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creativity

Get up. Move. Perspective.

The Solution: Simply move?

Hanging on the wall in my office, there is a picture of a tree that changes color and definition to reflect the four seasons. As you walk by the angle of the print causes the tree to shift from a winter scene of bare branches and snow, through sprouting spring foliage, the full greening of summer and then the autumn leaves of fall. From my desk seat, it always looks like autumn.


I like seeing the different images of the picture. The variety, changing colors and images offers a nice change from what is often the static unchanging art of an office space. There are times when I will just move to a different place in my office to see and enjoy the picture differently. It isn’t that I don’t like seeing the fall tree, I do. I like seeing the other images, too.


Here’s my thought: My living is often the same way. It is easy to settle into the same routine, the same patterns of moving through life and soon – everything seems to look stagnant. In the same way I have to get up and move to a different place in my office to see the variety of the tree picture, I can move to a different place in my living to see life with new colors.


The business of life glowed more brightly than the drab hues of work...

From a simple move, like visiting a different coffee shop, to a more dramatic change, like ending or starting a new relationship, we can experience the very different seasons of our living. I’m not advocating change for change sake, but I am encouraging myself to remember that sometimes I need to move a little and change my perspective in order to appreciate the rich variety of life.


I sat in a meeting yesterday with a successful local entrepreneur – a very rich man. He was clearly tired, almost exhausted throughout the meeting. After we had finished our business discussions, the conversation shifted as he explained his fatigue. He had spent the previous evening volunteering at a local homeless shelter. As he begin to tell the tale of his time helping others that night his energy lifted, his spirit soared and the conversation moved me to a different place. The business of life glowed more brightly than the drab hues of work...the previous conversation about his business.


Get up. Move. See. Enjoy.

Managing Our Daily #Digital Diet - #Social

Over the past year and the last 4 months, in particular, I have been giving thought to the basic need of human beings to create and experience intimate, personal and fulfilling connections with other people. My posts here have certainly touched on the topic of #Intimacy and Life Pacing. It seems that much of what we do - productive and not - is driven by our need for meaningful, intimate interactions. We will seek out people who we believe will connect with us in positive ways and if those aren't available, negative ways.

 

We all walk around in a state of connection deprivation. We need, no long for, more connection. 

 

Remember this song? 

Mad World:
All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for the daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere

Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I wanna drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow... -Gary Jules

It's a bit ironic that in a world where we are more connected than ever, we seem to continually suffer from a type of connection lack. I remember reading "Hamlet's Blackberry" by Williams Powers. The book, as explained in the subtitle "Building a Good Life in the Digital Age," attempts to address our need to manage our digital lives and activity in a balanced fashion. To his credit, he calls "foul" early on for those who are proclaiming the fall of our humanity at the rise of abundant technology. Powers gives a reasonable and wise map for understanding our journey into this new relationship of an abundance of screens and taps. More on his book later...

 

Still, I'm wondering, do you struggle with an abundance of connectedness? What have you tried to manage the frenzy of your daily digital diet? What has worked? What has not worked?

Life is Pushy - What To Do?

Life is just pushy. Life is demanding.


During my past life as a pastor and my current role as a manger in the business setting, I've been privileged to stand with people during all manner of crisis.  From being confronted with critical illness, accidental death to suicide and addiction, I've witnessed people walk through harsh situations.  Life is demanding.


 I've walked through the normal stresses of life with others, as well. We all experience the demands of relationships, illness, job transitions, aging and even the stress of our own feelings and thoughts. Life pushes on us – sometimes hard.
What to do? How about three things?

 

  1.  Know that it’s part of the process. In the same way that hiking to the top of a mountain requires effort, even discomfort life requires effort. Somewhere along the way, we seem to have gotten this idea that life is supposed to have a particular mix of easy and hard; more easy - less hard. Right?. Not true. This moment is our work, our living and it’s often hard, sometimes painful work. 
  2. Do a self-care check. Years ago someone introduced me to the acronym HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. HALT and see if you’re dealing with any of these. If more than two of these is the case, you could be in trouble. Make sure you have as many of these things taken care of as possible – and the good news is, most of these are within our power to address.
  3. Use the buddy system. Why is it we so often go into hiding when we are struggling? Isolation isn’t helpful for managing life’s pushiness. Get with someone else and push back! Throughout every religious expression the importance of community remains constant. As the often quoted, but seldom studied words of the poet remind us,
No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; 
It tolls for thee. - John Donne
 

When life pushes, we can know that it is momentary, take care of ourselves and tap into our community for support.

