Category Archives: Mindfulness

No Other Direction

Image result for no left turn

No Other Direction

I broke my lawn mower yesterday! That might be an overstatement. I misjudged how close I could mow to a fence post and smashed the wheel up against it. When I did that I messed up the steering wheel and had to mow the last half of our yard only being able to turn the steering wheel right. When I turned left the steering wheel wouldn’t turn the wheels. It was frustrating figuring out how to only turn right and accomplish the job. It took longer but I finally mowed the whole yard.

I’ve reflected on the frustration of only being able to turn in one direction. There have been times in my life when I wanted to go one way and haven’t been able to. I struggled, fought, complained, and smashed myself against the way I wanted to go only to go nowhere. I still have that feeling about a particular section of my life. It’s an area I derived a lot of pleasure and purpose but it seems closed off to me and has been for a while. It’s been several years and several failed attempts to turn my life in that direction. As time goes by my doubts of ever being able to turn in that direction grows while hope fades.

Perhaps this is the way it is supposed to be. Maybe still longing for it shows I have growing to do. I can fix the lawnmower but there are seasons in life that are never to be repeated.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)

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

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Stalking

Image result for homicidal turtle

Stalking

Waiting on a hurricane is like being stalked by a homicidal turtle!” I read this statement the other day and thought it was humorous and true. My wife and I have friends up and down the east coast and they are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best with Hurricane Florence looming as she’s still deciding when and where to make landfall. The slow-moving storm has people on edge. There’s something to be said for a challenge or difficulty that comes out of nowhere to cause chaos in life and then goes as fast as it came. It’s hard but at least one doesn’t have the agony of waiting.

I was talking with a friend last night about depression and anxiety and the way they steal the joy out of life. It’s a dark storm that hovers filling you with dread as you prepare for the full brunt of the fury. You wait, you pray, you look for signs of the storm passing but it stays in one place and never gives you a true moment’s rest. Your strength is sapped by the anxiety of the approaching darkness and when the storm finally hits its wave and winds batter and beat you into submission. Rest is elusive when something is stalking you, wearing you out with threats and anticipation, and finally, when it strikes, you’re too weak to fight back.

Be kind to each other. You never know the storms that are brewing in each of us.

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

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)

What You Put In

Image result for brown water coffee

What You Put In

This morning I got up early to prepare for a presentation to a classroom that would be filled with teachers. It can be intimidating teaching those who teach as a profession. I prepared the coffee maker, got a shower, shaved, prepped my clothes and went back into the kitchen for a nice cup of joe. I poured the coffee slowly to avoid splashing and instead of dark brown delicious goodness, it was a hot cup of light brown water. Instantly I realized my mistake, I had forgotten to put coffee grounds in the filter. *Facepalm!* I put new water back in, made sure to also put in coffee grounds and waited. Finally, I actually had coffee in my coffee mug.

Later this morning I presented to the teachers and everything went well. They were engaged, asked questions and the eighty minutes of lecture time went by quickly which is usually a good sign. Afterward, I was packing up and a teacher asked if I could come back and present to another group of educators and parents. I told her absolutely.

The presentation I gave is powerful. I wrote it, then a media specialist added the slide format, and it was reviewed, refined and approved by our publicity department. A lot of teamwork and effort went into the presentation and it shows because it’s always engaging and informative. All the right things were put into it and all of the right things come out.

Now, if I could just remember to do this to my coffee and the rest of life…

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

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)

Spiritual Things

Perhaps the most “spiritual” thing any of us can do is simply to look through our own eyes, see with the eyes of wholeness, and act with integrity and kindness.

#JonKabatZinn

It’s a Nice Day

Out of Outrage

Image result for georgia aquarium

Out of Outrage

This week I read two articles about people being outraged. One was about the singer, Carrie Underwood, mentioning in a magazine that she was thirty-five years old and that she might be too old for her and her husband to have a lot of children. Fertility rights activists (who knew there was such a thing?) voiced their outrage on Twitter and in other online forums wondering how she could dare make such a statement. The other was about Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson going with his wife and daughter to an aquarium. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and other animal/marine life defenders accused the “Rock” of supporting the harming and captivity of these underwater creatures. Let’s not forget the daily outrage of Trump supporters and never Trump supporters over almost everything the president does or doesn’t do.

