Friday, June 21, 2024

Joy and Grief




My time spent on blogging has been lacking as of late (yes I know this).  All of us can easily fall into the mire or busy-ness, and although I can say that I am very good about taking time for prayer and meditation, my default would be to not be writing.

That said, I HAVE been engrossed in a class on grief coaching.  For those who think this sounds really weird, you are not wrong.  I mean really who needs a coach for grief.  And yet, in our culture we are really super bad at grieving.  We have been taught that instead of walking the journey of grief we are either to stuff it down, or give it all to God (and while that second one seems nice, God I think has a differnt plan in how to bring us comfort)

Grief is a horrible, somtimes shameful and regulalry uncomfrtable emotion.  The sorrow and sadness of grief alert us to the realization that something or someone of importance is missing, or no longer a part of our lives.  That there was an important relationship that helped to mold and shape who we are.  And that was a gift.  So grief then, is not something to be hidden, but it is something to process.  It is a path of learning about how we walk in the world and how we are a part of a larger web.  

And while grief can be exhausting, and painful and frustrating (with how long it stays attached to our hearts) the process can also teach us and show us a lot about the joy in our lives.  While grief and joy do not seem to go hand in hand, they both have important roles that teach us about who we are in the world.

If you need/want/wonder about having someone to walk with you in your times of grief, know that you do not have to walk alone. There are therapists and counselors, and mentors and coaches and friends who will walk with you. I would love to help you find a few.

In the meantime, check out this poem by John Rodell

the places in our heart
where the world took bites
out of us
may never fully heal
and will likely become
wide open spaces
~ be careful to not fill them
with just anything or anyone
your wounds aren’t supposed
to become attics for you to hoard
unnecessary junk
these holes in our hearts
are holy sites
and we should treat
them as such
so when visiting your old wounds
make sure to take your shoes off
and turn off your cellphone
sit by candlelight
and watch how the shadows
tell the story how brave you are
~ to survive
(John Roedel)

https://www.facebook.com/johnbigjohn/posts/pfbid0qotKioGpGmzoZj45vgPqvjgaB79yaDrfLpG87XsskqfLz1WZdbv8S1qfm5ufLVuPl





Friday, February 2, 2024

implementing learnings

Over the past few weeks I have noticed a common theme coming up over and over again.  The theme, as I understand it, is ORDER.  Not like I should be ordering more things, or making orders or receiving orders, rather it is about how we (or how I) order my life.  

This again is a practice, and one that I will not get exactly "right".  But to have the guide of order I find that I can accomplish more.  I believe that we each have our own sense of order, AND that when we come together in communities there is a sense of order and when all people are not following the same order, we notice that something feels off or is out of place.

So how do we create order in our own lives, homes, spaces AND comfortably move in to the order of communal spaces?  It is a regular learning, and leaning in to communication and relationship building. Yes, relationship building.  because we are creatures of relationships.  We depend understand ourselves best when we see how we are in relation to others.  Not that we have to change to be like everyone else, but that we adjust to be able to be in "communion"  (sharing of thoughts or feelings on mental and spiritual levels)  We might also call this "togetherness"

When we claim to be "lonely" it is often over the absence of togetherness.  We need one another.  So how can we claim that reality as we age?  Or really at anytime in


Saturday, January 20, 2024

Time for PAUSE

 In this fast paced world it is hard to slow down and find a time of peace and quiet to listen to your soul.  We long for the moments that we can take a breath, but we do not often create space in our schedules.  or when there is space we feel guilty that we are not doing something else, or being more productive.  It is much easier to watch Facebook reels, or re-watch an old season of a favorite show, or bake cookies, or take the kids shopping, or clean the bathroom or ...  

I am one of those people who think that if I am not constantly producing something then I am failing.  I need to be learning and doing and moving.  And my defaults, are often not helpful.  It just adds to the noise.

But if we are able to find some space to practice sitting in the silence, we may start to hear our inner voice, our consciousness, our spirit guides, telling us that there is blessing in the "resting".  Even as I write this I come back to thinking about the 10 commandments, the 3rd of which is remember the sabbath and keep it holy.  If you grew up in a church you maybe learned this meant go to church on Sunday.  If you grew up in a non-religious family you maybe heard this as we have time off let's go to the beach. Or on a hike.


It's really a reminder that we need rest.  We should not be in a mode of constant work and movement.  And if that is the highest goal then consider that even in resting there is greater purpose.  It resets our vital organs.  For athletes, rest helps muscles heal and reduces inflammation, for people who have gone through major life upsets, rest resets the nervous system.  

Rest helps our brains reset.  I learned in college that a good night of sleep was often better for me before a test than studying all night. I am sure that was not true for everyone, but I knew my body, and brain and emotions, needed it.

Rest helps us to engage with our friends and family, in more attentive conversations, less stress and more ability to be present.

We need rest to be healthy spiritually, mentally, physically, mentally, and emotionally.  whether through sleep, meditation time, or just grabbing 5 minutes of un-interrupted quiet.  Let you mind rest.  

