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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Eating Crow

Suffice to say that since my last post on One Eternal Presence, as well as my proclaiming to everyone I encountered that day that "spring has arrived," I have eaten my share of crow.  Now I know how meteorologist feel.

All of this also has me wondering about mistakes and "got it wrongs" in our lives.   The question is not have we ever made mistakes or gotten it wrong, but rather, when we did how did we respond?

One response is to never admit mistakes and instead insist we are right, or at least partially right, even though evidence and our own hearts and minds tell us otherwise.  This response usually leads to conflict within ourselves as well as with others.  It also leaves little if any room for reconciliation, and for learning from our mistakes.

Another response is to have a serving of "crow", or "humble pie", or "our hat", or whatever idiom we choose.  By admitting mistakes and taking responsibility for getting it wrong, we are less likely to encounter conflict.  And, if there is conflict, admitting wrongs opens the door for forgiveness and reconciliation.  What's more, admitting we are wrong creates the freedom and opportunity to get it right the next time.

It is a well know dynamic in the lives of inventors, entrepreneurs, scientists, educators, and artists that the road to any success is littered with failure.  And the same is true of our spiritual lives and personal relationships.

In religious circles we call all of this "sin", "grace", "forgiveness",  and "salvation."

Call it what we will, "eating crow" is good for the soul.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring Threshold

Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?   Isaiah 43:18-19

Today is the first day of Spring in the northern hemisphere of Earth.   As I write these words  (7:02 a.m. EDT) the tilt, rotation, and orbit of the Earth are such that the Sun is directly over the Equator and moving north.

The wonder and vastness of this mysterious yet predictable moment becomes evident to us as days become longer, the sun rises higher in the sky, and the dormancy of winter stirs awake in countless ways.

The early days of Spring are days of transition not only in the Earth as green shoots appear, blossoms flourish, and foliage comes alive;  but also above the Earth as cold and warm air collide in turbulent ways bringing both destruction and nourishment.

Spring reminds us that transition and change in our lives just like the seasons of Earth continually ebb and flow between dormancy and new life.   And like the storms of Spring, changes in life produce turbulence as former ways collide with the new.

Today, and everyday for that matter, is a threshold where the "no longer" and the "not yet" meet.  To stand in the threshold too long is to endure unnecessary turbulence and even pain.  However, stepping through opens us to emerging possibilities and potential of Life.

Happy First Day of Spring!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?  
-Jesus, Matthew 16:25-26

Fill your bowl to the brim
and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife
and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security
and your heart will never unclench.
Care about people's approval
and you will be their prisoner.
Do your work, then step back.
The only path to serenity.

- Tao Te Ching, cha. 9, Stephen Mitchell translation

There are many paradoxes in life but the greatest and perhaps over arching paradox is this:  less is more, and more is less.

The more we do and have the more empty we feel.   We may say we are fulfilling our lives by constantly staying on the go and incessantly acquiring not just material things but power, position, and prestige.  But in reality the simple fact that we keep going and acquiring belies an emptiness we are constantly trying to "fulfill."

The wisdom of the ages and sages through just about every religious and spiritual tradition and practice has at the core a simple teaching:  the more we are able to let go striving and acquiring, the more we empty ourselves and our lives of the trappings of "fulfillment", the more complete and whole our lives become.

I know that four weeks into Lent is a little late to be talking about giving up something, but this is not about giving up chocolate, or alcohol, or whatever for Lent.  This is about life - your life and my life.

With what or whom are we striving to fill our lives?   Where are your thoughts and energy focused and spent?   The answers to these questions identify the things we need to release, in order to experience true fullness and wholeness.

What are we willing to give (up) in return for life?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Snow Day

As we make our way through the closing days and weeks of winter across the country and whether you have snow, icy wintry mix, cold rain, or clear skies, I offer for reflection and fun a couple of my favorite perspectives on snow.

First from Frederick Buechner's "Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy and Fairy Tale":

“You wake up on a winter morning and pull up the shade, and what lay there the evening before is no longer there--the sodden gray yard, the dog droppings, the tire tracks in the frozen mud, the broken lawn chair you forgot to take in last fall. All this has disappeared overnight, and what you look out on is not the snow of Narnia but the snow of home, which is no less shimmering and white as it falls. The earth is covered with it, and it is falling still in silence so deep that you can hear its silence. It is snow to be shoveled, to make driving even worse than usual, snow to be joked about and cursed at, but unless the child in you is entirely dead, it is snow, too, that can make the heart beat faster when it catches you by surprise that way, before your defenses are up. It is snow that can awaken memories of things more wonderful than anything you ever knew or dreamed.”

Next is from one of my (and many other's) favorite comic strip ever: Calvin and Hobbes.  


And remember in less than a month the boys of summer will be on the field!