Blog Archives

Peace of Mind

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“In the midst of it all, in the deepest place, beyond my anxious thoughts and chaotic life, at the heart of who I am, in the stillness I am found and find; peace.” – bdl

I pray this prayer often. Even if it’s just a breath, I know in that breath is this prayer.

I have always been a “heavy thinker“. I analyze, critique, formulate, imagine, project, envision. In many ways it’s a gift but it’s also a curse. I can’t turn my brain off, it goes in a thousand different directions. Sometimes I can steer it, other times I’m just along for the ride.

When I sense my train of thoughts are running away with me I try to calm my mind. I remind myself that the Spirit doesn’t rush it guides me; to a place of safety, truth and peace.

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

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Beauty of Nothing

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Silence. There’s nothing like it.  After a week full of meetings, one on ones, conferences and agendas, a day of quiet and isolation does a heart and mind good. There’s something about doing nothing, being still, shutting down that restores, rejuvenates, reminds me that when I’m too busy, too occupied, stretched too thin and pulled in too many directions I stop being and become a doing.

When you long to be an advocate, a doer of good, a maker of peace, a bringer of justice, a healer in a hurting and broken world you also open yourself to exhaustion and, if you’re not careful, stamp yourself with an expiration date.

No one can give without receiving, work without relief, serve without rest.

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

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Not Alone

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Sometimes we simply need someone to be with us. Not fix us, be with us. There’s a difference.

Some of us are fighting battles most people don’t know about or would even understand. We have demons, monsters, ghosts, that haunt us, whisper/scream negative and nasty words to our spirits and minds. The constant conflict drains us, exhausts us. These enemies have walked beside us since a traumatic experience, difficult upbringing, abusive relationships. Bio-chemical imbalances, genetics and other reasons may be responsible for the war which rages within.

We’ve tried therapy, prayer, meds, behavior modification, annointings, a combination of all these and more. The blessed ones find permanent freedom, some temporary relief, while others continue to suffer with little more than hope that something, someday might “fix”, slay the demons/monsters within.

Our hearts are quickly drawn to those with injuries, wounds, hurts we can see. There are, however, many among us who suffer secretly, inside themselves, who need care, compassion and comfort. They’re scared because mental illness and disorders are stigmatized and misunderstood.

What they long for, more than anything, is not for you try and fix them, but for you to show them they aren’t alone.

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

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Its Changing

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I saw my first daffodil today. A day when we’re forecasted to receive another winter storm a group of them were huddled together on a hill being blown around by the cold front making its way through the area.

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This has been a long, cold, hard winter season and I am ready for spring. I know it’s coming. I am certain regardless of the chill in the air, the snow and ice that’s on its way, things are changing. It is nice, however, to be reminded that no season, no matter how difficult, goes on forever.

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

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How to Grieve

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I spoke with a friend yesterday who is doing the difficult task of deciding what to do with a deceased loved ones belongings. There are so many pictures, cards, papers, other objects that flood her mind, emotions with joy and grief but she realizes that one can only keep so many memories that take up actual physical space. We talked about the grieving process and how it’s different for each person. Some folks are able to tackle this difficult task seemingly detached while others pause and grieve with each and every item.

There is no right way to mourn, to feel the ache and void of someone who’s no longer physically with us. We must proceed at our own pace, step away for a while when the grief overwhelms.  We heal by remembering the one we still love and miss and this takes time. We allow ourselves to experience their life through memories and sorrow. We mourn in a unique way that brings honor to them and peace to our spirits.

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

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A Waze Off

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Waze is a terrific app… most of the time. I do a lot of driving and it’s my “go to” GPS delivering system but today it was off… way off. I wanted to go home today after attending a conference in Washington, DC. From the hotel parking lot I entered my address and told Waze to take me there. It guided me through the busy streets of our nation’s capital with no issues and then proceeded to lose its mind. It had me turn right when the exit was left, merging onto roads that didn’t exist, lost my location. Finally, exasperated, I turned Waze off and recovered my bearings. I turned around, found the correct road, and once again was headed in the right direction.

Waze started working again later but the whole experience was a great reminder that sometimes our trust in who and what is guiding us can be misplaced. If we want to make it home we need to be willing to turn off our influences and be steered in a different direction.

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

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Changing the Same

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Over the last three days I’ve listened to inspired speakers, passionate researchers and committed community workers talk about how to impact individuals, families and communities. They’ve spoken about the need for new vision, renewed effort and the need for everyone to have a healthy, positive, long life. I’ve spoken with people of different races, from widely varying backgrounds and locations, men and women who all believe they can change individuals, families, communities, the nation and the world.

However, the presenters also reminded us that people will doubt our resolve, refuse to help, actively try to halt progress and keep things the same. For some change isn’t wanted or desired. Challenging folk’s worldviews, cultural paradigms is frightening and there are those who would rather live in a broken world.

