practicing my practice

I went on a day retreat recently.  I was there to hear Dr. James Finely speak.  For six years, Thomas Merton was Finely’s mentor and spiritual director.  Me, being a huge Thomas Merton fan, was intrigued to hear from someone who not only knew Merton but studied under him for so many years.  Little did I know that I would fall in love with Finely and his wisdom just as I have fallen in love with Merton and his writings.

One simple, yet profound, statement Finely shared was this:

 Find your practice and practice it. 

Find your teacher and follow it. 

Find your community and enter it.  

This hit my heart just where I needed it.  I was excited to come home and take this wisdom and make it my mantra for the next year or so.  Part of my practice will be reading Thomas Merton’s No Man is an Island again. I will be reading it slowly, just one or two paragraphs at a time. I will be collecting some of my favorite quotes, pairing them with images that seem to hold those words, and posting them here monthly.

I have just begun, but I already have a few favorites.


“A happiness that is sought for ourselves alone can never be found:

for a happiness that is diminished by being shared is not big enough to make us happy.”

 ~Thomas Merton


“So love can only be kept by being given away and it can only be given perfectly wit it is also received,”  ~Thomas Merton

The words happy, love, and journey seem to be repeating themselves during my practice. Throughout the day, I will look for things that say these things- happy, love, and journey-to me and Instagram them.  I will be tagging these photos with #practicingmypractice.  If you see things that hold these words for you, please feel free to join me!  I would love to see what you discover.


  • This is so wonderful! I want to join! 😉 I love that quote about giving love away only if it is rec’d. Wow!

    • I would love if you joined me! Isn’t that quote
      good? I loved this one too- Unselfish love that is poured out upon a selfish object does not bring perfect happiness: not because love requires a return or a reward for loving but because it rest in the happiness of the beloved.

  • beautiful! i look forward to following. you are ever so inspiring my friend. i think i want to seek out the book too. xoxo happy tuesday!

    • Thank you! I think you would love the book. Mine is worn from repeated reading.

  • Wow! That top photo is just stunning. Dark and Gorgeous! Merton is someone that I’ve never really read, but I know I should. What would you recommend to a Merton newbie? Also, I love your plan to read slowly. I should try that 🙂 Have you ever read Frederick Buechner? He’s my favorite author, and I have a feeling you’d enjoy him.

    • I haven’t read Frederick Buechner. I’ll check him out. My favorite book of Merton’s is No Man is an Island. It is a collection of short essays. I love it!

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