Our Best Self…Inside Out

Seconds…minutes…hours…days…years…

All of life is lived in tempo to the silent tick, tick, ticking of each minute’s passing. This muted drummer is forever playing its ghostly background beat, but always just out of range from our waking perception. Yet nature’s seasons clearly inform our senses of the forward cadence…onward it idles…time maneuvers itself with alarming regularity.

Often as we are being transformed, we cannot tell what is happening. For while in the midst of staying afloat, it is next to impossible to see the ocean we are being carried into. Mark Nepo

This commodity, measured as units are consumed, allows for no replacements; once spent, it is forever gone. Like a spendthrift, time drones on shamelessly; always unfolding forward, devouring itself before it has a chance to live or give. With an unrelenting, never-sated appetite, time marches; time may lull; but time never misses a beat. If only it would hold still or stop altogether, just long enough for us to rest a while in its growing shadow…to catch our breath…breathe in, breathe out…

Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by day, in all the thousand small, uncaring waysStephen Vincent Benet

Yet as we measure time, it is clearly the great equalizer unto all humanity. Without partiality, time as currency, is meted out in equal portions to every living being. Whether young or old; rich or poor; strong or weak; time stands still for no one; each one is granted the same allotment of minutes per day from which to make life meaningful for living.

How does one become a wise manager and investor of this precious commodity? What activities enlarge the quality of our minutes? What activities decrease their value? As physical beings who are relegated to the constraints and boundaries of a 24-hour day cycle, we must remind ourselves that we are not without recourse. We may recompense time before it spills and spends itself before us.  How do we master the illusive, forward, ceaseless minutes of our life? We make time our captive when we engage our center… our core…our hidden life…our spirit-life.

We are spiritual beings living a human existence. Stephen Covey

By spending quality minutes in relationship with ourselves and the Divine, we enter eternity’s realm; in this timeless place we may invest ourselves in care-full pursuit of our divine life. In this hidden place, we may expend and exalt our being to a higher plain; above the fray of seconds and mintues. We may transcend to the higher calling of our inner life whever we settle into the cocoon of our center.

It is at the core of being where we may realize and learn how best to live our life on the outside.  When we spend time with the Eternal One, we invest in our long-term well-being. Time spent in quiet devotion, meditation and contemplation will always build into our life (hidden and otherwise) the tri-fold dividends of purpose, peace, and passion…from the inside, out.

TIME WITH ME cannot be rushed. When you are in a hurry, your mind flitters back and forth between Me and the tasks ahead of you. Push back the demands pressing in on you; create a safe space around you, a haven in which you can rest with Me. I also desire this time of focused attention and I use it to bless you, strengthening and equipping you for the day ahead. Thus, spending time with Me is a wise investment. Bring Me the sacrifice of your precious time. This creates sacred space around you. Sarah Young ~ Jesus Calling

Signs of Life…Being Alive

Our community chorale has been practicing Stephen Sondheim’s music “Being Alive” and the lyrics have completely imbedded in my head over these last two months. So much so, that I find myself wondering about what it means to ‘be alive’.

In terms of my personal training business, I train my clients to be fully alert so they may focus their attention on their working muscles and breath when they engage in their strength and cardiopulmonary training. An unfocused mind during an exercise session is a lot like sleep walking: the body is moving, but the mind has no awareness of it.

“The Glory of God is a human being fully alive.” Saint Irenaeus

Life is full of intriguing, wonderful mystery, begging us to live out loud and on purpose. Yet, for all our aliveness, we often take being alive for granted. The question which plagues me and begs for an answer is this: What does a life look like…feel like…when it is lived fully alive?

If living to the full brings glory to the One who gives us life to live, then surely we must have built into us a capacity, a drive, an overwhelming need to live in abundant, over-the-top alive-ness! And as I ponder these thoughts frequently these days, the words of Sondheim’s song give me some insight into what life looks like when it is less than fully lived:

Somebody hold me too close
Somebody hurt me too deep
Somebody sit in my chair
And ruin my sleep
And make me aware
Of being alive, being alive

Perhaps we choose to live less than fully alive because being fully alive is uncomfortable! And yet I know from my physical training, that if I want to improve my stamina or strength, then I must learn to become comfortable with being uncomfortable for a while. Now, that’s a funny way of thinking isn’t it? Yet, ironically this is another tool in my trainer’s tool box. The principle of learning to be comfortable with discomfort is a tool which athlete’s ply every time they train their physical body to perform, whether in practice or in competition.

Interesting how this idea of becoming accustomed to discomfort is best realized in the sphere of  relationships. As in, how we relate to others, ourselves, and the Divine directly impacts the quality of our aliveness. Relationship is the humus of a life fully lived. Because being alone is alone…not alive!

being alive

Monday Morning Antidote

So here you are again Monday! A day to begin the work of this week. You always seem to bring with you clouds of gray and winds of worry. But today, on this Monday, I will turn you inside out and upside down.

