Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Finding the Center

How is it that we have lost our center?
Become taken up with either/or ideas such as:
         This or That
         I'm Right You're Wrong
         My way or no way
         Are you on the left or are you on the right?
Have we become so entrenched in our place of belief that
there is no room for any other perspective?

Have we forgotten that many times the truth is
somewhere in the middle.

How is it that we have forgotten that the center
        Is where we find common ground
        Is where we find a voice of respectful conversation
        Is where we encounter respect
        Is where there is courageous love
        Is where we come together to work for the good of all humanity.

Lord, I too have gotten lost on my own journey to my center, to the center of you. I too have gotten drawn into either/or thinking instead of looking for the both/and.  Help me to remember that finding the center does not mean staying silent, but rather is where I find strength in you to speak up.  Lord, help me to find my way back to the center.  Amen

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Sighs and Groans

There seems to be a feeling of great uncertainty hovering around.  You can pick your arena of uncertainty – health issues, financial issues, relationship issues, politics.  And I am certain the list could go on.  I don’t know about you, but when I am facing uncertainty, is when I feel the need to pray deepen.  I also seem to have the experience that it is at that time I am so weary that I can’t muster the energy to create words, but to only sigh – great – big sighs.  For this time I simply offer this poem prayer.

Sighs……just sighs.
Partly because I’m oh so tired.
Partly because there is so much going on in my head,
And in the world,
And in life.

It seems all I can do is sigh and groan.
Those are the only kind of prayer I can seem to offer right now,
When I can’t make clear the chaos of the words and feelings in my head.

Thank you God for hearing my sighs and groans,
For knowing me and my prayers that are in these sighs and groans.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sacred Pausing

I am sure I have written here about taking time to step way from all the activity and engage in what I call “stop days” where all the activities and to do’s are put on hold. Forgive me if I am sounding a bit like a broken record, but I find myself remembering the blessedness of this once again.

I am in the middle of one of those “stop days.” Actually it has been more of a “stop weekend” induced by a projected ice storm. I’m a Colorado girl, snow does not phase me much, however you start talking ice and my deep respect for its slippery, fall and accident inducing ability kicks in. Plans got cancelled for both Saturday and Sunday, including church. Our family was gifted with an entire weekend together in the house.

And it was a sacred gift. I don’t remember the last time we were all able to stay in our jammies past 8:00 am. Or the last time that the schedule only included hanging out, games, baking, TV and movies. Basically just being together with no rush to get through one activity to get to the next place we had to be.

Jesus and the Bible talk a lot about Sabbath and taking Sabbath rest. In my belief it is one of the most important spiritual disciples for maintaining holistic health. Yet it is the one discipline I seem to have the most trouble practicing. It is hard to silence the I really should be doing ____, you can fill in the blank. The doing begins to take over the connecting.

And especially right now, I have come to believe the connecting is critically important. Deep and healthy connecting happens in this pause space. Whether it is connecting more deeply with God or with those most important to you in your life, or maybe it is connecting with the person we don’t know that well, but we know we need to reach out to.

It is when we can put away the busyness that distracts us, that helps protect us from being vulnerable that true connection happens. It is in this space of pause and rest and connection that we can find strength and courage for the journey ahead. It is in this space of slowing down that we connect or re-connect with our source of hope, faith and love.

So today I am grateful for a weather-induced pause. Funny thing is, the ice storm was not the impending doom it was supposed to be, I could have shifted gears and started moving back into my business, but instead I allowed myself to stay on pause, with out guilt. And I know not only myself, but those I love most dearly are all the better for it.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Inspirations and Motivations

I am starting 2017 by participating in a challenge. I never thought I would ever participate in any type of challenge, let alone a fitness challenge. I’m just not the type. I have discovered that part of growing is trying new things – so here I am starting a fitness challenge through Taijifit(TM). There are different ways to participate. I am committing to showing up in the online class or the recorded Facebook-live post every day in January. I am committing to engaging in creativity by posting a picture or video each day of me doing a specific move. I am challenging my point of view by creating pictures or video of how I see a specific principle of Taijifit in my week. I am on Day two and having a blast!

Today in class, our teacher, David-Dorian Ross, spent some time discussing the idea of motivation and inspiration. He proposed that they really are two sides of the same coin, and I tend to agree with him. At the end of class he asked us to reflect on what inspires and motivates us. This seems like a good way to focus my thoughts for my first blog of 2017.

I am, by nature, a worrier and a bit of a control freak. I like to know what is going to happen and have a plan. If I don’t…well… then I can worry with the best of them. I am working on this and am hopeful that 31 days of Taijifit will help with some tools to keep the monkey-of-worry at bay. Here is where part of my inspiration comes in: I am deeply inspired by those who can be spontaneous and seem to be able to handle the worst that life throws at them with grace and while exuding inner peace – somehow keeping the internal chaos under control. What motivates me is that I know my tendency towards worry and stress is not healthy for my mind, body, or spirit.

