Novel Days

Unprecedented, provocative, onerous…whoa this! These days are full of novelty for our generation. This is our collective reality, and it is frightening and unsettling for all peoples living on Earth under Heaven. Even so, I believe these times have provisioned us with an advantage if we might avail ourselves of it.

If during our collective time-out we endeavor to center and quite ourselves in genuine introspection and reflection, then perhaps we might see our way clear. For much will be required of us, in the days ahead, given our present circumstances. Whether we are able to grow, heal and move forward, together, peaceably, is our most urgent connumdrum. Might these novel days allow us to reconstruct our human relations for the better? Might we become our very own heros, and beakons of hope for the generations which follow behind us? Only the unfolding of the days ahead will inform whether this novel illness has made us better or worse for one another.

Perhaps the following insights and wisdom from some of our esteemed poets, authors, performers and spiritual leaders will provision and enlarge our thinking as we navigate these days of COVID-19.

There is nothing like calamity for refreshing the moment. Ironically, the last several years my life had begun to feel shapeless, like underwear with the elastic gone, the days down around my ankles. Now there is an intensity to the humblest things–buying paper towels, laundry detergent, dog food, keeping the household running in Rich’s absence. Shopping contains the future. As my daughter Jennifer says, shopping is hope. Abigail Thomas – A Three Dog Life

It is our duty as men and women to proceed as though limits to our abilities do not exist. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

What you learn is often determined by what you need to know. If you think you’re weak, you will learn that you are strong. If you think you are indestructible, you will learn that you are fragile. In the end though, you will learn that you are human. You are no more and no less than all those who are learning their lessons as you learn yours. John Bingham

Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Eckhart Tolle 

We are often deluded by the idea that only big things can change the future. We feel overwhelmed by problems that demand impressive solutions, universal buy-ins, and large infusions of cash. We forget the power of simple acts of influence, of moments of compassion, of small stands for justice — how teachers, parents, friends, and even strangers can redirect the trajectory of history in a moment. If we truly believe that everything is connected, that we live in a sacred web, then every single action has influence over every other action. We are enormously powerful when we act to do what is good and beautiful and just — and in how we choose to react when something or someone threatens or shames us. Fr. Richard Rohr

Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences — and all events are blessings given to us to learn from. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

The most powerful weapon against adversity is having a sense of choice.  When we don’t have control, we lose the capacity to cope. We were born to choose, so let us learn how to do it. If we believe we have some degree of control over the outcome, then we are more likely to choose to persist, to find a way through whatever adversity we face. Steve Magness

There will come a time when you believe everything is finished…that will be the beginning. Louis L’Amour


A Running Philosophy

Age is no barrier. It’s a limitation you put on your mind. Jackie Joyner-Kersee

As a runner, you don’t have decades of improvement, unless perhaps you are reading this book in your elementary school classroom . You’re always on the precipice of decline. Acknowledge that and perhaps we can think of it more like the happy elderly people. Love where you are, love who you are with, and be happy in the present. The finish line is coming for all runners and no one wants to be the first to break the tape.  The Happy Runner

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?  Albert Einstein

Winning has nothing to do with racing. Most days don’t have races anyway. Winning is about struggle and effort and optimism, and never, ever, ever giving up. Amby Burfoot

It is our duty as men and women to proceed as though limits to our abilities do not exist.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin 

For me, success in running wasn’t about how far or how fast I was going — it was about making a commitment to accomplish something hard, and then putting in the work to follow through.  Emily Abbate


Aging…It’s Not About Getting Older

It’s about getting better…about becoming more valuable…about becoming exquistely useful and sought after. Like a fine wine, aging well requires each of us to embrace the passing of days as our very own priceless gift.

Aging is an activity. It is something you do, not something that happens. When you age–active verb–you are proactive. If you really age, you become a better person. If you simply grow old, passively, you get worse. Chances are, you will be unhappy as you continue the fruitless fight against time.
Thomas Moore ~ Ageless Soul

Surely each new day given, whether we believe and receive it as such, is a gift. Rather than perceiving the days as pushing us towards old age, we may turn our perception inside out when we wake up to the alchemy of fine-life making. Every day provides possibility for growth and improvement.

