In these early days of December, as a soft rain falls in California, I remember the first snowfall in New England; how it blanketed the earth and muffled sound—and silence became a spacious and holy presence. As the winters progressed, however, and we shoveled snow and pulled soggy socks from our children’s feet, that dark stillness often brought depression. We forgot that it held promise, hid something deeper: new life gathering itself to be born. We live in a dark time. Many of us have sought to help solve some of the immense difficulties confronting us, to learn the truth of each situation, and to grow in understanding. We’ve taken stands on countless issues and made the best decisions we knew how. But we are beginning to see that the kinds of solutions our cultures have to offer are blunt instruments—and we begin to realize we need more refined means of resolving our dilemmas.

Even as conflicts escalate the world over, we can lend the weight of our presence to a different kind of action. We are learning that it is possible to integrate a more subtle form of activism with social action, and that one can flow quite naturally out of the other. We’re discovering in groups of all kinds around the world that our lives are deeply joined; that we can participate at a level of sensibility that is complementary to problem solving and does not seek to make one side right and the other wrong. Entire groups are awakening to this truth as they dare to take the position that they do not know the answer. Instead, they choose to embrace opposing views, give focused attention to the silence, and trust. Then a common voice may arise.

This week, the Indigenous Peoples of the World are gathering in Fort Collins and Carbondale, CO at the same time the UN Climate Change Conference takes place in Copenhagen, the Parliament of World Religions in Melbourne, and the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded President Obama in Oslo. In any group in which you have more than a casual membership, I invite you to set aside conversation for a short time, postpone closure in your own mind, and listen in the silence for something new. After all, it is that time of year, and as nature has always shown us, it is out of darkness that light is born again.

With blessing at this holy season, and with Love,

Filed under Awakening, Balance, Change, Creativity, Nature of Change, overcoming fear by Anne Hillman #


Jay Matternes, whose painting of “Homo Habilis Woman” is the frontispiece for Awakening the Energies of Love: Discovering Fire for the Second Time, wrote this week to say that his scientific reconstruction of the 4.4 million year old fossil, ‘Ardi’, could be seen on “Discovering Ardi” a documentary on the Discovery Channel. Last night we watched this extraordinary story of the painstaking excavation of our human progenitor—a million years older that ‘Lucy.’ It is now available on DVD. The animation based on Jay’s exacting anatomical drawings brought an ancient grandmother to life, and I was vividly reminded that several thousand years of religious development had gradually anesthetized the deep human, bodily experience of the Mystery and replaced it with abstractions like ‘consciousness’ or a disembodied, transcendent God. 

When you awaken, you re-experience the profound connection to life that Ardi knew in her cells—and which still remains in our own. This is no aerie-faerie consciousness. It is a physical, whole-bodied awareness: dynamic, earthy, and grounded in Life. All of us are a continuum, a living family past and present. In this unbroken lineage, we are modern/primeval human beings. And like Ardi, Lucy, and every single newborn baby, we stream with the powers of the universe. In the startling moment of a spiritual awakening, we become conscious of the dynamic unity of Life. It is visceral, palpable, primal. We need to integrate this more-than-mental understanding. That conscious integration restores us to the fullness of our humanity and provides the necessary fuel for transforming our relationships within our extended family around the world.
The Dancing Animal Woman: A Celebration of Life demonstrates how our own quest for greater meaning and purpose can contribute to the evolution of humanity’s intimacy with all of life.Last weekend, my publisher informed me that it is almost out of print after a print run of almost 10,000 copies. It is described here. Please write me directly if you’d like an autographed copy for yourself or for a gift. I have only 33 left.


Filed under Awakening, Love, Transformation by Anne Hillman #


I have always been grateful for the work of artists and as some of you know, relied entirely on art and photography to express the first intimations of what eventually became the book, Awakening the Energies of Love.If you haven’t yet learned about the free link to that presentation, The Evolution of Stress, please see the sidebar. When I look at that sequence of paintings now, I’m still astonished at how visionary those artists were! It was as if they’d painted the conflict, the confusion, and the feelings we are experiencing in our time, as well as the beauty of their potential resolution.

Last month, another painter, Mary Southard, created a glimpse of that potential in her graceful poster of ‘The Song of Love’ from Awakening the Energies of Love. It can be seen on the  Ministry of the Arts website and would make a lovely gift for yourself, or for a friend, a grandchild, or someone’s graduation. Though their catalog shows the framed version here, it is also available for $10, unframed. MOTA produced the poster and will receive all the income.

Awakening The Energies Of Love Poster

Brian Swimme calls this creative process ‘Fire igniting fire igniting fire!’ So let’s ignite some creativity together! I was amazed at the breadth of responses that The Dancing Animal Woman inspired, among them, stained glass windows, CD’s for a cancer support program, videos at a celebration with indigenous peoples, calendars, and more. There’s now a page on my website for your own creative work. If something from Awakening the Energies of Love has inspired you, I’d be honored to display it with a link to your url.  Please send your creative work here. In the meantime, here are the words on Mary’s poster of ‘The Song of Love’.

The Song of Love

You are loved. You are accepted, held in a vast embrace. There is nothing in you, nothing of character or tendencies, race or sexuality, accomplishment or failure that is not held, not needed. You are a child of God. That which you are is deeply wanted.

