Power Source

power strip 2

There is a source.

Sometimes, we only notice the source in it’s absence.  In a power outage, we become aware of the source.  When there is darkness, we seek the light.  When there is an overload and the circuits halt the operation, there is no choice but to change the demand.  We go from surfing channels to being attentive to the freezer and the heat.  There is a source — and the power we need comes from a power station that is far beyond the fuse box inside our homes.  Somehow to be power-less becomes a great teacher for gratitude.

Power Source — Lenten Connection Time

Two Ears — One Mouth — Listen twice as much as you speak

Remember to check the connection — with silence and with inactivity

Turn off the distraction — often, mine has a screen and needs to be recharged

Find what’s underneath the front seat of the car–and what is underneath the noise of life

Be sure that the power switch is “on” so that there is the possibility of connecting to the source and then trust that you will be given all that you need today — not more, not less — just the grace for the day

If there is an overload, nothing works, so take caution.  Sometimes, the automatic shut-off is a gift.

Lent is about connection — to the source — to the need for the power that comes through us — for the intermittent silence that breaks the frenzy and short-circuits what no longer works so that there is an outlet for the new.

Connect to the source — Trust the power– Let the circuits be restored.

Love the process of change

 

 

 

 

View from Down Under — Second Sunday of Lent

Reflection

I must have been about 11 or 12 when I was driving to the hardware store with my Dad — like used to happen to me in bookstores, the hardware store had very little to do with the actual purchase…it had to do with the fact that he was trying to figure something out — I knew that hardware store trips were lengthy and quiet.  I was there to tag along and distract him from whatever was eating away on the inside. I know that feeling.

As we rounded the corner to the aisle with the nails and bolts and fasteners of all kinds…I told him that something was bothering me and wondered if this was a good time.  With his affirmation that it was as good as ever, I simply said, “So Lite…I am confused — are we rich or poor?”

He wheeled around and did a reverse sigh and in retrospect, I think that my question likely united with his. It hit him in the place of his own deep wondering and longing. Looking me straight in the eye and leaning intently on the pole in the middle of the hardware store he gave me a teaching that I am still unfolding.

 You see, being born to my parents after the glimmer of early adulthood had warn off and the trek to the top of the corporate mountain didn’t leave the view he was expecting, I often was the recipient of the reflection he had from down under — from the inside out.
 He said to me…”I don’t honestly know.  There is never enough because there is always something lacking.  I can’t work any harder to get us everything I want for you,  We have hit some hard times.  But we have the tools to be rich if we are building the right things.  Be sure you build the right things and you will be the richest kid in town.”
 And we proceeded to the bracket aisle to find what he had been looking for.
 Then, as now, I had my trusty notebook with me and wrote down the words in case I needed them.  A few days ago, in the mist of Lenten detachment, I found the tattered notebook and the ‘gospel according to the hardware store’.  I trust that the lesson is for now.
From the inside out….the question remains…am I using the tools to build the right things?  Or am I still wandering around in the aisle looking for the right tools?
David Brooks in his book “Road to Character” describes the cultivation of two kinds of virtues — those for the resumee and those for the eulogy.  The eulogy virtues, he contends, are those that really matter — that we care most about– what will be said about us at the end of life.  Resume virtues are those that we spend most of our adult lives cultivating.
Lent, it seems to me, is about cultivating eulogy virtues — finding the right tools and choosing to build the right things.  Sometimes, we get part way into a project and realize it’s not building the right things.  It may have taken the process of beginning to clarify the right path.
In my life, it is the moments of silence…of silent walking through the hardware store to find the right tools…to build what may not have yet been started or to finish what has been dormant…it is building the Kingdom….cultivated by the tools we are given — if we let Lent wake us up — from the inside out.
Happy Week Two of Lent!

Exit Strategy

Exit
​Every Exit needs a Strategy
Real beginning requires a plan for change
Lent is the exit strategy for the plaque build up in the heart
It creates the by-pass for the things that block right action
It gives us a chance to let the heart do it’s work
But it requires our cooperation
Exit Strategy #1 — Let it Go
 
Lent can be a metaphor.  Sitting in the middle of the metaphor can help the external to trigger the change of the internal.
What chaos around you disturbs you the most– your desk — the closet — the trunk of the car — the garage — the unwritten thank you notes — the basement (for some of us they all qualify)…but pick just one
Make that your Lenten focus.
 Lent is not to eradicate all problems in your life — it is to clear the blockage so the heart can function with freedom and God can be heard above the clamour.
Make your choice and write it down.
Every day during Lent (there are 43 left) eliminate one thing from your choice.  Get two bags — one for trash and one to be given away.  Every day, eliminate one thing from your place of choice — one piece of clothing from the closet — one file that needs to be shredded — one box that needs to go to the trash — the top of the pile that you have been avoiding.  Resist the temptation to do the whole thing.  Lent is about seeking balance, not eliminating the reality of life.  Clear away just some of the blockage
Make a note in your calendar that you have participated in the Exit Strategy of what no longer fits — what was once a gift that is now an obstacle — the layer of resentment that you can finally shed — the book that someone else could read — the clutter that blocks the creativity.
Just one — the Lenten Exit Strategy that chooses not to do it all in one day, but to take one day at a time, one thing at a time and let some things Exit.  Beginnings need endings.  New choices need to be discovered and cultivated.
Exit Strategy….let it go….
And resist the temptation to fill up the space
Exit. Erase. Eliminate. Evacuate. Empty.

