Category Archives: Contemplative

Ashes

The last two weeks I’ve been cleaning out the big shed and the workshop. Lots of things stored, projects started but not finished, items never used. Some of it went to Goodwill, some will be sold, and the useless stuff I burned in the firepit.

Today, I was cleaning out the pit and came across pieces of wood, shards of metal, and other unidentifiable remains. Most of it I couldn’t tell what it was originally. I was unable to recognize what was by looking at what remained. The fire had twisted, reshaped, destroyed, and remade.

Life is hard. What it does to us, the people we love, makes it almost impossible to endure at times. The fire of distruction, the flames of chaos, the intense heat of accidents and choices, reshape us into someone we don’t recognize, and can’t remember what our life was like before.

Perhaps what emerges from the ashes will be beautiful. However, when we are in the fire, all we know is life will never be the same again.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

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Last week, one morning when I had the dogs outside taking care of business, we were up the hill of our backyard.

I’ve been working with our Beagle-Walker, “Scooby”, for almost three months training him to be a service dog. There are parts he’s excelling at and others that need more work. I had his leash but had let him off to work on obeying the “come” command. He was twenty feet away from me when down at the beginning of the driveway a brown dog appeared. Me and Scooby spotted it at the same time. I said; “Scooby! Scooby!” He stood still and I was getting to him as fast as I could without startling him as he stared at the unwelcome visitor. Quivering with energy and instinct he took off when I was five feet away! “Scooby! No!” but it was too late. He was gone. I leashed up Trooper (our Siberian Husky), went searching, and found him at a neighbor’s house.

There are seasons of loss in all our Iives. Times when what or who we love won’t stay. No matter what we say, do, or plan, we can’t keep relationships from dissolving, death knocking on a loved one’s door, jobs we care about ending, places we treasure disappearing, other occurrences happening, which alter us forever.

One of the most important disciplines we can learn is the practice of letting go and accepting that which we cannot change.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

Understanding Christmas

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

Passing Down Traditions

blessings,

@BrianLoging

thewannabesaint.com

What We Have

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

Be Still

A Christmas card came in the mail last week from Beth’s cousin. The Bible verse on the outside cover was Psalm 46:10; “Be still and know that I am God.” This has been my favorite Psalm for longer than I can remember.

Before I was diagnosed with a Chronic Major Depressive Disorder and a Severe Anxiety Disorder I knew there was a lot of chatter in my head. Regrets about the past, being unworthy in the present, and fear of the unknown and uncontrollable. Combined with incessant negative self-talk and panic in many situations, this verse was a plea, a prayer, a reminder.

I still pray this verse every day. My mind, despite therapy and medication, still swirls. Filled with unwelcome thoughts and ruminations this verse can anchor me sometimes. Other moments it’s a desperate hope that maybe one day the verse will be one of of thankfulness.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

Stillness is…

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

Kindness

I bought a smart watch during the week of sales at Thanksgiving. One of the apps installed on it reminds me to take mindful breaths during the day. It also asks questions that make me more aware of myself and others.

One of today’s question was; “Is there someone near you who could use some kindness?” At that moment I was by myself but I thought of someone I could call. So, I did. The conversation wasn’t long but it was good to connect, remind the person they are cared for and loved.

Truthfully I don’t think I would’ve thought of the person without the question but was thankful for the reminder and the follow through.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

Perspective

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

Be Silent

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

Mocking

The last few days have been perfect for raking. The idea of gathering the leaves and disposing of them so one can have a nice, neat, immaculate yard is exhilarating! As I raked today the wind was blowing and leaves kept falling. One leaf landed on my shoulder as if the trees were mocking my efforts. It could have been defeating but instead I accepted it was never going to be flawless but it will be better than what it is currently.

Or world is messy. Troubles, difficulties, and challenges seem to fall from the sky. We want to make it all better but evil and negligence mock us. This is when we decide to give up or do what we can, when we can, and make even a small part of this planet we call home better.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

Pulled Up through the Roots

Image result for psalm 1 tree water

Pulled Up through the Roots

It was late last night when I finally sat down and read scripture for the day. It was Psalm 1. I read it as rain pounded on the roof, truly one of life’s most beautiful sounds. We’ve been dry lately. The storms have passed us by leaving the ground, trees, and plants desperate for water. Earlier in the evening, I thought I heard raining so I turned off all the fans and listened as it pinged on our porch’s tin roof. I checked again before heading to the bedroom and it was still coming down.

Psalm 1 says this:

-The Two Ways-

Blessed are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
or be counted among the malcontents;
their delight is in the of the Lord and his way,
and on him, they meditate day and night.

