Interactions

Once upon a time,

When I ran into

friends and acquaintances

who asked

what
I was up to,

I would reel off

a litany of activities.

Lately,

I have begun to reply,

“I am practicing not multitasking.”

Saying these words

out loud

reaffirms

my intentions

and seems

to give

the questioners pause.

I also

pause

before asking

the reflexive

“what have you been up to”

question.

Instead of

exchanging lists,

a conversation

might

take place.

The Cloud of Unknowing*

I

no longer

make a plan

for myself

but respond

to the people

and things

in my life

which are part

of a plan

or

pattern

I

cannot

see.

*The Cloud of Unknowing is an anonymous work of Christian mysticism in the 14th century.

Limits

We all need

to learn to

set limits.

Do you live in an

unnaturally

high setting

for normal?

Are you

expecting

too much of

yourself and others?

When is life or

our response to it,

just too much

or just enough?

Can you build in some

flexibility?

What if our lives are

right on

the edge,

and we don’t see

the precipice?

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THOUGHT LEADER

Thought Leaders

are especially

important

during times of

Disruptive Innovation,

a concept

used in

this time

when things

aren’t working

and ways of thinking and doing

must be changed.

Since Pope Francis was chosen,

he has become a

powerful

THOUGHT LEADER.

From his first moments

Pope Francis

showed his

humility

asking for us

to pray for him.

He chose

simple garments,

comfortable black shoes,

paid his own hotel bill,

moved into a

simple apartment.

During Holy Week,

he washed the feet of the poor,

not all Catholics.

He told priests

to be merciful and compassionate

 towards those who are divorced

women who have had

abortions.

When asked about homosexuals,

he replied,

“Who am I to judge?”

Smiling,

he loves everyone

and in return,

he is loved.

The rules have not necessarily changed,

but the

TONE

has completely.

This change in tone is

Francis’

greatest achievement,

and it is HUGE!

In this

political season,

candidates

could learn

because Pope Francis

is an astute politician

in the best sense of the word.

As a South American

he sees the entrenched Vatican

as needing to be cleaned up,

finances and favoritism,

swept out.

Reflecting

compassion.

the tone,

the message

is that God is a God

of LOVE,

not JUDGMENT.

The Church’s role

is to make God

accessible.

Coming to the United States,

his first trip to North America,

he will speak

at the United Nations,

address Congress,

say Mass in Madison Square Garden.

Popular entertainers will

engage people,

using their words and music

to

open up people’s senses

to the music of their hearts.

Disruptive Innovation.

Bring it on!

Synchroncity and Opportunity

I see

synchronicity

In

the shocking murder of

nine people

in a Bible class

at the AME Emmanuel Church

in Atlanta

by a young white supremacist ,

many retailers no longer

selling Confederate flags,

the decision in Georgia

and other states

to remove the

Confederate flag

from public display.

President Obama’s

moving eulogy,

words moving into

singing

Amazing Grace with

all joining in.

Conjecture, publicity

To Kill a Mockingbird

 Harper Lee’s beloved book and movie

told by young Scout

seeing her father Atticus

through a child’s eyes.

The much anticipated

release of the

old, discovered

first book

taking place twenty years later.

Go Set A Watchman,

portraying Atticus

in a segregated  town,

challenged by a

climate, calling, demanding

equal rights for blacks and white.

An Off Broadway show

Hamilton

moves to Broadway

full of hip hop

historical characters played by

multi-racial cast.

Another play

Amazing Grace 

opens on

Broadway,

its writer, leaving his job

compelled to write this story

and produce it.

Publisher of Between the World and Me

by Ta-Nehisi Coates

moves up release date

so we can read

his words written to

his fifteen year old son.

Growing up in Baltimore,

he feels the same

fear for his son

as week by week

there are

unnecessary murders

by police of young black men

barely adults.

Whatever events, words, books, musicals

might stir you,

move me,

the convergence

is an opportunity.

In the words of Amazing Grace

that forgiveness and redemption

are possible

regardless of sins committed,

“Amazing grace!

How sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost,

but now am found,

Was blind,

but now I see.”

What can I see now

that I did not see before?

What do you see

that you did not see before?

“‘Twas grace that taught

my heart to fear,

And grace my fears

reliev’d;

How precious did that grace appear

The hour I first believed!”

Too Much in Your Pack?

Are you carrying a lot on your shoulders?

Assume a quiet state of mind.

Visualize.

Think of a pack on your back.

What is in the pack?

What is making it too heavy to carry?

See yourself

removing the weight from the pack.

How does it feel now?

Do you need to remove more weights from your pack

so that you can carry it?

How do you feel now?

Sometimes we don’t know

how much we are carrying

until we lighten the load.

LivingLines p. 235

More Than a Cliche?

Spiritual but not religious.

What does that mean

to you

or to others?

Pew Research Center

polls

these trends.

Their findings

show

the number of people

unaffiliated

with any religious body

is continuing

to grow

at a rapid pace.

The number is

about one-fifth

of the U.S. public

and

one-third

of adults under thirty.

However,

two-thirds

of this

unaffiliated group

say they

believe in God.

Churches and places

of worship

are being sold

and re-purposed.

One denomination

buys and forms

a  new congregation,

a community

with another way

for worship.

Empty churches

can be

discouraging.

Some people and families

are coming together in

different places,

some in homes

where

as the Bible

says,

“Wherever there are more

than two people gathered,

there am I

in their midst.”

Spiritual but not religious.

Is that how you feel?

Are you seeking

others

to create

new rituals

which express

and become

community

for you?

White

Only four weeks

since

white covered

every surface

with snow,

ice

mountains called

snow farms

to remove

snow from the streets.

Hint by hint

of color,

shoots of green first,

snow-bells

tiny crocus.

Yellow daffodils,

forsythia,

fairy pink little

tree blossoms.

Now tulips

in bright array.

Two weeks ago,

as I opened my front door,

a hint of flutter.

Oh yes,

my first petite

white butterfly.

In my guide book

described as ghost butterflies,

for me

always

Spirits.

Then in the park,

sitting with my sister,

the second Spirit white.

A week later,

at the beach,

the third.

Today,

waiting for a traffic light to change,

another.

Each time

I pause.

These white

simply colored

butterflies

appear earlier than

the fancy dressed

colored Monarchs.

During Spring and Summer

there are many more.

Later in the Fall,

the last hurrahs,

 on a warm day.

Always, I pause.

Each,

like a prayer of presence

for me.

I am not startled

by their brilliance.

They calm me

into a

prayerful thanks.