Friday, March 14, 2014


I have been thinking a lot about wisdom lately.

The thought
Be Wise
sometimes it seems like an imperative - like the fate of the world is riding on my shoulders
sometimes it seems like a quiet whisper, a prayer - a call of hope to move forward
a soft nudge or a strong pull -
however it moves or sounds the one thing I have discovered is most certainly consistent about wisdom
 it does not rush.

Those thoughts bother me.  I believe them to be true - but lately I have felt very rushed - pulled in many directions.  It is no wonder to me that people have been talking more about ways to live simply...our world pulls and tugs at us - calling us to do more and at faster speeds.

Did you know that the 40 hour work week was not even a thing until 1926 when Henry Ford started giving his workers more leisure time.  And instead of having less production there was more!  Less than a century later the hours of a "productive" work week have creeped back into our lives.  And then to try to keep up with the offerings of recreation activities, and yoga, and meditation, and eating well, and  . . . no wonder we  feel rushed.

But wisdom moves slow - and maybe it would be wise for us to do the same, without shame.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Practice and Purpose

When I was young my parents made my sister and I take piano lessons.  I am not sure if it was ever really a choice.  Not that I minded, but I am not sure I would have been inclined to continue if I knew it was a choice.  Not only did we have lessons, but in my house we were required to practice at least 30 minutes a day.  I didn't mind being able to play the piano - I didn't even mind practicing (although I played only the things that I liked and didn't work on the assignments as much as I should have).  However, I know I complained about having to practice when I really wanted to be outside, or watch T.V. or talk on the phone . . . but the timer was set and off I went.

I really liked my piano teacher.  She was kind and helpful.  She may have scolded us for not practicing more, but I always felt like she liked me.  Plus she had a cat and a dog and games to play while you waited for your turn.

One of the things about her little piano room (which held 2 upright pianos) was a sign that sat on one piano which said -

"Practice does not make perfect. 
Practice makes habit. 
Only perfect practice makes perfect."  

For a long time I have mulled over that statement.  I have always believed it to be true.  And sometimes that can feel very heavy.  It is only recently that I have begun to question perfection.  I wonder perfection is not what I have made it out to be in the past.

Bear with me on this one...One of the things that I did get scolded for in piano was that I liked to improvise.  My teacher would say "Erin, first you need to learn how to play what is written - and then you can make it your own."  Maybe that is more what perfection is about.

As a healer and a pastor I believe that we are all created perfectly.  When we learn what God has written in our body, our soul, our mind, our spirit,  then we can make it our own.  Maybe then - Perfection is living out our Purpose...But first we have to learn what is written.  And our community and our experiences make a big impact on that.  Community life plays a very important role in helping us to read ourselves.

And so there is a long explanation to say - it is time get back to the practice.  Practice writing and thinking and moving muscles that I have let go of for awhile.

It is time for me to claim my wisdom and bravery.

So if you are reading this blog, if you follow it - please bear with me.  There will likely be a lot of what one of my colleagues calls "hose spiders"*.  For awhile this may just be for me, but you are welcome to come a long for the writing/thinking/dreaming rehab that I am giving myself.  And I should say that I was particularly inspired to get back into it because of an article from  becoming minimalist (one of the blogs I follow).

there you have it - and here we go!!!

(30 minutes a day of keyboard/blogging)

Peace and Light


*hose spider - the spiders that have crawled into your garden hose over a long winter and come scrambling out when you turn on the water for the first time.  They may or may not make a mess - but they are a little surprising and scary until the hose gets cleaned out.

Saturday, January 11, 2014


Finding space and time for meditation can be a challenge in our busy world.  In addition, we tend to think that we need a place like thisthis or this.

However, as wonderful as it may be to be in those places – it is our intention that creates what we need.  I have friends who have prayer shawls that they wrap around them and that is enough.  Or a special chair to sit in, or a favorite candle. 

You can make a meditation space as simple as you like.  As you are starting the more simple the better. 
It may be making time that is harder – but really 20 minutes a day is not so hard to carve out – especially when you have already started with 5 minutes – and then 10… waking up a few minutes early to sit and breathe can literally change your whole day.

Blessings on your journey.

Friday, January 10, 2014


I found this draft of a post the other day that I actually had started a few years ago...

"My sister will tell you that she always counted on me to be the brave one - the daring sister who would try things out first and make sure they were safe (if I didn't break something then maybe - maybe she would try it).  Well, I have broken a number of bones in my life . . . some may say that has to do with me being a bit of a klutz - and although I learned a lot from my brokenness for a long time I believed that I should stop doing "dangerous" things.  I believed that I just didn't have the athletic ability."

I realized that I let myself believe in those times that this physical ability transferred over to other  parts of my life - I stopped doing and trying new things.  I stopped swimming in the ocean, I stopped talking to people when I went for long walks, I stopped writing on a regular basis...

In the past week I recognized that being brave has been a part of my DNA - I was the brave one growing up.  I was always trying new things, meeting new people, inviting others along.  I was trusting of my intuition and of others around me.