They are like trees planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.
The wicked are not so 
but are like dry leaves and bark that the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not be found innocent,
nor sinners among the people who are humble;
for the Lord watches over the way of all,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

I reflected on these verses as I listened to the rain and it was a great reminder not to be an unpleasant person, not to choose a way of life that only benefits myself, to be rooted in God, pulling up through my roots; love, kindness, humility, and bloom in a too often evil world.

For more posts, reflections, poems, and other writings, please visit: http://www.thewannabesaint.com

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)

Balancing Act

Image result for balance lawn mower hill

Balancing Act

There is an area in our yard next to the road that is tricky to mow. It is a sharp incline and in order to the get the job done the mower and the rider has to be at a steep angle. When I mow this particular spot in the yard I sit halfway on the seat with my body leaning in the opposite direction of the incline. The balance has to be perfect. Too far off the seat the mower doesn’t sense enough pressure on the seat and shuts off. Don’t lean far enough and there’s a chance the mower and rider could topple over. It’s a twenty-five yard long, difficult and dangerous, balancing act.

Life is also a balancing act. We live in perilous times. All one has to do is turn on the television, log online, and get the sense our families, communities, nations, and world is one mistake from toppling over into a dangerous place and we may not recover.

The problem is balance.  Sides are chosen, political parties picked, litmus tests are given, judgments made and those on the other side, even ones seeking a middle way, are labeled as; “the enemy.” I don’t know if we are going to make it back from the edge of disaster but I do know it takes more strength to listen than to ignore, to understand than to shout down, to accept than to reject, to see others as us than ‘less than,’ to find balance than to demand conformity.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Quiet Corners

Quiet Corners –

I spent the day in a stuffy shed cleaning out items which have accumulated over many years. It was hot today! The forecast said temperatures were going to be in the in 90’s. As a result, there was an old metal fan switched to the high setting blowing in my ear. Add to that sounds of metal scraping, ladders being moved, dust blowers humming, brooms sweeping, a cacophony of loud obnoxious sounds. After a while, I got used to the noise and didn’t notice until I came inside. I sat down and the only sound was a ceiling fan. It seemed loud because everything else in the house was quiet. Following a day when the noise was overabundant, the need for quiet was desperate. I turned down the ceiling fan and soaked in the silence, thankful for the stark reminder that our world is noisy!

Noise can be overwhelming, we must find the quiet corners or never find peace.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Mush

Image result for brain mush

Mush

My brain has officially turned to mush! After two full days of training in Nashville, my head organ can take no more! It is full of pieces of information, stories, facts, figures, graphs, bars, charts and more. I know in a few days when everything I received processes everything it will be worth the mental fatigue but right now it’s like my brain is in a blender set on high. My eyes are heavy from lack of sleep, my back hurts from sitting for two straight days in a non-reclining chair, my stomach hungry for homemade food and nothing pre-packaged. It’s amazing, or horrifying, that your body, mind, and spirit can be so out of sync after a couple of days.

This morning, on my way into Nashville, I listened to a prayer app and it has a time, after the invitation to pray, to pause and be silent. As silence filled the car I thought about how disjointed I felt, vowed to never work in Nashville and drive into the city every day, reflected on the difference between a room full of forty people plus four teachers and the quietude of the moment and then the app started playing scripture. I wasn’t ready for the noise. I said out loud; “Not long enough!”, then sighed and continued.

Silence is underrated.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Old News

Image result for burnt newspaper

Old News

The last couple of weeks of February have been a rough time for me the last several years. There are painful, heart hurting memories which seem to resurface and dealing with these challenging emotions is difficult.

Today I cleaned up our yard after a round of storms and rain this last week. I threw them on a burn pile and set it afire. I also had some old fence pieces and newspapers to burn. The newspapers are from my wife. She is doing her best to understand and begin to use extreme couponing in an effort to save money. I made sure to take old piles of newspaper and watched as the flames began consuming them. I tried reading some of the headlines and articles before the fire reached them and then they were gone.

As the fire leaped into the air I thought about it being old news which was out of date and historical. I also reflected on the memories I’ve struggled with the last few weeks and tried to remind myself that healing and time can also consume the heartache of the past and that our history enlightens our present.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Temporary

Temporary

The sun, which shone so brightly the last couple of days filling my spirit and mind with images of spring, is gone today, replaced by gray, gloomy clouds. My wife’s flu bug which bit her last week seems to have been squished and she’s on the mend. The weekend is winding down and soon a new week will start.

I commented to a friend today about a photograph taken about 4 years ago that; “sometimes it seems long ago and other times yesterday.” I think that’s life. When younger I was told; “time moves faster as you get older.” It didn’t make sense to me then but now, on the other side of the hill (midlife), it’s a boulder rolling faster and faster.

