Blog Archives

Waking Up

Image result for wake up

Waking Up

A blessed Easter to all.

This morning during worship service the preacher told a story about a woman who was the pianist at a local church. She had mistakenly not set her alarm and slept through Easter morning services. She was apologetic and everyone forgave her. The next year, on Easter Sunday morning, her phone rang very early and on the phone was the pastor of the church. She answered the phone blurrily; “Hello?” “Jesus has risen sister!” he said loudly, “and maybe you should do the same.” Laughing, he hung up the phone. Needless to say, she was on time for Easter services that year.

After the joke, I leaned over to my wife and exclaimed; “This is how I’m waking you up for Easter next year!” She smiled and patted me on the leg. Her and I both know it would take more than a phone call to rouse Beth if she didn’t want to get up.

Easter is about waking up to a new day, a new normal, a new reality, a new truth, a new understanding of God and a new discovery of ourselves. The veil of illusion has dissipated and we understand life differently. This is wisdom. This is connection. This is relationship.

May this Easter find each of us woke.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Advertisements

Where You Step

Image result for cell phone watching

Where You Step

Earlier this week I got up off the couch to walk from the living room to the bathroom. As I did my phone chimed with an email alert. I picked it up and continued walking while reading and scrolling through the message. Unfortunately, I did not see the dog who for some reason had decided he was going to sleep on one of the bathroom mats. I didn’t hurt him but did trip myself. Fortunately, I did catch myself. I had an immediate sense of shame as I help others to be focused, aware, mindful of where they step on the path of life and here I am stumbling over the pooch in my house. Sigh.

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote “Be careful when you step outside your door Frodo. You never know where your feet will lead you.” This goes for inside your house as well.

Where we look is where we end up. Our lives are often the sum of our choices and where we choose to fix our gaze. My gaze that day wasn’t on where I was headed but on a small screen with a message that could’ve waited a few minutes. Too many times we allow the illusion of urgency leads us to lack awareness and a place of unbalance.

Let’s watch our steps or there’s no telling where we’ll end up going.

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

Don’t Resist

Don’t Resist

This afternoon I stepped outside and the warmer temperatures wrapped me like a blanket. The sun shone on me and the warm breeze stirred my soul. It’s been cold the past few weeks. Only a couple of days ago the ground was covered with snow and ice. Today, there is little snow to be seen and the remnants are being chased away by the balmy weather. The kicker is I didn’t have anything to do with the high and low temps, the sun or the clouds filling the sky, the wild difference between now and the near past. All I did was stay warm on the cold days and breathe in the warmth this afternoon.

Life is mostly filled with things we have no control over. We want the ability, the power to make things bend to our will but this is an illusion. If we pursue this type of control our lives will be filled with suffering. The secret to contentment and peace is to allow life to progress at its pace and accept what we think is good and bad, wanted and unwanted, desired and abhorred.

When we are able to practice this discipline we discover the ever-present now is exactly what it needs to be and so are we.

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

Idols and Illusions

Idols and Illusions –

I would add to the quote attached to this post anything that’s fleeting, temporal, transitory, this that tell us lies about ourselves or others. Things like politics, money, jobs, reputations. Idols are all of these and more which fix our focus on the illusion that we are in control, we are powerful and by our wills, the world can be recreated in our image. It is this illusion that destroys our world and ourselves.

This morning part of my contemplation and meditation time included a portion of the Second Book of Kings, chapter seventeen, verse 15; “They worshipped false idols and became false.” I have read that several times today, talked about it with a friend and wrote it down in a journal. It says we become what we worship. Where our heart is, our mind, emotions, spirits, where our energies are applied is what we are and what we become.

Idols and illusions are hard to see sometimes. Breaking free from them isn’t easy. #AlbertEinstien said; “All of reality is an illusion, a persistent one, but still an illusion.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Friends

Image result for zen quote of the day

Friends

You are who your friends are, or show me your friends and I’ll show you, you. I was asked the other day if I had a lot of friends. I answered; “No.” For me, this is not a bad answer but it is a truthful one. I’ve never had a lot of friends, lots of acquaintances, people I know and say; “Hi,” to but not people I would consider friends. If you were to look at my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn profile, you would think I have thousands of people with whom I have a deep connection to. This is false. Online “friends” are fine but most of them are not close confidants with whom you share life.

I think the words friends is overused. Facebook didn’t start the overusing but I think it helped it reach its pinnacle. Each day I try to wish everyone on Facebook, who has a birthday that particular day, a “Happy Birthday!” Many days I recognize at least most of the names but other days I am at a complete loss as to whom I am writing a birthday wish.

