Recently I stayed at the Joshua Tree cabin of my friends from the Echo Park Film Center.

There are three elements in the desert. Fire. Water. Cell reception.

In Wood of the Cradle, Wood of the Cross, Caryll Houselander, lover of traumatized children and one of my most treasured spiritual companions, observes:

“It is the favorite accusation of those who, for reasons of their own, are made uneasy at the sight of someone else’s honest attempt to practice the Faith, that to save one’s own soul is a selfish, egocentric preoccupation which makes one introverted, censorious, and withdrawn from other people.

In reality the opposite is true. As Christ grows in the soul, suffering and the capacity for suffering increase in the life, and with it the desire to suffer grows. This is not because of any morbidity, such as masochism, but because where Christ increases, love increases”…

I spent Holy Week out there in the desert.

Tradition has it that Christ Was Nailed to the Cross around 9 in the morning.

He didn’t breathe his last till 3.


  1. Listening to you play Haydn was very sweet. I am a big fan, and have followed your blog and read your books and listened to clips of you speaking. But to hear you on the piano brings a new sweetness to our one-way friendship. Bless your heart and thank you.

    1. ha thank you Elizabeth–I am a bit shy about my "piano playing" but could not resist…bless your own good heart!

  2. I enjoyed reading this , your experience of your Triduum.
    Reminds me of being in my hut in the Yorkshire dales, not that far from Fountains Abbey and Rieuviex Abbey. Good stuff. Thanks.

    1. That sounds heavenly, fellow pilgrim. I continue my inner hermitdom in the city…cause for rejoicing that we are all so deeply connected. Thank you.

  3. Heather – You are a "treasured spiritual companion" to me, as I am sure you are to many. I get wrapped up in my busy world and go away for 6 months or a year, but then I see the bookmark "shirt of flame" on my list and think, "what is she up to these days?" and there you are still bearing witness through some small act of kindness which you graciously and gracefully enact. In between all these photos of this or that plant or flower are the real images that keep me coming back, because I get to catch a glimpse of your merciful heart through your beautiful transparent prose. And I am once again inspired to be and give my best for Him who loved me and gave Himself for me. I am reminded by your life and the examples you share that the small sacrifice, the little bit that I am stretched, the taking some extra time to really listen to someone in need of a kind and listening ear all have such dignity and value – pure gold. And I do not grow quite as weary. Thank you, and bless you, Heather.

  4. Anonymous says: Reply

    Thanks for sharing.. xo Rose

  5. You have Carmelite undercurrents in your writings… So beautiful to see it expressed through your own perspective. Not to mention highly amusing. Thank you for your generosity to us.

  6. You have Carmelite undercurrents in your writings… So beautiful to see it expressed through your own perspective. Not to mention highly amusing. Thank you for your generosity to us.

  7. I was totally overwhelmed by this post…others who have posted previously did a beautiful job of capturing the 'essence of Heather', & how you have such an amazing way of getting to the gut of it & the heart of it… I have been following your blog for 5 years now and am a fan of your books, having read all except the latest one.

    Thank you Dear Heather, for always making me emotionally take a step back when I read your words and thoughts…you have no idea what a spiritual leader you are, with your writings!

  8. P.S. loved your piano playing…so sweet.

  9. Oh thank you so much for your response, people. It's funny, I took two trips to two different deserts over Lent. During both I felt sort of wrung-out and exhausted and that I should have stayed home and worked…but out of both trips came some sort of deepish reflection. Every time I go anywhere, I come home and tell myself, "That's it, I am never leaving home again!" And every time, after a month or so, I seem to start planning another trip…Lots of travel coming up in June and for the rest of the summer. Let's see if I make it!

    I do feel ever more strongly that everything we do, including travel, is Eucharistic–love, suffering, and to be broken, blessed, and shared…I also feel ever more strongly that if even one person is brought closer to Christ, or made to feel less alone through my work–at the end of the age, I will have done my job.

    Thank you for keeping me afloat with your kindness, sensitive hearts, and prayers–

  10. Like Elizabeth and Steve, I have been a follower of your work for 'many moons' and always find my way back, every few months, relieved and thrilled that you are continuing to share your gifts with simple folk like me! When I first found you, I soaked up every thing I could, feeling so connected to you even though we had few, if any, similar life experiences. That's the beauty of soul connecting. It recognizes and grasps each other's innards, regardless of the divergent and distinctly differient life paths one has lead.
    Carry on, Heather. For you I am so grateful!

  11. Hi Heather, so good to read this Easter reflection. Thanks for sharing and being authentic and honest. Peace, Gehrs

    1. Thank you so much, Gehrs–I always appreciate your comments. Blessed Pentecost!


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