This is where my intentions for 2017 come into play. I call them intentions, because I think it gives more space for them to develop over the course of the year. There is space as I grow and change for the intentions to grow and change with me. This is my intention for 2017, to create space. I want space to reconnect with music – all kinds of music (hey, if you have suggestions of what I should check out, leave a comment with a suggestion). I want space to explore color and incorporate color in my life; I want to see where this journey will take me in my spiritual health and perspective on life. And most of all, I want to create space to just stop.

I think this last one will be the hardest for me, but probably the one I need to do the most. We are a busy family with lots of things going on. It is rare there is a day without at least one thing on the schedule. For me, part of this stopping is making space for what I call “stop days”. These are days where there are no limits on how much TV is watched; we can get dressed or not; we are just together with no agenda or schedules. It is space to just be, to let our bodies and brains wind down to a state of true rest.

This year I want to find a better balance between doing what I am called to do by God and being who I am created by God to be. Doing is action. Being happens in the space I create between the doing. Being is where my contemplative spirit finds room to grow. It is the balance between doing and being the practice of my faith and spirituality find its completeness.

I’ll ask you the same question that David-Dorian Ross asked us in class today – what inspires and motivates you? And I’ll add one of my own: how does that shape your goals or intentions for this next year?

Come join me on the journey, it should be an exciting one.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Imperfect Path

It is cold and snowy, the kind of day that usually keeps me indoors and using my finger labyrinth instead of my out door one. But for some reason today is different, even though it is covered in snow to the point I can barely see the path and only in places at that, I am drawn to go out and walk Hope’s Labyrinth.

It is quiet out here, the earth blanketed in snow and I feel connected in a very quiet and peaceful way to this abiding beauty. I’ve never done this, walked the outdoor labyrinth without being able to see the path. Taking my first step is very much an act of faith, faith that I will remember this path that I have walked thousands of times before.

Walking today feels so much different, I find myself focused on each step, my feet searching to find the remembered path. My heart is unusually calm and unconcerned about finding the “right” path. This is a bit unusual for this perfectionist. I had expected to be a bit distressed if I found myself making a less than perfect path on my labyrinth journey. Perhaps all these years of labyrinth walking have finally taken root in my heart. That I have finally learned that it is less about how the walking is done, what the path looks like and more about the fact that it is just being walked.

I now understand why I have never walked my labyrinth in the snow; I was too busy worrying about not being able to see the path. Today perhaps I was ready to finally let go of following my preset rules about walking the set out path of the Hope’s Labyrinth. Perhaps the blanket of snow helped me to see that Hope’s Labyrinth is more than just the path, but it’s entire 14 ft. x 14 ft. square area is a place of sacred quiet. It is a place to let go of all of my set out notions of how things should be and let myself find the freedom and connection that comes in just journeying.

I finished my walk, short as it was. It was really cold! I stopped at the entrance and looked back on my footsteps, the circles uneven and the turns unequally taken. And it was beautiful, because it was my path, chosen and walked by me. Its imperfection beautiful. I took a picture to remind me of today’s journey. To remind me that Hope’s Labyrinth really is a labyrinth for all seasons.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Quiet Gifts

Amidst the falling snow,
And piles of torn wrapping paper,
A silent moment is found.

The quiet ahh.....
 Of grace come in the warmth of a newborn baby.
 Of hope heard in the giggles of a babe laying in a manger.

 Or maybe it is the silent moment of remembrance -
 Of those not gathered around the table.
 Through tears of grief of losses that are hard to voice.
 That for some today is just hard.

 It is in the silent moment where space is given by the Christ Child.
 Where all are welcomed to his birth,
 Just as we are,
 With whatever it is that we are feeling in our hearts.

 It is in the silence that Christ surrounds us with love unconditional,
And the hope of healing offered to a broken and hurting world.

 The only thing asked of us...
 Is that we open our hearts to the gifts the Christ Child offers us.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Finding Advent in the Stopping

It is Sunday morning as I write this. Snow, Ice and severely sub-zero temperatures have effectively brought our family to a steadily slowing halt. In the interest of safety our church decided to cancel services and so I have found myself with a rare day of unplanned freedom from obligations.  As I looked out on the snowy back yard after a morning of pajamas and family snuggles the following poured out of my heart.

Go, Do, Prepare.
Shop, Sing, Bake.
Plan, Wrap, Decorate.

It seems the to do list has lost its priorities.
Where is…
                        Slow down, listen, be present.
                        Marvel, simplify, wonder.

                        Breathe in, breath out, prepare heart.

It’s Sunday and the snow came
And the temperature plummeted.
Safety was considered.
No church to attend this morning.

But wait….Church was attended
Only in a wholly different way.
By staying home, slowing down, snuggling with those dearest.
Worshiping at the dinning table around our Advent wreath.

Today Holy preparation was found.
In the stopping and just being.
In the permissive space of nothing to do,
But just be.

Never before have I felt so clearly
Advent Peace, Hope, Love, Joy.

Now I feel prepared…
to welcome your Child, Jesus to this earth once again.

Thank you and Amen.