FacebookTwitter

Preview Two: Everyday Inspired, May 2014

By on May 5, 2014 in Everyday Inspired, Maria's Blog | 0 comments

Share On GoogleShare On FacebookShare On Twitter

May 6 – Meaning in the mess

The creative process at Everyday Inspired usually starts with a simple question: What needs to be said today? Asked in prayer, I wait for a response. I’ve discovered, in the years of recording my podcast, that the messages that hit closest to home to me often receive the greatest responses from listeners and readers. What I’m at first reluctant to share, because it feels too vulnerable, is the very message I need to pass along.

So, here’s the message in a meme I discovered on Facebook, posted on a page called A Beautiful Mess Inside. This bit of wisdom is a quote from the British novelist Jeanette Winterson:

“When we make a change, it’s so easy to interpret our unsettledness as unhappiness, and our unhappiness as the result of having made the wrong decision. Our mental and emotional states fluctuate madly when we make big changes in our lives, and some days we could tight-rope across Manhattan, and other days we are too weary to clean our teeth. This is normal. This is natural. This is change.”

Recent changes in my life brought with them the expectation that I’d simply dance on the waves as the changes took place. Some days I did, yet there also were waves of grief that caused me to question my decisions, and just getting through the day was enough. Her words brought me consolation, and if you are in the midst of change, I hope they bring you peace as well.

Consider:
What invitation is here for me, today?
Today I am grateful for:
My intention for today is:
My to-do list for today includes:

May 7 – Inspiration in loss

Tornado season is here, and this year’s seem fiercer and more frequent. In 2011, Joplin, Missouri, was devastated by tornadoes, and the entire town is rebuilding life long after the storm ripped through. On that day, we were in the basement with our neighbors watching the radar. The storms were on the way across the state, to us. It felt like a snow day with cancellations running across the bottom of the screen. The thought that we could lose everything made my heart stop and took my breath away.
Tornado Where is God in the midst of all of this damage and threat of harm? Rabbi Harold Kushner, in When Bad Things Happen to Good People, reflects on the term “Act of God.” In insurance policies and as part of our vernacular, Act of God refers to the storm. Yet, it’s difficult to reconcile placing our trust and faith in a God who’d will destruction on us. Rabbi Kushner suggests instead that the Act of God is not the storm, but how people respond following the storm—the generous outreach of the community during recovery efforts.
Loss creates space for the love of God, and we often experience that love in the actions of others. Do you have some storms in the forecast, either on the radar screen of your favorite meteorologist, or at work, or in your family? If you do, think of the storm and the Acts of God which will follow. Take heart from those brave souls who are rebuilding their lives, and from those who are helping them. If those who’ve lost so much can find the strength to carry on today, who’s to say we can’t find that same strength?

Consider:
What invitation is here for me, today?
Today I am grateful for:
My intention for today is:
My to-do list for today includes:

May 8 – Been through it before

The stories of rebuilding and reunion which follow major storms bring comfort and consolation, and maybe just a little bit of “Whew, glad it wasn’t me!” The sorting through, picking up, and carrying on bring emotions that swirl like a funnel cloud of fear, exhilaration, grief, helplessness, gratitude, and loss.
Our faith tells us that even in this vulnerable place, there is a deep core of confidence that all will be well, no matter the outcome. One way to find that core is to look back over past losses and struggles, and remember how we were healed and saved from them. The doors that opened, the people who helped, the insights that came: all evidence of how God is with us in the sunshine and the storm.
On this sunny day, I know that sun is shining on those of us who sigh with relief as well as on those who are picking up the pieces. May we reach out in service and compassion to those in need. May we find our own inner calm, which will lead us to gratitude, even when all seems lost.

Consider:
What invitation is here for me, today?
Today I am grateful for:
My intention for today is:
My to-do list for today includes:

May 9 – Why we’re attached to the music we love

Celebrating our anniversary, my husband and I were a case study in neuromusicology.
Neuromusicology explores the connections between music and the human brain. In recent years, scientists have made fascinating inroads into understanding music, its impact on memory, and the emotions it triggers.
Our anniversary celebration was full of music, memories and emotion. We joined about 200 boomer-age fans at an intimate acoustic concert by America, a folk/rock band who scored most of their hits in the ‘70’s. Everyone in the crowd seemed to have a deep personal attachment to the music. That’s not surprising; most of us came of age as the radio played these songs.
When The Music Is GoodNeuroscientists say rock concerts are a great environment for storing memories. Recent findings suggest that the people attending the America concert, and music fans in all settings, are tapping into two kinds of memories. One, in hearing the old songs, the music literally retraces a path back to the experiences that accompanied the first time each person heard the song. The other, during the emotional upheaval of the concert, audience members are forging new memories. For me, it happened during the chorus of “Daisy Jane.” The singer’s plaintive voice brought up painful memories of teenage love and heartache. Now in midlife, sharing the concert with my husband, I gained a new, more joyful, interpretation and experience of the song.
What favorite songs are you hearing as if for the first time?

Consider:
What invitation is here for me, today?
Today I am grateful for:
My intention for today is:
My to-do list for today includes:

 

May 10 – Nothing wrong with weird

A study of urban areas a few years ago pegged my home town as one of the world’s slowest cities. One of the criteria used was a measure of weirdness in terms of “passion and engagement.”
Passion and engagement relate to our work as well as to our personal lives. Passion is a key to developing one’s talents and skills for work that is energizing and satisfying. Engagement is the level at which one plays. How accurate these words are in describing us says a lot about whether we are making life happen or letting it happen.
hierarchy-of-needsAbraham Maslow, the psychologist and creator of the Hierarchy of Needs, argued that life consists of a series of choices. “One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again,” he wrote. To live to our fullest potential, he maintained, we must be willing to risk making choices based on who we might become, rather than staying safe in who we are.
Haven’t we all dreamed of a fuller life, only to be restrained by comfort and security when the time came to actually do something about it? Every day we make choices that can contribute to our personal growth, but making such choices often means accepting the risk that others might label us weird. So, we retreat to safety instead. Maybe we need to stop being afraid of weirdness and instead think of it as passionate engagement in life.

Consider:
What invitation is here for me, today?
Today I am grateful for:
My intention for today is:
My to-do list for today includes:

May 11 – Love and potato chips

One night at the dinner table our eight year old daughter was stalling, refusing to eat her corn. Our rule was that if she didn’t eat her dinner, including the vegetables, she wouldn’t get any dessert or snacks later. On this particular night, she felt so strongly about the issue that she got up from her place leaving the vegetables on her plate.
As she moved toward the family room, she spied a nearly empty bag of potato chips on the counter. She picked up the bag and put some in her mouth. When I raised a finger and said, “Uh un!” she dashed to the trashcan, opened her mouth, and pushed chips off her tongue and into the can! I was stunned. What a precious thing to do!
potatochipsI instantly scooped her into my arms and thanked her for her honesty. My hug caught her off guard, and she pulled away from me at first, fearful of a reprimand. Instead I kissed her and told her how proud I was of her. My heart was filled with love for this child who had tested my patience to the limit just a few minutes earlier.
The love that filled my heart is like the covenant God shares with us. A covenant is distinct from a contract, in that a contract is based on living up to stated expectations, while a covenant is based on relationship and love. If either party in a contract does not live up to the agreement, the contract is broken. God loves with covenant love, and helps moms to love first and enforce the rules later. When the rules are broken, God, and hopefully mom, continue to love. The constant is love, no matter what.

Consider:
What invitation is here for me, today?
Today I am grateful for:
My intention for today is:
My to-do list for today includes:

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *