I generally tell those I journey with that I can tell a lot about their lives by the state of their apartment. Esther de Waal said something similar in her book The Way of Simplicity. She wrote, “An old monastic saying goes that you can tell how a man prays by the way in which he sweeps the cloister.” It made me realize that it is not just how cluttered or uncluttered your living space is, but the ways in which you go about the routine practices in your life like sweeping the floor.
If someone were to watch the way you perform a routine act in your home or office, what would they learn about you. It has made me wonder what others think of or learn about me by the way I do things. I would like to think people would think I was mindful and intentional, but I also know there are routines I am not as mindful and focused as others.
It is easier for me to be mindful and focused when I am cooking because I am constantly thinking, especially now, about what I am eating, where it has come from, what I am doing with it. I treat each of my ingredients with a sense of reverence. However, in all honesty, I have come to realize that I do not bring that same sense of reverence to everything I do, especially chores I have not enjoyed. Read More
I was first exposed to the writings of a woman who goes by the name of Starhawk when I began reading about ecofeminism. Her writings have always intrigued me because they challenged me to pay attention to the physical landscape that surrounds me in new ways. In one of her books, which I read almost 10 years ago, she outlined nine ways of observing the spiritual in the physical. My meditations this week, have led me back to this book and the lessons it taught me about paying attention. So I thought I would share a few excerpts from her book this week. Read More
Anna Quindlen in her book, A Short Guide to a Happy Life, wrote, “He stared out at the ocean and said, "Look at the view, young lady. Look at the view."
And every day, in some little way, I try to do what he said. I try to look at the view. That's all. Words of wisdom from a man with not a dime in his pocket, no place to go, nowhere to be. Look at the view. When I do what he said, I am never disappointed.”
How often do we take the time in our lives to look at the view? How often do we take the time to really see what is right in front of us. I know I am so often guilty in my own life of not seeing the view. Sometimes I focus on all the things that I have yet to accomplish today that I forget to take the time to look at the view. I have been trying this month to take my own challenge to notice something new every day. Read More
When I was pastoring, one of the least listened to parts of the service was the announcements. One of the young girls in the congregation came to talk to me about how disrespectful the adults were being. I asked her if she had any ideas on how to get the adults to pay attention and she said yes. The next Sunday, this powerful 7 year old got up in front of the congregation and loudly proclaimed, “It’s pay attention time!” The adults immediately paid attention and then she explained that announcements were not a time to talk to their neighbors, but a time to pay attention to the announcements. It has been years since she taught this lesson and took over that part of worship, but I still remember her telling everyone, “it’s pay attention time!” Read More
One of my favorite books for the longest time was Robert Fulghum’s book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. In it, there was a list of important life lessons he learned in kindergarten. Number 11 “Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.”
When one was in kindergarten, it seemed easy for most people I know to lead a balanced life. We went to kindergarten, learned and thought about things like the alphabet and big and little letters. We would spend time in school and after school, playing and creating games or stories with our friends or by ourselves. Read More
Maintaining an attitude of gratitude is one of those things which most people find relatively easy to do when things are going well in their lives. When you have a secure and well paying job, it is easy to give thanks. When your relationship is stable, it is easy to give thanks. When you are doing well health wise, it is easy to give thanks. The problem is that most of us have those days in our life when our job may be at risk, or we may be worried about trying to find one. Read More
We all go through times in our journey which if given the choice, we might choose to avoid. It is at times like this when I tend to hear my Bubby’s voice reminding me that when you can see the good in a bad situation, then you know you are going to be ok. I have done this with Zoë’s cancer diagnosis, during the times my son has struggled (like last night), during my struggle with Liftline, etc. As I have made a list of the blessings in each situation, the way I see them, what I choose to believe about them shifts from an Eeyore attitude to an attitude of gratitude. The more I focus on what I have to be grateful for, the more I realize how much I have to be grateful for. It is as if gratefulness begets gratefulness begets gratefulness. Read More
Driving these days is so different than it was when I was first learning to drive. I am not talking about the people on the road, or the amount of traffic, or any of those things. I am talking about the consciousness with which we drive. I know it has been a few years since I have been physically able to drive. However, I can remember a number of times I managed to drive from point A to point B and was not sure how I got there. It was as if I was driving on autopilot. One of the features several of my friends have on their cars is cruise control. They can just set the speed at which they want to travel and the car will automatically speed up or slow down accordingly. Read More
Recently, I read this quote from a book by Ray Dodd called The Power of Belief. In it he wrote, “Belief colors every experience and determines how we react in any situation, yet we are often unaware of the hidden beliefs that guide us.” Being mindful of these hidden beliefs is like playing hide and seek. The beliefs, which guide our life, have already hidden themselves. It is our job to seek them out, expose them, and then decide what purpose they play in our lives if any.
So often, we are not mindful of these hidden beliefs. Read More
So often, I hear people putting themselves down for their level of education, their intelligence, or their wisdom. The truth is that each of is much wiser then we give ourselves credit for. One of the questions I ask my students every semester is “how do you know what you know?” They struggle with that question all semester, usually thinking about this question in terms of how do they know what they know in terms of their personality, their likes, dislikes, values, etc. How do they know what they know about world, national, and local news? How do they know what they know about their families? Given the biases in the reporting of the news, textbooks, the media, and just about any other source of information in the world, how do we know what we know? Read More
It is funny how things from different aspects of your life lead you to the same place in different ways. For example, I was looking at a friend’s facebook page and she had a link to Aretha Franklin singing respect. I was enjoying her sing this song and remembering when she first recorded it. While I could not remember any of the other lyrics, I could remember her singing RESPECT find out what it means to me. I have always thought of the word respect as it has been traditionally defined. I had been taught that when you hold someone in esteem or honor, then you are respecting him or her. Sometimes we can use the word to talk about how we show regard or consideration for someone’s rights. If I asked most people to define respect, my guess is that is how they would define or think about that term. Read More
The other day, someone said “this spiritual evolution stuff is hard work. Sometimes I just want to go back to the way I was, it was so much easier.” I had to giggle because I totally agreed with her. It is so easy to just go through life and not think about what we say or do or why. I remember the days when I did not worry about what I did or said and didn’t think about what I really meant by that or the message I was giving off. Or the days when I was not thinking about what emotion was ruling my response? Or whether I was responding or reacting? But then I stop and think about how unhappy I was, how messed up my life appeared to be, how I felt as if I were on an emotional roller coaster. There were times I felt as if I was trapped on one of those revolving doors. No matter how much I said things were going to be different, I found myself doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same results. Oh wait, isn’t that what Einstein called insanityJ.
Evolving spiritually means that we cannot zone out through life. We cannot hit the snooze alarm on our lives. We have to remain awake and conscious. When we are conscious, we can listen to our intuition. Read More