And now I have to wonder…is a life well-aged meant to benefit myself alone? Or is a well-aged life more closely related to the fine wine analogy? After all, does a fine wine delight the one who drinks or abstains? Likewise, if we purpose to age well through our years, will we not only benefit ourselves but also pleasure those others with whom we share our days?

Active aging promotes the vision of all individuals—regardless of age, socioeconomic status or health—fully engaging in life within all seven dimensions of wellness: emotional, environmental, intellectual/cognitive, physical, professional/vocational, social and spiritual.
Source: International Council on Active Aging

So I say this to myself and my readers: do not be afraid of growing old…be afraid of going through the years and changing not for the better. The passing of days is opportunity to become a better version of me and you. Every new day is our gift, if only we receive it as such. Let’s engage the wonder and delight of youthfulness by unwrapping today with wide-eyed, expectant delight!


Let’s Run

It’s a blustery, winter weather kind of day today; and I’m glad for it. It’s December 2nd, and I’ve waited all summer long for this kind of day to give me an honest excuse for not going outside to run! So today I will honor the weather and this season. Today I will sit and stay…indoors…happily…with nowhere to run and nothing better to do than rest, read and rejuvenate. Funny thing is, while I sit, I am still thinking about running and of course…not running!

run clip art

So it seems appropriate that while I’ve been contemplating the benefits of my run life, and while resting my ever-ready-to-run legs, I should find refreshment for myself and my feet. What follows, is what has found me this morning…while I have been sitting. The quotes below, inspired by the run lives of others known and unknown to myself, will hopefully also inspire you, dear reader, to actively embrace your run life as a ‘moving-meditation’. May the thoughts which follow, give you reason, motivation, and inspiration to run the race of your life with heart and sole.

Now go forward in today and in today’s tomorrows. Go forward if you will and hold nothing of yourself in reserve! Live out loud, run out strong. Embrace your life in faithful answer to your calling…full of grace and strength and conviction!
Finish strong ~ Finish Well

run clip art

We were meant and designed to run long and hard. Training for that is not an imposition, not artificial, not unnatural. It is in the essence of our being.
Roger Robinson

Whatever you do, do it well; go at it hard; 100 percent. Tiger Holmes ~ 90 year old master’s swimming competitor

Running doesn’t get easier with age, but the payoffs grow greater.  Amby Burfoot – Run Forever

Growing old is one of the ways the soul nudges itself into attention to the spiritual aspect of life. The body’s changes teach us about fate, time, nature, mortality, and character. Aging forces us to decide what is important in life. Thomas Moore – Care of the Soul

In running, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say ‘I have finished.’ And there is a whole life’s worth of satisfaction in that. Author Unknown


There is only a shortage of awareness…

The root of suffering is the deprivation of love. Now in reality, there’s no such thing as the deprivation of love, but there is the deprivation of the capacity to experience the love that is never missing. James Finley

There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people. Vincent Van Gogh

By its very design, the physical heart is made to give and to receive. It takes blood in from the body through one side and then pumps it out from the other, circulating it throughout the body. A healthy and open heart center does the same thing with love. It sends love out into the world and receives it in equal measure; it keeps love in circulation. Marci Shimoff

Your True Self is who you are, and always have been, created in the image and likeness of God who is love (1 John 4:8, 16). Love is both who you are and who you are still becoming, like a sunflower seed that becomes its own sunflower.

Most of human history has called the True Self your “soul” or your participation in the eternal life of God. All you can do is nurture your True Self, which is saying quite a lot. It is love becoming love in this unique form called “me.”  Richard Rohr

Love is but the song we sing,
And fear’s the way we die
You can make the mountains ring
Or make the angels cry
Know the dove is on the wing
And you need not know why
C’mon people now,
Smile on your brother
Ev’rybody get together
Try and love one another right now
Some will come and some will go
We shall surely pass
When the one that left us here
Returns for us at last
We are but a moments sunlight
Fading in the grass
C’mon people now,
Smile on your brother
Ev’rybody get together
Try and love one another right now
If you hear the song I sing,
You must understand
You hold the key to love and fear
All in your trembling hand
Just one key unlocks them both
It’s there at your command
C’mon people now,
Smile on your brother
Ev’rybody get together
Try and love one another right now
Right now
Right now!