I will remind myself that I AM lives! I will bask in that thought often today, when tempted to fret. I will wallow not in the usual Monday Morning Doldrums, but rather I will immerse  myself in the beauty and mystery of the living I AM.  Here is my new Monday Morning Anthem: In Christ Alone; an excerpt from the song lyrics written by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend.

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand

Farewell to you Monday Morning Blues!

 

ROAR

So this is grief and grieving? It is a strenuous process!!

Sometimes…like today…

I just need to do this one little thing ~ ROAR…

Yes, I roar; then, I run!

But this one thing I do,
When I run and roar…
I run towards…not away;
I run towards my life!
I roar for the fight of my life!

I have a life! ROAR!

I run towards life to embrace it;
To embrace it with
All my strength,
And hope,
And passion.

I RUN! I ROAR!

I am…
Better.

Simple…Uncomplicated Greatness

Why do I love Simple? Shouldn’t be difficult to understand. Because Simple is easy. By it’s very nature, Simple does not pretend or enlarge itself. Simple is beautiful of its own accord. Simple does not require knowledge or wisdom to be enjoyed. In fact, Simple is often overlooked and underappreciated by those whom are highly trained, experienced or educated.

The satisfaction of Simple is in its accessibility to all. Babes and elders alike comprehend the triumph of Simple, wherever it is mindfully encountered. If we consider the realm of beautiful things found in nature or art or science or music or personal relationships, Simple exists  as pure, clean, expression. An appreciation for Simple is easily apprehended because it exists in singular, uncomplicated form.

Think about it. When or where do you discover happiness? Is it found in something Simple or does happiness find you in complexity? Perhaps writing a list of those things which bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart will assist you in realizing the beauty and uncomplicated greatness of Simple.

A Few of My Favorite (Simple) Things:

1. Holding hands with someone I love
2. The sight and sound of falling rain or snow
3. Hugs
4. Running
5. Running fast
5. Sunrise…Sunset
6. Listening to beautiful piano music
7. Home grown garden tomatoes
8. Colorful Autumn leaves
9. Cute puppies/kittens
10. Toes dug into warm beach sand

Devastation

A wasteland. That’s what immediately comes to mind.

A path of destruction, laid waste by epic force.

Devastation!

Separating marrow from bone, body from spirit, heaven from earth.

Devastation!

How to transverse this monster? Around it, under it, alongside it, please no!

I must turn against the ugly specter, I must rejoin my former situation;

Before this Devastation!

How does living endure a course, through this blight?

Devastation!

With everything of value now smote?

Devastation!

Can beauty or praise or joy arise from your ash heap?

Devastation!

How I wish you were no more.

Devastation!

And yet, each rising of the morning sun,

Casts the shadow of Hope;

Darkness now temporary, soon overcome.

Through fire and flood, cleanse it will.

Devastation!

Lay falsehood to rest, purify any waste.

Devastation!

No truer course towards wakefulness is found,

Than through the wasteland…Devastation.

Devastation

Peace

What shall I make of this day? I am awake and desire so much from myself and what lies ahead in the delectable minutes before me. My heart, my mind, my whole being has been so full and overflowing of JOY! For months! What is this…who is this? What have I become? I wish for this to never end…this is almost too much for me to take in. I have become a stranger to myself. There has been a feeling of such quality, and depth and strength; so full and rich and vibrant it must…it needs…it demands to overflow the container of my life. I feel it ooze out of me into the messy world I inhabit.

So here I sit this morning, and it has been far too long since I have enjoyed a moment of this kind of solitude; composed and disposed of a mind to companion with myself; to dialogue on paper so as to perceive…to understand…to comprehend the meaning of this change which has bubbled over my thinking for so very many, many months now. I feel like I have walked into someone else’s life…where is my darkness; my despair; my sadness. What has become of them? They have flown away, carried off to parts unknown. Grateful I am to have lost those traveling companions, I am so full of awe and giddy delight of this new place of thinking and feeling and living; it is sweet; pure; peaceful. What have I done to deserve such recompense? In quite times, before I wander off to sleep I am almost afraid to wake lest my dreamscape vaporize upon morning’s first light; tempted I am, to fear waking and a return of the shadow lands.

Ultimately, what brings joy to any experience isn’t the experience itself but the quality of thinking that we bring to it. Slowing Down to the Speed of Life by Richard Carlson & Joseph Bailey

But no, every morning, every day is new! There is One who travels so closely with me these days and informs me otherwise. Here, now, together we go; there is no fear; no longing for another day; only perfect rest and bliss and love of everything…because everything is as it should be. My prayer, then, if I could form one perfect thought this morning, before the first light of dawn, is for you…the one who has read these words of mine.

Rise up in your solitude, in your quiet place and wait and hope and trust for your Peace to come and rest upon your heart and mind and soul. Today this is my hope and prayer for you. That in quietness you will discover what is most beneficial, most healing and helpful to you. Be patient; faint not; carry on in faithful service whatever and wherever your calling finds or places you. Be the change you want to see: in yourself…in others…in the world.