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Found

Found

I had a friend who used to tell me she felt guilty for falling asleep when praying her nightly prayers. “God must be so disappointed in me! I can’t even stay awake to say goodnight to him.” I knew her heart was full of love and a desire to please God. I listened and then I asked her a question; “What do you think God would like more? To hear you say; ‘Goodnight.’ or for you to fall asleep in his arms?'” She smiled and understood that oftentimes we make our relationship with God more complicated than it should be.

The contemplative way tells us that when we are chopping wood, it is with God. When we eat a meal, it is with God. When sitting quietly, it is with God. All things we do can be with an awareness that God isn’t impressed with our showmanship, rules and regulations, dogma and definitions. God longs for us to realize where we are; he is and our awareness of his presence, our understanding he desires to be with us is the meeting of every need we have now and forever.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Aware of Surroundings


Aware of Surroundings

On my way to a meeting this morning I was passing through a town with several four way stops. I was also behind an elder gentleman who not only fully stopped at each sight but lingered and proceeded slowly, very slowly, to the next. After a while my patience was wearing thin and I was thinking; “Please just go faster!” We approached the final four way stop, still at a snail’s pace. Trying to mind push him through the four way stop I followed him closely. Half-way in the intersection I realized I didn’t look to see if someone was waiting to go after the elder and should’ve gone before me. Sure enough there was a driver watching the knucklehead (me) go without waiting his turn. I waved at the person, mouthing; “Sorry!” And feeling embarrassed as I slinked through.

My problem wasn’t the elderly man in front of me it was that I allowed someone else to distract me and lose my focus. Luckily the waiting driver was aware of me when I was not.

Blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Small Things

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Small Things

An Israeli woman accidentally stepped on a Garden Snail and instead of ignoring it, kicking it to the side, wiping off her feet in disgust, took the small creature to the veterinarian to save its life. (Full story and link below).

It’s the smallest things which make the biggest difference. We forget this wisdom lesson so easily. We are wrapped up in our world, being the center of our own universe, the main character, and hero of our own story. Too often the small, insignificant, unnoticed and nobodies are ignored and unseen.

A friend asked me today; “Is there an objective reality?” I answered; “I don’t think so. There is the reality we exist in which for us seems real but is in fact shaped by nature, nurture, our experiences and expectations. We believe it’s real but in truth, our reality is no more real than another person’s.” I continued; “I don’t believe we can find an objective reality but we can be aware of our own limited knowledge, biases, beliefs and agendas. When we become self-aware we are able to accept that which we cannot know and humility is the path to wisdom.

A small snail crawling on the ground. An accidental injury. A reaction that seems extreme to some is empathy and kindness in this woman’s reality. To be aware of the small things, like snails and our own existence is to see and understand more than most.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Israeli Woman Accidentally Steps on Garden Snail, Takes It to the Vet to Save Its Life

(http://www.odditycentral.com/news/israeli-woman-accidentally-steps-on-garden-snail-takes-it-to-the-vet-to-save-its-life.html)

The life of one garden snail may not mean very much in the grand scheme of things, but for one Israeli woman who accidentally stepped on one, cracking its brittle shell, it was enough to warrant a visit to the local vet clinic.

It’s quite in rainy in Tel Aviv this time of year, and moisture-loving garden snails are very active. They sometimes venture outside their natural habitat, and, unfortunately, some of them get stepped on by careless humans. Most of the time the snail get squashed, but, in the most fortunate cases, only their shells get damaged. If they don’t suffer major injuries to their bodies, snails will usually fix their mobile homes by drawing in calcium, but one lady in the Israeli capital didn’t want to leave anything to chance after accidentally stepping on a slow-crawling snail.

Rather than simply ignoring the snail, the woman meticulously picked up all the pieces of its broken shell and took it to a local animal clinic. She was lucky enough to find a dedicated medical staff who, instead of brushing off her pleas for help to handle what other vets would probably consider more important cases, spent hours gluing the snail’s shell back together, using epoxy.

Photos posted on the Facebook page of Tel Aviv’s HaClinica animal clinic, show staff patiently gluing the shell to its original shape, while the “naked” mollusc patiently waits to move back into its home. “For the broken shell, we need a combination of patience and finesse with epoxy glue” the clinic wrote in a post. “We make sure the glue stays outside the shell and does not penetrate the inner patch.”

Luckily, their hard work paid off and they were able to not only fix the snail’s shell, but also mount it on the slimy owner. The operation was a success, and even though the snail will still need a few weeks, or even months, to fully recuperate, photos of it feasting on a bed of tasty vegetables in a glass tank suggest he’s doing just fine.

The staff of HaClinica have taken a liking to their tiny patient, and even named it Chevy. He’ll remain under their watchful eye as he recovers, and animal lovers are welcome to visit him during his recuperation.

 The life of one garden snail may not mean very much in the grand scheme of things, but for one Israeli woman who accidentally stepped on one, cracking its brittle shell, it was enough to warrant a visit to the local vet clinic.

It’s quite in rainy in Tel Aviv this time of year, and moisture-loving garden snails are very active. They sometimes venture outside their natural habitat, and, unfortunately, some of them get stepped on by careless humans. Most of the time the snail get squashed, but, in the most fortunate cases, only their shells get damaged. If they don’t suffer major injuries to their bodies, snails will usually fix their mobile homes by drawing in calcium, but one lady in the Israeli capital didn’t want to leave anything to chance after accidentally stepping on a slow-crawling snail.

Rather than simply ignoring the snail, the woman meticulously picked up all the pieces of its broken shell and took it to a local animal clinic. She was lucky enough to find a dedicated medical staff who, instead of brushing off her pleas for help to handle what other vets would probably consider more important cases, spent hours gluing the snail’s shell back together, using epoxy.

Photos posted on the Facebook page of Tel Aviv’s HaClinica animal clinic, show staff patiently gluing the shell to its original shape, while the “naked” mollusc  patiently waits to move back into its home. “For the broken shell, we need a combination of patience and finesse with epoxy glue” the clinic wrote in a post. “We make sure the glue stays outside the shell and does not penetrate the inner patch.”

Luckily, their hard work paid off and they were able to not only fix the snail’s shell, but also mount it on the slimy owner. The operation was a success, and even though the snail will still need a few weeks, or even months, to fully recuperate, photos of it feasting on a bed of tasty vegetables in a glass tank suggest he’s doing just fine.

The staff of HaClinica have taken a liking to their tiny patient, and even named it Chevy. He’ll remain under their watchful eye as he recovers, and animal lovers are welcome to visit him during his recuperation.

Bad Mood

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Bad Mood

I got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. I didn’t realize it at the time. I woke up, fixed my coffee and had breakfast, got ready for church, went to a worship service and when it was over ambled to the truck and waited on Beth who had stopped to talk with someone. When she came outside she said; “You’re not in a good mood.” “What makes you say that?” I replied. She then listed things I had done, or not done, since getting up. I’d let out several exasperated breaths at different things which aggravated me, sat with my arms crossed during the worship service, complained sharply about a remark someone had made.

I was only looking for one or two things not a list of almost everything I’d done since pulling off the covers and putting my feet on the floor several hours ago! However, I couldn’t disagree with any of the items she listed nor could I argue with her conclusion that I wasn’t in a good mood. “You’re right,” I said to her. “I’m not sure why, it’s not you, but I haven’t been in a good mood today.

We went home, had lunch, and took naps. I’m not sure my mood is any different now but at least I am aware enough to watch my thoughts, my tongue, and my actions. Not being in a good mood isn’t bad, or a sin, or negative. It should, however, make one more vigilant about reactions to what happens around you.

Bad moods happen to everyone. How well we adjust to, handle, them is the difference between being in a bad mood and having a bad day, week or life.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Good Eye

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Good Eye

Last week I had an important meeting. During it, a woman walked into the room to give the person I was meeting with a message. As she delivered it the other noticed the woman was shaking. She asked; “Are you okay? You’re really shaking!” The person said she had a lot going on and was trying to fit all of it into a small amount of time. She then left the room and my meeting continued. Afterwards, I saw the woman who had been shaking and told her I hoped she had a good day.

As I went to my next appointment I thought about both the woman and the fact that I didn’t notice her shaking at all. I totally missed it. I try to be aware of people and their emotional, mental and spiritual states. I even try to notice new glasses, haircuts, and changes people make but not this time. I realized it swept by me because all of my focus was on the “important” meeting. The person I met with was at the same meeting but didn’t allow it to consume all of her attention and she was able to show concern to someone in need.

It was a good reminder that true awareness is finding the balance between paying attention to ourselves and others.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

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Which Way?

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Which Way?

Today I gave a lecture at the Community Center for Kid’s Justice conference in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Pulling out of the driveway I made sure I had everything needed. To get to the interstate I was going to keep left on the road coming from our house. Normally, on Mondays, I bear to the right which takes me to the office. Driving down the road I was running over a few things in my mind and without thinking went right instead of staying left. It took me a couple of miles to realize what I’d done and turned around. Shaking my head I made sure, when I arrived at the fork in the road, to keep going in the correct direction, the one which would take me to my destination.

Wisdom teaches us that absent-mindedness won’t get us where we need to go. We must remember to stay focused on where we are going or we’ll never get where we need to be.

I also thought of some of the men I work with each week. They’ve grown up and have certain ways of thinking, speaking, doing, being. They often don’t know there’s another way to go, how to turn their life around, go in the right direction. What they need, long for, is someone to help them see there is another way.

Each of us must keep the destination in mind, follow the compass placed deep in our spirits, if we are to arrive at the place where we were born to go and stay for eternity.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Slow, Steady, Still

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Slow, Steady, Still

Today I worked on restoring the section of the porch I demolished earlier this week. It wasn’t complicated but did require some precise cuts to ensure it fit correctly. One of the trickiest for me was cutting a large eight-foot board exactly in half. I’ve never been good at making a straight cut and many scrap wood pieces have been made because of my lack of ability to stay on track.