Honestly, I need a break. I’m can’t handle all the outrage, negativity, vitriol being spewed out on, it seems, everyone and everything. A woman muses about the difficulty of having a lot of children at her age and a dad spending the day with his family at an aquarium is controversial? It’s as if we are looking for more reasons to be upset and ticked off at things. There are enough bad, evil, wrong, people and events in this world right now that should elicit legitimate outrage. We don’t have to search for more.

If we are outraged at everything then we are outraged at nothing. It is nothing but angry voices screaming at each other and no one hears, nor cares to, what the other is saying. Instead of getting upset and angry about everything, choose what really matters to you and do something about it. If you make a list and a thirty-five-year-old country singer and a movie star are on the top of your list? Maybe you should think harder.

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

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)

Double Back

Image result for freezer door top open

Double Back

Last night, after dinner, Beth wanted a popsicle. I was getting up anyway and told her I’d get her one. I opened the top freezer door on the refrigerator and grabbed two by mistake. One fell to the floor and using the three-second rule I quickly stooped down and picked it up. Unbeknownst to me, the freezer door was swinging back and when I was two-thirds up I whacked the top back of my head on the corner of the freezer door. “OUCH!” It hurt so much I crumpled to the floor rubbing the wounded area. Beth heard me, came and looked at it and thought there would be bruising and soreness. She was right. It never occurred to me until it “hit me” that the door was doubling back. My mind was elsewhere and the freezer door brought me back to reality.

I was listening to someone describe addiction this week and they said; “It gets inside of you. You think you have a handle on it and then you begin to crave it. It comes back again and again and again.” I thought about other things which come around over and over. Grieving the loss of a loved one who has passed on, anger at being taken advantage of, bitterness at being betrayed, the pain of past memories and experiences that hurt us emotionally and physically, drug, alcohol and other addictions, friends who have negative influences on us, wounds which seem to never heal. All of these can cause us to crumple to the floor when they double back into our lives.

There is a needed balance of awareness and acceptance. Awareness is needed because perhaps we can see it coming and side-step the toll it would take on our minds and spirits. Acceptance is important because we are human, are not all-powerful, and difficult and challenging experiences are part of what makes us unique.

It is in this balance we may find wisdom and peace.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Not Yet

Not Yet

A quick word before my phone runs out of juice. We’ve been without electricity for almost four hours. A mighty storm blew through our area a little after 1PM. We have several big limbs down and according to social media there are lots of trees down and other damage in several places.

I’ve made good use of the time. I took a nap, walked outside and snapped a few pictures, tried to calm the Husky down who’s afraid of storms. Almost an hour ago the lights flickered, ceiling fans began to turn and I was thankful. However, everything stopped and so we wait. What else can we do?

It’s amazing how distracted we are every second of the day and only when things come to a full stop do we notice it. So, patiently I’ll be silent in the stillness and attune myself to the breath, the rhythm of a quiet beating heart.

Blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

What You Hear, What You See

Image result for yanny or laurel

What You Hear, What You See

The new debate that is dividing the nation is no longer pro-Trump or Never Trump, democrat or republican, progressive or conservative, not even black and blue dress or white and gold dress. The division now is whether you hear; “Laurel” or “Yanny” when you play the following audio clip; (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDiXQl7grPQ). The numbers are almost even, 53% to 47%.

As I listened to the audio file and the scientific reason behind what and why we hear a certain word I also began reflecting on our brains and how they interpret information. There’s a quote that reads; “You’re unique just like everyone else.” It’s funny but also true. Not one person on this planet has lived the same life. We are all on this path called life but in different, never walked on before places.

I read an article last week about the “version” of ourselves we want others to see and how its impossible to successfully project this image to another. The problem is each person has experienced a myriad of choices, events, experiences, that have shaped who they are and how they see people. In other words, people see us mostly because of who they are not who we try to be. As many people as we know there are this many “versions” of ourselves.