The few friends I do have are wise people, not only smart but wise. They are spiritual mentors and people I’ve shared my journey with, the good times and what I’d label bad. They are folks who encourage me when I need it and call me on my BS, inflated ego, and the illusion of goodness I’d like to live in. They are also positive people. Not pollyannaish, pie in the sky, everything’s coming up roses people but truly positive. They help me believe when I am doubting, hold me when I am scared, help me get my bearings when I’m lost, and never give up on me. These are those who I trust with my life and when that’s the criteria, you have to and should be; picky.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Power

Power

I heard two quotes today from two uniquely different people.

One said; “It is a sign of wisdom to be content with less than you feel you deserve.”

The second one said; “No matter what you achieve you’re not a failure if you’ve given your all.”

I liked both of the quotes. In a world where winning competitions, whether in a sports arena or the business board room, is seen as the goal for success, being content with less and giving your all but not beating your opponent seems to fall short. I’m not what some may label a “snowflake” but I know that snowflakes do an avalanche make.

I also know history and it tells me the path to glory and earthly immortality is an illusion. Power does indeed corrupt and absolute power destroys not just the person wielding it but innocents as well.

I wonder when, if, the world will ever walk the path less traveled. Is there an event that would convict of us the error of our ways? Deflate our egos? Humble our hubris? How many empires have to fall (I include America), how many victims must die, how many times must the lust for domination and control seduce before we realize the futility of such pursuits?

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Flash

Image result for zen sayings

Flash

I once heard someone say that following God is like walking in the woods during a thunderstorm. It’s only when the lightning flashes that you can see the way.

Life is complicated. A twist of fate here, a turn on a dime there; troubles and difficulties can come crashing down upon us or disappear entirely. We build schedules, erect houses, buildings and monuments to give us a sense of control only to have them washed away by the power and randomness of existence.

Wisdom teaches us that any type of control is an illusion. We don’t have that power. The only real choice we can make is to let go, to trust the lightning in the midst of the storm to lead us home.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Balancing Act

Balance

Life is a balancing act. It is a lesson I have been keenly aware of this week. To walk the line between the joy of being alive and the acceptance that one day everything, everyone dies takes careful, reflectful steps. If you veer too far one way or the other you fall into illusion and suffering.

We all want to live but not just live, to thrive. This is our desire for those we love as well. If we could we would protect ourselves and everyone we care about from disease, difficulties, and death. However, when we forget our place, our lack of power and lack of ability to make life safe and well, we become anxious, envious and desperate.

It takes a while to learn to walk through the narrow gate of humility and acceptance. The narrow path becomes more narrow but the paradox is the smaller the way becomes the more we open ourselves to grace and healing.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

What’s Important

What’s Important

This morning Beth and I went to a small Lutheran church and celebrated Easter with the faith community. The service was meaningful. The songs were on point, the message concise and full of the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection. The only challenge to overcome was the family in the pew behind and their little ones who were banging toys, dropping toys, whispering loudly and moving a lot! Basically, they were being kids. It wasn’t a distraction too often and the focus on the empty tomb was far greater than what was happening around us.

I talked with some friends this weekend who are facing a lot of challenges. As we spoke it was easy to hear in their voices that the things that never mattered had been revealed for what they are; illusions which take our attention off of what really matters and places them on the banal.

It is unfortunate that oftentimes it takes what seems to be insurmountable odds and obstacles to shift our focus back to what truly matters. Only when we understand we have no control over the curveballs life throws our way do we, in humility, search for the truth.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Who You Are

Image result for thought provoking

Who Are You?

I read an article yesterday about the dual roles people take to make others around them like them, keep them happy, or simply not to lose them. It is a part or our society which reveals itself on social media. I heard someone ask; “how can you not feel bad about yourself when you see the ordinary muck of your everyday life and then look at other’s highlights on social media?” This isn’t true for all users of social media, some folks show the good and bad, highlights and lowlights, they’re not afraid for people to see the “real” them online. However, even the “real” is only a glimpse because it’s a snapshot, not the entire film.

The hardest disciplines to develop and keep practicing is self-awareness and self- acceptance. To know who we are, strengths and weaknesses, gifts and flaws, good and not so good and able to accept ourselves is a long, arduous journey. Most people never arrive at the destination. Living an illusion is preferable to understanding who and what they are because then the decision of self-acceptance or self-deception is never encountered.