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

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How We See Things

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A trending debate on the internet the last few days has been whether or not a dress is blue and black or white and gold. According to science the answer turns out to be both.

I was listening to a speaker this morning at a conference I am attending in Washington, DC. He asked; “What makes a good father?”  “The answer’, he continued, ‘determines how many men you can help become better dads.”

This holds true in other aspects of our lives. How we define a good person, good behavior, a good attitude, even a good culture or group of people affects our capacity to love and treat others with respect and compassion.

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

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Fading Beauty

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I spent most of the day traveling to Washington, DC to attend the Healthy Start Spring Conference, a national gathering of organizations committed to help communities and families in need.

On the almost twelve hour drive through Tennessee and Virginia there was a lot of snow, plenty of cows, farmhouses and many dilapidated barns. They were picturesque even in their decay. As I passed them I reflected on a time, not long ago, when they were first erected, used for numerous purposes, perhaps even the envy of neighbors. Now a good wind might topple them over and they’re not much good except for housing a few stray animals and a nice size bonfire.

I also reflected on how we are similar to these old buildings.

As the wise prophet Isaiah said;

“What shall I tell you? I will remind you that humankind is like the grass that dies away, and all its beauty will fade like dying flowers. The grass withers, the flower fades beneath the breath of God. And so it is with you fragile ones.”

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

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On the Road Ahead

On the way back from a County Community Action Board today I spotted an unknown object behind a guardrail on the side of a road. It looked like some sort of small animal and I watched it carefully unsure of what it was going to do. Squirrels, foxes, skunks, dogs, cats and other critters can be unpredictable when they’re crossing busy roadways. Unfortunately, there have been times when animals have decided to turn around, stop, dart across the road and I’ve heard the dreaded; “thump!” of one that should’ve zigged but zagged instead. The closer I got, however, I noticed the object wasn’t moving and when I was almost on top of it, I saw it was just an old cardboard box and not a potential casualty.

The road of life is filled with the unknown. We spy something, unsure of what it is, and begin to play out scenarios and “what ifs” in our minds before we can even identify the possible threat. We worry, anticipate the worst and relive old hurts and regrets . While there have been and will be unexpected dangers, loss and adjustments made as we travel life’s road we must first see clearly before we know how to proceed and what we need to do.

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

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Together

A presenter at a seminar I attended today showed this video to illustrate the way a movement works, spreads, gains momentum. She spoke about a family advocacy group she is a part of that began with a few dedicated people and now impacts hundreds of families. As she told her story I was reminded of a quote by Margaret Mead;

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

We live in a world full of difficulties and hardships. I read an article this morning on Ending Child Poverty that laid out 9 very doable steps to reduce the number of children who live day-to-day without adequate healthcare, food, clothing and education by 60%! It could be done because other countries, Great Britain for example, have accomplished the feat. The question wasn’t “can we do it?” but; “do we care enough to get it done?”

It’s easy to become overwhelmed by global dysfunction. We wonder; “how can we ever hope to make a real difference?” The answer is…together.

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

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the Path of Nowhere

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Sometimes you just feel lost, that no matter what you do, where you go, it doesn’t seem to be the right direction. Wandering in circles, dead ends, detours lead you chasing dreams, passions, purposes which will never be caught. These seasons of life can be draining, depressing and deadening. Our search only makes us ask more questions, our quest for stillness stirs up deep uncertainties and our restlessness plunges us into a dark abyss. We are nowhere.

The journey of self, the discovery of true life begins when we reach that place where we cannot return to what, who we were when we started. It is an uncomfortable, unsettling place and only from nowhere do we understand where we need to go.

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

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Melting Away

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A warm front is moving through today melting the ice from the winter storm that’s plagued Tennessee for most of the week. The wind blows mightily causing trees to shake and shed their icy coats like a dog after an unwanted bath.

I don’t like wintry weather especially when it brings ice. Ice lingers, refusing to budge, making driving, walking, going outside your front door, dangerous. However, like all weather systems, there’s nothing I can do about it. Nature, possibly more than all other wisdom’s teachers, is my most ruthless instructor. It mocks my lack of control, laughs at my frustration.

So, I wait, listening to the drops of water as ice dissolves away, accepting my powerlessness and knowing it is the path to peace.

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

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Weeping for Our Sin

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A brother questioned Abba Poemen in this way, ‘My thoughts trouble me, making me put my sins aside, and concern myself with my brother’s faults.’

The old man told him the following story about Abba Dioscorus, ‘In his cell he wept over himself, while his disciple was sitting in another cell. When the latter came to see the old man he asked him, “Father, why are you weeping?” “I am weeping over my sins,” the old man answered him. Then his disciple said, “You do not have any sins, Father.” The old man replied, “Truly, my child, if I were allowed to see my sins, three or four men would not be enough to weep for them.”

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Not Alone

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I heard someone say today; “Living is just too depressing. Turning on the TV, logging on to the internet, going out of the house and you’re bound to read, hear or be a bearer of bad news.” I wanted to disagree but with all the bad things happening it’s a tough argument to make.

I am a believer in a peace, love and grace that’s deeper than all the chaos the world assaults us with but there are days I want to climb the highest mountain, scream angrily at the top my lungs; “ENOUGH ALREADY! STOP IT!” Then I wonder who would listen? The ones with the open ears and spirits are those who are already bringing light, help and hope to this dark and dreary world.

So I take breath, force a smile and take comfort in the truth; I’m not alone.

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

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Light and Patience

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We finally dug out from the ice storm that covered Tennessee Sunday night and Monday. The ice was three inches thick on the windshield this morning. As much as I tried I couldn’t get the wipers free without damaging them. I chipped away here, a little more there and finally decided the sunlight would have to do the rest. When I arrived at the office I parked with the windshield facing the sun and waited. Several hours later I began working on the wipers again. It still wasn’t easy but eventually they were ice free.

Sometimes in life we are trapped and long for freedom. We try and rid ourselves of those dark, cold things which hold us in their grips but cannot break free. Wisdom tells us that sometimes effort, willpower, desire isn’t enough. There are seasons, situations which require a willingness to let light shine on these cold, dark places and the patience to let freedom come to us.

Blessings,
@BrianLoging
http://www.thewannabesaint.com
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If It Writes, It’s Perfect

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I had a professor in college who explained to me how to be authentically spiritual. He took a pen out of his pocket and asked me to describe it. I responded that it was; “scratched, dented and worn.” He countered the pen was “perfect.” He proceeded to take off the cap and began writing on a piece of paper.

The pen is perfect because it writes. The outside may have blemishes, scratches, not be pleasing to look at but the purpose of the pen is to write. If it writes, it’s a perfect pen.”

It is the same with us as we navigate this spiritual path called life. We have imperfections, deep scars, sometimes the outside isn’t very appealing, but if we’re seeking, willing to be used, desire inwardly to be drawn deeper to a place of stillness, peace and love we’re exactly who, what and where we need to be.

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

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Be Kind… Always

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I was speaking with a friend today about a battle that I’ve been fighting for a long time. No matter how many days, seasons pass the temptation to get pulled back into a war of egos and wills seems ever present. In spite of the truth that no one wins a war of ego the urge to fight screams “to war!”

Each person we encounter is fighting a battle, pushing back a demon, overcoming an obstacle, kicking a habit, struggling just to stay alive. They may look normal, calm, like they’re keeping it together but inside they’re simply trying to make it through the day.

Be kind. Oftentimes one word  or action can help a person keep standing or make them want to jump off a cliff.

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

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Where the Universe is Found

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There are days when it’s good, healing even, to do nothing. Times when a restful, no pressure day is a balm to body, mind and soul.

This world takes a lot out of us. Appointments, schedules, phone calls, texts, needs, demands, mount and sit squarely on the shoulders of our spirits. We rush and hurry so often if we aren’t careful we come to believe movement, harried, restlessness is normal, natural.

To be able to stop, catch our breaths, allow life to slow down enough and remind ourselves that there is more than the ticking of a clock, the doing of a task.

We were made to live, experience. Wisdom teaches us that the whole universe is found in a single blade of grass, a drop of rain, a breath, each moment.

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

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Fear of Being Nothing

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“He who is spiritually “born” as a mature identity is liberated from the enclosing womb of myth and prejudice. He learns to think for himself, guided no longer by the dictates of need and by the systems and processes designed to create artificial needs and then “satisfy” them.

This emancipation can take two forms: first that of the active life, which liberates itself from enslavement to necessity by considering and serving the needs of others, without thought of personal interest or return. And second, the contemplative life, which must not be construed as an escape from time and matter, from social responsibility and from the life of sense, but rather, as an advance into solitude and the desert, confrontation with poverty and the void, a renunciation of the empirical self, in the presence of death, and nothingness, in order to overcome the ignorance and error that spring from the fear of being nothing.”

Thomas Merton,
Raids on the Unspeakable, pp. 17-18

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Who We Are vs What We Want

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This morning I attended a seminar on Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). It occurs when a mom uses and/or abuses drugs during pregnancy and the baby is born addicted. We watched a video of a baby detoxing, complete with shaking, screaming and other withdrawal behaviors. It was a difficult but powerful reminder that who we are, what we do, can have devastating consequences upon others.

A mark of wisdom and maturity is the ability to consider how our choices and attitudes impact those we encounter on life’s path. It is the willingness to relinquish our rights, desires, preferences so that others can benefit. It is the truth that who we are matters more than what we want.

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

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