The question isn’t “Laurel or Yanny?” but why do we spend so much time trying to be someone other than ourselves?

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

For the Moms

For the Moms

Not that there’s any doubt but I am not a mom. I do wonder, however, what’s it like to be a mom, a human being capable of growing another human being inside them, and then feeding the offspring with their bodies. It truly is a miracle.

I also know, with a few exceptions, that a mother’s love is staggering when it comes to these little ones she has produced. There are no mountains too high, valleys too low, burdens too heavy, distances too great that she will not travail and overcome for the sake of her children.

Wisdom, in many cultures, including the Hebrew and Judaic, is painted in feminine colors. Too often wisdom gets the short end of the stick compared to justice and strength. Wisdom, however, is like a mother’s love; fierce, unrelenting, overwhelming, and never to be underestimated.

Blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Curiosity

Image result for yard bunny

Curiosity

Last week I wrote about a family of rabbits living under our shed. Yesterday I discovered one of the parents has become braver. I had let the dog out to take care of his business and realized too late there was a bunny in his vicinity. The rabbit watched Trooper as I watched it. It was perfectly still, on high alert, but didn’t move. Finally, our husky moved on and the rabbit relaxed until Trooper came bounding toward the front door ready to come in. It was then the bunny decided to high-tail it back under the porch.

A couple of weeks ago a rabbit ran right in front of Trooper and he casually looked at it and went about his duties. When he was younger he would’ve chased, and probably caught, the four-legged hopper. However, now that he is almost thirteen years old he conserves his energy for playing with us or sniffing the entire yard.

I wondered if the rabbit doesn’t feel afraid because Trooper has never chased it. Does his natural curiosity override his life-saving senses? As someone who lives with high anxiety, I too am “ready to run, fight, freeze” at the slightest threat. However, after I realize certain people aren’t a threat to harm, insult, shun me I relax and become curious enough to discover connection and relationship.

In a fast-paced busy world, it’s hard to take time to establish connections and build friendships. Hopefully, those of us who are more hesitant won’t be left behind.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Spoilers

Spoilers

I am sitting outside a movie theater waiting on Beth to arrive so we can go see the new Avengers movie; Infinity War. The movie came out a week ago and though we both wanted to see it we just haven’t had the opportunity. Its been rough avoiding spoilers. They are everywhere! The websites I visit, the commercials on TV and the net, the friends who saw it over the weekend. Making sure I stay as unspoiled as possible takes a lot of work. Finally, in a few hours I won’t have to worry about it.

This afternoon, before getting ready to come I thought about the discipline of watching over our thoughts. Negative ones have a way of penetrating our brains and making themselves at home. Often we allow judgmental, insulting, harsh and harmful thoughts about ourselves and others to spoil our lives and the lives of others.

We each can be discerning in what we look at, allow entrance, and take up residence in our hearts, mind and spirits.

Blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Truth

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Truth

Last night I watched the “The Post” starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. The film is described as; “thrilling, based on a true story. Determined to uphold the nation’s civil liberties, Katharine Graham (Streep), publisher of The Washington Post, and hard-nosed editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks) join forces to expose a decades-long cover-up. But the two must risk their careers –– and their freedom –– to bring truth to light in this powerful film (https://www.foxmovies.com/movies/the-post).” It was an interesting movie dealing with an historic and chaotic time in this nation that I am too young to remember. I did find myself cheering Streep’s and Hank’s characters on as they took a case of the freedom of the press all the way to the Supreme Court. I won’t spoil the ending but it was a good watch and worth anyone’s time who is interested in an event that would directly impact how the press covered the Watergate break-in  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watergate_scandal) and news moving forward to the present.