The dual roles we play tear us apart. They force us to be something we aren’t and will never be instead of truly presenting ourselves to the world wholly, fully and finding contentment with our real selves.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

wp-image-1718483709jpg.jpeg

Burning Brightly

Image result for burn barrel smoke

Burning Brightly

On Saturday I had some old mail, leaves, limbs and small pieces of wood to burn in our burn barrel. The leaves and limbs had been in the barrel for several weeks and had become damp from recent rains. I added a little fuel, lit a match and threw it onto the debris. The fire started almost immediately  but it didn’t take long to burn up the fuel and the limbs and leaves on top. However, once it began trying to burn the damp portions in the barrel, layered and compressed in the barrel, there was a lot of smoke and eventually, the fire would go out. I added a little more fuel, some dry pieces of mail, struck another match and lit the fire again. I repeated this process several times until the fire in the barrel was hot enough to burn away the dampness and consume everything within.

In the same way, there are times in life when our spirits are damp, compressed, buried under layers of debris drenched by storms passed, times which make us feel the fire which burns within have been quenched with only the illusion of smoke remaining.

In these difficult times, when our souls seem filled with smoke, when it’s hard to see, hear or know there’s a flame burning inside we still don’t give up hope. We try, we wait, we listen, look and believe the fire will burn brightly once again.

blessings,
@BrianLogin (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

wp-image-180059605jpg.jpeg

Under Control

Image result for fall leaves rake

Under Control

Last week I wrote about raking leaves and how this ongoing chore is a part of the changing of the seasons; “Leaving Tomorrow Be (https://thewannabesaint.com/2016/10/29/leaving-tomorrow-be/).

Today I was at it again. Same sections of the yard, same rake, same music playing in my ear buds, the same piles, except different, albeit still brown, leaves. Again, similar to last week, the wind was blowing so even as I raked more leaves were falling on the ground. Still, it was therapeutic; raking and burning.

While doing the chore I thought about my week. Lots of internal changes have been occurring at work. Changes which cannot be avoided and are necessary for our team to continue helping the families and communities we serve. However, as noted by me many times on this blog before, I don’t like change. My severe anxiety disorder goes into hyperdrive when multiple changes occur in a short amount of time. My preference is rhythm, order, a familiarity, which helps bring balance to my life and peace to my mind.

As I raked the leaves today and watched more fall in their place, I was reminded that life is never controllable, never truly ordered, not actually familiar, we simply fool ourselves into thinking there is rhythm. We like to think we’ll get everything organized and under control only to stand powerlessly by as the wind blows, dropping more leaves on a briefly clean yard; a symbol that nothing in the life is ever settled, predictable and under our control.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

img_0511-3

On the Inside

img_0877

On the Inside

The other day I was in the mood for something sweet and grabbed a piece of candy out of my stash, anticipating relief from a caramel Werther’s. However, as soon as I had the piece of candy in my hand it felt differently, lighter than usual. It didn’t take me long to figure out there was only air in the wrapper. It was puffed up, looked normal, but closer inspection showed nothing on the inside.

One of my greatest fears is being non-existent, like this piece of candy. Puffed up by my ego seeming like there’s substance but it’s only an illusion, nothing on the inside. It’s a danger we all face. The world tells us if we look like everyone else, consumed by our collection of shiny objects, pretending we have it all together, claiming to be full of life when hollow and empty inside.

“The one who finds inner peace and purpose will stop thinking about how to live and begin to live.” #ThomasMerton

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

img_0511

Self-Awareness

-Self-Awareness-

I was listening to a few people participate in a discussion this week on the topic of Donald Trump. The Donald is polarizing! I have yet to meet anyone who’s neutral on him and this presidential race unless they’ve given up on the election entirely.

The central point/question of the conversation was why some people seem to find it impossible to apologize. People who are wrong, off course, exhibit faulty judgement, have it shown, proven, to them yet they still refuse to say; “I’m sorry.

What does this reveal about a person’s character? Last night, in our incarcerated dad’s class, we talked about the five characteristics of a good man. The first characteristic is, “Self-Awareness.” We  defined self-awareness as; “someone who can look in a mirror and see who he is; the good, the bad, what he does well and what he needs to improve.”

Only with honesty and humility are we able to understand our true nature, strengths and weaknesses, and there is no such thing as being free from flaws or defects. Accepting our own limitations does two things; it frees us from the pursuit, illusion of perfection when it comes to ourselves and it lets us love others better because we understand our journey is one of progression not perfection.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

img_0511-4

Just Crazy Enough to Work

I have a few mottos for my life. One of them is; “It doesn’t take a lot of gas to drive me crazy.” Usually I find myself saying that after something, or someone, is on the verge of driving me crazy! The older I get the more convinced I am that it takes a special kind of insanity to stay sane.

I believe we can make a difference during our short time on this planet. With our limited power, finances, influence, gifts, abilities, convictions and purpose. We can change lives and when you change lives you change everything.

