Sunday, October 26, 2008

Botox for the Soul

Maybe your mother did this too: every time I wrinkled my forehead in worry, or frowned in irritation, she’d say to me “You better be careful or your face is going to get stuck like that.” Of course I told her she was being ridiculous.

But I’ve noticed recently that she wasn’t being ridiculous at all – only it’s my soul that gets stuck there, not my face.

A couple of weeks ago, during the discussion period, Jimmy re-translated something Peterson had translated as “tunnel vision” to “squinty-eyed.” At the time, I wasn’t quite sure why he made that change, but I have begun to notice in the weeks since that the things that used to happen to my face when I was nine still happen, and I do occasionally feel myself get literally squinty-eyed.

Now, I have to tell you that I think this is not an entirely bad thing. I have also noticed when I get “wide-eyed” with wonder or amazement or amusement, my eyes do, literally, open wide. Although some probably dismiss that habit as a not-entirely-appropriate adult characteristic, it’s mostly fine by me.

But even better is how these two things can work together: When I can slow down enough to feel myself get squinty-eyed, I have noticed that I can also make my eyes open wide. And the change that happens to the rest of me is pretty miraculous:

Physically, worry slips toward wonder. . . .

Of course, it doesn’t happen if I don’t stop and pay attention.

So I’ve decided this a great time to listen, finally, to another of my mother’s annoying adages. “Stop; take ten deep breaths; and then decide.”

It’s probably too late to cure the crow’s feet on my face; but I bet it’ll do a lot to smooth and soothe my soul!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Eyes of Wonder - and Where are my Glasses?!

Sometime this afternoon, a client of mine began to rip through a pile of boxes he has not yet unpacked, urgently looking for a Mickey Mouse mouse pad. In a flash of insight having nothing to do with the project I was working on, I suddenly understood why Mickey Mouse rose to such fame during the depression.

I’m not much of a cartoon follower, but I find there is a lot of comfort in good books written for kids. I found my way to the early Harry Potters that way – though I find myself avoiding the infamously dark last installment at the moment. Instead, a boy I met on an airplane introduced me to a series about Percy Jackson and The Olympians (as in Greek gods, now lodged in the invisible 600th floor of the Empire State Building). Written for 9- to 12-year-olds, the books are a little Harry Potterish, but more action-oriented and a little shinier. Well plotted, well written, and solid on the Greek mythology; but mostly I just like spending time with Percy and his friends. Creative, determined, courageous – everything I like to be reminded is possible in the midst of turmoil.

Do you have a secret non-pharma anti-depressant? A movie you sneak off to watch yet again? A song you just have to sing in the car to get you ready for work? A never-miss hiking trail? A fragrance that transports you to a perfect moment?

What do you do to remind yourself to wonder instead of worry? I’m thinking this is a really good time to make a list and hang it someplace it will be visible every day . . . .

The Key to Today

Here's a piece of wisdom from another spiritual masterpiece: the Big Book.

"And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation -- some fact of my life -- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.

Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes."

Thursday, October 9, 2008


This is a great resource! Can't wait to see what happens next!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Between times in tough times

It was not quite noon Monday when the sound of fear was so loud all around me that I realized I had to grasp consciously for that great Sunday Thad's feeling. By Wednesday, I knew exactly what a colleague meant when he said "my neck hurts from staying calm in the middle of all this craziness." Mine, too; and I'm so aware that it hurts much less because I have a few colleagues around with whom I can have that kind of conversation.

I realize not all of us do. No matter how we feel, we have to keep moving forward and help the people whom we love and who otherwise count on us. Maybe we are comfortable sharing our concerns and fears and pain with them; maybe not. Maybe we have created for ourselves places to go, or things to do that remind us that we are Loved, that we can be part of creating and building hope in the world; maybe not.

But no matter how we cope, we all have moments when we need each other. Our great "y'all."

There are lots of ways we can probably think of being with and for one another in this tough time. But we thought we would start by making a place we can come to on the web and find one another without a lot of the noise that is making its way onto the blogosphere in this season of such tension.

As is our habit, all are welcome. We will moderate comments only to make sure that ads and the truly inappropriate don't find their way in.

We're trying to create community here. Bring your needs or your hopes; your tears or your hugs. And let's see if we can help each other keep our Eyes on the Kingdom.