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Lightly child, lightly

Live & Learn

light-chest-mind

I wanted to think it was like a light bulb, life,
dangling in the chest, asking to be switched on.
But it’s not the light that’s even in question,
rather, what’s your brilliant, glaring wattage?
What do you dare to gleam out and reflect?”

Ada Limón, “The Other Wish,” from Bright Dead Things

Credits:

  • Sculpture: Ronald Ventura (Blanco, 2015. Metal, fiberglass, Resin) via Thisisnthappiness.com.
  • Poem Source: Boston Poetry Slam
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

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Posted by on 01/25/2016 in Motivation

 

A Seat At The Table

Live & Learn


[…] the most incredible thing that has happened to me is that it is my version of a fairy tale that I’ve found in this unlikely and unexpected family a home that I’ve never had before.”

Dinner.

Family.

A Seat At The Table.

Moved.

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Posted by on 01/25/2016 in Motivation

 

Well and truly blessed

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I’m sitting in my church’s annual meeting as I write. In the mass media, I see stories about how churches are waning due to apathetic congregations and young people’s attitudes.  I am stunned by how much these people care about not only the church, but the community we serve. These people are as passionate about what we do to reach out to the underserved as they are to the allocation of the monies we collect.

It is truly a place that is of the people and by the people.

We had our first quarterly parish breakfast this morning, which was so wonderful that people wanted it to occur every week! I think that it wouldn’t be as appreciated if it occurred weekly, but it was a sweet compliment nonetheless. That my darling husband was the chief planner and cook made the experience that much better.

I look out at the crisp, clear day and realize how well and truly blessed we are to have landed on our feet in this place.

 
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Posted by on 01/24/2016 in Motivation

 

It’s all a matter of priorities

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I find myself hearing the political rhetoric that permeate the media. In the past, I have heard the discourse, but it never had the tone I’m hearing now. Perhaps it’s my age or my growing lack of tolerance for people who promote hatred and division. Maybe it’s because I actually listen to the wisdom of leaders such as Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama have been saying because it resonates with what I hear proclaimed in my own church and community: Acceptance, wholeness, and unity. Those are my priorities.

I remember the pledge of allegiance that I said every school day until the end of high school: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. And to the republic for which it stands: One people under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Those who promote an agenda that divides one faith from others, one country from its neighbors, or widens the economic divide that has sparked outrage are essentially asking us to forget everything our pledge of allegiance states. They are promoting an agenda that aligns with priorities that our forefathers never wanted.

Our forefathers wanted a place where people could practice religion without worry of persecution. They wanted a place where the fruits of a person’s labors could bring some amount of happiness. Most of all, the promoted unity and justice. I see none of that in some of the political ads that I hear now, and it saddens me that people actually might think that this is in our best interest in as a country.

We are a country of immigrants, of second chances, of acceptance despite our flaws or differences. We are not a place of intolerance or hatred. And we cannot, under any circumstances, allow a bully to become the leader of our country. We must continue the path we started on when we first became a country:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

No one, especially not one who be a leader of this country, can deny these words that formed our foundation. And to ensure that we uphold our country’s integrity, we must make sure that all who have the right to vote, be responsible enough to cast their vote when the time comes.

I think that the time of the stereotypical stupid American (at least in the eyes of many outside this country) is over, and that it is time to listen to the wisdom that leads us to unity, wholeness, and peace– that those are the highest, noblest priorities to which we are called.

 
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Posted by on 01/09/2016 in Insight

 

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The Paradox of Busyness and Relaxation

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Call it multi-tasking, being irreplaceable, overworked, overstimulated, or whatever other label you like. The simple fact is that many of us have fallen into the trap of using external stimuli to supply our desire to feel needed. Those of us in the 40-something generation like to point fingers at teens and their constant electronic companions, claiming that they have become addicted to instant gratification — but we are just as bad as they.