So it came to me that this word for the 2014 is not so much about discovering - but uncovering, (maybe even re-defining) what it is to be brave;  as a mom, wife, sister, friend, healer, pastor...

Are there characteristics of your past that your would like to uncover or reclaim?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Writing Connections

Over the Christmas season it is customary to write and receive a lot of mail; Letters and card from family and friends telling you about how the past year has gone and what they are currently “up to”.  How wonderful to be able to be connected in that way.

Now that the season is past it tends to get harder to write letters, but maybe this is a great time to send just a few personal notes.  It can be a good practice for the month/year.  These are not the notes that go out to everyone, but the notes that allow us to remember why we stay connected to certain family and friends Each letter is unique, and it's contents depend upon the recipient and what's going on in your life

The following are some prompts/thoughts that may help you get started…

1 – make a list of values that are important to you that you may share with the person you are writing to.  Did you learn these values from them?  How do you see these values play out in your life or theirs?

2 – has this person been a part of any major life accomplishments?  How has that important to you?

3 – Is there anything this person has done/seen in their lifetime that you would like to learn about?  Are there questions that you could ask about that event?

4 – Are there resolutions or goals that you have over the next year that you would like this person to be a part of?  How do you see that happening

Just as a side note - you do not have to use all (or any) these prompts.  These are simply a few thoughts to get you started.  If you have some time – I would suggest sitting down for 10-20 minutes just to brain storm and get some thoughts on paper before you even start to write the letter. 

It is a true gift to receive a letter like this – (as well as being able to write one) - If you would like to make this practice more of a ritual (or more sacred) check out my next post on the Ritual of Writing.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Notes on Meditation

For those who are beginners (or even have a regular practice) it can be difficult to get into the quiet of meditation.  To let your mind actually be quiet.  Remember it is a practice, like learning to play an instrument, or a sport.

The basics of meditation are breathing and silence.  Learning to quiet your mind takes time, but we all know how to breathe, so focusing on your breath or a mantra is awesome.

This week we can start with breathing. Week 2 I will write some tips on space and place. Week 3 I will send tips on mantras and getting rid of "monkey mind" (quieting all those voices and to do lists). Week 4 will be tips on before and after meditation...(how to deepen your practice)

So to start out:
There are 2 techniques that I think are helpful in calming your body and mind.
The first is to simply focus on your breath.  Notice where your breath goes when it enters your body.  Notice if you pause at the end of an inhale of breath or at the end of exhale.  Do not consciously change your breathing, just notice.  Is the breath shallow or full?  Is your inhale longer than your exhale?  Just notice.  Likely your breathing will change.  This kind of practice will help you at other times of the day to notice your breath and gauge what it is telling you about stress, emotions and time.

The second technique is breath length and patterns.  As you sit, take a deep breath in through your nose for a count of 4. Hold for a count of 4 and then breath out through your mouth like you are blowing through a straw for a count of 8.  The practice may seem awkward at first, give it time, try it for 5-10 minutes.  You may want to change the count so it feels better, just remember it is a 1:1:2 ratio.

Peace to your practice.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Brave and Wise

It's not an easy task to listen for words that may help to define us.  It takes some practice in listening and discerning.  and then there is a certain amount of letting go of control.  

I was pretty sure that I wanted my words for the next year to be something like abundance and happiness - and maybe it will end up that way - but what came to me was a little different.

This year on Christmas morning I found myself in a store in the Sun Country terminal at LAX - waiting (for 2 hours) for a flight to MN for our Christmas break.  We had decided it would be better to be extra early than stress about traffic.  So to pass the time I was browsing in the store and looking for a comb for my daughter who has some of the most strong-willed hair of anyone I know.  

As I walked up to the register a little old chinese lady hurried behind the counter and greeted me with a kind smile and a "Merry Christmas", which at first caught me a little off guard, since I just didn't expect it (even on Christmas Day).  

I replied with a smile and a "Merry Christmas to you". 

Her eyes twinkled at me as she said joyfully "and a happy New Year"

Again - I was not ready for that.  I must have needed coffee. I responded with a smile, "and Happy New Year to you, too."  I got ready to give her my card...

But she was not finished - she looked my right in the eye and said "And be Brave, and Wise"

Who says things like that, I thought to myself, while at the same time thinking she must be very intuitive..."Thank you - those are good words"

Then very purposefully she said - "Not enough girls are brave and wise - and I think you could be brave and wise - I think more of us need to be."

I am sure there were a few tears that came to my eyes - she was so earnest in her words and I was moved that she would bless me with these words.  I responded as best I could - "Thank you, that was an amazing blessing.  YOU are a blessing." I said as I gently touched her arm - then I smiled and left.

I have now had a few days to savor these words - as I spend time with my "tribe of origin".  I am honored that these are the ones that have come to me.  I am looking forward to looking for ways they will play out in my life.

In the meantime I am shaping the new year around goals and activities that will help me live into being Brave and Wise (and quite frankly that alone feels a little brave and a little wise).

What are things that you would define or Brave or Wise?