You are not alone, not left to your own devices. There is more going on than can be seen. You belong to an activity that is beyond comprehension. Trust it.

You are known. That which you have sought is seeking you. That which you want to offer life is greatly needed. You may not yet know what it is, but it is exactly the right gift and only yours to give. Give it.

You are part of a great leap of loving such as the world has never known. You have work to do. Begin it. There is only one ancient and forever work of art: the slow fashioning of life and the gradual flowering of Love. Find your way. Find your companions. Give your life to Love.

The world sings in its many voices,’Do you love me?’ It stumbles across your path a hundred times a day. Respond.

Be bread. Be broken. Let go of what you know. Find in your heart what your mind can’t comprehend. Moment by moment . . . place by place . . . person by person . . . wound by wound. Dance! Fall! Fail! You will be busy, but not with the busy- ness of the world.

In the heart of you lies Love. Without your opposition, it shines through you. You have only to let yourself be held in the larger embrace, let yourself be loved, let yourself be known as you are—and you will be lit up.

Thomas Merton said, ‘There’s no way of telling people they’re walking around shining like the sun.’

You are a shining. You are not only the small being who wants to be safe.

You are Love. You are Life. You are Light.

Go Shining.

Filed under Creativity, Love by Anne Hillman #


Readers have been sending such wonderful questions that I thought I might try to respond in blog fashion. Here’s the first: 

I was reading the story in Awakening the Energies of Love about when people ask at social events, “what do you DO?” and how you learned to say, “I’m living my life!” But do you ever know “once and for all” what you LOVE to do and what NOT to say “yes” to? How do you direct those “energies of love” that flow through you? Because 24 hours is not long enough.  -Mary 

What a beautiful question! For me, life gets more precious every year, and there are so many things I am passionate about. As you say, 24 hours a day aren’t long enough! A lot in the work world is draining of energy, so I had to learn what activities and practices energized me and brought me joy. Often they had nothing to do with work as we know it. But I’ve discovered that if I’m to remain healthy in body and mind, I have to make sure they don’t get sidelined. These are the little things: just sitting for a while and contemplating the beauty of the land, arranging flowers, planting my vegetable garden, being with a friend, taking a walk, and maintaining spiritual practices like meditation. They help to keep me in balance. So does my actual work, but it took a long time to find what gave me the most joy: writing and working with the small groups I call Soul Work. One balances the other—the first, inward and solitary, the second outward and so very satisfying. My other decisions in response to requests and activities are based strictly on what my body indicates: the clear Yes/No described in Awakening the Energies of Love. When you learn what your body knows, you’re home free. With Love, Anne

Filed under Balance by Anne Hillman #


Yesterday, I gave blood for the 1st time in over 30 years, having been thrown into anaphylactic shock and sent by ambulance to Mass General Hospital emergency room in Boston after donating white cells to a very sick newborn baby in Cambridge. In those days they used a centrifuge to spin out the white cells and the remaining blood was sent back into the donor’s bloodstream. Turns out there’d been a hairline crack in the centrifuge and when the serum was returned to my body, it was filled with lethal bacteria. I vowed never again to give blood. Though they no longer use that procedure, any thought of ‘doning’ terrified me. But when Michelle Obama wrote and asked for service in honor of MLK, it was the tipping point for me. And since I already belonged to an Obama group, I looked for what other options she suggested. Donating blood was one of them and by golly, I did it! Now I’ll do it routinely. Better than that, every person I later told about it has donated blood too! How about you? 

Filed under Service by Anne Hillman #


As the excitement about the presidential debates builds, I think it is important to realize that any “change” promised by either candidate depends on much more than a leader. It is a matter of setting a new direction: The hope for any real change in our lives lies in the awakening of the human heart and mind. Such an awakening transforms the quality of all our relationships, and as we develop the skills that lead us in that direction, we may come to embody a different kind of Love—one that has long been misunderstood. This kind of Love is not a feeling; it is a great power—an intelligence which has long been present inside us. Accessing it, however, depends on our willingness to proceed. If we have made up our minds—if we believe what we know, and know what we believe—we will not have even begun to address the biased thinking that keeps us all so thoroughly programmed for conflict. If there is any real hope for us—man and woman, Arab and Jew, East and West—it doesn’t lie in the rising up of a great leader. The Time of the hero is past. No rescuer will come to solve our conflicts for us, or fill the deep crevices of earth with oil again, or season poisoned land with sweetness. But if we are willing to step forward and begin to change our minds—to let go of our own certitude, be it religious or philosophical orscientific—we will have joined the legions who are contributing to a new kind of consciousness, one that sees differently. This is not the same as thinking differently. It is the conscious emergence of a radical kind of Love that holds both sides of a conflict in its embrace. According to Teilhard de Chardin, the transforming power of Love can alone create a true human community. In his words, “The fire of love may be the only energy capable of extinguishing the threat of another fire, namely that of universal conflagration and destruction.” This kind of Love unifies. Its evolution is already happening in all of us and is described in Awakening the Energies of Love: Fire for the Second Time.  

Filed under Change by Anne Hillman #