997.  The 6 women mystics’ lives, condensed, and discussed are: Hildegard of Bingen, Mechthild of Magdeburg, Julian of Norwich, Saint Catherine of Genoa and Saint Teresa of Avila.   Before I read Flinders interpretation of their life stories, I want to briefly review the scant, but pertinent details I gleamed of the real life stories, surrounding mysteries of a few of my ancestors. 

      All of my grandparents immigrated to Canada from Europe.  I was told my paternal grandparents lived “behind the iron curtain - the Old Ukraine – a place called Bukovyna [Bukovina was annexed by Romania and Carpathian Ruthenia was admitted to the Czechoslovak Republic as an autonomy].  My father told me to not talk about the war or the Polish people, and I never did find out why.  His mother Olga, my Baba came across as a strong woman [mind, body and spirit] to me.  She was a devout religious matriarch [plus financial leader, landowner corporation] for new family life in Canada.  I have her amazing passport photo: the young peasant woman, who escaped from Bukovyna, immigrated to Canada to marry, help found

      9142890287?profile=originalThe Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Ivan Suchavsky in Winnipeg, MB, which is now a Heritage Building with a plaque honouring St. John of Suchava – “You filled your life with good works, charity and feverent prayer…” The Cathedral of St. John Suchavsky in Winnipeg, which was part of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in North America. Since 1995 it has been a distinguished parish of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada, which established communion with the Patriarchate in 1990. The Ukrainian Women's Association of this Parish has as its patron the renowned Ukrainian writer from Bukovyna, Ol'ha Kobylians'ka, who participated in the pilgrimages to Suceava.

      9142890475?profile=originalIt was the martyrdom of St. John rather than his eloquence or his status as a merchant that keeps him alive in the memory of his brothers and sisters in the Church. This was no tragedy but a heroic and victorious event in which John of Trabzon and later Suceava offered his life as an example of faithfulness and love to the One Who offered His life for all. Glory to Him!

      I remain grateful Baba invested one summer in my formative years to teach, hand down her village Ukrainian Easter Egg designs to me sharing some of the folklore and meanings behind the images, colors and symbols.  She also showed me ‘censored’ letters from her sister who remained in the old country.  At this time, I was a mere 11 years old - to young to know [baby of the now 4th generations] I would be called to serve my brother during his death bed vigils [final August1992], and the breaking of what I call - great-grandfather’s ‘death bed vigil secret’ – sins of the father, family curse.  I definitely needed to do deep diving into the traumatogenic material of my ancestry for my brother’s sake plus my own healing and hope current and future generations would be the benefactors.

      My maternal grandfather [Fabbro] emigrated from Sicily, Italy and married my maternal grandmother Anne Krevac.  To date, her maiden name has no known country, nationality or ethnicity origin; however, I was told she was Czechoslovakian.  Grandpa Fabbro died mid-life [age 52] from brain cancer during the beginning of WW2, and before I was born.  Grandma Gregor [interesting we called her by this surname] also died young when I was 13 years old [my 1st funeral].  There are lots of autoimmune diseases that manifested within this bloodline.

      I remember particular parental disagreements when my father would refer to my mother’s bloodline and blame her “Czecho-Diego blood,” especially when she was passionate about something.  He would also speak about “wandering Gazonas” implying gypsy, grass roots people.  My mother was a devoted, loving, passionate and vibrate woman to age 35, when she became gravely ill with a rare autoimmune disease [2nd case in Canada].  She loved to dance, listen to Mario Lanza: https://youtu.be/kJZ2XA84MPI and Gene Kruppa https://youtu.be/cHr4XQ9SE.  She was very tender hearted and spiritual having experienced both an apparition [Christ at her bedside] and a blessing [also during illness] as a patient while admitted into St. Boniface Hospital praying to the saint – Margaret d’Youville, founder of the Sisters of Charity.

      9142890492?profile=originalI have been blessed and surrounded by much mystery across my lifespan.  During my formative years, we were poor, lived in the Point Douglas area with clothes from the Salvation Army.  My Dad was a WW2 veteran discharged with a back injury [jumped off a burning building].  Post-war and during the Great Depression, he delivered telegrams for the CNR on a bicycle stating all that fresh air cured his TB. 