What I’ve wrestled with since watching the movie is; “News exists in a vacuüm. The lives of the reporters, editors, and publishers are swayed by their political leanings, experiences, preferences, and worldviews.” We as the readers face the same limitation in our consumption of news. There are so many places to receive our news today that we can stay perpetually stuck in a bubble where only our viewpoints are legitimized. When this happens we cease being open to new ideas or our current ones being scrutinized and challenged. We become entombed, trapped by our own beliefs and limited knowledge. The truth isn’t important anymore only our belief of what is true.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Stuck Behind

Image result for back of fedex truck

Stuck Behind

This morning, on my way to a community group for dads, I turned left on a road and ended up stuck behind a FedEx truck. He was going slow and I couldn’t tell if it was him or if there was a slow-poke in front of him. I don’t like being behind large semi-trucks, vans with no windows or box trucks because you can’t see what’s ahead. We were on a two-lane road with no place to pass and no way of knowing how many vehicles I’d have to get in front of if I tried passing. I was stuck. The FedEx truck was intermittently breaking taking me by surprise and frustrating me. So, I took a breath and let off the gas and gave the obstacle in my way, blocking my view, more room. We finally made it to a four-lane road and I passed him noting there were a few cars in front of him that he had been stuck behind.

It was a good reminder that at times, in certain seasons, we can’t make the progress we’d like to make. For whatever reason we are stuck and the way forward is hidden from view. We try to fight it, force it, make it work the way we want it to but this only keeps us frustrated. Allowing for slowness, even stillness gives us a chance to catch our breath and trust that when its time the way forward will come into view.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Invasion

Image result for lady bugs light fixtures

Invasion

The past few weeks there’s been an invasion of Middle Tennessee! The multi-legged, orange-colored, flying insects called Ladybugs. They’re everywhere and this morning they kept stealing my attention away from the pastor as he spoke from the Book of Saint John, chapter 12. They were collecting near every light fixture which was about 10 feet from the pews the people were sitting in. Every now and then one or ten would fly across the room landing on someone. One tried to use my neck as a resting place but he didn’t stay there long. I watched hundreds on one light fixture as they crawled around it seemingly looking for a way in. I am not sure if they were attracted to the heat or the light. Of course, once in it was nearly impossible for them to get out. They very thing they were after was actually a trap. They would die there getting what they wanted but not able to get out.

I reflected on the Ladybug’s fate and how it also mirrored our own fascination with those things in life which promise safety, warmth, and light. We become fixated on things which we believe will make life better, bring satisfaction and enlightenment only to find out once we’ve achieved or possessed them it was an illusion. Wisdom teaches that what is worth having comes to us. It is our humility, our acceptance that we are not able to control or manipulate love, peace, kindness and a grace-filled life that makes it possible for these to permeate our minds, emotions, and spirits and bring a unique warmth and light to our cold and dark world.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Groovy

Groovy

Today I am thankful for “shoulder rumble strips” which are; “used primarily to reduce run-off-road collisions. They alert distracted or drowsy drivers that they are leaving the roadway or crossing the centerline of the road.

This morning I awoke before sun up, to take a trip. It wasn’t especially early since the sun doesn’t come out as soon as it did before the time change over the weekend. I didn’t feel tired. I try not to be distracted when I drive but most people feel this way. As I drove down a stretch of interstate the car drifted and before I knew it I was riding on the shoulder rumble strips. They make an awful racket and the dog, asleep in the back of the car, popped his head up as if to ask; “What are you doing?!?!” I yelled back at him that everything was okay and he laid back down. Those shoulder strips can be annoying but I also see how they can be a lifesaver alerting a fatigued or inattentive driver.  I didn’t feel I was either of those but admit they worked and caused me to be more careful to stay in my lane.

It’s good to have people and things which “keep us in our lane” and help us be aware, mindful, so we can continue on our journey and not be stopped or wander off in a different direction. I am thankful for those who assist me in staying the course and alerting me when I begin to drift.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Difference

Difference

This rainy Monday morning I had several errands to run. It was messy, wet and cold. Parking cars, dodging rain drops, running in and out of buildings is not a fun time. Finally, after it was all done I headed home making the comment; “There would have to be a big difference in this nasty weather for me to even think about going out again!” Unloaded the car, ate lunch, and fell asleep in a recliner. Woke up and the skies had parted and the sun was shining. I smiled to myself thinking; “What a difference stillness, rest makes!”

Still decided not to go anywhere but my outlook on the day was much improved.

