The Call into the Rhythm of Contemplation & Flow

Trueness will call at you until you pay attention. Trueness is not a persistent partner calling out for you to dance. Trueness is the dance, where you are wholly alive in reality.

The Reality of the Flow

Trueness demanded I step into the flow and pay attention. And attention captured, rhythm was delivered into continually deeper, truer passion and participation. Participation requires courage, and the courage you need to wade into the flow is encoded within your Trueness. Without such original courage you are completely open to the lies of expectation, a set of false standards determined to move you well beyond the reach of your Trueness and its rhythm.

The rhythm of my own Trueness has called me into a work with varying expressions, each spoken from the voice given me since the beginning. It is through these expressions, and maybe because of them, that my rhythm was washed into the open.

In my work, I focus on individual leaders. Consequent of this focus, my writing continually takes me into the stories of these individuals, where each is learning to wade in the awareness of the true self.

Contemplation, Poetry, and Love: Flow, Encounter, and Oneness: All words seemingly esoteric and spiritual. But esoteric and spiritual doesn’t mean that they are not real. Quite the contrary, to only believe in one side of the river over another is unreal, allowing lies that keep you from knowing the reality of the flow.

I talk, and write, about applying the true self in work, and practicing from this original source, because it is what I know. Working full time one spends around two thirds of the waking life in this thing called work. So, as best as one can, why not make it as good as it can possibly be? Why not free both desire and intent into the middle of the flow of Trueness?

With the strength of voice given since the beginning, and the freedom found by stepping into the middle of the flow, hold the pearl of great price, your Trueness.

Participation (Falling in Love with Reality) – Wade: Part ID

Contemplation & Flow
To experience something gladly, paying attention with love.

Forgive Everything

The Beginning; I often refer to this phrase of measure, as in, since the beginning, from the beginning, etc. I do this as a matter of encouragement, saying to you that what you most need is already present within. My propensity to encourage is an example of something within me endowed since the beginning. Anytime I include such phraseology, I am referring to the powerful simplicity of present grace.

I want to tell you about my brother. To begin, I share a somewhat incomplete poem, composed on a long walk as I thought about him. It is incomplete in my mind as it relates to its inadequacy in speaking to the reality of this man.

A brother I have,
father and mother
a shared bond.

Deeply I trust,
even deeper I respect
this brother in blood.

Trust and respect I give,
but earned both are.

It’s true, I suppose,
that over time
what you say
and what you do
come together in truth.

A powerful thing it is to say
a wonderful thing it is to claim
I trust your truth.

This attempt of putting words to what I know of this man came in the year after his daughter Molly’s death. Molly was the most courageous person I’ve ever known, and her spirit was bright, loving, and compassionate for all others. And right there in courage with her were her mom and her dad.

In spite of medical prediction, Molly made it beyond her 39th year (she was the longest-living liver transplant recipient at the time of her death). Those years were brutal to her body. When I consider such reality as the perpetual sickness of the entire life of a child, I am sadly amazed at the ease with which we humans give our energy to the insignificant; things in life and work made dreadfully significant by our false belief that we can exert control. Such belief is unreal, because it is formed in the space of false expectation: untruth we too freely allow.

In the last months of our mom’s life, my brother and I worked together around key components of securing credible care for her, most of which fell under his watchful eye, which was a loving duty well beyond just his geographical closeness to her. Being personalities of very different preferences and gifts, we worked well together in the processes required for mom’s care. I have been privileged through the years to be inspired by the grace of my brother’s strength.

It is a graceful privilege to know someone for many years. My brother is four years my senior. We therefore didn’t do a lot of things together growing up. I do remember a lot of front yard wiffle ball games; totally played within his situational rulebook to assure his victory! We were both in our thirties when we became close, spending quality time fishing, allowing us both to find respite from some parts and parcels of reality.

My brother and sister-in-law are, as they say, tough as nails. They have had to be, for the sake of all their children. They have both come to forgive reality. If it were not so I would not see the generosity and love that flow through them. Molly’s love and compassion was learned from her parents as well as gifted to her since the beginning. And she too was tough as nails.

Here is what I know: My brother is true. For this he makes no apology. I am not referring to opinions or any other superfluous view. I know his Trueness. I have seen its steadfastness all my life. His wade through both joy and suffering has washed him onto a path where he contemplatively walks. This is what I know, the grace of this man.

To get to what has been present, within you, since the beginning, it is critical to learn the tenacious call to forgive reality, to forgive everything.

Washed into the Open

The journey of learning,
road without end, reality.
To forgive such, necessary
for the sake of flow;
limitless, uninhibited freedom.

Experience is a teacher.
But do we learn?
Rhythm, the acquisition,
the purchase of mastery
with the currency given
since our beginning.

Yet, what do we master?
Surely not others,
probably not ourselves.
The mastery, less about expertise,
more about tireless contemplation;
compassion for oneself,
and all,
as One.

And within contemplative freedom
we learn
to walk
in the cadence
of simplicity and truth,
the reality of our own currency,
our poetry and our love.

Realness, buried under the sediment
of expectation.
Spirit, attentive to the strokes
of Trueness,
sluicing deposits of limitation.
And, stepping
into the stream
of who we really are,
we are washed into the open,
delivered yet again onto
our own path.

–J. Brunson


Participation (Falling in Love with Reality) – Wade: Part IC

Contemplation & Flow
To experience something gladly, paying attention with love.

Wading into Trueness

Trueness is the deeper context to which this work has led me; a work to which I’ve been led and now find pulling me forward.

One’s journey toward, and with, Trueness begins with the Wade, the choice to participate−even well before we understand all we feel, hear, and see flowing around us. I have come to a place in my life and living where I consider all my efforts to be The Work of Trueness.

I believe that the true self is not lost out there but buried in here. I also believe it is one’s life-long work to uncover and live from this Trueness. Our Trueness is the pearl of great price buried in that field, the ground we purchase by letting go of all that is false and in the way of the flow of our voice, a brand of resonant love uniquely given to us from the beginning.

At the core of the nature of reality is paradox. We are being unrealistic when, in our life and living, we constantly need to separate; to make choices and decisions loosely structured on the lies of dualistic thought. And the most serious flaw at reality’s core is the failure to embrace as One the human and divine. It seems to me that any subsequent refusal to hold any other true paradox is built on this failure.

Do You Hear?

The most important tool in the craft of my work is that of listening. My very Desire & Intent in this work depends on the attention I pay to listening. Listening is the tool, but really hearing another is the skill (art). To allow the two to properly work together, I must get myself out of the way.

I’ve found that most people don’t listen well to themselves, and therefore not hearing profound points of resonance from both inner and outer charges; the impact of desire and intent. Several years ago I fell victim to my own lack of hearing.

I was having an economically challenging year, telling myself a story of betrayal and evaporating value of this work in which I had become so invested. During this time, two dear friends encouraged me to listen to what my clients said to me about our work together, and to really hear in their words the impact for them in the intersection of my own desire and intent.

Providentially timed with this encouragement, I found myself in a conversation with Amy, a wonderful client and supporter of my work through the years. Sensing my walk along the cliff-edge of depression, she lovingly took me to task for not intuitively knowing the value of the work I do, and what I had done for so many. She decided to speak for them.

Speaking to my own gifted rhythm, she said:

  • We learn from you and take this to others, proliferating our mentorship.
  • You teach us how to leverage our relationships.
  • You give us skills to teach the methodology to others in order to improve both individual and organizational impact.

Needless to say, I’ve kept Amy’s words before me in the years since receiving them from her faithful courage. This beautiful, blessed interaction with her helped pull my steps away from a desperate edge and inspirited my walk back into my own cadence. Amy knew my rhythm because she had become conscious of her own rhythm in the experience of being truly heard.

Forgiving Reality

In my book, The Rhythm of Trueness, I share the rhythmic flow gifted to my consciousness through my study of Fr. Richard Rohr’s writing: Forgive Everything / Everything Belongs / See the Unfolding.