I came to this realization over the last few days, as I am officially on my winter break for the next few weeks. I managed to spend a grand total of 3 days — 3! — without opening my laptop to do one of the other projects I scheduled during this break time. I accepted the projects because the money is quite good and a welcome addition to the household budget, but realized that I must have checked my phone at least 10 times per hour on one pretext or another, although I did not Touch my laptop. Today, with the snow finally arriving for good, I spent much of the day working on these projects, watching movies, and checking that damned phone.

I am as addicted to the electronics as they are.

I’ve heard all the fads, especially the one about the adult coloring books, that promise an antidote for our busyness. I think that buying into the pop psychology of adding coloring books isn’t the antidote, but just another way to escape the very thing that frightens us the most: Our fear that if we are constantly busy, then we are somehow worth less.

Who determines this worth? I think the answer is in the mirror.

The paradox of this whole need to remain busy is that if we relax, then we have more of ourselves to offer the world. In contrast, by remaining continually busy, we lose touch with our creativity and that spark that makes us unique. I’m not saying that we should abrogate our commitments or eschew our material needs, but that we need to understand that being effective means balancing busyness with stillness, crowdedness with solitude, and connectedness with peace. We need time to breathe so that we can find the rest our entire beings need.

What does this mean for me? Will I stop working on my projects and relax into my break? I cannot and will not ignore my professional commitments, but I will make sure to get outside and enjoy the snow. Or stay inside and play a game with my family. Or just simply read a book without checking my phone.

I will find the space to become more of myself. Somehow.

 
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Posted by on 12/29/2015 in Growth, Insight

 

It’s Christmas, so why am I blue?

Tonight my husband and I witnessed our older daughter singing her first solo during our church pageant. She sang beautifully, and the piece was very moving.  Our younger daughter was the lead angel and did a lovely job preparing the manger for Mary and Joseph and the holy child. A live goat and sheepdog were part of the tableau.

We came home and had a lovely dinner including a sirloin tip roast and root vegetables, and then watch some family favorites while we unwound. Quite a far cry from the last few Christmases. Everyone in the home is content especially the cat, who is curled up on top of the cable box that is probably the warmest place in the house.

So why do I feel blue and slightly out of sorts? Nothing rational explains it. My husband said that it is probably the let-down from working way too hard in the last year.  He’s likely correct because he knows me better than just about anyone else. It could be the stress of preparing for the holiday. Or it could be none of the above.

Part of me remembers a person who, decades ago, made me feed ashamed for wanting Christmas and birthday presents (the two events occur a day apart). I no longer remember the circumstances, only the scorn. It may be the echoes of that long-distant, isolated event that still sting. Even now, I find that I’m uncomfortable receiving presents, although I adore giving them. I think that in recognizing the source of this pain, I’ve come some of the way toward finding peace.

Maybe that will be the best gift this year.

 
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Posted by on 12/24/2015 in Growth

 

Pre-Christmas miracles

It is that time of year when we notice the miracles all around us. I firmly believe that miracles occur every single day in every corner of the world. Some of them are so tiny that they go unnoticed, while others are more obvious. Miracles happen whether or not we notice them.

Today I start my pre-Christmas list of the miracles I have noticed in the last 24 hours, in no particular order.

  • Snow! We finally had a dusting that stuck. It is a morning when I think everyone wants to be us: Lovely December sunrise on a snow-dusted hill complete with a forest. See for yourself (sorry about the very amateur photo…)
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  • A chance meeting of our four newest friends at dinner last night. We stopped to have burgers before seeing the new Star Wars, and they happened to try out the same restaurant at the same time.
  • A lovely Saturday morning with nothing more to do than watch old favorite movies and stay warm while I succumb to a head cold (boo)
  • Satisfying work that allows me to give my family the opportunity to live in a beautiful, safe, nurturing area where we all get to become more than we were before
  • Wonderful children and a husband who love and appreciate me enough to care for me, make sure I don’t work too hard, and make me coffee when I’ve had a rough night

I’ll try to notice the miracles more often. This list should be much longer!

 
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Posted by on 12/19/2015 in Motivation

 
 
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