This Seedling episode features Heather Page, the President of the Contemplative Society. Heather resides in Victoria, British Columbia. It was through the work of the Society that Cynthia first came to prominence as a teacher of the wisdom path in the late 1990’s.
In 1998 Cynthia introduced Heather to the practice of Centering Prayer, followed shortly by a Benedictine retreat on Salt Spring Island, where she learned of the monastic rhythm ora et labora: work alone, work together, prayer alone, prayer together.
“These small, intimate retreats were the beginning of what we now know as Wisdom Schools. I was immediately drawn to the practical wisdom I received and discovered on these early retreats. I had two active teenage daughters at home, and the idea that I could take this learning and apply it to my work at home was inspiring and life-giving.”
Of her post as President of the Contemplative Society Heather writes, “As I assume leadership in this capacity and take on tasks which are new to me, I am discovering that I am held by something larger than my own effort and ability.”
In addition to her work with TCS, she regularly leads Centering Prayer introductory workshops, as a trained presenter with Contemplative Outreach. Heather and her husband Christopher together, lead Centering Prayer workshops, quiet days, and meditation retreats. Christopher is a new TCS board member as well as a parish priest.
Heather has been a student of the Gurdjieff teaching for close to 20 years and has more recently become involved in group work related to this teaching. Speaking of the Gurdjieff work, she says “…attention, embodiment, and holding the affirming and the denying energies without collapsing one or the other has been integral to my spiritual practice for many years as well as steady work with the observer and the role of personality and essence.”
Heather appreciates the practice of lectio divina for meditative reading from the Bible and the Gospel of Thomas and finds chanting “a beautiful way to connect with the heart center, helping individuals or groups access qualities of tenderness and openness.”
Heather also states, “I have been a regular Feldenkrais practitioner for a number of years and find this type of embodied practice helpful in bringing me back to the body, becoming aware of the deeper impressions one can receive from the body as one learns to listen, understand, and respond to its language.”
Finally, she says, “the gift of remembering to stop, breathe deeply, and return to the body is a wonderful tool available at all times. Creating moments of spaciousness throughout the day is a reminder to let go of our so often braced stance against the world. It is such a simple and important practice but so easy to forget. I am convinced that the real teaching resides within ourselves. As we are patient, honest, and courageous and willing to listen to the nuanced language of our bodies and deeper selves, all will be revealed exactly when and how it should be.”
We thank Heather for her participation in our Seedlings Project and for her influence as a Wisdom amma. Her faithfulness in practices and post-holding, and the fruit borne out of them, are truly an inspiration for us all.
More About Heather Page
The Contemplative Society is an inclusive non-profit association that encourages a deepening of contemplative prayer based in the Christian Wisdom tradition while also welcoming and being supportive of other meditation traditions.