Today, however, my Mrs. brought out a Chalk box (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chalk_line), which has a string covered with chalk, that you can unravel and use to create a straight line over a long distance. We measured a few times to make sure we had the marks right on either end of the board, unraveled the line in the Chalk box, positioned it, snapped it and produced a nice, easy to follow guideline for me. I began sawing, took my time, and exacted a nice clean, straight cut. I exclaimed to Beth; “Not bad eh?” She smiled and said; “You did good!”

After we were done I reflected on the Chalk box line. Not all of life’s path is so straight and easy to follow. There are seasons when the path is had to find, the way hard to know and you hope for a sign or anything to point you in the right direction.

Wisdom tells us that patience, awareness, and the willingness to travel without wavering is key when the way is known just as stillness is imperative when we need to wait for the way to reveal itself. Both are vital to making our way on life’s journey and arrive at the place of goodness and light.

blessings,
BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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If Only…

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My winter semester incarcerated father classes come to an end this week. It’s always a bitter-sweet time saying goodbye to the dads. On one hand they’ve put up with me for three months, earned their certificates through hard work, deep introspection and have taken the first steps into becoming the men they and they’re families need them to be. On the other hand I won’t be able to see them as often, keep up with their lives in the same way and know there is a distinct possibility the worst of incarcerated life can get the better of them.

We spend the last session going over the most important lessons of the past 12 weeks; self-awareness, communication, responsibility, self-care and more. We also spend a few moments remembering; “Change begins with us.” “We must be the change we want to see in the world.” It’s one of the realizations that can make the difference in these men living inside or outside the walls of the jail. It’s easy to pass the buck, ignore the responsibility, place the blame at the feet of anyone or everything else. I tell them; “If a good man is made from his good choices, then no one is responsible for his destiny but him.

A good and wise reminder for us all. We will never find peace, purpose, awareness of self outside until we’ve found it within.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
http://www.thewannabesaint.com

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Move to the Rhythm

It’s happening quickly. I noticed it mowing the faded green grass this week, the brownish leaves which are beginning to descend on the driveway, the sun setting earlier each evening. Summer is coming to an end. It is the middle of August and in a few weeks we will welcome fall.

Beth told me last night that according to meteorologists we are in for an unseasonably cool winter. Seasons never stop to ask permission to come they just force their way in without care or thought to how we feel or which we’d prefer.

I responded to another author this morning who wrote a reflective article on dealing with simplicity and the importance of appreciating what we have instead of being obsessed with replacing the old and familiar with something new.

I said; “The rhythms of life are important to a mindful, simple and monastic life style. It’s why monastics and oblates try to pray the Psalms, rise, eat, work, read at certain times, do the same thing, in the same way. It’s about being able to sense life as more than the passing of time but as a way to be in tune with the heartbeat of God… 

The Rule of Saint Benedict instructs that each monk be given a tunic for winter, summer, paper and a writing utensil, a bed for sleep. No gifts unless approved by the Abbott. They share meals, only a small allotment of drink. Saint Benedict believed the less we possessed, the more God could possess our hearts, minds, spirits. As oblates we try our best to honor this simple, stable, satisfying way of life.

So many times we are too busy, too hectic in our lives. We miss the signs of seasons changing; the warm sun retreating and nature preparing for winter’s embrace. We lose our awareness that life has a pattern, is never stagnant, always moving, transitioning.

There are many distractions of our divided attention. Simplicity, mindfulness, awareness are not primarily about being wary of material things but ensuring our spirits are not dulled by them and are instead attuned to the rhythm of time and seasons, the pulse of nature, which reveals the heartbeat of God.

blessings,
@brianloging
http://www.thewannabesaint.com

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Deeper than Now

I’ve been thinking about my friend who I wrote an article on last week. The cute little varmint who’s been tearing up my lawn with his sharp claws and pointy snout. I haven’t seen him in a few days but if my dog’s constant sniffing is any indication he’s been in the area excavating for more grubs.

As I reflect upon the armadillo and his keen awareness of what he’s searching for I wonder if we can be so invested in what we want that we miss other things? Can we be so completely focused on what we’re doing, fully invested in the need of the moment, that we are left vulnerable?

The day I spied the prehistoric bug and worm eater I made several noises to try to get him to stop digging but he never heard me. I honked my truck horn and slammed the door several times before he became antsy and eventually sauntered away. Could I have snuck up on him? Could I have hurt or captured him if so desired? Was he so engrossed in the task he was oblivious to all else?

What is the difference in being mindful, fully in the present and being so focused on what we’re doing that we become unmindful?

Perhaps the difference is all the difference. When our attention is our appetite, needs and wants, what we believe is required to be happy, content, satisfied, we are only capable of scratching the surface.

It is when we dig deeper, past the exterior and into the seldom explored interior that we feed body, mind and spirit. When these three are nurtured all we do, each moment, will be infused with greater significance and we become mindfully aware of all that surrounds us.

blessings,
@brianloging
http://www.thewannabesaint.com

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