Monday, April 30, 2012


       There's a funny "prayer" list someone wrote to capture the essence of Myers Briggs Type Indicator personality "types".  Mine is something like: 

Dear Lord,
Help me focus on one thi- 
-ng at a time! 

       My younger daughter was a teenager when she went through all 16 of them and, without knowing anything about MBTI or "types", she picked that one out and said, "Hey Mom, it's you!"   We all laughed because it's too true.  My older daughter has long since dubbed my instant distraction action as my "something shiny syndrome" as in something shiny or its equivalent grabs my attention quicker than I am even aware.  And as I get older I realize that my ability to multi-task and keep on track is worse than ever.  I used to be able to have the tv on, do email, talk on the phone, work on my calendar and 3 other things and get everything accomplished - well perhaps not so well as I'd have liked.  These days, if I'm doing email or reading Facebook I find I have to rewind what is playing on tv having lost the plot!  The same is true for audio books while driving, even reading, and, er, um, listening to sermons (don't tell the rector).

       Our minds are overloaded with a constant barrage of flashing tv ads, "on demand" movies, computers, readers, iPods, texting, email, tweets, Facebook, LinkedIn, shopping, overeating, video games, "breaking news" and on and on.  We are addicted to noise and multiple images and constant environmental stimulation and we don't take the time to quiet down, breathe, relax, see the world around us, hear the true voices of those we love or even those we don't.  What are we avoiding?  Often it's our own thoughts, worries, cares, concerns - an unconscious sense that if I outrun it, it can't get me.  But if we don't face it, work with it, accept it in the moment, "it" will chase us into our graves.  We know how to be busy; we don't know how to be alone with ourselves. 

       Today is a good day to take 5 minutes to "unplug".  If the only way you can do that is to lock youself into the bathroom, well then, that's a good start.  No phones, mp3 players, readers, books, radios, magazines, newspapers, game consoles, or any other distractions, not even thinking.   Set a timer, and concentrate on breathing in, hold, breathing out, repeat.  If you find yourself thinking, think about your breathing. Just start today even if it is the last 5 minutes before you go to bed.  It's a start to discovering your essence and when you find yourself content with yourself, you'll find a great treasure.  It takes practice to be conscious in the moment, but it isn't painful or difficult.  5 minutes, TODAY, and again tomorrow... eventually you can work up to 20 minutes - really! - and when you do you will not understand how you managed without that time to be with you.  You'll feel so focused!

       OH, just got a text, an email, and the phone is ring- wait, no to shiny stuff! I'm going to sit here for 5 minutes and b r e a t h e...NOW.



Sunday, April 29, 2012


       In the group of Christian denominations that share the same appointed liturgical readings, the Gospel for today is John 10: 11-18 where Jesus says "I am the Good Shepherd" and among the other readings for today is, of course, Psalm 23.  That Psalm is known by zillions of people all over the world whether Christian or not or even whether religious/spiritual or not.  The language of "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want..." and even "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..." may not enlighten all, may even make some angry (as in "I DO WANT!"), but it is as familiar as Shakespeare even if not all the words are remembered. 

       I was struck this morning, while reciting the psalm, by another scripture passage that suddenly seemed a parallel in my strange little brain.  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (no, I did not know chapter and verse numbers! I had to look it up.) Most of us of a certain age know it every bit as well as Psalm 23 because of The Byrds' "Turn! Turn! Turn! (and it's on YouTube, of course).  "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven."  Whether you believe in God or a higher power or your Lexus, there truly is a season for everything (go ahead, look it up, you can google it or just listen to The Byrds' version).  And that has to do with the Shepherd thing because?     Because, there is a time to be a shepherd and a time to be a sheep.  David, the probable author of the Psalm, was a shepherd in his pre-kingly beginnings, and as King, is speaking of himself as a sheep. 

       Phillip W. Keller says in his book A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 we should be amazed and grateful that "...the Creator of such an enormous universe of overwhelming magnitude, deigns to call Himself my Shepherd and invites me to consider myself His sheep - His special object of affection and attention."  Of course, we aren't always amazed or grateful if our Shepherd isn't leading us where we want to go.

       The reality of life is that every shepherd is a sheep to someone and every sheep is a shepherd to someone.  We each have our season to lead and to be led and yet many I know never think of themselves as anything but a sheep.  Just last week a friend said to me "I'm not a leader, I'm a follower." A well-intentioned but misguided attempt to throw off  the mantle of responsibility and take on the possibility of upsetting others. Many of us have felt that way and have looked to others to give us our values, our political opinions, and for general approval.  Some I know (me in a past life?!) argue against even sensible advice because they believe that total control of their environment is possible and they can prove they are in charge.  Some take personal offense to anything that differs from how they want the universe to operate on their behalf. 

       I am learning - somedays I'm to be more of a sheep, somedays more of a shepherd. When I'm truly living in the NOW, I'm acting accordingly, yet mindfully, and aware that somedays being a sheep is actually much harder. But the Lord is My Shepherd and I can lie down in green pastures and rest. I'm getting better but still find occasional difficulty letting go of the reins...oops mixing metaphors, wrong animal, time to sign off.  Baa for now... 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

NOW is the Spring of my new contentedness. 
NOW is all any of us have and after years of waiting for what good things might come tomorrow, next week or in a year, and deeply grieving losses of the heart and other parts of the past, I have awakened to this Spring and opened myself to being here now.

It hasn't been quite so spontaneous as it might sound.  I have been reading quite specific writings on my own for the last few years and participating in several groups over the last 8 months or so.  I have been on a seeker's quest to recapture my faith or even to redirect my understandings of it.  I will never have the complete picture - in this life - but the sun and stars are shining brighter, the darkness is less encompassing, the searing pain of grief has been soothed.  The smiles of granddaughters and nephews are as sunbeams to my heart, their rays deeply permeating my consciousness. The voices of family and friends new and old are the music that calms other discordant noise. 

There is much seeking ahead while being conscious in each moment.  There are places to go,  things to do, and always people to see, to love and to be loved by - it is all then and also NOW.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A First at Last!

Welcome to my world!  I've learned the art of procrastination well having initiated this blog in January 2008 and here is my first post, at last!  My overall theme will be eclectic - encompassing everyday life, spirituality, travel, and whatever else attracts my mind enough to make a comment.  I hope you'll wander by from time to time and join me in the adventure of Life!