Posts Tagged With: inspiration

We Are All Gods, Every One…

Now, before my theist friends begin formally filing charges of blasphemy and my atheist friends just roll their eyes (yes, I have atheist friends!), please hear me out.

I am not saying any one of us bundles of mental energy wrapped in dust is THE God or that you have to even believe THE God exists (though I myself do). We’ll save that discussion for a mountain hike or trout stream or over beer and pizza.

What I do mean is this–every last one of us is creative. Some of you are going “Not me…I’m about as creative as a rock.” Well first of all, how do you¬†really¬†“know” that rock isn’t creative? But that too is another discussion for another time. I assure you however, you ARE in fact creative. You may not be an artist or musician or poet or novelist but you are creative.

In fact you are creating right now. You are creating thoughts about this blog post or God or beer and pizza or something else. Those thoughts are jostling their way in among the myriad other thoughts dancing about your mind. Some of those thoughts will dance enthusiastically enough to really get your attention. They will grow and take on a life of their own by spawning other thoughts and captivating your focus. Most importantly, some of those thoughts will be be spawning actions (or non-actions). Those actions and non-actions will then have much to do with what happens in your life. In a most very real sense, you are creating your own life. Right now. Moment by moment, thought by thought, deed by deed.

Why not create something beautiful?

Categories: Body, Mind, Miscellany, Spirit | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Avoiding Avoidance

We all have our pitfalls–little traps that if we allow a certain amount of mindlessness to creep in we find ourselves stepping in. Avoidance behavior is a biggie for me. We are ancient enemies, our conflict spawned fairly early in my time here. At times I get the upper hand, but instead of learning from the past and remaining watchful, I tend to get satisfied and lazy and the next thing I know I’m hollering for help from the bottom of some metaphorical hole while fiendish Procrastination grins evilly down at me.

So today, trying to claw my way to the top of the most recent pit, I found myself getting a bit “put out”. Not angry in a way that leads to irrational lashing about, but angry in a way that lights a fire. Angry in a way that asks important questions about why I am where I am and how not only to get out of the hole but to stay out of it for good. So in asking and reflecting and considering past victories and defeats I came up with a few things. They are helping me formulate a plan and perhaps they can help someone else out there.

Basically, to defeat this monster for good, I need (at least) three things. The first is I need a pose. Specifically a meditation pose engaged regularly. I’m not gonna bore you with all the science behind meditation. There’s a mountain of info out there. I will say that meditation is not some weird and vaguely “spiritual” thing. It isn’t hocus pocus or sorcery or an attempt to talk to spirits. It’s very much a thing of the physical brain and has definite and measurable calming effects that provide a clarity to life situations. So, not surprisingly, when I regularly sit I find myself seeing with more clarity and acting and reacting with calm, balance, and purpose. So for me, a first for “doing” something positive is to do “nothing” with positive purpose.

Second, to avoid avoidance one needs a plan for the day. Just today. Not every day. Just the one, single, day we actually are living at the moment. I don’t mean every second legislated in stone but just an idea of things that truly need done and a real intent to do them. Front-end loading works really well. That is, do the hard things first. Just like when my mama made me eat my asparagus as a child. I could wait until the end, eating all the pleasant stuff first but that asparagus would still be there, taunting me, knowing I wasn’t going anywhere until I forced it down. It was better to attack it first and be done with it. When things arise that actually need doing, we aren’t going anywhere until they are done, so we might as well get to them.

And lastly, we need a good question to confront our tendency to avoid. That question is a good one to ask ourselves anyway from time to time, so why not make a habit of it? That question is “What am I afraid of?” Somehow, we often manage to step into some warped cosmic reality where what we should be afraid of doesn’t scare us and what should doesn’t. Instead of considering the difficulties we create and the non-life we engage in by avoiding distasteful or unpleasant or just plain hard things, we think only of the pleasure momentary escape brings us. But momentary escape is just that–momentary. The beast is still out there, waiting for us to come out of our tiny hiding place. And the hiding place has to be tiny because it is that smallest version of ourselves that needs to hide.

So what ARE we afraid of? Strangely, when we ask that question of ourselves in a substantive way, it actually has no substantive answer. What’s the worst that could happen? I suppose the very worst thing is you could die facing your personal beast. Guess what? That’s gonna happen anyway. We may as well live a little before it does, and we will NEVER live encased in fear. Cowering isn’t life, it’s just cowering.

The pleasant discovery I have made over and over again–and apparently keep forgetting over and over again–is life isn’t in avoidance, it’s in engagement. My mom used to have to force me at gunpoint (ok–she never actually used a gun, but I’m sure she was tempted) to force down that asparagus. But today asparagus and I have an excellent culinary relationship. Somewhere along the line I realized it is pretty good stuff and quite good for me. Often, so is that thing you are dreading. And even if it isn’t. Even if it is just plain old unpleasant and no fun there is one more question to ask, a trump card of sorts to play, and that question is “What will delay really get me?”

The answer to that one isn’t “nothing”. Delay will get you something, but not a positive something. It will get you dread–the Undone will always be lurking at the edge of your mind, no matter how many games of solitaire you play. It will get you soured relationships, more work, more stress, more pain, and less life. No one in their right mind wants that, and that my friend is a solid indication that we are not in our right mind at all when we engage in avoidance behavior.

So there you have it. A few arrows in your quiver when avoidance comes calling. Fire away.

Categories: Body, Mind, Miscellany, Spirit | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Selfishness

Jesus told a story about a lord who would be going away for a while and who left three servants in charge of certain amounts of money in his absence. Two of the men took the money in their charge and put it to use, gaining even more. One man though, was afraid of losing what his master had left in his charge and hid the money to protect it until his lord’s return.

When the lord returned from his journey, the first two men brought the lord’s money to him, along with what they had gained in addition. The lord was pleased with the men and rewarded them. When the third man came, he could bring only the original amount the lord had left with him. Instead of being pleased, though the lord reprimanded the servant for his fear and for not even being diligent enough to at least put the money in the bank where it might have gained a little interest. He took what little he had then and gave it to one of the other, more diligent servants.

So what does this have to do with selfishness? The short answer: everything! In the words of the intrepid Inigo Montoya, “Let me explain.” You see, the third servant really wasn’t protecting his master’s money. In fact, he wasn’t thinking of the master at all–he was thinking only of himself, and himself was what he was protecting. Not himself in his best possible way either–only himself in the smallest way. Fear, when handed the reigns to our lives, tends to do that to a person. It makes us smaller. Smallish people then tend to live smallish lives.

For the short life of this blog I have been encouraging others to live out their lives in passion and compassion. To live in the moments we are given, unshackled from the ghosts of the past and worries of the future. The currency that has been given to us to steward for a while isn’t money, but life itself. Will we live in our smallest selves–fearfully hiding the treasure we possess? Or will we flesh our lives out, with gusto, adding to the life we have been given, enlarging it, reaching for everything God has intended it to be?

It isn’t selfish to live out the passions the Maker has laid on our hearts, balanced with compassion for those we share this amazing world with. It isn’t selfish to live in the moment, because the only moment we ever truly have is the present one. It isn’t selfish at all. It’s LIFE. It’s abundance. It’s true thankfulness–the thankfulness of making use of a gift rather than tucking it away. It’s glory.

But you know what IS selfish? To refuse to do those things. To hide. To fear. To protect our smallest selves instead of risking them in living out the lives we have been given. That was the mistake of the third servant in Jesus’ story. Too often it has been mine. I pray it will be mine no longer.

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