Monday, 29 October 2012

Where is the white space?

We’ve all heard the “busy excuse” – and we know that North Americans constantly use busy-ness as a badge of honour.

I don't know why time is so slippery. Today I had intended to carefully read a friend’s paper while waiting for an appointment. An old friend came over and animatedly talked at me for 30 minutes. He needed to get that stuff out I guess, and it was terrific to see him, but the conversation played havoc with my planning.

Maybe I need to plan to do a little less. 

White space – the idea of being rather than doing. More and more science is showing how necessary white space is for learning and in particular, for creativity.

In theory, I’m all for it. In practice, the worst thing I can think of is a day with only the input of my own brain (no books or podcasts or music or…).

TRUTH moment today: if I DO less I may feel like I AM less.

So how do I (does anyone) move from doing to being when our culture constantly reinforces and applauds action over reflection?

I’ve been challenged to take 5 minutes twice a day for a meditation exercise. Challenged – heck, I was DARED. And I am daring.

But I only promised to aim for once a day. I will “be” for 5 minutes. 

It’s a start.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012


Disclaimer: I don't put stickers proclaiming my faith on my car because I don't always drive in a manner befitting my ideals. Writing this post feels like a bumper sticker.

This is a post I’ve been struggling to write – not sure I've articulated it completely, but hang in there – I have a number of puzzle pieces to identify before I get to the point…

Some time after I told Aslan (yes, of Narnia) that if he were real, I would love him, I understood that I was a “Christian”, a follower of Jesus. He came to proclaim the end of religion, rules, and rituals that masquerade as faith. This is hard for me because I am a first born, and generally find myself to be a rule-follower. I like it when I know the rules because life seems less chaotic and easier to navigate (as when everyone drives on the same side of the road!)

Christians (love ‘em or hate ‘em) are no different than any other group. ‘We’ (yes, we) are sometimes right, sometimes wrong, but always like to think ‘we’ are right. I don’t think that makes us much different than most. As with other groups, ‘we’ have terrible blind spots, a hard, hard truth. ‘We’ don’t much like people who are different from us. Back in the middle ages, ‘our’ blind spots led to the Crusades. More recently, blindness permitted the Holocaust. Sometimes, ‘we’ find ourselves on both sides of conflict as during the Irish Troubles and other wars. ‘We’ love to believe ‘we’ are on God’s side. We forget that Jesus willingly gave his life up for ours.

I’m no judge and I hope to avoid jury duty forever. What I DO know is that when I see a stranger, I could be more in favour of judgement. This changes when the individual is up close and personal. I am more likely to allow my friends and those I already know room to breathe and to be. If I have glimpsed their heart, it's easier to love.

Here, finally, is my point: Jesus sees us all as his friend and loves us already. My heart swells to almost bursting when I think that he loves me fully, wildly, crazily, and amazingly completely. Despite my lack of faith, action, understanding, or hope, he continues to open his heart to me. I am graced with love.

This love extends to us all. Every one of us. My insides are full of ugly moments and thoughts, yet Jesus loves me completely. Does he want me to get better at love? Certainly (so do I). Does he want you to get better at love? You bet he does. And he continues to love us through these struggles completely, gracefully, and wholeheartedly.

So I choose to [try] not to judge. There seem to be more than enough volunteers to judge others for [fill in the blank]. Daily I struggle to work on love and being a bridge to the best love ever. I’ve already failed THAT test. I’m not saying I like everyone, because most frightening to me, we are called to love the contemporary crusaders too. In fact, I fail miserably on all counts and will continue to fail. While 'we' have a history of being lousy (if enthusiastic) judges and juries, with repeated effort perhaps we all just might get pretty good at offering kindness, sharing hope, and cherishing every one who crosses our path as if they were our friend. 


Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Gosh I love it when that happens

And then, someone says something nice and the whole day changes.

Gosh I love it when that happens. 

My funk of a day has included my still numb forefinger and thumb, a hurryandslice that sandwich flap on the other forefinger that is still oozing 16 hours post-cut, frantic emails, PowerPoints,  documents, difficult interactions and planning. 

And oh, did I mention that youngster and her fiancĂ© have decided on a little over 4 months to the wedding? (I LOVE! that they are in love and getting married, but I’m a planner and the timing seems a tad challenging).

We cannot love others if we do not love ourselves. Worse, in my mind, is the fact that we can only love others as MUCH as we love ourselves first. I didn’t believe it until Brene Brown detailed the following in her book “The Gifts of Imperfection”. There is a quote about women with addictions who love their children more than themselves, but still damage their bodies and destroy their lives. They believe their children are loveable but they are not. Yet how is loving their children expressed in hurting themselves – it hurts the children too…

Yep, this is a little all over the place. Believing in my own worthiness is a daily battle. When life “isn’t going my way”, I think it’s me and all I need to do is plan better, work harder and (gulp) get up earlier. I MUST do my daily 3 gratitudes, journal  a thankful memory,  affirm someone else, and (gulp) exercise. Wait. I forgot one... aargh! Add improve aging memory to that list!!

Then a joke and a smile and life is easier again. Gosh I love it when that happens.

Here's thankfulness from my morning:

Monday, 1 October 2012

You make your own luck? Really?

You make your own luck.

When I heard that saying as a teen, I was totally ticked off. It was so obviously bull****. In my experience, every time I went to a new school (only 13 of them), I wondered how those un-bullied kids “made” their own luck. It seemed obvious that as my parents made capricious (to me) decisions about where to move next, I was at the mercy of the system… the location, the school administration, the local bully. I was tiny, young among my grade peers, and… new. Fresh meat. Many bruises, one concussion, and all those wounded feelings (now currently protected by ballistic resistant armour) were the result. Little wonder that at 17 I was out and on my own, with a certain and tough exterior.

If you read the current literature on happiness or resilience or even on gratitude (which leads to happiness and resilience), it becomes clear even to this foggy brain that happiness has little (or nothing) to do with circumstances, and everything to do with attitude. We are often powerless to change the events; the only power we have is how we will respond. This is a sneaky power, and a little like trying to start a fire at a wet campsite: for the power to spring into full action it needs attention, careful feeding of fuel, a wisp of breath (but not too much) before it can spring into flame.

I choose to find happiness from here on in. I can’t change my circumstances, but oh heck, I can choose my response, and my choice is to find happiness in all situations. I know I’m gonna fail some days, that’s okay. While failure is an option, it’s not a sentence handed down by a judge. From here on in, I’m going to make my own luck. Hallelujah!