Blessings,

@BrianLoging (Twitter)

thewannabesaint.com

Comfort

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Comfort

I drove my wife’s car on this cool Wednesday. I enjoy my truck but it doesn’t have one of the greatest inventions in the history of humankind; heated seats.  With the flip of a button, the warmth of coils embedded in the chairs begins to make its way to my shoulders, back and posterior. Its one of those luxuries you don’t realize you “need” it until you use it.

As the heat of the car and the seats began to permeate my body, and ever thinning hairline, I thought about the creature comforts of life. Where do we draw the line at things which we need versus things we like.  A roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, food on a table are things which we need, can’t live without. Television, internet (yes, even the internet), automobiles, computers, phones, and a host of other “things we think we can’t live without.”

Wisdom has a way of winnowing our list of life-items showing us what we truly need, simplifying and emphasizing what’s important and what’s not.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Smoldering

Smoldering

On Saturday afternoon I burned a pile of branches, old newspapers, and other miscellaneous items. The smell of the ashes and leftover debris lingered in the air the next day. I had forgotten to grab an old wooden rocking chair out of the reading room which also needed to be disposed of. When I noticed it Sunday afternoon I wondered if the smoldering ash would still be hot enough to do anything. I took the chair out, broke it into several pieces and put some under the coals, which were still a faint orange, and put the rest in a pile on top. I checked it after a while and noticed the smoke had increased. About an hour later the wood was ablaze with a good flame. It didn’t take long to consume it once the fire restarted. Not too long afterward the chair was gone.

I wrote last week about the struggles I have when February rolls around. Many years have passed but the layers of hurt, anger, and uncertainty still lay buried, ready to ignite when fuel is added. What I try to do, instead of dwelling on the past, is not feed the flames. When I am aware and notice my mind drifting back to the place of pain I find a place to breathe. I close my eyes and take deep breaths. I remind myself of the truth that I cannot change the past but I can be present in the now. Does it always work? No. Does it work? Yes. Maybe one day I will be healed, maybe not, but I don’t want to give up on living today because of the difficulties of yesterday.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Big Ol’ Pile

Image result for pile of laundry

Big Ol’ Pile

In our second bedroom/exercise room, we have a queen size bed. At least we think we do. Most of the time it is covered in clean clothes. We call the ever-growing pile; “Mount Clothesmore.” Eventually, we decide to scale the mountain and fold the clothes. This was my chore today. I don’t like folding clothes. I think it’s because it never ends. You fold, put them up, wear them, wash and dry them, and then back on the bed. The cyclic nature of it all can make you feel as if it doesn’t matter whether the chore gets done or not. To prove my point, when I finished today Beth said; “There are more clothes in the dryer!” See? Never ending. Most of life is this way. You get up and do the same things over and over. Eating, working, exercise (maybe), chores, bed. Repeat. It can begin to feel as if nothing matters.

How do we keep going? How do we find meaning in this Big Ol’ Pile of cyclic activities we call; “life“? Being mindful helps. Trying to be aware of the differences each unique day and moment brings. There are new things to see, to experience. Things which give us a one of a kind, never done before, never to be repeated, life.

Perhaps, the question to ask ourselves is; “Am I ready? Am I looking? Am I expecting to see, to find, that new thing which makes all the other mundane stuff worth doing?

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Investing

Investing –

This morning I had a meeting with another community organization. I was presenting a new opportunity to work with fathers in our area and hoped they would help us. I have presented ideas, data, skills and a host of other information, to more organizations and ministries than I can count. I’ve never been asked to leave or had a bad experience but have had the occasional person I was talking to be looking at their phone, out the window or at their watch. Those presentations and discussion following seem to drag on forever. I’ve also had the organization be excited about the opportunity to partner with us. Most, however, are somewhere in the middle.

Today’s meeting was the exception because the woman whom I was meeting with was excited and had some great ideas as to how we could make part of our plan work at her location. She paid attention, listened intently, took notes, asked questions and made me feel welcomed and not rushed to finish so she could start doing something else. In other words, she was fully present in our time together. It was awesome.

It was a great reminder the difference we can make in other people’s lives if we invest our time, our kindness, our respect, and our lives in theirs.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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