Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Experience of Those Who Grow

So when I started meditating, I felt like I had climbed down my Ladder of Life and was standing at the bottom of a new Ladder of Life.

I was learning from a whole new set of "guru's".

I felt discouragement, like I had spent my life climbing up the wrong ladder and that ladder was leaning up against the wrong building.

That is all well and good when you are in your 40's.

That is not all well and good when you are in your 60's.

Or is it?

As I was mulling over these new set of circumstances, I sensed that the reality is more along these lines: there are  no ladders, period.

And if you insist on there being "ladders" in your life, then the rhythm is that everyone who at the top of a ladder, the next step (if they are growing) will be to climb down and be at the bottom of another ladder.

"The first will be last and the last will be first".

That is the experience of those who grow.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Bigger Picture

There is a 6 mile trail on the crest of the hills in Santorini.
And the path is very uneven and changes from shifting gravel to slippery marble to bumpy cobblestone in unpredictable ways.
I found myself (appropriately) being very careful.
But I also noticed that with all of my appropriate and responsible ways, I was missing the scenery.
I was missing the big picture - I was missing the panoramic, breath-taking beauty.
I had to remind myself - Look up! Look up!

How like life!
If my head is down, appropriately being responsible and careful, I will miss the big picture.
When I meditate (and by doing so, training myself to pause), I am reminding myself . . . Look up! Look up! You are part of something bigger than you - something panoramic and beautiful.
There is a bigger picture than my every day responsibilities and assessments.
By meditating, I am reminding myself that Life is bigger than my experiences and my assessments.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Weak? Strong?

"When I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Cor. 12:10)

I've been weak lately.

Actually, I've been having what I call, Little Girl Emotions.

Little Girl Emotions are tough to feel when you are not a little girl.

You can run rough shod over your Little Girl Emotions and get away with it.

. . . She'll let you.

And I have run rough shod over them most of my life.

. . .Until recently.

And now I'm honoring (and feeling) my Little Girl Emotions.

And now I've been (horror of horrors) sharing my Little Girl Emotions with others.

And I have felt weak in front of my peeps.

And my peeps have been very supportive!

And (wonder of wonder) when I am weak, then I am strong.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

What Humans Do

It makes me so happy that I'm willing to feel my sadness.

Use to, Shame guarded the door to the room that stored my Sadness.

In order to feel my Sadness, I had to encounter Shame.

And Shame was too shameful to be encountered.

Until now.

And now I'm not ashamed of Shame!

And that allows me to enter the Room called Sadness.

And I'm sad.

And that is good.

That is what humans do - they feel sad.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Too Big, Too Small, Just Right

I was watching a Netflix movie called "The Summit". It is a movie about climbing K2, the second highest mountain in the world. And in it, one of the alpinist said, "Sometimes you dream too big and sometimes you dream too small and sometimes you dream just right."

Something inside of me smiled when he said that.

Normally, I experience shame around dreaming too big. If we did that as children, we were told we were "too big for our britches". My adult version of that is that I concocted wax wings and flew too close to the sun. In other words, I should have known better or shame-on-me-for-being-presumptuous.

Recently, having experienced "dreaming amiss", I am observing my disappointment and shame.

But when the alpinist said that, I thought, "But of course ... that is what we humans do: "Sometimes we dream too big and sometimes we dream too small and sometimes we dream just right."

Good for us!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Confession - Detaching or Embracing?

So I've been told that one way to view "confession of sins" is to view it as a practice that teaches us to  "detach from one's thoughts". In other words, if we successfully detach from our thoughts, then when our thoughts tell us "we have sinned" and we detach from them, then that means we are not "sinners".

So there is a lot of merit to "we are not our sins".

But the flip side to "detaching from our thoughts" is, if we detach from the thoughts that tell us we have sinned, we also have to detach from the thoughts that tell us we are fine.

I would advocate for a different approach. I would champion "confession of sins" because it teaches us to embrace our shadow side; it teaches us that if we go into the world of good and bad, right and wrong, then we have to embrace both.

If our shadow side is when we constrict around our virtues, then when I locate my shadow side (i.e. confess my sins), then I am on my way to finding my virtue.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Getting a Handle on Life - A Parable

There was once a congregation of cup handles whose hearts were turned toward the Lord. They often sat in their chairs and discussed how they could be more spiritual. In their seeking of God, their thoughts often turned towards their inadequacies.

During one such meeting, one handle mentioned that she wished she were a deep handle. She just knew that the day she stopped being so shallow would be the day she became spiritual. And so she tried hard to think deep thoughts.

Another perfectly formed handle also despaired of ever becoming spiritual. Everyone knew that to become spiritual, one had to have problems; in fact, the more the merrier. It was called the wilderness. If one wilderness was good, then perpetual wildernesses were better. Sometimes, he wondered if he should go create a wilderness just so he could qualify to become spiritual.

And another one was the wrong shape. Everyone knew that a handle that shape obviously had problems. His shape would just have to go.

And another one had a broken heart . . . but it felt like half a heart. She knew it got broken because of foolishness. But by now, all she was trying to do was survive. Spiritual . . . that was for the strong and resolute.

And another one was just plain quirky and odd. Chances are he could spend a lifetime 'unquirking' himself. And if he wasn’t careful, his whole life would become about that. But they all knew that spiritual people weren’t weird. So weird was just going to have to go.

Somewhere in all of this, the cup got overlooked, except for by one handle. He knew that when he felt shallow, he would cling to the cup. When he was reminded of his wrong shape, he would cling to the cup. When his broken heart incapacitated him, he would cling to the cup and when his personality and dysfunctions worked against him, he would cling to the cup. This handle knew that life was not about handles looking good and being good, but about being connected to the cup. 

Life was about the cup, what was in the cup and being connected to the cup. 

(As Jesus said in Zaccheaus 1:12 “In order to get a handle on life, one must be well-connected.” - just kidding.)