Monday, February 20, 2017

Nurturing Monday- Bringing Life To Your Practice

Oh, Spring! I want to go out and feel you and get inspiration. My old things seem dead. I want fresh contacts, more vital searching.
Emily Carr

February is giving me a great push to solidify my practice. Doing the same things each morning can become dry. It is natural to want a fresh experience at the same time wanting to continue the daily routine.


  My word for 2017 brings insight into my dilemma. Planting flowers is the first step to a beautiful garden. But soon the the blossoms fade and turn brown, the green leaves brown around the edges, and the plant cries out for more than just water. Give me nurturing care! Weeding and fertilizer perk up the plants and once again they look full and renewed.



 My practice needs the same care. Today was a holiday and I went to the gym late. The parking lot was burgeoning with cars. My recumbent bike was busy with a sweating gentleman and the neighboring bike was in use also. Goodbye, routine! What to do? I tried upstairs on the upright bike, but my knees did not like this change in exercise. The studio where I do yoga had a class, so that was out. Reflecting on this unforeseen attack on my daily practice, the value of what I usually do increased. To nurture sometimes means to alter the routine, thereby bringing attention to what we like and don't like.





To go to the overview of My Year of Nurturing click here.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Weak


Prayer is a confession of one's own unworthiness and weakness. 
Mahatma Gandhi

"This prophet was a young boy, unimportant, without money or influence, why would God use him as his servant?"
I asked this questions to my young Primary students at church. They agreed that he was no super hero. 
"But, he prayed, and God answered his prayer."



"God answered my prayer when I prayed that my brother would behave so that Daddy would keep reading to us. He heard me because my brother quit wrestling and being loud."



   The weak among us often confound the able, those  empowered by popularity and wealth. The elderly display meekness when they sing with gusto and lack of self-consciousnness at our weekly sing-a-long at the care home. They are fully aware of the physical limitations they must endure but choose to live out loud.
  The child shows us how to love without guile and reserve. How I love their antics! They bring me such joy. 



   Weakness is my companion on some days. When arthritis kidnaps my strong knees and leaves me unstable I try to remember that I am more than what I look like. In my weakness I can be strong. And the glory is God's who strengthens and sustains me every day.




 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday Group for more than two years and I really enjoy the talented writers 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Whimsical Writing Wednesday- Dream Travel

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. 
Marcel Proust

To do my dream travel I don't have to pack a suitcase, take identification, or get time off from work. My car gets me to my destination in minutes. 


When I lived in the desert for thirty years I did my dream travel to the ocean of the Pacific Northwest. My heart burst wide open when I first saw the ocean at sixteen. Here is a poem I wrote shortly after.

The sea was calm that day
but my heart soared 
We stood together letting the wind grasp out mind

Then you were gone
and I
ran along the beach alone 
letting the waves pull me out 
hoping they would pull me to you

I saw you there
standing at the window 
but time put too much space between us

Later
the sea became like me
lonely

The wind whistle through the driftwood
while the ocean
silver with sun
met the sand to leave it damp with remembrance




Now I live minutes from the water and my dream is to see it many times during the week. God provides a palette of breath taking colors. In the early mornings the colors can be pinks, blues, oranges, and reds. Each morning, each moment can be different. I find that endlessly interesting.



At midday the sun turns the sky into steely colors of silver, pewter, gold, and bronze. Add some clouds and wind and it becomes a Turner landscape. 



There must be contrast in all things and black in contrast to color is visually alluring. I find the twilight hours send me into a reverie. What beauty!



When I visit the water's edge I am never alone. The space is full of life. My favorite locals are the birds. They don't tire of the place they live so why should I? I can always tell if I get bored with my life I have not been to the water. 

I am joining Ann Dee Ellis and other writers in using a prompt to record  memoir moments. If you don't write your story, who will?





Monday, February 13, 2017

Nurturing Monday- Week Two Of Daily Practice

I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time. 

Charles Dickens

In my year pursuit of nurturingFebruary is the month for nurturing my daily practice. I picked Meditation, Yoga, and Scripture Study, which are going well. Last week I couldn't go to the gym because of a snow event and I did not do yoga at home. Disappointed, but undaunted, I move into the second full week of the month. 

Actually, I have six habits of happiness. Some years ago I settled on these and still to this day I have better days when these are evident in my life.



