Monk in the World Guest Post: Heidi Marshburn Massey

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Heidi Marshburn Massey’s reflection on contradictions.

For me to be a monk in the world means to take contradictory paths,  the chaos of the work world that surrounds me, marrying it with the stillness and the quiet  that my heart longs for.

Daily I remind myself to allow the latter rule the former.
I am learning in the middle of the day, in the midst of busyness, in the swirling never ending emergencies I am faced with, to stop!

Be still.
Breathe.

Centering my scattered thoughts, bringing them back into oneness with the present.  Beginning again, fresh, focused, ready to forge ahead. I am now able to Weave a beautiful tapestry out of the tragedy that often fills my day.

It is a journey that requires a purposefulness of my words, actions and steps. It takes practice, patience and a downpour of God’s mercy laced grace.

I find the more I press in, the more I  learn how to retreat into the cell of my heart.  Even in public places, I am able to bring myself back to the reality of being still, quiet and exuding peace.  I am able to let the peace of God take control and overflow.

In that inner cell I am learning how to give myself permission to invite the hard stuff to have its moment, listening, working through it, then bidding it all farewell.

Through this journey to become a monk in the world,  I am also giving my creative, artist self, permission to explore the depths of its flourishing well.

As I put pen to paper allowing ink to flow onto blank pages,  I know each stroke brings a greater awareness of self and the declaration,  I am free!

I discover as I breathe, I allow things to rise to the surface, skimming off the dross, I am able to release it.The pain of the past no longer has permission to keep me fettered. The chaos of the present no longer has a chain to hold me captive

One of the most treasured lessons I am learning from the school of my inner cell, is to breathe in deeply and exhale fully. Freedom is in each moment—in each cycle of breath.

Through each encountered contradiction along the journey, I strive to let the light shine through my  weathered soul. Like the rays of the sun illuminating the many facets of a stained glass window. This is my adventure of  becoming and of being a monk in the world.

“Contradictions”

Solitude and stillness–clarity of mind
Reaching ahead–old things behind

Peace and tranquility–sought after commodity
In the midst of chaos with stresses bombarding
Breathe deeply-exhale fully-breathe deeply-exhale fully

Sleeping trees–appearing dead
Weathered storms–marred and scarred
Gnarled branches–seeming lifeless
Do you have eyes to see beyond skin that covers?
Breathe deeply-exhale fully-breathe deeply-exhale fully

Buds of life springing forth–covering misshapen appendages
Surrounded by green-new growth awakes
New life beginning to abound
Filling the atmosphere-hope can you hear the sound?
Breathe deeply-exhale fully-breathe deeply-exhale fully

Flowers of spring-new life afresh
Never too late–begin again
A new day that dawns Clean slate–ready A fresh start awaits
Mercy and grace redeeming the realm of time and space
Breathe deeply-exhale fully-breathe deeply-exhale fully


Heidi Marshburn Massey is the Director of The Wake County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Communications Center in Raleigh NC. Although she is new to the contemplative journey, she has always had a heart for being the hands and feet of Jesus among her fellow travelers.

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