Rise and Shine

 

wake up

It’s official…your shell encasing your real self has cracked open….

The gig is up……The real you has emerged……No false self…..No playing “let’s pretend”………No “let me show you into the living room” — only staying at the kitchen table

It’s in Real Time

Live Streaming

Lent

Rise and Shine.3

Super Bowl commercials went for 4.5 million for 30 seconds

You are God’s Super Bowl commercial — You might be the only Gospel some people ever read

God went to a lot of trouble to design you…..because the message you have was designed for this moment

You are the only definition of Lent that others have

You have a great deal riding on your shoulders……the next 46 days could be the differential     (40 + 6 Sundays which are free from fasting)

This is the day we have been waiting for……the ashes are made from the palms of last year burned and ground into ash

like the ashes that are made when we let go of whatever stops us from being God’s real design

Imagine throwing those things into a campfire and letting them burn away until the embers of new light are all that is left

Better than the message of Jeep, Mountain Dew, Apartment.com or Doritos

You are the message of God’s Super Bowl commercial for the world

Today is the day that you are what is left

after throwing into the fire what doesn’t work

distraction

impatience

competition

judgement

hostility

resentment

doubt

despair

keeping score

ridicule

hopelessness

It’s in the fire burning into ashes

and the symbol of ashes is not the symbol of destruction

but the symbol of life

The day to live without what keeps God’s design  from being the message of the messenger…

Today is the day

YOU ARE AWAKE!

 

ash wednesday

Mardi Gras…Detroit Style

It’s Mardi Gras…Fat Tuesday

The day before the Wake Up Call

Some people go to New Orleans for a float and a big party and way too much of everything

As for me, I will head for Hamtramck and the world famous paczki

So…exactly what is a PACZKI?

Paczki | Donuts

You see…in days gone by Lent was strictly observed by all Roman Catholics.  And in those days to remind ourselves of the suffering of Jesus we gave up all things of pleasure and delightful (or at least those things discussed at the dinner table)…and the list of all things in the Lenten fast were shared so that we could each become the designated Commander in Chief for everyone else’s compliance.
Eggs, Sugar, Dessert, Pudding and Jam or Jelly were on the list

And so the day before the Lenten feast all things delectable were consumed and over consumed

In the Polish tradition, the eggs, sugar, and lard were rolled together and fried into something resembling a donut (sans the hole) — topped with powdered sugar…and just because it was Lent the delicacy was overstuffed with the best of what filled the cupboards…like custard, pudding, jam or jelly…and there was no tally on the number of paczkis consumed before midnight….

It’s the Feast Day…before the Fast Day…

When we feast on those delicacies that might need some fast time…like the marathon consumption of television shows that intend to deaden our connection…or the feast of eating to fill the hungry heart seeking nourishment in all the wrong places…or the feast of losing that hour somewhere between the remote control and the “like” button….or the feast of being disconnected from feeling what the word means before instinct hits “send” … or the feast of the magnetic field that keeps us asleep when the alarm is ringing….
Maybe it’s time to fast…from that which stuffs us….and the fried exterior of too much using up of leftovers and not enough invitation to create…maybe it’s time to fast from forgetting who is God and who is not so that we lose track of who we are…maybe it’s time to fast from the “to do” list and just be present to the “doing” list…maybe it’s time to fast from fear and feast on faith.

Maybe it’s time for the ASH WEDNESDAY alarm

alarm clock.2But, first, I think I will inhale the aroma of paczki and perfect the art of checking out the filing and pretending the kids did it….while only eating half standing up so I don’t have to count….

Happy Mardi Gras…..

Wake Up Call

ringing alarm

Rise and Shine!

Just 48 hours until the wake up call begins

No snooze button on this alarm

Hear the alarm to put a stop to what gets in the way and begin the awakening…

Get up…it’s time to start —

but NOT YET

Pile up those good works that need to be done

Collect the cobwebs within and the clutter without that needs attention

Decide the difference forty days can make

Pull out the atlas and remember that nothing great begins without the first step

The Lenten alarm is set…

Are you ready for the WAKE UP CALL?

ASH WEDNESDAY Alarm … because the change you seek will only happen one wake up at a time