Can you Be Kind to Yourself?

Can you Be Kind to Yourself rest

We are all in a daily grind of struggle, but when you listen for the voices of demand, you can learn to be kind to yourself and others. You can find rest.

This person deserves a  medal.

Sometimes I listen to a person sharing something of their lives, and I think they deserve a medal or some award for what they have been through.

We hand out awards for bravery, sports, business leadership, arts, and other achievements but not for those who have faced the grit and grind of life. Continue reading “Can you Be Kind to Yourself?”

When There are More Questions than Answers

When There are More Questions than Answers

Life can hand us a bunch of questions with few answers. But there is something inviting in a question, and so we explore a road less travelled.

When Bob climbed into the passenger seat next to me, I could see that something was wrong. He wasn’t his normal cheery self. It was like a question had gripped his thinking.

Have you ever had that experience? Something has happened in your life, and with a sense of shock, you are consumed with trying to understand it. Continue reading “When There are More Questions than Answers”

Can you Measure Spiritual Growth and Formation?

Can you Measure Spiritual Growth and Formation

In our spiritual life, we want to know if we are making progress, but much of growth and formation is intangible, so we have to look deeper than a mere measurement.

It wasn’t the answer I was expecting, but when we dug a little deeper, I could see the wisdom.

I was talking with a counselor, and I asked him how do we know if we are growing spiritually or not? There isn’t any objective measuring tool where we can say we have moved 5 points ahead or back. That would really open us up to feelings of pride or failure.

What he said was along the lines of this. Continue reading “Can you Measure Spiritual Growth and Formation?”

Picking Up The Broken Pieces

Picking Up The Broken Pieces

It was tasting the dust of devastation. The broken pieces. But those fragments can be brought together, and so we quietly form a new mosaic

Broken pieces. That’s all that was left behind.

It was a moment that captured the world’s attention.

A massive explosion of ammonium nitrate brought a city to be a pile of rubble.

But amidst the dust 79-year-old May Abboud Melki, played Auld Lang Syne on her piano in her broken apartment.

Playing in her pain.

She then went on to play Arabic hymns, which caused those around her to gather around and start worshiping. Continue reading “Picking Up The Broken Pieces”

There’s a Gum Tree Shadow Hanging Over Me

There's a Gum Tree Shadow Hanging Over Me light

We can live warped lives because of a shadow hanging over us, but that shadow can be removed if we face what’s causing the shadow and allow the light to flood in.

Have you ever walked in a shadow?

Of course you have, but you probably didn’t take much notice of it. We do it all the time.

What about filtered light? Light that has been defused and filtered as it has passed through clouds. Again yes.

We don’t notice it because we are used to it. It’s commonplace and the norm. Continue reading “There’s a Gum Tree Shadow Hanging Over Me”

The Cup. Paying Attention To What Fills and Drains

The Cup. Paying attention to what fills and drains

We are like a cup in which energy both fills and drains. But we can grow by paying attention to the cup and understanding the fillers and the drainers.

It was always a challenge to get them to care for themselves. They were always giving out to others, and I could see that life was being sucked out of them.

I explained that you can’t give out of an empty cup, but self-sacrifice and martyrdom had been drummed into them from childhood. They remembered that Sunday School song – J.O.Y. Jesus first, Yourself last,  and Others in between sung to the merry little tune of Jingle Bells.

But now all that giving out was leading to their fragile body forming cracks. The body was breaking down. It couldn’t keep on giving out. Illnesses came,  sleeplessness, anxiety, depression. The body was trying to send a message – Stop abusing the cup. Continue reading “The Cup. Paying Attention To What Fills and Drains”

Are you Praying Against Yourself? The Abusive Art of Self-Deprecation

Are you Praying Against Yourself The Abusive Art of Self-Deprecation

Words said, have power. Self-deprecation is to pray against the self, but we can learn to pray for the self and so develop healthier thinking patterns.

It was the words at the end of his sentence that caught my attention.

‘I’m so stupid; I always do things like that’.

You learn to notice them—little words used as qualifying comments that disempower the self.

I think that many of us have little words or sentences that we probably tell ourselves and others. Sometimes they slip out in conversation.

Maybe they are offered up as an excuse or reason for things being the way they are.

Most of these thought sentences are kept quietly to ourselves, where they can continue to shape and poison our thinking. We say them so many times that we become used to them. They are our default thinking regime.

As a child, I was taught to ‘not think too highly of oneself’ Romans 12:3 and that ‘pride comes before a fall’ Proverbs 16:18

So the obvious course is to think lowly of yourself and to keep yourself humble through a self-flagellation diatribe of dismissive self-talk. Continue reading “Are you Praying Against Yourself? The Abusive Art of Self-Deprecation”

Your Brain Needs to Rest Beside Still Waters

Your brain needs to rest Beside Still Waters concussion

Our brains can be so busy that it can feel like a concussion, but we can help the brain recover by finding some still waters to rest next by.

When I wrote the first draft of this post, I was sitting next to a small stream. There wasn’t much water flowing through it because it is summer and we haven’t had a good rainfall for over 60 days.

But still, the trickle provided life to many. There were some Kokopu (a native New Zealand fish), some birds that would refresh and wash, insects sipping, and tree roots merging with the waters. The water was also being pumped out to beautiful gardens and orchards. Water troughs were being kept full for thirsty horses.

Now I was being replenished. I invited my self to be still and listen for the stillness of the flowing waters. Something outside of my control. Continue reading “Your Brain Needs to Rest Beside Still Waters”

Washing the Memories Free of Trauma

Washing the Memories Free of Trauma

Some trauma memories keep us locked into our past. But there is a cleansing that can happen. We need to bring ourselves to the presence of one who will wash us pure.

I didn’t know what to do when they were sharing some of the stories of their past. I had known this person for decades, but only now, they were sharing something new, painful, and full of trauma.

It explained why they held certain beliefs, behaved in specific ways, and seemed to be haunted by a ghost of the past.

What could I do to help them with the wafting stench of an old trauma that was once again drowning their present?

You want to go back and stop the trauma, but there is no time machine.

Perhaps a quick prayer and get out of the trauma zone A.S.A.P.

‘This person needs professional help,’ and a thought of an escape route appears. Continue reading “Washing the Memories Free of Trauma”

Three Responses to Chaos

Three Responses to Chaos Mystery

When chaos comes, or we become aware of the mess we are in, we have choices to make. Charge at it, retreat from it, or engage in the mystery.  

All the nicely laid out plans had been turned upside down. I had a recipe for life, and now all the measurements and list of ingredients had fallen off the page. It was a mess, chaos.

The question was what to do next.

The word chaos comes from the Greek word khaos – denoting a gaping void or chasm.

You’ve been there, I’m sure. Continue reading “Three Responses to Chaos”