Monthly Archives: December 2013

Episode 54 – Your Authentic Gift

I always get blasphemous around Christmas, I can’t help myself – so rather than embracing the Christmas Spirit like a good religious zombie, I’m gonna get a little righteous up in here.

Why do we care so much about the birth of Christ?

We are so distracted all the glitzy drama of the birth story that we forget about the miracle of Christ Himself. It seems that a lot of the stories about Jesus are these glittery bookends that completely miss the point of the mysteries and challenges that Jesus laid down for his followers to act on. Jesus called the people of his day to radical ways of living that flew in the face of pretty much everything that the world was telling them to do. And they carry down through the centuries even into this modern era with more relevance than ever. Talk about miracles – for something to hold true and worthy over thousands of years is amazing.

In this time of buy, buy, buy, Jesus would be saying, “Give yourself, give yourself, give your love, give your attention, your focus, the healing love of your hands and body and heart and mind”

Basically, Jesus calls us to get real with others, and to act compassionately, honestly, directly with those around us

Do you want to give a simple gift that might be remembered for years? Try this: share with somebody the positive impact that they have had on your life.

Give them the gift of knowing what they have done for you. Get real with those around you and share your heart. You can keep it really authentic by speaking from your own experience and to speak into what has resulted in your life because of who they are, what they have done…anything that has really affected you. It is one gift that you can give that is just straight from the heart. It is no charge to you or them, and I think it will really bless people around you. So that is my hope for you this holiday season. Merry Christmas!

If you want a sentence stem to work with to get the conversation going – try one of these:

Whenever you do ____ I feel ______

Remember when you ______? My life is different now because ________

Just then when you _____, I felt _______

Episode 53 – Surrender

Let’s run a little diagnostic. Answer “yes” or “no” to the following:

When you have to say no to someone, you use the “busy” word.
You frequently experience fatigue and/or frustration
There is part of you that feels pent up or restless.
Monday is the worst.

If you answered “no” to all of those….Congratulations, you are done with this blog post!

For the rest of us, let’s toss out two tired assumptions:
1) That fatigue and frustration are signs of doing too much
2) That we are suffering because of our sucky circumstances

You can bring in some fresh air into your life with this question:

What if the suffering and exhaustion in your life are mostly caused by keeping a lid on the inspiration of the spirit that wants to surge through you?

Sure, there are a million explanations better than mine for why you are so tired. You have a crazy work schedule, you have an extremely demanding child/spouse/friend/parent, you have bills to pay, you have things to do. You know the problem with all those excuses, they are old, they are boring and they are devoid of any creativity at all.

Perhaps instead of surrendering to these exhaustingly mundane excuses, it is time for you to surrender to the wild rush of the spirit that wants to move through you. Perhaps rather than stillness, you need movement. Rather than peace, you need an eruption of life and joy to pour through you. Whatever yields the most compassion, whatever yields the most joy, whatever yields the most vitality in our life, that is what is worth surrendering to.

At the end of the day, it is a conscious choice. And this might be the most disturbing, and frustrating, and confounding thing to us…to be confronted with our own freedom. Yet we can liberate ourselves by facing and unleashing the possibility that lives within us, the ability to choose something different. Terrified of surrendering to the call of our greatness, what we keep doing is choosing the things that hold us back, choosing the things that keep us where we are, choosing the things that are easy but cause us pain; the slow death of a thousand cuts, the slow pain of losing that childlike joy, that childlike curiosity, that childlike ambition that we have for ourselves.

Yet, it takes a lot of effort to keep a lid on it. It takes a loooot of practice, years and years to quiet the joy that still lives within us. No matter how old we are, that joy, that vitality, that purpose, that wonder, all those beautiful things that are effortlessly expressed in children, they are still possible within us.

This is a much different form of surrender. It is not the pious yielding to the inevitable, unchangeable truth of our circumstances. It is the deepest challenge, it is a call to surrender to the power of your own divinity. It is a reckless, headlong surrender into the spark of Christ that lives within you.

Does that scare the crap out you? It terrifies me, because when I surrender to that, I KNOW that I am going to start experience some of that wildness that children have, a rambunctiousness, an absurdness of spirit that I’m afraid to leap into. Yet isn’t this what we are all waiting for others to do? To show up with that passionate, innocent intensity in the world, to surrender to joy and possibility?

Can you blow the lid off and still pay the bills? Are you willing to allow creativity surge through you so that even the mundane responsibilities of life are fused with meaning and purpose?

This then is the call, to surrender to the possibility that beauty and love and vitality are stirring in your own life, just waiting to breathe through you.

For the rest of this week, when you experience a moment of frustration, boredom, whatever your “yucky” emotions are…use that as spark of opportunity; before you is the chance to pop the lid off and let your creativity flow. An obstacle becomes a reminder to listen to the desire that is pulsing through you. Take that thread of desire, use it to make your cake, share it with those around you, and (yay!) eat it too

Episode 51 – Letting Go

During the winter time it is a good time to look at the things in our life that we are spending a lot of effort on, especially, efforts that aren’t yielding much spiritual fruit.

Let’ say you want more compassion in your life, are you spending a lot of your effort on things that don’t actually yield much compassion? You could be occupied and distracted with activities that are neither harmful nor helpful, but you’re spending a lot of effort on them for very little gain.

What if you turned that on its head and found small solutions that yield significant gains in your life?

In my own life, a small shift in how I approached my job created an amazing opportunity. It took the courage to step out on a limb and ask for something different at work. Yet it completely changed my life around.

It started when I began to ask myself, “Wait, what do I really want?”

Living into that question I found what was true for me, which is, 1) I wanted to support my wife as she went through school 2) I wanted to work with people in a very different way that merged both rigorous analysis and personal connection. And as a result of looking at my skills and where I wanted to go, I was ready when the opportunity presented itself. Now, everything has changed for me even though I am in the same group, same boss, same environment…but a small shift in WHAT I do makes most days something to look forward to.

We can rethink our obligations so that we either let them go, or relate to them in a way that is less of a burden and more of a joy

If this resonates with you, take a step back and look at why are you still sticking to that obligation? There is obviously something important for you in there that you want to be doing. Those gems might be buried in a bunch of unnecessary junk.

For example say you have a friendship and you’re  putting a lot of time and energy and emotion, but you’re only getting back tiny pieces of love, affection, appreciation, adventure,  whatever it is that you really enjoy. It could be that you are actually just a little out of alignment in the relationship.

What if you did something crazy and asked yourself what you want out of your friendship and then told your friend? What if you asked your friend what they enjoy most in your relationship and asked them what they want more of? What if both of you were actually pouring energy into the relationship in a way that has you both feeling like you have the sweeter end of the deal?

Often, our obligations are completely unnecessary. There’s a piece of it that we are sticking to because it’s important to us. It is crucial to figure out that piece! Then the next step is to figure out, “Okay, is there a better way that I could be doing this? Is there a more effective, more natural way that this can be moving in my life?”

As we move into winter, it is an excellent time to ask ourselves these kinds of questions. It is the season of letting go, conserving energy and preparing to be renewed again.