It is in the Wade, stepping into life and living freeing oneself from the lies of expectations, where we are struck with the paradox of stillness and flow. In the flow, sudden awareness of things moving together with or without us, we realize the importance of our participation. But to move such realization into active engagement, partaking of the energy available to us, we must let go of the false standards that have so far defined us.

To forgive everything is only possible somewhere in the intersection of forgiving reality and forgiving yourself for the reality created by circumstances, and any set of standards by which you may have been taught and most likely controlled. To forgive reality, as one knows it, is the proclamation of true freedom, and forgiving self is the freedom to be true.

Who one is since the beginning is already present, with colors and hues on an original palette, simply waiting to be stroked into present being by the dance and dialogue of artist and canvas.

Participation (Falling in Love with Reality) – Wade: Part IB

Contemplation & Flow
To experience something gladly, paying attention with love.

A Larger Cadence

Writing, in and of itself, for me has become an important form of contemplation; a long and loving look into the matter of my attention. At last, after much practice, I learned the power of the writing process: that it was much more than just producing some content, that there was something calling me into the depths of context, honoring experience, and thus drawing me toward more meaningful participation.

As I remain open to contemplation, what it is and how it manifests in my life and living, I am convinced it flows in diverse incarnations grounded within the reality of who we are. Does how we learn have connection with how contemplation might become part of our stillness and flow? Through experience and experimentation, we each have developed in how we best learn, where, in true learning, we each have found our best methods for simply paying attention.

This, from my experience, I know, if an individual acts from Trueness−living her or his own rhythm−then this person is a leader. Our world so needs this leadership to come alive in each person, as much as possible.

Rhythm and Attention

Whatever contemplative stance I might envision for myself, I know such seeing becomes gracefully clearer as I move closer to my Trueness−deeply honoring the rhythm given to me. In volume five of my work journaling, I asked myself this question; “What is it about rhythm I so desire to teach?”

The deep context of this work I do has led me deeper into my own Trueness. I am recognizing a need to share, more often and ever more deeply, the abundance available through becoming aware of your rhythm, and more consistently choosing in the cadence of such beautiful simplicity and truth.

I teach about rhythm because I want you to know the journey makes sense, as it is traveled, with conscious presence. I teach rhythm so you can be aware, focused, and loving on your journey, and in the larger cadence. I teach rhythm so you may lead in a needy world−leading from the authentic rhythm given you since the beginning. I teach rhythm as a way to teach love−love for your work and love in your work−and how such love is profitable, not a business strategy but a way of living Trueness, embracing the larger cadence of contemplation, poetry, and love.

It takes a measure of confidence to see past the distractions in one’s everyday and focus the energy of Trueness. It seems there are many reasons for a lack of attentiveness in our daily lives, supposed reasons that simply become excuses to not pay attention. If we don’t wade into Trueness, we lose the opportunity for connectedness, with each other and with all things. But stepping into the stream of who we really are we can then begin a loving and conscious flow toward oneness.

“To be true is to flow, and in the flow one experiences both freedom and obstacle. Our own unique rhythm is moved to fullness by the notes and cadences of our own song, and finding harmony in a larger composition.”

–from The World Needs You, Second Contemplation

Reality, what is it? Answering this question could, I’m sure, fill volumes of journaling or books. But for the purposes of falling in love with it, reality is somewhere in the realm of letting go−and in the act of learning to see within the unfolding of it all.


And Now …

Important it is
to breathe in grace
each morning,
to feel living grace
as reality.

For into graceful flow entering,
I begin to hear resonance, given me
since the beginning; reminded
that such voice is closer to reality,
the truth of who I am, the pulse
between soul and spirit.

Blessed then, my eyes to see
more clearly in the oneness,
the story of which I am a small part;
a part nonetheless,
and often without even knowing so,
an important part to one …

The threads of reality, seen through
the clear lens of movement, weave
for the one seeing
a depiction of belonging.

In such flow is grace,
blessed connection from
what is, now.

–J. Brunson

Participation (Falling in Love with Reality) – Wade: Part IA

Contemplation & Flow

Am I a contemplative? I have always been one inclined to spend much time in introspective thought, maybe more than needed for my own good. My mother on more than one occasion said, “You think too much.” Strictly defined, contemplation is a long, thoughtful look at something. I prefer Richard Rohr’s take as he added one important word, ‘a long, loving look at anything.’

Whether or not I am a contemplative, I know I certainly desire to be more absorbed in life and living. What might it look like to be contemplative? The answer−at least for now, and for me−just may be in how I see contemplation itself: It is compassion for oneself, and all, as one. From such a stance might we become adept at feeling, hearing, and seeing in, with, and through love?

Love is a mystery in our world of work and leadership; but why? What might happen if we, as leaders, allowed love to be at the very core of each choice and every decision; allowing such energy to flow through all we do for those we lead, influence, and serve?

In the years just before writing my first book, I participated in a small, intimate writing group. It was in this time writing together where I discovered my soul connection with Pam. She didn’t just listen in what I would write, she would feel, hear, and see with me, and often deeper within than I was noticing myself. She paid attention with love.

Brought to my consciousness in my writing and expression was my consistent movement toward water, and my desire to be in and with the flow. Flow is not just some fleeting construct to me. Rather, flow is a tangible connecting of experiences through the reality and power of relationship; a landscape filled with moving reality, should one only stand still long enough to see.

And there lies the rub, the difficulty, and the self-imposed barrier to feeling, hearing, and seeing reality: a lack of stillness.

“Perception is reality.” This is a longstanding belief in our society within our work settings, and like so many clichés it has become overused in a context formed by a severe lack of understanding. Individual observation, trained in an unbalanced way of assuming, does indeed lead us in interpreting what we perceive−and this is what we then believe to be reality. This falsely formed reality only furthers our individual and collective unconsciousness to what is really going on.

What is really going on−to feel, hear, and see reality−requires us to simply pay attention.

Pam helped me pay attention to where I seemed to consistently go to bring forth words, and the meaning I intended within each composition. She paid attention to each scene I painted with the words and with my energy. Thus, flow led me to even consider the meaning and the encounter with contemplation.

Contemplation & Flow:
To experience something gladly, paying attention with love.

Participation (Falling in Love with Reality) – Wade: Part I

Simplicity, Reality, and Love

I just want to step in
and Wade.

I only want to be steady
and quiet
in my Walk.

I want to hear and know
Oneness as I allow into my life
Wonder–at the smallest,
simplest, and so very important things
of an everyday life.

Moving back to Ohio after twenty years is one of the most significant transitions we’ve experienced. It has been a beautifully demanding transition, calling our minds and hearts into the atmosphere of present being.

It was the middle of October, waiting for the color, and I was in my new favorite coffee shop thinking on this next series of writing. I began to soak in a joy I felt, while resisting any temptation to stray away from the depth I sensed in the stream of joy.

I had just released my fourth book; a book of selected verse encouraged out of me by my beautiful friend, editor, and publisher. Do I have yet another book in me? I think so, maybe more than just one. Parker J. Palmer talks of being one of those writers who only has one book in him, but he continues writing about the topic in varying expressions. I feel this as well. And like Palmer, I don’t seem to mind.

I’m a simple person I suppose. It could seem I do not like challenge, not writing multiple books on varying topics, but it is very challenging to write about the one topic providentially placed in my very soul. This topic doesn’t define me, rather it is a wonderful energy force in my soul–this thing I know as Trueness.


So, why this alliteration? As my soul-sister Pam said, it has a flow inherent. And as she knows from her encouragement of me, I am captivated by flow, and the rhythm it washes into the open.

It begins in the Wade. I step into life and living freed from the lie of any single expectation. Forgiving everything, gently placing all in the flow, allows me to step out and Walk in the beauty of it all–all that is reality. In the steadiness of such walking, I am deeply encouraged by how it all fits together (how it can all work together for good, if I only allow it to do so). Then, at some point I begin to actually see an unfolding; and this is the Wonder.

In this day and time, I find it sad when we allow ourselves to not be filled with wonder. We believe we are well-informed, that we see and understand so much. All that, to me, gets in the way of real Wonder.

I hope you will stay with me as writing within this rhythm unfolds; for your own Wading, Walking, Wondering.