Reflections on life, truth, faith, love, introspection, and transformation.

GO. Stop. GO. Stop... Stop!

Ever heard of interval training? It's a great way to train your cardiovascular system. Sprint, rest, sprint, rest, etc.

Turns out it might not be the best way to life. A growing awareness of my tendency to perform in intervals is creating an opportunity to live differently.

Energetically, relationally, professionally, intellectually, physically, emotionally, and spiritually: I am now praying for more of a steady state throughout my life.

A phrase that comes to mind is “spread the butter”. I tend to prefer dipping my bread in olive oil, but I still appreciate the value of bread with well-distributed butter from crust to crust.

Where in your life is your energy concentrated when it might benefit from being spread out?

Why, God?

Why do I wonder? Is it because I never know you fully? Why is there water? Is it to show me how to thirst for you? Why do I wander? Is it because you're both here and there for me to discover? Why is there wind? Is it to show me there can be energy without form? Why do I waver? Is it because my understanding is imperfect compared to yours? Why did I come from a womb? Is it a metaphor for your creation within yourself?

Why do I cling to the blade that penetrates me? Perhaps to be sure it doesn't move anymore than it has. That the amount of damage I have sustained is hopefully just the right amount. That one more inch would destroy everything. That if I just stay right here forever I might be suffering, but I will survive. That my survival in this circumstance is preferable over the risk of something else. How could I afford to risk something else when I'm already so wounded? I better cling tighter, until I am ready to let go.

What are you holding on to? Is it time to let go?

Moments and Memory-making

The most painful moments of my life have occurred in the last few years. So painful that they have reconnected me to my deepest childhood difficulties.

Perhaps it is all for the greater good. I pray that I might use the invitation of my current suffering to finally process buried suffering once and for all.

It isn't a conscious choice, but I've wondered lately... Am I avoiding making new memories and moments because I'm afraid that they will be painful? Perhaps I am. This awareness provides a pathway to change and freedom.

When it is time I will be making moments and memories with more joy than ever. I want this to be soon, but I am learning that patience is the way forward.

Where are you shying away from life because you've been hurt?

Goodbye Depression

Fare thee well my shadowy friend I will forever recollect Never fully remembering The bizarre blanket of helplessness held around my heart

I am leaving now. Thank you for this mysterious wisdom Not lessons. Not knowledge. Not growth harvested from above ground Wisdom. From deep beneath the surface Everything looks different from the bottom of the well

There was gold hidden in the darkness Each time I caught a glimpse it seemed to vanish Until I realized it was becoming a part of me Because it was beauty intended for me, yet hidden within me.

My roots look inward and upward, discovering branches and leaves. My stuck sadness begins to flow Breaking free from broken freedom As grief gives away it's precious child at the alter My tears have become rain. Thank you, old friend. Godspeed.

Forgiveness – Defining moment or lifelong maintenance?

In life we have many defining moments. Our first sporting match. Our first stage performance. Our first friendship.

Yet in between, and particularly following these defining moments, our lives are filled with maintenance. Our first sporting match leads to a life of enjoying that sport. Our first stage performance leads to a passion for theater. Our first relationship prepares us for what relationships might follow.

Forgiveness is no different. One might say it comes in fits and starts. I would prefer to say it comes in defining moments and maintenance.

Defining moments of forgiveness are beautiful in that they provide opportunities to breakthrough old patterns. One might struggle for 50 years to connect with their parent, and then have a moment of reconciliation that changes everything.

But it turns out that everything doesn't change at once!

These defining moments are beautiful, but over-estimating them to be complete and all-encompassing is a dangerous trap. The truth is that defining moments of forgiveness, just like our first sporting match or stage performance, are limited by their singularity. They are single defining moments. The maintenance that follows is where the practice builds, where the forgiveness lives, and where the truth lies.

Defining moments of forgiveness are sparks. It is up to me to find the tinder and fuel to convert such a spark into an ongoing flame.

