Monday, February 3, 2014

Short Comings VS Sins

It seems to me that at the same time we are oblivious to our own behaviors and their impact, we can also be manufacturing self blame and angst over our imaginary responsibilities to others.

I am in the middle of an AWOL, an in depth study of the 12 Steps. So, I have this list of defects and am praying daily to have them removed. I have summarized my list in a sentence or two about self centered fear and a lack of true faith in God to run my life and that is what I ask God to remove.

At the end of the day I run through the day to see how I did. I am starting to see that it is not missing someone's signals or not adequately intervening in what I have the ability to change that is the problem (whew, did you follow that?). I know this because when I do my Evening Prayers that call for confession, I can see all that as self preoccupation. My sin, I prefer the Greek interpretation for sin of 'where I missed the mark' is the fear that leads me to repeatedly over analyze to see my part in it.

This comes up for me this morning as I re-enter into a book study on non- violent communication. There is a focus on how we can communicate in an open, non judging manner. Some commenters are angsting about others in their church reacting in anger to well meaning behaviors. I guess I would say that it is never about 'them', it is about us.

Which takes me back to fear! How threatening it is when we are somehow accused of not (responding, understanding, doing, managing) enough. I get that and I get their fear.

Today, I can sit with that. I can exercise restraint of pen and tongue but anonymously blog to share my halting understanding of how it is to walk the walk. My friend and I spent some time together yesterday.

Let me tell you, on the first day of proposing a fast, it is not a good idea to visit a Farmers Market. I was tired, ate a little more than the little I planned to eat. Then went home to lie down as I was too tired and fuzzy to stop and visit with Louie.  I came home at 3 pm to no power. Rested and went to see Louie, nudged by the desire for for warmth and light which helped me to do the right thing. We pushed away his picked at food tray. I opened the Coke and the Hershey's Dark (so healthy it's like medicine!?) and we sipped and nibbled together. In retrospect, it was our communion.

So, what is good about today? Most everything, that's my guess.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Some Thoughts on Louie and Fasting

I am a novice in the dispersed Order of Ecumenical Franciscans and I have 30 Chapters on various spiritual topics to complete. You can complete one a month but must go no faster than that. In November or December I came to a Chapter on fasting.

In November I did some research on the CRON eating plan, Calorie Reduction Optimal Nutrition and other plans that have a fasting aspect. My focus was on health and simplification of my lifestyle, it was not spiritually connected.

So, I have had this Fasting Chapter hanging over my head awhile now and I haven't been able to get into it. When I brought it up towards the end of my meeting with my spiritual director last week, she had a different take on it. She is totally independent of the Order which is why it is a requirement that I see her as well as communicate with my Formation Counselor.

Her take is that 'my sap is running', I have just switched my sons room into a guest room (one more bag of booze bottles found!) which has changed something in each room, I am truly occupying my home in new ways and looking at what my mission in an expanded way. She could put into words why fasting was not resonating with me, it made sense to her and she supports me deferring it for something else at this time.

WELL! I wrote my Formation Director who lives in Japan. It has been almost a week and I have had no feedback. Is this benign neglect or Monastic Mr Smarty-Pants? No matter . . .

Who is Louie? He is everybody's friend in local AA. He has been fighting cancer a long time and in a nursing home, going to stay there on Hospice services. I took my fifth step with him a month ago when I could see it wasn't going to work out with my sponsor. I saw him yesterday and was taken aback at his decline, jaundice setting in and further weight loss in the ten days since I had seen him last.

I think I will fast with Louie. I will take in a little nutrition as I want to continue walking at lunch and working as everyone does.  I've been wanting to drop the coffee . . .

Thanks for listening, I knew you would be up!

That's what's good about today.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sunrise

Did you ever notice how glacially slow sunrise happens? If you are in on it from its first light behind the trees, it seems to take forever. Today's showing was quite unspectacular as sunrises go. I viewed it  from behind the kitchen table. I had pulled the high, swivel chair around the corner of the table and tucked my feet up into the warmth of my body and waited. Today my meditation period was spent in this expectant place and it was good.

Hope doesn't have to be all warmth and soft colors. Today it came in the rhythm of peaceful regularity, as pale as the winter skin on my face and as quiet as the dogs reclined on their blankets.

It could have come in its louder fashion. Typically, if my soul is yearning in the morning for sustainence, I take it to the daily meeting at 7 am. I catch the sunrise on the fly, I head east so it feels as if I am traveling to join the cosmic sunshine. A mere 6 miles away, I pull into a parking lot of familiar cars in the early shadows, light pouring out of our meeting room windows, fragrant coffee in the air and greetings with my name in them. That sets a girl right for the day.

But, if I want change, to know God's calling, I can shift my focus, draw away from the familiar to allow some space. I never have a problem running along to the next shiny object. My task is to slow down, always. There is nothing that doesn't improve by my slowing down.

And so, I tell you in this slow moment, that is what is good about today.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

One Thousand Gifts

Ann Voskamp wrote a best seller by this name. The list is of things she is grateful for and how the process changed her life. I read it a couple months ago and fell in love with her lyrical writing style. I started my list and stalled out around twenty or so.

I am thinking about starting again, writing it in my own way, that is each entry would be three words or less. Can anyone join me in this?

When I change my thoughts, I change my world. That's what's good about today.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Plan

So, my one and only man child is home for a visit. I bustle in the kitchen asking a question here and there of his exploits. Somewhat exploitive they are. At 21, it is all about him. I give thanks that this is not what I live with every day. I take hope that he was honest enough to say that 'partying' was going to be his activity this weekend. A good sign that he can be at least that honest, he would have told a story six months ago.

The next morning I look for my box of matches to light my meditation candle. Not to be found next to it. Not to be found on the counter or the floor under it. Hmm. Boy smokes. Boy took?

Musing this morning that there is no promised Christmas present, slicer dicer in sight in evidence yet. Nothing mentioned, no substitute proffered.  Wondering if the check I sent him is going to help buy a better car or is already up in smoke.

Though I cannot make any headway in talking about substances stealing ambition or how Jesus asks that we love each other in thought and deed, I have a plan. It is a plan more for me than for him. It is to say what I mean and not say it mean.

I need to say that we humans need each other, self seeking avails us nothing. Being dishonest will only get you so far.

This morning I looked for toothpicks.  ?where are they? Boy took? Nah, couldn't be, sigh.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Acceptance Is the Answer to All My Problems

Years ago I picked up a greeting card that had a great message about the need for acceptance. I kept it for years, I think I had it taped to my bathroom mirror. A couple years ago I was gratified that I can enjoy the passage forever in the Big Book.

In the hour that I've been up, I have asked for acceptance in our living situation. It is super in a number of ways but I get pangs wishing I could give my dogs more companionship. I leave them for a long day at work.

I ask for acceptance because I can't meditate worth crap right now. My thoughts don't play like monkeys, they run like cheetahs! Ah, well. My only job is to keep the effort going.

I ask for acceptance of my overloaded desk at work. I will accept the bountiful from the universe and know that at any moment I can slow down and breathe and know that life is about taking one moment at a time.

I write what I need to hear, that's what's good about today.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Prayer for Presence Throughout This Day

Holy God of all, I ask for your help in keeping my thoughts in this moment. It is a present most valuable and given freely. Let me choose to claim it over and over. Let the worry over tomorrow and the concerns from yesterday dissolve like fog so that I might gaze in full appreciation at our blessings.

Amen