What does it mean to nurture a habit? This is new to me. I know we are habitual people and even if we don't choose a habit we will by our nature do certain things over and over, again. Hence the phrase "bad habits" gets discussed often. How can I move a habit which I choose into a place of deeper appreciation? 




Meditation is now a habit. It is very rare that I forget. To nurture this habit I listen to a podcast called 10% Happier with Dan Harris, a news anchor on ABC television. Dan interviews people who meditate from all over the world. Monks, athletes, business tycoons, actors, and science nerds, to name a few, join in lively discussions about how, why, where, they meditate. All have one common reason for continuing this habit. They feel like they are better people, kinder and more compassionate. Being a Christian does not put me at odds with meditation. I feel that meditation is a portal to a richer, spiritual life. Lately I find myself using words from scripture to float through my breathing. Since breathing is ever present, the words which I say to myself on the in and out breath become very pronounced. I find them rising in my consciousness at other times during the day. Perhaps scripture is nurturing meditation, making it more valuable. Here is an example of one habit supporting and aiding another. I'm going deeper to find how to nurture.




To go to the overview of My Year of Nurturing click here.




Friday, February 10, 2017

Safe

"I feel so safe and happy because my feelings of peace come from family love."
As A Child Of God


Twice a month I substitute as the chorister in Primary, our church children's meeting on Sunday. Sign language is a active way to help children be attentive when learning a new song. Last week I taught the sign for "safe" in the context of the song, "As A Child Of God". As we moved our bodies into this sign and at the same time vocalized the words, "I feel so safe", I looked out into the crowd of children. I saw children who have loving parents and desire with all their hearts to help their children feel safe. I saw adopted children of many colors who come from many countries whose new parents made huge sacrifices to bring these little ones into a safe home. I saw children who have a single parent, who suffer with safety issues themselves, sing these words and I knew they understood what a blessing it is to be safe. I am humbled by the power of God to encircle us with love and bring us safely into his care. I don't always feel safe, but this feeling comes from fears and doubts not actual danger. May you be safe, may you have peace.


 I have been writing with the Five Minute Friday Group for more than two years and I really enjoy the talented writers 



Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Whimsical Writing Wednesday- I Promised And Failed

Living is strife and torment, disappointment and love and sacrifice, golden sunsets and black storms. I said that some time ago, and today I do not think I would add one word. Laurence Olivier


To fail at keeping a promise makes me sad. Nothing rains on my parade more than not living up to my expectations. It happens often and likely will continue happening unless I close off to all hopes and dreams. You see, I make a promise because I am optimistic about what I can do. Everything seems possible in my head and on paper. My intentions seem stellar. Having been raised in a German home I found some words to sound the same in English but have very different meanings. For example, "I will!" sounds somewhat like "Ich will!" In English that statement is packed with strong intention but in German it means "I want to!"
I always want to until doubt, fear, and feeling overwhelmed rise to sap me of my strength. Will my children remember me as the mother who wanted to, but never came through? That sounds harsh. I wanted to throw them beautiful birthday parties until I ran out of steam. I wanted to go to all the basketball games, ballet performances, and piano recitals but sometimes I was tired and frustrated. Now, before I sound too maudlin I want to assure you, dear reader, that I do come through on my promises often. I visit my grandchildren every week, send out birthday cards, and try to be aware of all my family and friends are doing. And one promise I have made, to always remember my Savior, is very important to me. So, I don't always fail at keeping promises and I want to stay hopeful that I can meet my own expectations of myself and those of people I love. 


My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations. 
Michael J. Fox

I am joining Ann Dee Ellis and other writers in using a prompt to record  memoir moments. If you don't write your story, who will?




Monday, February 6, 2017

Nurturing Monday- What Is My Daily Practice?




  In the month of February I would like to nurture my practice. I have been doing these three things for months on a regular basis, but I would like to breathe more life into them, treasure them, and record the benefits of doing them.




 



   On Saturday morning I recorded an audio file of my own meditation for my daughter-in-law. Taking a few meditation courses and listening to months of  guided recordings helped me create something unique to my own experience. It took me many days to share it because I didn't want to feel presumptuous. She hasn't acknowledged receiving it but I sent it out and that was my part. I will let it go in peace whether she uses it or not. 
    All three of my practices have revitalized my life. Meditation has helped me capture a more stable mind, yoga has kept my arthritic knees from becoming frozen, and scripture study has made me more bold before God. This should be a rich and insightful month.







To go to the overview of My Year of Nurturing click here.