I was born into a loving family that was also marked by instability. My folks tried to cope and manage their lives as best they could relying on alcohol to dull their emotions and fuel their days. This left a wake of toxic stress that has been a steady companion and has shaped many aspects of my life. 

When I was nine I began to play saxophone that lead to also learning about jazz and improvisation. Improvisation has become a fundamental way I engage the world. 

When I was 15 I came to faith. When I was 19 I became an intern minister in the church I was attending. Truly it is was a fundamentalist and evangelical framework I was initiated in. From the beginning I was taught and mentored to help and serve others: the elderly, the poor, the lonely, the abandoned, the forgotten and all those who are shamed. This saved me from a brittle, mean and empty religion. 

I also was taught to ask questions and then asked them again. Not looking for answers as much as understanding. Eventually a habit of reading widely developed and my understanding of faith and theology grew recognising that many faithful people have answered the various questions of their lives with an amazing diversity and grace. 

In university I studied literature, philosophy and fine arts. I began showing woodcuts and art furniture in 1993. Eventually I became reactive to the wood dust and needed to change directions. This opened the door to contemplative practice.

For more than 10 years I was the stay at home dad for my daughter.  I was terrified to have a child. The world can be a mighty hard place. For daughters and for daddies. I didn’t need to fret so much. 

My daughter, just by her presence in my life taught me more, loved me more and transformed who I am by bringing out my better qualities than any other single person. I am profoundly grateful for her. 

In 2003 I became a mediator and conflict resolution consultant.  I learned about mediation in a bookstore and immediately knew I could be helpful with these skills. Maybe, learning mediation, helping others in this way that taught me enough self-awareness, enough perspective to fully engage in life.

In 2012 I began facilitating contemplative groups in a small community. This group has focused on becoming aware and sensitive to God’s presence and great love. We have also offered a gentle welcome and lots of time and space for healing for those wounded in more performance focused churches.

And now these days, right now, seem to be the greatest days of my life. 

But I’m not an expert. I’m not an authority. I am a wanderer. I’m a learner. I’m a pilgrim of sorts. I’m just making notes. Keeping a record. Documenting moments of wonder and delight. Not everything will be pretty. Might even come out jagged.  That’s okay.  It is how life plays out.  At least mine. 

Thanks for coming by. Drop a note if you like. ~Jim