Also watch for a few meditation videos to come in the next few weeks.  




Friday, December 22, 2023

Writing

 Journaling, creative writing, mindful refection, all different ways of being able to get all of the amazing wonderful conditions of your life out of your head.  It is a way to reflect and be intentional about who are and where you would like to be in life.

Adopting a practice of writing on a regular basis can help in aiding you to find healing in your life, AND it can help you to create the life that you hope to be living.  It is not magic, but it will help you to recognize and manifest the parts of your life that you would like to see bloom and blossom.

It can be fun and easy.  Start with a few prompts like ...

1 - Set a timer to 5 minutes and write whatever comes out of your head.

2 - Think of a childhood happy memory and write down all the details you can remember.  Try it with phrases or full sentences. 

3 - fill a page (or two) with the things you are grateful for from the past 24 hours.

4 - make a note of how you are feeling physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually... how does that change?  or not?

write it down, write a few times a week, note what comes up on a regular basis.  How do you feel about what you are seeing on the page?  How can you be intentional about owning your life journey?



Friday, November 10, 2023

Choosing health - meditation edition

 


Just breathe - 

Take a moment, feel the breath moving through your body.  Feel your feet firmly planted on the floor.  Let your shoulders relax away from your ears, allow the muscles in your back to release. (also try playing this music in the background while you are reading this post)

Breath in slowly through your nose for the count of 5 

Hold your breath for the count of 5

Let the air out of your lungs, through your mouth, for the count of 10.

Do this 3 more times.

Notice your body and mind relaxing into this present moment.

Give yourself permission to let go of everything for the next 10 minutes.  That's it, just 10 minutes.  You can pause for 10 minutes.

All of this simple practice gives footing to begin to go deeper with a meditation practice.  But, we first need to have a place to stand.

Most of us (including me) think that meditating should be so easy.  It's just sitting.  It's just letting go.  But in our fast paced culture, we have a hard time setting aside just 10 minutes to sit in silence.  Do you notice your body crying out for this pause.  Unless we learn to listen, unless we learn to be quiet long enough to listen, we won't hear what our bodies, or the Spirit of God, or our neighbors, or our minds are trying to tell us.

Meditation is, of course, more than just being quiet.  Is it actively listening to the world around you and inside of you.  It is being attentive to more than words.  It is also being attentive to how our bodies and minds resonate with all of the information that we take in.

Create some time in adding meditation into your schedule.  It does not need to be an hour - but start somewhere.

You can sit in silence

You can listen to calming music (choose something with no "rhythm section" instead try something like this from youtube with pictures (whether you just listen or watch and listen)

You can listen to guided meditation (these are like choosing a good book, but a few that I really like are from Chopra or Calm

Blessings to you in your journey as you choose health for yourself.  And watch how healing yourself makes in impact in the world around you.

Peace


Sunday, September 17, 2023

Choosing health - Yoga edition


There are many choices we make in life, one of which is how to best care for our physical bodies.  And once that choice becomes a priority, then there are a plethora of ways to be able to practice health.  I for one really love swimming and biking and running and occasionally playing volleyball with friends, and admittedly I am not very good at attending to the part where there is stretching involved.  That said, I do realize the necessity, and so I seek out ways to allow my body to find flexibility.  Easy enough - there are lots of yoga classes that are accessibly.  

The problem is I am not a fan of yoga...at least not in the middle of practice when it is hard and I notice how NOT flexible I am.  But I am a fan of what it does for my body and my mind, and I am a fan of the deliberate practice and of learning how to be present in times that are not physically comfortable for me.  And I so very much appreciate that although I can pull up a video and do yoga in my own home, there is something about the energy in a place where we do yoga together that offers another piece to the practice.   The "work" that I do in a yoga class is for me and it is mine, but I know that the communal energy pushes me deeper into the practice, I know if I need help others are right there. I know I will make friends simply by being present.  I know that because that is also how community works.  I see it on a regular basis, I experience it on a regular basis.  

Sometimes I think it is like eating things like liver, or Kale.  I need the iron, but I am not a fan of those foods.  (I don't eat liver anymore, but that is another story)  We choose to allow ourselves to find health.  Sometimes that means that we will not always be in the moment of full pleasure.  That is a thing in the life of humanity.  Somehow we have gotten it in our heads that life is simply about creating pleasurable experiences.  But if we are choosing to be healthy (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually) there are parts of the road that are hard.

These choices are all a part of the explorations in this journey of life that we walk, more often together than alone.




Saturday, September 9, 2023

just add water

 As easy as it is to forget - human bodies are made up of 60% water.  So when we are dehydrated we may notice it in physical ways.  But being dehydrated also affects us mentally and emotionally.  Not getting enough water can be a cause of some feelings of depression or anxiety.  The chemical levels in our systems are in need of regular balance for all sorts of physical, mental and emotional health.  

Note that it is possible to drink too much water as well, so pay attention to how your bodies reacts - but in the main I think we are invited to drink up to an ounce of water each day for every pound you weigh.  

A good practice to work on for health.