My Spiritual Practice of Asking for Help

I can tell anyone the universe has their back. I will try to convince anyone and everyone it will work out, the world is a benevolent place and whatever Gods they care to believe in are on their side. I have been called a “terminal optimist” and I’ll take it. I really DO believe it will all turn out all right.

For everyone except for me.

Welcome to the inner world of an enneatype six. Continue reading

What Other People Say

Years ago, one of the leaders of the company I was working for harshly criticized me and left me feeling incompetent and stupid. I shared my feelings with the owner of the company. Instead of empathizing or assuring me I was not an idiot, she said “When people say things about you it has very little to do with you. It has more to do with them. The sooner you realize that, the easier life will be.”

It blew me away.

I didn’t need to take to heart everything people said about me. I didn’t even need to push back against it. It simply didn’t apply. It wasn’t my business. It was an interior monologue that had had slipped out through the speaker’s mouth.

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Keys

Keys and I have always had a complicated relationship. I grew up in a small town and my folks grew up in an even smaller town. I don’t know about no one ever locking their doors, but we rarely did. Keys were a thing grown-ups did. I rarely locked the house I raised my daughter in. I rarely lock my car. But I love the look and sound of keys, especially old ones. I have trouble throwing them away, even if the building or car they open doesn’t exist anymore.

They still signal doing grown up right
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The problem with keys is they don’t follow me everywhere like a besotted puppy. They stay behind – usually right where I left them, dammit—instead of being where I need them. I have become adept at breaking (or weaseling) my way into places – apartments, theaters, churches, schools – without my keys. I have climbed piles of old tires, boosted myself off car hoods, dropped to basement floors, jimmied locks and woken caretakers.

But keys and I had a particularly rough morning today.

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The Return

Like most people, when I first started practicing centering prayer, a form of Christian meditation, I struggled with “thoughts.” Centering prayer involves letting go of thought and allowing the mind grow quiet for a set period of time, let’s say 20 minutes. But we can’t really stop thinking – it’s what makes us human. So in centering prayer we focus on a word or our breath and let the thoughts come and go. When we catch ourselves getting distracted by a thought, we gently return our focus to our word or breath.

featherWhich all sounds well and good. In theory. In practice – and least in mine – it often sounds like this. Inhale … exhale … inhale … exhale … inhale … ex – man I am hungry. And I didn’t pack any lunch. Have to go out. Did I bring any cash? Ugh. I hate putting every little thing on my card. I’ll have to run to a cash machine fir—crap! I did it again! Crapcrapcrap. Inhale … damn, and I was doing so good, too … exhale … I don’t even know why I bother … inhale … I should have just gone to lunch early … exhale … If I’d gone to lunch early I could have taken a walk around that park by the river. That would be just as restful as  — crap! I’m doing it again!

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Smoke and Mirrors

I wrote this piece a few years ago, when my church job was a bit more visible. Now I doubt most folks who attend the churches I work with have a clue who I am. And that’s fine with me. They aren’t going to the church website or Facebook page to hear my voice, they are going to hear the voice of their church. One of the things my daughter, my BF and I share (despite how much my field(s) differ from theirs) is the belief that our jobs, when done well, are invisible to others. My daughter liked to paraphrase Isaac Asimov in job interviews: Good government is indistinguishably from magic. I like that thought. 

The three of us got into a little discussion about invisible work again this week. And that got me thinking about the good and bad aspects of doing invisible work. And how to use the good to make up for the bad. And all that got me thinking about this piece. I still like it, even though I am not doing that kind of work anymore. I hope you do too.

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Everything New is Old Again

File this under The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same.

My daughter, my boyfriend and I bond, as humans always have, tut-tutting and cracking wise over the missteps and follies of others. Our ancestors might have done it over a meal, or while riding a covered wagon over the grassy plains or while watching sheep graze. The three of us do it the way most folks do it these days — sitting in front of a glowing screens and keyboards in our three separate cities.

Today’s story was about the Twitter hashtag created by the Washington NFL team. There’s been a growing push to get the team to change its name, which many people consider racist. Most recently, 50 senators (including Harry Reid) sent a letter to the NFL commissioner, urging him to endorse a name change. As a pushback, whoever is running the team Twitter account sent out this Tweet: Continue reading

Baby Lion Swim Test

If you’ve been on the internet the past few weeks, you probably have seen this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V29kEMwZeuE

These lions cubs need to pass a swim test before they can join the big lions in the main exhibit. Since the big cat enclosures have water features, zoo staff need to that know if the lions fall in, they can keep their heads above water and get out of the pool. All these cubs passed, even though some of them took the round about way and a couple needed a boost.

I recently sent this video to my daughter. We are separated by several states and two time zones. Like most people these days, we have dozens of communication methods at our finger tips (quite literally). And often, frankly, we rely on cute animal videos to describe our feelings. Continue reading