Month: February 2016

That Moment

That moment you know there has a been a shifting in the universe, and life will never be the same.  It is neither good, or bad, it just is.

It’s just a moment and you think, “I know longer fall into a category I always took for granted.”  New Mom. Young Adult.  Girl.

That moment when the doctor tells you, you need an extra pair of glasses, or will some day need a hip replaced.

That moment you no longer know, nor care to know, who is singing that  God- awful song on the radio.

That moment when you look at the people in your house and you think, “who are these people?”  Their voices are lower, their bodies are bigger, their doors are closed, their eyes roll, they wear make-up, they know everything.  You are wrong before you speak and when you speak, you are doubly wrong.  YOU ARE CLUELESS.   And in a way you are. Because keeping up with I-phones, u-tube, I-tunes, snap chat, Instagram, texting, Twitter, web grades, and God knows what else,  is exhausting, and so very annoying.

That moment when you read a quote like this from Joanne Felder, and think, “Is this my new reality? Is this what I have to look forward to?!”

You will need to stay calm as you witness the candy floss in your daughter’s smile harden into brittle bitchiness. You will need to muster a new resolve as your son’s fascination with Pokémon shifts to porn. You will have to recalibrate your mothering instinct to accommodate the notion that not only do your children poop and burp, they also masturbate, drink and smoke. As their bodies, brains and worlds rearrange themselves, you will need to do your own reshuffling. You will come to see that, though you gave them life, they’re the ones who’ve got a life. They’ve got 1700 friends on Facebook. They’ve got YouTube accounts (with hundreds of sub- scribers), endless social arrangements, concerts, Valentine’s Day dances and Halloween parties. What we have – if we’re lucky – is a ‘Thanks for the ride, Mum, don’t call me, I’ll call you,’ as they slam the car door and indicate we can run along now.” 

That moment when you look at yourself in the mirror and think, “Good Lord. What happened?”   You start pulling your eyelids up and back, considering a tuck here, or a tuck there, but then you let you let it fall back and scold yourself for being so shallow.

That moment when you go to the store and buy a bottle of wine and the teller who is 20 years younger than you doesn’t card you, and  you curse the lad on the way out the door.

That moment you get your college newsletter and you recognize none of the names of the faculty  because they have all retired or past on.

It’s just a moment. It’s not good or bad. It just is.  You have crossed a threshold and you are now on the other side of where you once were.

There is really no reason to grieve or lament, or get angry.  There is a resigned acceptance to it.

There is no denying that things have changed and a reshuffling is required. So get to it.

I wonder in your reshuffling, will you think about the same things on this side of the threshold as you did on the other side?  Will you learn from your failures and keep your prejudices?  What will you carry with you and what will you let go of, on this side of the threshold?   Will you care less about what people think? Will you become more set in your ways?  Will you resist new inventions?  Will you scoff at progress?  Will you be kinder to those younger than you, or will you patronize them and act as though you know more than they do?  Will you love in a different way?  Will you speak your mind more freely? Will you worry less?  Will you pray more?

The moment that one reality ends, a new reality begins is neither good, nor bad. It just is.

It’s life.

Accept what is. Embrace the good. Keep it in perspective. And remember, there will always be another moment.

And remember that those other people in your house are having moments too.  Remember the moment you realized you were no longer a child, but a full-bodied teenager?  That was one crazy moment. So give them some grace, and let them have their moment.

 

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The Waves of Shema

creating sacred communities

beach at night

Often my prayer is like the famous Thomas Merton prayer in which he says something like, “Dear God, I have no idea where I am going, or if what I am doing is pleasing to you, but I believe that my desire to please you, does please you.” I have always taken comfort in the fact that a monk as holy and spiritual as Thomas Merton felt lost some times in his relationship with God.

The other night I walked along a white sand beach, listening to the rise and fall of the purple waves, as the orange sun sank into the ocean. Meditating on the grand body of water put the daily realities of taxes, calendars and responsibilities in perspective. I know writers have made fun of those “spiritual but not religious” folks who see God in the sunsets, accusing them of being cliché, and I admit it is…

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Dear Leader,

image

Dear Leader,

What do I want to say to you that you have not already read in a book, or on a blog, or seen on a Ted Talk?

What clever quote could I throw your way that hasn’t already been quipped?

What possible wisdom could I offer you other than the wisdom to keep quiet and walk along side you in your leading and sigh at your setbacks and smile at your achievements?

I want you to know, dear leader, as you walk your journey, that there are many things you are and there are many things you are not.

You are not perfect. Now I know you know this, and maybe you live under the false impression that all good leaders are, but even the strongest leaders are human – and therefore not perfect. Take the idea that you have to always get it right, say it right, do it right, live it right, and get it out of your head. I’m not saying perfection isn’t what is expected by others.  I’m not saying that people will not be quick to tell you where you are flawed, and will find some secret pleasure in pointing out your mistakes. I’m saying that they are right. You do stink at a lot of what you do. You are not perfect. You do forget. You do get tired. You do worry. You do get angry. You are human.  So take your human, flawed, messy self and lead with humility and be an imperfect leader.

You are not supposed to please everyone. Again, I know you know this, and you also know that leading in conflict sucks. You are under the false impression that if everyone is happy that there is no conflict. That is a fallacy. Living in that idea is a way of playing make believe.  Of course there is conflict, and there always will be. Get over it.  Accept it. Embrace it. Don’t run away from it. Fall in love with it. Fall in love with conflict? Yep. Get right in there and snuggle up to it and say, “Oh, conflict, I am so happy to see you!  What are you going to teach me today? How will I grow or change because you, beautiful conflict, stand before me? Most importantly how will you make the organization healthier because  we are using you, conflict, to address things that need to be said and do things differently?”  Don’t be afraid of conflict.  Let conflict do it’s job. It is there for a reason.

You are not going to achieve anything by trying harder.  You know how you think if you just try hard enough things will change, get better, move along?  You are wrong. You cannot lead change by trying harder. You will join Don Quixote in battling windmills, and frankly wear yourself out. You can reframe the challenge. You can speak the truth.  You can ask a different question. The only thing you achieve by banging your head against the wall, is a headache.  Don’t try harder, try something different.

Dear Leader,  I don’t know what is in store for you today, and maybe you don’t know either.  What mountain will you be climbing today? What unexpected challenge will you face?  Whatever it is, trust yourself. Breathe. Speak from the heart. Listen. Look out for traps, hooks, pitfalls, and stumbling blocks. Do not let your feeling of empathy override your feeling of clarity. Your clarity will come by looking beyond the ego and leaning into me.

Lean into me and you will be strengthened with all the resolve, courage, and words you need to make it through this challenge and the next.

Remember, I am with you always, until the end of the age.

Love,

~Grace