Thursday, October 23, 2014

Scanning for Goodness

I remember a conversation I had a few years ago with a colleague who is an oncology and neo-natal chaplain. "How do you navigate through such challenging cases?" I asked her. "I try to be a sieve rather than a sponge." What wisdom. Yesterday's sad news from Canada and the ongoing wound that is Ferguson and so many other places remind us that the world is filled with sorrow and pain. Many days I feel like a magnet for the hard news and the sadness that seems to engulf people. I'm trying to be a sieve. I'm heading to the gym today to meet with a trainer and figure out a routine that will kick up (kick in) some mighty fine endorphins. I'm watching those cute panda videos, and I'm making sure to watch Jimmy Fallon's opening monologue (at least). He makes me laugh. I'm taking chances, and listening and engaging with people who might want to tell me something good. It happened last night. My friend and mentor was discussing the cosmos with his godson on Facebook, and I read a line of their conversation that made me smile. The godson referred to a galaxy as a "wallop of stars" and I jumped in and commented. A lovely conversation ensued, and now I'm thinking good thoughts all morning about amazing minds and some of the wonderful uses of technology and social media that allow a deaf young man and two inquisitive pastors to discuss that which amazes. I'm taking to heart paragraphs like this one from the book I'm using as a devotional: "We live in a both/and world. We meditate on the teaching of YHWH, yet we also experience the way of the world upon us... We are at all times the righteous as well as the wicked. We are all sinners seeking righteousness-- that is, seeking to be in right relationship with God, self, and neighbor." (Jann Cather Weaver-p.509) In Mr. Rogers' words, I'm "looking for the helpers." I'm scanning the news for reports of goodness, rather than just the ways we fail one another and cause one another suffering, or the litany of lament that we know by heart. Image from Wikipedia- dwarf galaxy: "a flock of stars"

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Habit Forming

Those  who know me well know that I'm trying hard to get back in the habit of blogging. I would welcome any and all suggestions as I try to make this habit stick. Over the years I've written "Morning Pages" a la Julia Cameron, and I've gotten in  the groove with, but I'm not doing either of those right now. For me there's a bit of a hurdle to overcome with blogging, because it's so much more public than the Morning Pages or It's that "for public consumption" part that's tripping me up. It feels self-conscious. I wonder how to get over that?

I have some good habits. I have some poor ones. I've broken some poor habits and I've let some good habits slide, too. Several articles on the Web suggest that blogging can help reduce stress. Perhaps that is my hook. I'm walking to reduce stress. I'm paying really close attention to nutrition as another avenue toward alleviating it. I'm watching panda videos, since Good Morning America's health correspondent touts fun panda videos as stress-reducing.

You know this panda video, don't you?