The present moment, where we long to continuously dwell, is the one place that brings thankfulness, humility, and acceptance. We are thankful because we are only “grass that whithers, blows away, and its place remembers it no more.” Every moment is precious, even the ones we’d rather not experience. We are humbled by the brevity of ourselves and the things around us. Nothing is permanent which we can touch, see, feel, hear, or taste. “All things are passing away.” By accepting this truth we can choose to consciously, deliberately, live leaving nothing unfinished, and embrace this flash of light we call being alive.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Grounded, Simple, Generous, Controlled, Joyful, Present

Image result for taoist thought of the day

Grounded, Simple, Generous, Controlled, Joyful, Present

The contemplative life isn’t hard to understand. Most of the teachings can be learned in a day but they offer a lifetime of wisdom.

A few moments ago I was sitting on the porch basking in the sun. It was wonderful. I had brought my phone with me but not sure why. I laid it down beside me and closed my eyes. It’s warm for the month of January. Yesterday it was cloudy and cool but in that present moment of sitting on the porch, the skies were a brilliant blue. Our Siberian Husky was sprawled out on the driveway, not a care in the world. As I embraced the beauty and warmth my attention kept going to the phone. I knew there wasn’t anything on it I needed to read or respond to but the fact it was there distracted me.

This is why simplicity is important in the contemplative life. Everything we own, invest our ourselves in, give our passion, energy and time takes a piece of us. The more we have in our lives the less contemplative we are able to be. Letting go of all that is superfluous allows us to focus on what’s important while the fluff floats away.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Why did the Cow Cross the Road?

Image result for black cow road

Why did the Cow Cross the Road?

There’s nothing quite like living in an agricultural community. You never know what strange experiences each day holds. This morning, on my way to an appointment, I was driving behind a car who suddenly hit their breaks, red lights shining brightly. I quickly hit my brakes and wondered why we were stopping and then noticed a big black cow standing in the right lane. We were on the crest of a hill and couldn’t drive around it for fear of being struck head-on by another vehicle. The driver in front of me beeped her horn, inched toward the animal, even tried shewing it but the bovine paid no attention. Finally, after what seemed like forever, the cow sauntered off the road and into the brush. Shaking my head, I carefully drove past it and wondered how and why it was in this place at this time.

Life’s road is similar to my experience this morning. You never know what’s going to cross your path, stand in your way, refuse to be moved. Many times we try to force, coerce, bribe our way around obstacles but they stubbornly resist movement of any kind. Sometimes the obstacle is the path, the lesson, which needs to be learned before it moves on. Other times life makes less sense and an obstacle is simply a barrier we must figure out how to move or get around.

Whatever the obstacle, no matter how big, imposing, or frustrating we should remember this too shall pass. All things are transient and nothing lasts forever.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

The River

Image result for the river

The River

“Imagine yourself sitting on the bank of a river. The river is your stream of consciousness. Observe each of your thoughts coming along as if they’re saying, “Think me, think me.” Watch your feelings come by saying, “Feel me, feel me.” Acknowledge that you’re having the feeling or thought. Don’t hate it, judge it, critique it, or move against it. Simply name it: “resentment toward so and so,” “a thought about such and such.” Then place it on a boat and let it go down the river. When another thought arises—as no doubt it will—welcome it and let it go, returning to your inner watch place on the bank of the river.”
#ThomasKeating, “Open Mind, Open Heart: The Contemplative Dimension of the Gospel”

One of the greatest and most difficult realizations is the truth that we are not our thoughts. We are not our actions. We are not our egos. True, each of these can reveal things about us and to the world but we are not these things.

The problem is we’ve been taught the opposite most of our lives. The famous quote; “Reap a thought, a word, an action, then a destiny,” seems right but our thoughts do not have to lead us to who we ultimately become. We can choose to go deeper, change paths, refuse to be captive to our thoughts by breaking free of them.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Might Be

Might Be

One of the greatest senses we can develop is that of self-awareness. It’s the discipline of being able to look into an existential mirror and see who we really are, no delusion or illusion. We can see ourselves, the good and the not so good, discover what we do well and what needs to be improved.

Most live in a constant state of denial of who they are and/or who they should be. They allow others, culture, reputation, ego, the false self to define them. If we are not self-aware the world has a limitless number of fake identities to slap on us. If we aren’t careful we can settle for these alter-egos and never take off the masks too many wear for a lifetime.

Letting go of who we’ve always thought we should be isn’t easy. There is pain involved on the journey of self-discovery. However, if we dare, the challenges and difficulties can be overcome, the illusions and delusions shattered, and we become what most dare not hope for; at peace.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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