No Shortage of This…Love


I am proud of my Oracle Community…and of those who serve it via the Oracle Community Center! Thank you for your giving-ness to others…not only during this Thanksgiving season, but also throughout the entirety of this past year! Your giving hands and servant’s heart will surely grow a harvest of blessings for all who dwell here. DEBreen

The whole universe story has come into being because God is a hidden treasure who longs to be known. If it takes a whole village to raise a child, it takes a whole cosmos to bear forth the depths of divine love. Cynthia Bourgeault

What if there were a way of radical grace and truth through a post-Christian landscape? It could lead us to prioritize the breaking of bread with people, the breaking of cynicism to give thanks, the daily gift of being broken and given to the people around us. What if the body of Christ recaptured its vision? Recaptured its vision as the only collective in the WORLD that exists for its NON-MEMBERS!

What if the body of Christ became a community that lives its calling to such offensive grace that it looks like we’re soft on truth, routinely accused of being gluttons and drunkards because the King of our kingdom lived around addicts, prostitutes, and shady tax collectors, the broken-down, the busted-up, and the religiously disdained. And He never once explained Himself, only continually gave of Himself.

What if the body of Christ became a community that will not dish out condemnation but courage, that will lean in and listen long and love large. What if the body of Christ defines success as showing up and bending down, serving well over debating well, serving after the lights go off because there’s a light in us?  Ann Voskamp ~ The Way of Abundance

God wants creation to become fully conscious that it is imbued with divine love and living in that love. This final outcome is what Teilhard called “the Omega Point” and St. Paul called the Pleroma.  Louis Savary and Patricia Berne

I am running, consuming breath, consuming wind, yet I am renewed!
For the love of living whisks me into mystery; into possibility
;
So onward as pursued and pursurer I pleasure…Love!
And the mystery I perceive when I run?
There is no end…Love…there is no
end!

amazing-women-art-running-hd-wallpaper

Love Bears Witness


I’m still on an emotional ‘high’ after finishing my first marathon (Marine Corps Marathon) on Sunday, October 28, 2018. The following words from these others capture perfectly the waves of emotion I am riding to the shores since crossing that line.

“there’s something about the marathon. whether you’re running against the clock, against your previous self, in memory of someone you love, to celebrate or fight against cancer, to prove to yourself what you can do—it’s all about love.” CarlySheree 2018 NYC Marathon finisher

The day will come when, after harnessing space, winds, the tide and gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, [humanity] will have discovered fire. Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955)

Love [people] even in [their] sin, for that is the semblance of Divine Love and is the highest love on earth. Love all God’s creation, the whole and every grain of sand in it. Love every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. Once you have perceived it, you will begin to comprehend it better every day. And you will come at last to love the whole world with an all-embracing love.  Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

“When you don’t challenge yourself, you miss out on so much.”
Denise Sauriol ~ Chicago-based running coach (the marathon whisperer)

“People sometimes sneer at those who run every day, claiming they’ll go to any length to live longer. But don’t think that’s the reason most people run. Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you’re going to while away the years, it’s far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive then in a fog, and I believe running helps you to do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that’s the essence of running, and a metaphor for life — and for me, for writing as whole. I believe many runners would agree”.
Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

“What do I want my one life to really be about? What you most want is what you most love. And what you love is what you’ll ultimately have for all eternity”.  Ann Voskamp

“They say a good love is one that sits you down, gives you a drink of water, and pats you on top of the head. But I say a good love is one that casts you into the wind, sets you ablaze, makes you burn through the skies and ignite the night like a phoenix; the kind that cuts you loose like a wildfire and you can’t stop running simply because you keep on burning everything that you touch! I say that’s a good love; one that burns and flies, and you run with it!”
C. JoyBell C.