 

I was just thinking...

I am originally from the low country of SC and we do have some marvelous scenery. Live oaks draped with Spanish moss… azaleas heavy with dew laden blooms… the whisper of salt air and melodies of yellow jasmine… 

A picture may be worth a 1000 words, but words can paint one powerful picture. Yes?

This Just In - Goldfish Syndrome?! #MondayBlogs

 Goldfish Syndrome??


According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the average attention span of a human being has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2015. This is one second less than the attention span of a goldfish.

Wait? What was that?

 

Change vs Metamorphosis

We often find, in the most common of things, the familiar moments, our greatest experience of revelation.

The quiet of a morning coffee while listening to the birds wake.
The pauses between conversations between lovers
  Sunsets
                    Sunrises
           Beach strolls
                               Woodland walks
  Floating in a pond
                                               Porch sitting
     Surf wading...


Yet, we seek, nay demand change, movement in and around us as incessantly as the manic hummingbird, flitting from blossom to bloom sipping the momentary fuel needed for continued frenzy. We flip from screen to screen, between search and video, then off to tap texts and slide photos, with the occasional glance up to orient ourselves and then we are off again. We look to move and shake from job to job or better still - career to career - thinly skimming the darker pools below our wake, surface dwelling, unwilling to sink, float down to those deep abysses... relationships, partnerships, compromises, sacrifices, commitments...scary places. Long term, staying places. 

Metamorphosis, the transforming change that our very spirit seeks comes after the stillness, the cocooning of what we are and then...well then...the miracle happens. We become more. Different. Progressed.

It seems we are determined to churn, we...us people...us communities...us nations...to churn and flit about. As if our churning and yearning for change for change sake will somehow quench our thirst for becoming more, for growing. It can't. 

We need the rebirth that comes from the sedentary stillness of time moving around us, of the processing of knowledge into understanding, of the merger of people in meaningful connection.  

So, dear reader, what do you think? What means of metamorphosis have you found?

On fathering... #MondayBlogs

I am more aware of my short comings than successes, failures than achievements, limitations than abilities. Still, I have no doubt in my heart driven desire to help and encourage, no question about my clear and present purpose to hold steady the ground for and believe in those who are my children. For it all, we are in this together and I will never falter in my commitment to you no matter how many times we may stumble. Of this, above all else, I am most certain. It is not to my credit, but rather because I am compelled by what another has done for me.

Stumbling Block or Stepping Stone

Consider You Awesome

Stop with me, just a moment. We are awesome and amazing creatures living in an infinitely wonder filled world and we need to remember it. Observe that our lives are unbelievably amazing. Consider for now that the finite details of each muscle, skin cell, bone. Nerve and sinew working together to open and close our hand contains an amazing microcosm of miracles packed one upon another. The waves of environmental chemistry and pulsating, sporadic and rhythmical fluctuations of thermal connections of this typical, coming and going of sun, moon, tides and seasons world mark our time. Yet, if we stop and consider it all – even just the part that we call natural – how wondrous and amazing is our life?

Consider it for a moment…with me…deal?

Critical Conversation...oh, and #Coffee

This week I had a visit with a good friend of 5 years now. We met innocently enough at a local coffee house and talked over hot coffee and warm pastries. 


Ardmore Coffee, Winston-Salem,NC

Ardmore Coffee, Winston-Salem,NC

We spent about 2 hours together and I left with a bitter –sweet awareness.

The Sweet – We listened and talked to each other. We asked questions to better understand perspectives. We recalled life experiences and things we had read or seen to add depth and breadth to the conversation. We wondered together. We laughed, debated and share silence. I left feeling grateful for the time and stimulated in my thinking and creativity. Not once did we look at our phones or open a laptop or tablet.

The Bitter - I don’t have lingering, flesh-to-flesh, conversations nearly enough. I know I am busy at work and at home. I know the trend is for 140 character interactions, slinging videos and swapping texts, - trite verbal exchanges (and I’m very good at those – #justsaying), but I know it’s not enough. 

Have we somehow developed into a culture where conversation has been replaced with brief proclamations and affirmations? Has the art of reflective inquiry (was there ever such an art?) become too complicated, too time consuming, too hard?  I think one of the reasons that I love sharing coffee with others – just about anyone – is that it slows things down and creates a moment for conversation. It is hard to be in a hurry when you are trying to drink very HOT liquids!

My life needs more time for coffee and conversation, more space for debating, wondering with others. What about you? Care to join me for a cup of Joe?