It’s Complicated…

There sure is a lot going on in the world, and we know so much more about it because of technology. There have been earthquakes, avalanches and community violence for millenia. We are just the first to have it in our faces 24/7 on Instagram and Twitter. The style and pace of the coverage makes it easy to gloss over as so many images draw the attention of the TV and Internet and Selfie cameras.

pray for baltimore

#prayforbaltimore can easily become a cliche instead of intention.

Our prayers get lost in the noise, and the good intentions get lost in the crowded computer screens. “Broken backs and broken windows.” The insightful commentary can become lost in the sound bites.

In Baltimore, it is hard to move forward when the “sides” that get drawn focus on blaming and continuing the polarizing actions that contributed to the violence.

My perspective is different than most “white chicks from the suburbs” because of my work with kids in criminal and juvenile justice systems for so much of my career.  I was the CEO of a residential program for young men much like the ones that over-ran the streets in Baltimore this week. My goal was to prevent exactly what just happened.

In early 2006, the kids had a fight in our school that led to a confrontation with the State Police, and we were “breaking news at 11” for two very long nights. Neither side was fully in the right then, either. I still pray for the kids who ended up in jail that week and wonder what I could have done to prevent it. And, I pray for the police who thought they needed to “take control” of a situation that had been contained for quite some time before they arrived with mace and threats and force, and wondered why the kids reacted poorly.

And, so today and for months to come I will #prayforbaltimore. Pray for the kids and for the parents – black, white, brown and mixed. And, pray for the police – for healing and wisdom. And, I pray that the messages being delivered via mass media, social media and kitchen table conversations about how we treat each other be thoughtful and based on our shared humanity, and not on our fears and differences.

I hope that you will join me in that prayer. It’s what we Can Do.

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The 4th Secret of a Can Do Life is…

MAKE AND TAKE TIME FOR REFLECTION

For me, it is the hardest one of them all. I have places to go and people to see and things to do and deadlines to keep. When I was 11, I played Alice in the local library production of441926-Cartoon-Businesswoman-Running-With-Late-Files Alice in Wonderland. The only line I remember is, “I’m late, I’m late for a very important date. No time to say ‘Hello,’ goodbye. I’m late!  I’m late! I’m late!”  Even when I am on time, I always feel like I am behind – late, late, late!

Waiting is agony for me, especially if I don’t have my phone or a book or my computer to keep me company. When I am on a webinar or conference call, I check my email and Facebook during the “in between” times. In between when I am paying attention, that is.  Sometimes, I feel like I have lost my ability and patience to be still. To be at rest. Quietly reflecting.

What is that all about, anyway? When I write it down, it sound absurd! It would be like only driving my car at 70 MPH. That pace of life gives adrenaline way too much power. And, it leads to burning out. I know. I burned out once, and I promised myself I would never go back there. I can still get to the “sort of crispy” point, then have learned to pull myself back in. Hey, at least now I stop for yellow lights!!

Since my chemo days, I have tried harder to make and take time for reflection. Tried. Ash wednesdayHave not always succeed, even though it is one of the Secrets, and therefore pretty important to me!  So, I set a goal that actually gets kicked off today. Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Christian season of Lent. I signed up for a retreat program through my church, based on St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises, and as part of the retreat have committed myself to 40 minutes of prayer and meditation every day between today and Easter. I am excited to find out what I will discover.

Reflection. For me that means prayer and meditation as ways of connecting and communicating with my God, my Creator, my friend, and the places inside myself where that connection is strongest. To listen, to be curious. To share my dreams. To deepen my commitment to achieving those dreams.

For others, this reflection time might involved art or music, dance or nature.

shutterstock_121922443My reflection time allows me to focus on my dreams. Talk to God. Talk to myself about the why and the how, leaving the when and where to a later time. Reflection time allows my body and brain to decompress and rest. Expands my thoughts and lets my creative juices take the place of all that deadline-driven adrenaline. Balances the different parts of me – the inside with the outside. Reflection unlocks my heart to let it be heard… and to it be fed.

Some people think that refection or meditation or prayer is boring. For as much of an IMG_20140705_220935633adrenaline junkie as I can be, I really love becoming lost in the flames of a fire or the sounds of the ocean. Watching the changing colors of a beautiful sunset – or sunrise. Letting my senses stretch and hear, see, smell, taste and feel a littleMBH picture for blog more of what is going on on the inside and the outside. Inviting my soul to connect with my brain and my feet and my calendar and the rest of my life. Listen, listen, listen and learn.

No matter what your faith tradition, today is a good day to commit to making and taking time for reflection. Start with a big enough, while still manageable, goal. Build the time gradually. If reading, audio or video materials help, between Google and the library, you can find just about anything you need for free: find blogs and YouTube videos, poetry books, art books and classical music.The last section of the Can Do Chronicles has an area with quotes and prompts for meditation.

shutterstock_129151931I recommend that you keep a journal with the insights and ideas that come to you as you meditate, so that these gems do not get lost in the busy-ness of the rest of your life.

My prayers go with you on your journey….

 

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