Catch me if you can…Love!
I am running, yet you pursure me..Love!
For the love of living does chase me down with relentless passion.
This one and only life I have been given, it demands to be fully liven!
So to the full I will live it, I will love it! I will run it!
And with overflowing gratitude will I give it.
I am running, consuming breath, consuming wind, yet I am renewed!
For the love of living whisks me into mystery; into possibility
;
So onward as pursued and pursurer I pleasure…Love!
And the mystery I perceive when I run?
There is no end…Love…there is no
end!
DEBreen

Love Wins


Do Not Ever Be Afraid Of Ashes

What seems like Ashes in your life
Can be the actual fertilizer
that grows your life.
Souls grow most in soil
Made rich by Ashes.

Fire makes a fertilizer for growth, and
Ashes can be the best soil for
The best soul growth — period.

That flame of
the Unexpected,
the Unwanted,
the Unnerving,
that can make
Kindling of your life,
that disaster that burns up
Your people
and burns down
Your dreams?

What you can’t explain in your life
Could be explained as gift.

The Way of Abundance ~ Ann Voskamp

Authentic God experience always “burns” you, yet it does not destroy you (Exodus 3:2-3), just as the burning bush revealed to Moses. But most of us are not prepared for such burning, nor even told to expect it. By definition, authentic God experience is always “too much”! It consoles our True Self only after it has devastated our false self.  —Richard Rohr

From Ashes to Growth


Story Time

Endings arrive because they must
For every story, season, or life
Is woven, is cast, is spun from dust
And from dust all things always begin
Unfolding, unwinding, unfurling
Like so much dust upon the wind
From dust, tall tales of glory regale
From dust, a child’s fairy tale
From dust, epic legends are staged
From dust, saints and demons engage
From dust, we run
From dust, we rage
Because we know
From dust, all things will begin
From dust, all things will also end.

Do not despair of endings. Endings are just a place of beginning. As long as you are found breathing, the end, your end, is not yet realized. This is good news, you still have time to finish your story well. A happy ending is within your power to script. –DEBreen

Even-the-longest-day-has-its-end1 (2)


Toddler Tactics & Mind Gymnastics

I love to be asked a good question, don’t you?

Have you ever been in the proximity of a 3 or 5-year-old child whose every sentence or thought was a question? Or how about this? Have you ever been in a meeting or with a group of people discussing ideas or problems, and to your surprise noticed the most obvious question(s) were left unasked?

Here’s the deal, from my perspective, it seems that living a meaningful life begs us to question…everything! Socrates said, “The unexamined life isn’t worth living.” Those are strong words, but they may be worth considering when life feels like its ‘off course’.

Honestly, the longer I live the more I realize how much I don’t know about anything. And yes, I realize that some things in life are meant to remain as mystery to us. But as long as my thinking processes are in tact, I will question, question, question.

“To the question of your life you are the answer, and to the problems of your life you are the solution.” ~ Joe Cordare

Sometimes I think the reason we struggle to live peacefully with ourselves and others is that we fail to question the constructs of our own status quo. I wonder if we could eliminate some stress and unfulfillment from our lives if we practiced asking ourselves (and appropriate others when necessary) the right questions on a regular basis.

“Questioning is the ability to organize our thinking around what we don’t know.”  ~The Right Question Institue

I wonder if we could help ourselves learn to question more readily if we gave ourself permission to think like a toddler and, “Question everything!” What might we discover about ourselves and life in general if we lived like life ran on questions and not answers?

“If I  had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes dertiming the proper question to ask for once I know the propert question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes. The important thing is to not stop questioning.”
~Albert Einstein

Here’s a list of five questions I came across in my readings from a couple years ago. They are meant to help us ‘examin’ our life on a regular basis. These are merely beginning points of inquiry which could quickly lead to many more meaningful questions.

Q1: What is my intention today?
Q2: Why am I doing this?
Q3: Why am I eating this?
Q4: What am I sharing?
Q5: What am I proud of?

“What have I always wished I’d done that I might try in some way now?”
~Dr. Phil McGraw

How will you know if you’re asking the right question? Perhaps when you run out of questions. Or perhaps if you don’t like the answers you’re getting. If this seems like circular thinking to you, you may find it helpful, and slightly amusing to spend some time with people aged 3 to 5 years old. This age group can teach us all how to practice this fine art of mental gymnastics. Now what would you like to know?