      We all [parents, 5 children] lived in a one-room cottage until Dad entered his lifetime career as a firefighter [retired a Chief].  We always had a summer vacation at the beach and were well clothed, feed with a great cuisine [Ukrainian, Hungarian and Italian].  I spent my entire childhood living on the same street, as my whole extended family for my grandparents now owned a whole block on Lily Street.  I was raised by my tribe and have wonderful memories of huge family feasts.  My Dad was an excellent provider and family man [in my opinion].  He was my hero and together, my parents taught me about the enduring power of love, especially in the midst of the many trials and tribulations life delivered our way. 

      As I write this I know I was surrounded by mystery and believe my Baba and mother were mystics.  In 1998, I embarked upon my first pilgrimage to learn more about Saint Marguerite d’Youville for this was the time my mother recalled some of the details of the day I was born.  At this time, I wanted to honour my mother for remembering and believed my Grandma Gregor walked with Margaret d’Youville.  When I met and shared my story with the Sisters of Charity in Calgary, they chuckled…knowing in real time, this was impossible for this saint was born in 1701 and died in 1771!

      Flinders acknowledges a chronic historic problem in that the spiritual experiences of women are suppressed, marginalized resulting in a profound thirst.  She asserts that when we find our way back to historic women who challenged the constraints of their time, tapped into and gave voice to the vast richness of their interior life, spiritual quests are profoundly revitalized.  This is how I feel today – revitalized.

      Flinders notes the revolutionary significance and centrality of Christ’s humanity and his very flesh in medieval times – Christ’s broken, bleeding body, the triumph of His resurrection and the mystery of redemption.  She asserts the central fact those women’s lives as mothers mirror and literally “incarnate” spirit, bleeding and suffering to give birth, and rejoice at the outcome! 

      I have an affinity towards St. Margaret d’Youville - my first pilgrimage until that unforgettable day, when I felt surround by the presence of evil and experienced baptism by fire.  I have been in and pulled towards the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. 

      Thank you Lynn for sharing that Theresa of Avila is your birthday saint and how fortunate Elizabeth produced a play/book about her life/times.  You prompted me to Google the saint assigned to the day I was born and this is no surprise, it’s St. John Eudes and briefly, this was his calling:

      9142890501?profile=originalA certain Madeleine Lamy, who had cared for several of the women, one day, said to him, “Where are you off to now? To some church, I suppose, where you’ll gaze at the images and think yourself pious. And all the time what is really wanted of you is a decent house for these poor creatures.” The words, and the laughter of those present, struck deeply within him. The result was another new religious community, called the Sisters of Charity of the Refuge.

      9142890296?profile=originalHe is probably best known for the central theme of his writings: Jesus as the source of holiness, Mary as the model of the Christian life. John's devotion to the Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary led Pius XI to declare him the “father of the liturgical cult “ [this is an interesting analysis], of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary:

      I am not a pope, but disagree with his "cult" label for any calling of Christians who serve to imitate the heart-felt love of Jesus and his mother, Mary [ Agape].  During my studies and clinical experiences, the theories of Robert J. Lifton’s were necessary, learning for the people I serve who struggle with being unduly influenced or "indoctrinated." I believe his criteria for thought reform is helpful to assess formations noteworthy within ‘cultic’ groups: https://archive.org/details/ThoughtReformAndThePsychologyOfTotalism

      And I do not believe the life's work of St. John Eudes meets 'cult' criteria and in light of the contemporary comments below concerning the writing and calling of this 17 c saint:

      Comment:  Holiness is the wholehearted openness to the love of God. It is visibly expressed in many ways, but the variety of expression has one common quality: concern for the needs of others. In John’s case, those who were in need were plague-stricken people, ordinary parishioners, those preparing for the priesthood, prostitutes and all Christians called to imitate the love of Jesus and his mother.

      Quote:  “Our wish, our object, our chief preoccupation must be to form Jesus in ourselves, to make his spirit, his devotion, his affections, his desires and his disposition live and reign there. All our religious exercises should be directed to this end. It is the work which God has given us to do unceasingly” (St. John Eudes, The Life and Reign of Jesus in Christian Souls). Goggle: Catholic Saint: August 19 – St. John Eudes [1601-1680], American Catholic.org    How mystically synchronistic to be lead by Lynn and her birthday saint to mine, plus the fact that Saint John Eudes worked so close with and founding the ‘Sisters of Charity’ who are so prevent in my ancestors and my own life!  OMG - labors of love!  Peace + Love Linda


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