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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?

Are You Hiding the Best Bad?

Are You Hiding the Best Bad?

Who are you? Really. Ponder that for a moment. We all, no doubt, have familiar labels based on our relationships, vocation, accomplishments, hobbies, gender and age. These labels are important to communicating an understanding of who we are, but what about the uncomfortable labels that are part of us as well? Do we own those, too?

Do we live a life such that we are honest about our full humanity?

William Sloan Coffin once said, "You are all so interested in putting your best foot forward, when it is your other foot that is far more interesting."

If we are honest, we all have 'the other foot,' those labels that represent another part of who we are. Try on a few of these: divorced, addict, depressed, confused, failure, angry, hurtful, prejudiced... you get the idea. How willing are we to let others know the full truth?

Do we allow our children to see us struggle with our limitations? Can they ever learn to deal with failure if they don't see us fail and recover?

"Your children need a model of honesty. If you pretend you have no weaknesses, and cover them under masks and facades, your children will learn to do the same and the game will go on. Begin today to see, and accept, the real you beneath the role." - William Martin

As a former pastor, I recall yielding to a similar fallacy. My belief was that if I allowed too much of my humanity to be known, I would not be accepted, liked, loved by the people I served. The trick was not to look perfect, but rather to look just a little bit human, a slight bit flawed - but not reveal the true depth of brokenness that I felt and believed every day. Instead, I played a self-inflicted game of privacy and loneliness. It is impossible to have deep intimacy when we hide our complete selves.

It seems to me that when I truly listen to others, when I get the gift of connecting with other people on a deep level, we are all deeply broken and sincerely fearful of our true selves.

It is impossible to have deep intimacy when we hide our complete selves.
— Kim Williams

What say you?

The call of the Divine to us is one of acceptance and knowing, that no matter how bad we may believe we are, no matter how misunderstood or broken we may think ourselves to be, we are nonetheless loved. Ours must be a journey of progress, not perfection, of trying and failing and trying again. Ours is a tale of human imperfection and amazing accidental moments of goodness and badness. We are all of the labels - those we cherish and those we fear revealing.

Slow the F%#*k Down! #MondayBlogs

In the words of Ferris Bueller , "Life moves pretty fast." I dare you to slow down. I double dog dare you. 

I drive too fast and too aggressively, rush in and out of stores, text instead of talk, grab and go instant/fast food, multi-task my way through the day, gulp instead of sipping...Sound familiar? I know I'm missing out.

What if...

I dedicate myself today to doing less today

I cook a meal on the stove not in the microwave

I chew my food and focus on tasting it

I pull over to the right lane and pace with the traffic

I do one thing at a time...ONE THING AT A TIME from start to finish

I call instead of texting

I visit instead of emailing

I look at the people around me and consider them as, well, people who are also living too fast

I linger for a moment longer in a conversation...somewhere past the 'Hi. Fine. Good. Nice weather" phase of the conversation

What is, just for today, I slowed the F&$%k down? 

Yep. Today. 

Hear that?

You're hiking in the woods with a good friend and all of a sudden she stops you and whispers intently, "Hear that?"

You freeze in your tracks, try to control your heavy breathing and listen...

At first nothing. Then a stirring in the brush. The snap of a twig somewhere behind you. You turn to look. A family of whitetail deer-  several does, a fawn and then a majestic buck come into view. You are amazed. Then, there - you see it all. The wildness, the beauty, the strength of the moment - nature, raw and untouchable, untamed. The buck catches your scent on the air, stares at you and your friend for a moment and then snorts and the deer are gone. 

You and your hiking buddy look at each other and smile, then laugh. You've been graced by the woods, touched by a fleeting moment of surprise and you both know it.


Here's the deal. What about the woods we are hiking in right now? Am I listening for the subtle sounds of beauty approaching? Is a colleague (or Spirit) trying to alert me that I'm missing something important? Am I willing to stop and really soak up this moment?

Hear that?

Reapplication of Emerson - Happy 2016!

The words below reign in my mind every time I think about a particularly difficult or taxing day.  

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

As I approach the close of another year, I re-purposed Mr. Emerson's words...

 Finish each year and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. It's a new year. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

Happy New Year!

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
           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, 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?

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?

My Attitude Could Whip Your…A

My Attitude Could Whip Your…

“The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.” –Williams James

I spent 8 years in higher education, 15 years beyond that as a pastor for a mainline denomination. I've studied human psychology, pastor counseling and theology. It took a man with no more than a high school education and a background in construction to teach me something real about people, about me.

I was having a bad day and it wasn't even 8:00 am. I’d had an argument with my wife. My children were not behaving the way I wanted them to, and my work schedule for the day was so packed that I knew I wouldn’t be able to get all of it done. My brain hurt, my back hurt and I pretty much hated everything and everybody at that moment.

My boss at the time took note of my bad attitude and asked me to come into his office. I did. He listened to my story and then paused before saying, “You have two choices this morning. You can stay pissed and have a sorry day, or you can do something about your attitude.” He reached in the desk drawer and handed me a card that resembled one of those “do not disturb” door hangers. On the front and back were a series of sayings, positive affirmations. He told me to take it and if I wanted to change my attitude to read the sayings out load on the way to my first appointment for that day. My attitude wasn’t very receptive. I thought of all the psychological cliques that I knew. I thought about how what I was going through was much bigger than a few clever and witty sayings. I thought of a hundred reasons why his suggestion was stupid. I didn’t challenge him. I took the card and headed for the truck. As I walked out of his office he said one more thing, “I bet you’re too chicken to try it.”

I smiled and for some reason warmed up to the idea of proving him wrong. On the way to my first appointment, I read them out load:

“I will win. Why? I’ll tell you why – because I have faith courage and enthusiasm.” 
“Today I will meet the right people in the right place at the right time for the betterment of all.” 
“I see opportunity in every challenge.”
“When I fail, I only look at what I did right.”

“I’ll never take advice from someone more messed up than I am.”

The readings continued, and so did a change in my attitude. There is great power in the words we speak to ourselves. By the time I was done I did feel better and begin to think on the things I could do to be effective and successful that day. I have never forgotten that lesson.

What we believe, about ourselves and our world is directly related to the words we say to ourselves and others.

Happy Birthday, Son

As today marks, by calendar date and tradition, the 25th anniversary of my son's birth and the occasion for gratitude, reflection and celebration, such that these moments bring, I find myself reflecting with fatherly thoughts and gentle emotions upon the man that has sprung, powerfully and dramatically, into life and work from the child that is my son. Many have been the thoughts and numerous the feelings, yet one piece of verse keeps echoing through my head. You will, no doubt, know of the work for it is old and well read among those of us who care to read such things. 


I dedicate this post and this classic piece of poetic truth to my son. Happy birthday. You are a man - being and becoming. I'm proud of you.


(‘Brother Square-Toes’—Rewards and Fairies)

If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!