In Place

Mark J. Janssen
3 min readMay 18, 2023

Serenity has been defined as having a clear mind and spirit. All too many of us know what it’s like to be rattled. To have something upset our personal apple carts. We expect not to be serene because we have bought into the mistaken notion that we’re not supposed to feel calm and contented about our lives.

The American way of life is built on the idea of constantly striving. We’re supposed to keep pushing our limits, pushing our boundaries. If there’s no more West to expand towards, then we’ll go to outer space or under the seas.

We’ll invent something new because we can. We don’t necessarily need all the toys we already have. There’s no precise purpose in devising new bigger better toys other than telling ourselves we’re the best. Because we can.

In all of this running after glittery baubles we throw away reality.

In the middle of the twentieth century all little boys were supposed to play on softball leagues, take umpteen different sports lessons and excel at them all. I was pretty awful at most sports. I did not like any of them. In fact, I hated almost all of them. Sports bored me silly. With lifelong arthritis, they were also painful.

Worst of all, it took time away from the things I loved doing. Being alone to read or talk with the angels. Who doesn’t like to be with their best friends? The people who truly understand them? I could see them regardless of whether or not anybody else saw them.

Left in solitude, I was in the place where I was happiest and most content. I was serene. I possessed what I most loved and most wanted.

I am still serene when I am out of the noise and tumult of our world. When I am left to my own devices. The angels come and go. Sometimes we converse, sometimes we’re still together.

Earlier today I was speaking with a doctor. One of his old college friends is a scientist working on the James Webb telescope. The doctor reported that the reason new pictures have not been published is that the scientists have no idea what to make of them. NASA’s people see images for which they have no rational explanation.

What do all of the images of the star systems, the gases and nebulae mean? Where are they from? What has happened to them in the intervening centuries? The millions of years since they were formed, had their existence and died?

The scientists have no answers.

Send them to us, I told him. I explained that my husband is a Native American shaman and I am a mystic. We look at these pictures and discuss with each other what we see. What occurred millions and billions of years ago. What is happening now.

There is only one way I know of to do this. It takes years of prayer, meditation and just plain not worrying a whole lot about many things the world thinks are supposed to own our guts.

That doesn’t work. It takes too much energy. It steals from us sleep, rest, the ability to clear our minds and sprits of all worries. The freedom to be serene. To sit in place and want nothing.

I live in miracles waiting for more miracles. It’s hardly like anything earth shaking arises. It’s the everyday ordinariness of life.

When I am willing to allow Creation to be itself while I am myself, all is well.

Then I am serene.

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Mark J. Janssen

Mark Janssen is a Catholic Druid, mystic visionary and author who writes a weekly blog. His memoir “Reach for the Stars” is available online.