Tag Archives: still



Reading, reading, and more reading is for me a time-tested source of reflection. This week it’s The Practice of Spiritual Direction, by William A. Barry & William J. Connolly. They ask, “Who is God for me, and who am I for God?”

Who is God for me? God is infinity, God is love. God is both remote and inaccessible and also fully present and personal. For me that means God transcends mystery, which can be microscopic or cosmic in nature. God is always present, but not in control.

Who am I for God? Wholly imperfect, fully human, worthy, and loved.

How do I feel about myself in relation to God? Inadequate, imperfect (based on deep-seated, internalized judgments from my father and other humans. Now I remember that they, too, were both inadequate and also imperfect.)

How do I feel about myself in relationship with God? I feel loved for who I am, mortal and limited. I feel challenged to be my best self, not anyone else.

How can I enter into (fuller) relationship with God?

  1. Stop and breathe.
  2. Confess my greatest hope and/or my greatest concern.
  3. Listen to inner wisdom and wisdom of the ages.
  4. Begin again in love.

Those four steps do not require a belief in a particular god/dess or deity. They require me to tap into the depths of my own knowledge and experience. They remind me to love to the best of my ability day by day. (Reading helps, too!)

How do you maintain a connection with your highest power? In relation to what? In relationship with whom? (Even tentative thoughts are fine!)

Juggling by Threes


This has been a great day to juggle several things: generating an order of service for a memorial service, meeting with a team of ministers, educators, and musicians about our collaborative worship plans, developing a proposed plan for a Rapid Response Network in the Houston area, and adjusting my 2013 calendar for incoming events. Interesting that I chose the word “incoming.” Rather indicative of my feeling that multiple things are coming at me at once. The dates in your calendar are closer than they appear.

Well okay then.

This morning I read some advice from Management Tools (a great resources with a free newsletter, podcasts, and the option to sign up for more). Not revolutionary but practical and easy as 1, 2, 3. When things are coming at you, fast and furious, or you find yourself stuck in the mire of inertia, there’s something satisfying about the number 3.

One: Pick the next three things you need to do.  Write them down on a post it or a piece of scrap paper.  Do them.  Every time you get distracted and think – what was I supposed to be doing? – go back to your short list.  When you’ve done the first three, do another three.  You’ll be amazed at how many completed post-it notes you’ll end up with.  I find this helps on days full of interruptions or when I’m feeling a little [overwhelmed].
Two: At the end of the day, pick the most important three things for you to do the next day.  Write them down.  Do those things FIRST, before email, before phone calls, before any meetings.  If you use this technique, you’ll always be working on your priorities.
Three: If your list is very long, pick three like things, and do just those.  Three phone calls, three emails, three pages you need to print, three pieces of filing.  If you like stability, do three more of those things until all that group is done.  If you like variety, do three of something different.
Part of their advice reminds me of another resource, a book with a great title: Never Check Email in the Morning by my hero Julie Morgenstern (Fireside/Simon& Schuster, 2005). In other words, take control of your day before it is swallowed by other (very important) information, requests, or events.
Busy days can be the most productive of all. When I had just 10 minutes before a meeting I sent out the first draft of that order of service, printed a document for the meeting, and showed up ready to participate. After the meeting I had received a reply that generated a second draft. Feels good to accomplish a lot. There’s also a down side, so read on.
Give yourself a break! Just as skipping a meal to lose weight just means you’re so hungry later you want to eat everything in sight, going non-stop from one task to another means you starve yourself of time for reflection. If you have to schedule time for yourself in your calendar, do it! Then you can honestly tell someone you have other plans.
So here’s what I’m working on, just for me: yoga in the morning, a walk every day after lunch, and learning and practicing a Bach aria assigned by my voice teacher. Easy as 1, 2, 3. Then I might pick another three or maybe even the same ones!
What works for you? How do you balance work, family, chores, and self-care? It won’t always balance on a given day, but is there a rhythm you can sustain over time?

a meditative moment


A new (to me) meditation CD helped me relax so nicely. Psychologist Paul Overman has a series of 10 Minutes to Relax CDs. Guided meditation for about 10 minutes and another 10 minutes of relaxing music (Jim Oliver on synthesizer). It’s a great reminder that meditation does not need to take much time. It just needs the space–your personal space–that will bring you back to your center. Doesn’t that feel so good when you let it happen?

So for just one minute, breathe with me.

Let your rib cage expand, . . .

let your breath come smoothly and easily. . . .

Let tension flow all the way through and out of your body. . . .

Let wellbeing flow into you, . . .

from toes and fingers . . .

all the way through to your head. . . .

Then take this moment with you into your day. . . .

Be well.

Just a Moment, Please


(written Feb. 23, 2011)

Travel is a bit exhausting, especially when we have stayed in a different place four nights in a row. There have been wonderful hotels—Parisutham (means “very clean”) in Tanjore; Annamalai in Pondicherry, currently the Anand Regency in Rahahmundry. In fact, they are nice enough that we would love to stay longer! Tuesday night accommodations were on the overnight train from Chennai to Rajahmundry, after several day trips by bus.

Our bus driver and his assistant who drove us around in Chennai drove the bus to Madurai in time to meet us when we flew in. They have been excellent. The driver can make a 180-degree turn in Indian traffic–no small feat!

From now until we leave India, it looks like we’ll stay at least 2 nights in each place. Today we will meet at 9 to debrief, then go visit Abhi’s mother in her home briefly, then get to the airport for a 12:50pm flight to Hyderabad. Glad we’ll stay there longer!

Another frustration is Internet access. Each place is different; some have passwords, some have wireless, some have very slow or poor connections. I paid for 2 days in Chennai. Mainly, there’s just not enough time both to get connected and to scan email, FaceBook, and/or blog. This morning I have an extra hour because the bedside clock is incorrect—but the Internet is down……..

Then there’s the struggle with photos. I tried compressing one so it could be uploaded but that didn’t work. Next I’ll try to save them to our family website, but of course I have to be connected in order to do that.

Still . . . [Now there’s a good word—still. It has the “however” connotation and even more importantly, the “be here now” connotation. Be in the moment and in this place, this chair, this body, this spirit. I am in India for just 3 weeks and there will be time later to take care of all this busy-ness.Though I would love for everyone to know what’s happening currently, the stories and images are still good even after I get back. It’s a little like mailing postcards even though you will probably get home before they arrive.]

Still . . . I’m having a wonderful time. Travel is what it is and the benefits are enormous.

Still . . .

Breathe . . .

Smile . . .