This is crazy thinking. It’s lunacy to believe our brief light on this dingy blue rock called; “Earth” can beat back darkness, pain, and hopelessness. It doesn’t make much sense to imagine a world, made better, by what and who we are, what we do and say, when we are so weak and frail.

Corruption, crime, wrongdoing, immorality and evil are just too much, too big, too powerful. Look around and see this is factual, true, without question. However, foolish ones never trust only their eyes or their minds. They listen to their spirits, they dare to believe that the perceived power of the villainous systems and structures is an illusion. We hold fast to the belief that a slightly “off kilter” person, doing all they can, when they can, could change their small part of the world and if enough nonsensical, impractical saints believe this; no power on Earth can stand against them.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

screenshot_2015-07-30-21-13-57-1.jpg

Rolling Up Our Sleeves

Most mornings begin with putting on a pot of coffee, taking the dogs outside and washing any dishes left over from the night before. Today, I followed my usual routine and had a greasy iron skillet left over that needed to soak. I placed it in the soapy water and went to get ready. By the time I had packed my bag, started the truck, prepared the now brewing coffee and put my dress clothes on I had forgotten about the iron skillet. As I was leaving the now darkened water caught my eye. What to do? Leave it or roll up my sleeves and scrub? I chose the latter.

Life has a way of not going according to our plans.  We’d rather avoid the dirty work. It’s much more enjoyable when everything seems clean and ordered. However, oftentimes the hardest, grittiest, messiest parts of our journey come at the most inopportune time. We have a choice; do our best to perpetuate an illusion of perfection or get down in the grime of life and clean it up.

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

screenshot_2015-07-30-21-13-57-1.jpg

Brokenness as Healing

He sat a few feet from me and I watched as tears began to fill his eyes. It dawned on him, perhaps for the first time, the sum of his actions, words, thoughts and the effect they had upon his family. He had been so wrapped up in trying to control situations and people that he didn’t realize how many things had slipped from his grasp. Now, in a time of crisis and questioning, of rejection and regret he understood. Silence filled the space between us and I waited as he composed himself enough to speak. Until this point disappointments, difficulties and despair had been things which were outside of him, people and events were to blame. Now, he realized he was the designer of his own defeat, a victim of his own ego and self obsession.

It’s never easy to achieve and sustain self-awareness. There are moments when we see ourselves for who we really are; the weakness, selfishness and shallowness. The cold reality sets in and we often reach for the blanket of judgement and justification to stave off the chill. To recognize our real selves, to accept the imperfections, insecurities and insatiable desire to control, coerce and craft others and the world in our image is the most humbling and hurtful lesson to learn.

When we arrive at this place of suffering do we choose to find relief by reconstructing the illusion or embrace the brokenness as healing?

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

wpid-screenshot_2015-07-30-21-13-57-1.jpg

Feasting on a Carcass

When you do as much driving as I do, especially on the back hills of rural Tennessee, you become accustomed to the sight of deceased animals that chose the wrong time to cross the road, zigged when they should have zagged, froze in terror in front of an oncoming vehicle.

You also get used to seeing turkey buzzards or turkey vultures. They appear majestic with their impressive wing spans, long dark feathers and, until you get a closer look, might even mistake them for an eagle or large beautiful bird of prey. However, these nasty fowl are scavengers. They use their powerful wings to soar high in the sky, looking for dead creatures of all shapes and sizes, then swoop in and make a feast of the carcass.

Earlier today, on my way to a Community Action Board meeting, I was hit in the nose by the unmistakable stench of deceased animal.  Surrounding it was a flock of turkey buzzards in the tall grass gorging themselves on the repugnant meal. I never saw the remains but the feathered opportunists gave it’s location away.

In my life I’ve met people who might be considered vultures. They’re always on the look out for someone who is wounded, hurt, in pain. They search diligently for an opportunity in another’s time of weakness and frailty. They’re hoping they can benefit from a time of crisis, an unfortunate event. They often look impressive, big smiles, soothing words, can even be mistaken for a friend. However, this noble persona is only a disguise to hide their intentions and voracious appetites. There is no caring or empathy for the dead or dying. They’re only concern is gaining from someone else’s loss.

A poem; “Illusion” I penned a couple of years ago about turkey vultures:

with your beak stuck in the air
high browed and looking 'round
descending from on high
an archangel coming down

with keen crystal eyes
you see the world as yours to take
soaring with the clouds
earth-bound creatures are your prey

talons outstretched, sharp and at the ready
squeezing, tearing, grasping that which satisfies
hunger driving you among lowly ones as they scamper
soiling yourself briefly then returning to the skies

perched majestically above it all
a belief you're God's crafted sculpture
but up close a lowly scavenger
not an eagle just a vulture

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

wpid-tws-logo-2.jpg.jpeg

%d bloggers like this: