Everyday Mysticism

{The following long piece is from a book-in-progress on the subject of 'everyday mysticism.'} When I set out to attend a PhD program in Scotland—in the captivating town of St. Andrews, the stirrings of my imagination went wild. Every fantasy I’d conjured watching Jane Austen movies, or PBS’s Masterpiece, of living in a stone cottage [...]

What of Mercy?

Sunday’s lectionary reading from Luke, about Jesus healing on the Sabbath a woman afflicted with illness for eighteen years, illustrates that in the ‘Reign of God’ as Jesus taught it, mercy is to be valued over other concerns. To Jesus, the freedom of this woman ranked so far above any law, that Jesus abraded the [...]

All Done with This

Interesting what sends the past bubbling up and burning. We’re at a soaking pool one evening, my then-husband and I, steeping like leaves of jasmine. A woman enters with a baby, less than two months under his little elastic waistband. My eyes gravitate toward the infant the way my eyes gravitate to all the wrinkly [...]

Undone

Beach is a teacher. Let it undo you. Let it rattle your perceptions and discipline your senses. Observation matters, the beach tells you, wake up. Beach is how the “aum” would look if it were a land form, extending in a line that encompasses shape and non-shape, galaxies and their smallest particles, disappearing at beginning [...]

The Circle Dance

In the fourth century, Christian teachers in an area called Cappadocia came up with a term to help illuminate the concept of God as ‘trinity.’ They called the Trinity a ‘circle dance.’* A circle dance. Imagine three dancers engaged in complex choreography. They are interlocking and cooperating in all of their movements, separating only momentarily [...]

Seeing Enchantment

I sit with Brother Martin Gonzales, over sixty years a monk and reflecting on the nearness of life’s end. We are at Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Abbey on a summer day when the perfume of magnolias stretches across the way and birds sing, as he reiterates words he likes to share: “I don’t care [...]

Reluctant Spokesperson

I didn’t intend to become a spokesperson for tradition. Of those who know me best, I doubt any would describe me as “traditional” (you can ask any of my three ex husbands). But along the way, I’ve become attached to the idea that we need tradition, which some find perplexing as I’m so deeply questioning [...]

Who We Are in Love

[Also published at The Christian Century.] Lent is approaching, a season associated with penitence (“regret for wrongdoing; contrition”), so perhaps we should talk about sin. Few theological concepts are as mangled and misinterpreted as the concept of sin. Yet we find the subject off-putting. We don’t understand it well because we prefer not to discuss [...]

Small Miracles

“But I thought, of the wren's singing, what could this be if it isn't a prayer?” Mary Oliver (from "I Happened To Be Standing") One day in late 2017, I sat writing. On this morning I rode a fretful moment, the worry du jour being my first novel, Wren, for which I wasn’t finding a publisher. The challenge [...]

Icons of Abundance

Over half of my life I operated from a perspective of scarcity. During that time, according to my skewed perception, everyone was a competitor or critic, always judging and potentially threatening, and nothing felt secure. It seemed just when I had something in hand, it would be whisked away. So everything had to be white-knuckled [...]

Introducing Wren

My first novel, Wren, has been released on Audible and Kindle! What readers are saying: "What a pleasure to find a book that beckoned me back every chance I had. Tricia Gates Brown is a skilled storyteller, an exceptionally good one.” Sue B., Amazon review "When I found myself pondering main character Wren's life, thoughts, [...]