Showing posts from 2019

The Power of Placement

I  recently heard about a social experiment where people were shown a string of letters and asked to put the spaces where they thought the spaces belonged. The group of letters looked like: GODISNOWHERE Some people placed the spaces to make out the sentence GOD IS NO WHERE while others organized the letters to read GOD IS NOW HERE This experiment reminds me of the power of perspective. I often forget that true power is not so much in the soup of letters life has put in front of me, it’s in how I arrange them. My dear mentor constantly reminds me to “look through appearances to the truth”- Truth with a capital T. When the fearful, anxious part of me wants to run around screaming “God is no where!!” like my hair is on fire, if I can quiet down just enough I can access the part that quietly knows “God is now here”- even in the midst of seeming chaos. Whatever a person’s beliefs, a switch up of letter spacing has transformational power. This power transcends even the most

We’re All Sharing the Same Road

I love a good short cut. Correction, I need a good short cut, especially on those mornings when I am running late to get my daughter to school. This is most mornings. Such was the case on a recent anxiety-laden trip to school. My heart thumped in my chest in synch with the countdown to the tardy bell. My sweaty hands struggled to grip of the steering wheel as I maneuvered my way through the charming side streets of my shortcut route. If all went according to plan I would join the carpool line with time to spare. It turns out the white Prius in front of me did not agree to my plan. It paced in front of me at a leisure rate. In pure frustration I cried out, “Why are they going so slow?” I scoffed, “They’re probably going to coffee or yoga right now. Must be nice.” My daughter looked up from her Eggo waffle long enough to give me the adolescent eye roll salute. I was alone in my distress. Suddenly a student on his bicycle came into my side view. I now had to add extra caution to my

Am I Resisting My Rescue?

My friend’s daughter is training to be a lifeguard this summer. I’ve heard it’s quite common for someone who’s drowning to fight the lifeguard’s attempt to save them. Perhaps the person in distress is so caught up in the fight to survive that everything and everyone becomes an adversary- including the help they desperately need. This gets me thinking about my own struggles to come up for air at times. Life can hit like a tsunami or worry fills up around me like the deep end of a pool, sending me into a dog-paddle frenzy. I pray for deliverance, a reprieve from what feels like impending doom. What I’ve noticed in these overwhelming times is that salvation often comes in surprising ways. Faced with an unexpected lifeline I tend to wrestle with the help like a drowning person wrestles with their hero. I get so stuck in what I think the solution “should” look like that I reject the relief being offered. Unexpected remedies to some of my life’s biggest dilemmas have looked like: choosin

The Subtleties of the Supernatural

I made a mistake. I messed up. I didn’t realize it at first, but then I did. And then I had to do what so often feels worse than making the error itself, I had to sit with it. This is usually when the tsunami of self judgement and criticism come rushing in. Like a scene out of ‘A Christmas Tale’, in the late hours of night I am visited by the Spirit of Mistakes Past which takes me on a haunting, detailed tour of numerous other times I’ve missed the mark. I wake up from that fitful sleep ordained a failure and wear its heavy crown for days on end. That is what usually happens. Yet in this recent ‘oops’ I noticed there was regret but no harsh commentary from my inner critics. There was no pulling out the bulging file of past failures, and I didn’t trudge through the day  weighted down with shame. There was disappointment, but no drama. This, for me, is a miracle. I’ve heard a miracle described as “a change in perception”. What I love about this definition is that it speaks to

The Vulnerability of Vulnerability

I appreciate how the topic of vulnerability has burst onto our cultural scene in recent years. Thanks to Brene Brown- and her famous TED talk with over 38 million hits and counting- for taking this subject from her research papers to our dinner table conversations. Brene refers to vulnerability as the birthplace of joy, belonging, creativity, authenticity, and love. I like to consider it as an anti-inflammatory for shame and unworthiness. While I am a champion for interweaving more vulnerability into our relationships and everyday life, to practice this principle is... well, vulnerable. It takes a lot of vulnerability to be vulnerable. I believe vulnerability is a practice- perhaps like a spiritual practice- exposing perceived darkness in order to gain more access to the light. To allow oneself to be known on a deeper, truer level is not a guaranteed feel-good moment. For all the evidence-based research and glowing testimonials, when I uncover myself more, it can feel like the bite o

The Safety of Now

My friends and I joke that you have to have high self-esteem to be the parent of a teen. Every morning when I come down the stairs to start my day I can anticipate the gauntlet of commentary from my son and daughter. “ Are you really going to wear that today?” “Didn’t I tell you to donate that sweater?”  The morning critique flows like the coffee from my Keurig. My son who is a shoe aficionado likes to remind me that I have no "shoe game". While my footwear may not impress him, I can say that I have found the safest place in life is in my shoes. The quip “ stay where your feet are” is a great anxiety intervention. Anxiety pulls us out of the moment and into some fear-induced delusion we feel so intensely we're convinced it must be true. A quick, effective remedy from this anxious grip is to reconnect with the present moment, and for me the present moment is wherever my feet are. In moments of worrisome distress, my shoe soles become my soul's sanctuary. When I l

The Courage To Change

It takes courage to change. There’s a popular saying in recovery, “The only thing you have to change is everything.” That is a tall order. While such extreme measures do not apply to everyone, answering the call to change is a brave step into a new frontier. Something does have to change, and we don’t always get to know what that something will be. Uncertainty can feel like a cause for fear. It’s human nature to run from what we don’t know. Yet this natural impulse isn’t always necessary or helpful. Fears left unchallenged cause us to shrink back from life and our ability to show up to it. When contemplating change, desperation of all things can be a hard-hitting, divine intervention. Once we’ve hit bottom and the fear of things staying the same outweighs the fear of things changing, desperation’s grip can propel us into action with little concern for the details. Sometimes we just have to do things afraid. Courage is not the absence of fear but progressing in the midst of it. P

Embracing Winter

It’s winter. As the cold days persist I hear a familiar conversation around me. “I know we need the rain, but I am so  over this weather.” I can appreciate the polite acknowledgement of our need to replenish water supplies which precedes the more honest protest of our current climate. And for all the bitter commentary, gloomy dispositions, and added layers of clothing, winter isn’t going anywhere. I’ve heard it said that life is simply a series of seasons. I remember attending a weekend training with a wise sage who reminded the group that in our Western culture we are not taught to honor seasons. He reminisced of Native American tribes who respect and even celebrate the ebb and flow of seasons. When we learn to sit a little deeper in the reality of what is, we can access greater wisdom and other resources in this moment- as uncomfortable as it may be. I am not required to like winter. In fact I am a self-professed “wimp” when it comes to the cold. So I bundle up a little more, su