Do you tend toward investing more time and energy into defining moments of forgiveness or into maintenance? Could shifting your focus help you to forgive in a new and more successful way?

Emotional self-righteousness + narrative of everything is OK + belief in automatic forgiveness = trigger for me. When I experience this trifold combination, which is most often perceived as an imposition on my time and energy that threatens my emotional and spiritual self-awareness, it terrifies me. I judge it to be manipulative, unsafe, and inauthentic.

I know fear and anger to be secondary emotions to sadness. I feel fear, which triggers anger, which is intended to prevent me from experiencing the sadness of loss. I fear the sadness of loss and respond with some form of defensive anger.

Socially, especially to a 3rd party observer such as the parent of two children or the referee in a sporting match, anger tends to demand control and repulse empathy while sadness tends to demand empathy and relinquish control.

Thus if I am anger and the other is sad, then I am cash as the aggressor and the other is cast as the victim.

The longer I stay in anger the longer I am seen as the aggressor.

More importantly! The longer I stay in anger the longer I stay stuck defending that which I am afraid to lose. The longer I stay in anger the longer I avoid feeling sadness and letting go of my attachment.

Thus it is critical to know what I am defending. What is my attachment?

If the attachment is worth defending, then the fear of losing and the anger in feeling threatened are both valid and righteous. Valid fear and righteous anger are signs that something is unacceptably wrong. Abuse, harm, etc. If one is truly under attack, if someone vulnerable is at risk, then fear and anger exist in truth and with noble purpose.

If the attachment is unknown, then the work at hand is to get to know the attachment before defending it.

If the attachment is not work defending, then the anger becomes a (difficult!) invitation to let go and move further into truth through sadness and release.

Where in your life are you defending something with anger that you could let go with sadness? What are you afraid of that keeps you out of sadness and in anger? Is your fear valid? Is your anger righteous?

Declaration of peace between free will and discipline

This morning I realized I've been lying to myself for years. I've been perpetuating a war between discipline and free will.

When I was young I tried to train myself to have what I thought to be discipline. But I did not know what that meant. So I created a system where my present self would make agreements for my future-self to do certain things at certain times, in certain ways, or at a certain frequency. I unknowingly lied to myself and called this discipline.

I gave away my free will by choosing to live without free will! My false discipline became an idol to polish. My own ongoing ability to presently chose a future of autopilot. A story that such sacrifice of my own free will would generate the life I was meant for. A way of living that kept me from being present and authentic in the moment.

True discipline is the act of choosing what I want when it is not easy. When I am tempted or distracted. When I don't have a clear plan. When I actually have to choose.

True discipline isn't living by my own strict rules. It's living by my own abundant values.

True discipline is choosing to wake up and exercise and meditate today as I live in the moment. Not forcing myself to work out and sit in stillness every morning for a month through fear and consequence.

Turns out discipline can unlock free will instead of sacrificing it.

Where is your discipline false? Where is it most true?

More Peace = More Pain

Could it be possible that we've had it backward all along?

That hiding does not keep us safe. It keeps us at risk.

That stillness does not bring us escape. It brings us truth.

That truth may set us free, but only through excruciating transformation.

Could it be that by finding our inner peace, we also find our inner pain?

Must we wrestle match toward truth in most profound faith?

In this wrestling, must we must gnash each of our teeth, and down to the bone of our jaw, as we chew threw the shackles of ignorance?

Could the most peaceful among us be the one who feels the most pain?

Could the space created by peace and stillness be the very capacity of each of us to feel both pain and pleasure?

Perhaps abundance is both gold and shadow.

Perhaps more peace means more pain.

Inner fire

I have a certain energy inside me, and sometimes I describe it as a fire. Often I have contained and focused this fire into work, projects around the home, exercise, dieting, etc. At the present I am exploring how to cultivate such fire energy to grow instead of containing and focus it.

How can you expand the reach of your fire, passion, and energy in your life?

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