Just sit you silly

“I can see it, it’s just that my feet feel like lead.”

“Are you tired?”

I am on the phone with my spiritual director.  We are working with a vision where I’m trying to get up a hill – to a house – a house where I feel so safe and like there is no other place I belong but there.  However, I can’t get there.

Am I tired?

I look at all I need to accomplish in the next six months and I feel a tad bit overwhelmed, but I am not tired… yet.

I see my younger self up the hill beckoning me to come to her.  She is full of energy and charisma.  Her hands are waving wildly as she doesn’t understand what is taking me so long to get up the dang hill.

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Repairing Divides

Knowing versus experiencing. One of the greatest debates stemming from centuries ago. Head vs. heart - intellect vs. senses - abstract vs. concrete.

Yesterday in class we went back and forth between the two sides adding our own commentary to the legendary banter.

The topic was Greek vs. Hebrew modes of learning and how that translates into leadership. We noticed society's bent towards the head, the intellect, the abstract.  Especially in leadership and education.  Furthermore, we dove into not just leading others, but how this relates to leading ourselves too.

We dialogued about creating understanding, personal initiation, and reaching out in order to build a bridge between the head and the heart.  Additionally, how important these ideas are in interacting with those with different preferences. We also discussed how much time this takes too.

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Biting Waves

Apparently being eye level with ocean waves is scary.

Or being a dog approached by ocean waves is scary.

 

The rush.

The sound.

The texture that swallows your skin in milliseconds. 

 

We took our dog to the ocean this weekend. 

Our big, tough, scary rottweiler. 

Who turned into a soft, frightened, bewildered baby. 

Petrified by the personality of ocean waves.

Biting them, as if an enemy to be destroyed.

 

Maybe it’s not ironic that our dog’s name is Moses.

Getting off the ladder

My sister-in-law called me last night. She just returned from a trip and I started teaching, so we had a bit to catch up on.

"How's work going?" I inquire, because she talked about a promotion right before she left.

"Good, but they might end up moving me to full time. I know you're supposed to 'climb the ladder'...."

I cut her off, "Yeah, whose ladder though?"

"I know right? I lose freedom of my schedule and I'm just not sure I want that, but I do love it."

I hear the wrestling match in her voice.  The part time job which allows her flexible hours and the benefit of three day weekends every weekend might move to more time at the office.  Opportunity is about to knock - or is it?

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You Found Me

I work a lot with graduate students and some clients who are in the “emerging adult” stage (defined as approximately 18-29). Many of them feel lost in their spiritual journey and are experiencing significant struggles. But this is not the whole picture. A significant number of emerging adults are spiritually mature for their age/stage and growing a lot during this time in their lives. This, in part, inspired a current, ongoing study I am conducting of spiritual exemplars in the emerging adult stage.

I would like to offer a few preliminary observations from this study to the emerging adults who feel lost on their spiritual journey, and invite those of you who are older leaders to “listen” in. These observations come from your peers—young adults who were nominated by mentors as spiritual exemplars for this study. While these young adults have their own struggles, I hope the common themes emerging from their vibrant spiritual lives will provide encouragement and direction for your spiritual journey.

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Oddly Ludicrous

Picture this scenario—You’re observing a cluster of people gathered in your home.  Maybe you’re sitting in a corner chair, or at the base of a stairwell, savoring people you know…friends who are practically family and maybe a bit of family you’re quick to call friends.  Sounds of laughter and familiarity fill the air.  And as conversations settle around a table and meal, you’re touched by the mere gift of presence in the midst of these people.

For some, maybe this picture is too lofty.  It’s a far out dream for community that you’ve yet to experience.  For others, you’ve had glimpses of this communing—nights, or meals, or conversations you wished would never end.  Experiences where you actually felt present in the company of others, and recognized as who are you really are.

Bono and Perspective

Reread, “Bono—In Conversation with Michka Assayas,” this weekend.  The book traces an atheist (Michka) interviewing Bono in various settings over a period of nearly two years.  A fascinating bunch of pages, to say the least.   

 

At the end of the book, Michka asks: “What do you fear the most inside yourself?” 

To which Bono replies: “Hmmm…Losing perspective.”  

He goes on to define this as “not seeing things in their proper shape.”  And then, requesting that he be a bit more intimate, he explains that, “When I wake up in the morning, I sort of put my hand out—spiritually—and I reach for what you might call God.  Sometimes I don’t feel God, and I feel lonely.  I feel on my own, and I wonder where God is.

Envy

St. Augustine (who's worth your gander if you’re unfamiliar with: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augustine_of_Hippo ) wrote extensively about virtues and vices and how they affect our relationship with God.  One of these was “envy.”  In “Saint Augustine’s Prayer Book,” we find the following breakdown (including envy’s subsidiaries, jealousy, malice and contempt):

 

Envy is dissatisfaction with our place in God’s order of creation, manifested in begrudging his gifts and vocations to others.

Jealousy: Offense at the talents, success or good fortune of others. Selfish

or unnecessary rivalry or competition. Pleasure at others’ difficulties or

distress. Belittling others.

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Sorrow and Joy

Sorrowful, yet always Rejoicing (2 Corinthians 6:10)

Sorrow was beautiful, but his beauty was the beauty of the moonlight shinning through the leafy branches of the trees in the woods. His gentle light made little pools of silver here and there on the soft green moss of the forest floor. And when he sang his song was like the low, sweet calls of the nightingale, and in his eyes was the unexpectant gaze of someone who has ceased to look for coming gladness. He could weep in tender sympathy with those who weep, but to rejoice with those who rejoice was unknown to him.

Joy was beautiful too, but hers was the radiant beauty of a summer morning. Her eyes still held the happy laughter of childhood, and her hair glistened with sunshine’s kiss. When she sang her voice soared upward like a skylark’s, and her steps were the march of conqueror who has never known defeat. She could rejoice with anyone who rejoices but to weep with those who weep was unknown to her.

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For Parents of College Freshman, From a Former RD

Let’s get it out there – I am not the most “in shape” of individuals to ever hit the streets.  Sad thing is, I used to be.  When working at Pepperdine University as a Resident Director, I started to run…and run I did.  What started off as 1 mile quickly turned into 4 and 5 mile jogs that slowly began to melt off the pounds.  But it didn’t start that way.  The first mile is the hardest.

In many ways, going to college is like running lap 1 of a 4 lap mile after having not ran in years.  Each lap represents the general development of the college student.  In lap 1 (Freshman), runners tend to “sprint” around the track, feeling like the run is easy.  In lap 2 (Sophmore), they realize that sprinting isn’t an effective way to maintain pace, and they begin to “struggle.”  Lap 3 (Junior) is about “sustaining” from laps 1 and 2 with a focus on the end of the race.  Lap 4 (Senior) is about “succeeding” or as my Father calls it – finishing wel.

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