Blog Archives

Strangled

Strangled

I don’t like wearing ties. They aren’t my preferred mode of dress. When I am forced to wear ties I feel as though I am being strangled and somewhere in my mind, there’s a countdown clock ticking to when I can loosen and take it off.

I exclusively wear ties for important events. Weddings (maybe) unless I am the minister officiating the wedding (then definitely), presentations for the company I work for (if the people I am presenting to are expected to be wearing them) and funerals (always). I own enough ties to do each of these a few times a year along with one suit.

Life is meant to be experienced, enjoyed, savored. Even when wearing a tie, or going or doing something we’d rather not be going or doing, it is a moment never to be repeated. Every instant is an opportunity to allow it to exist, to be what it is going to be, without our controlling or manipulating. Nothing lasts forever. Not even wearing ties.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

The Moment

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The Moment

Earlier today I was mowing grass and came upon a butterfly enjoying a flower. The mower was close to it but didn’t matter. All that butterfly was focused on was the sweet nectar of the flower and the moment. It wasn’t worried about where its next meal would come from or getting chopped in two by a lawn mower. The flower and the butterfly had become one.

I mowed around it but reflected on how often we don’t enjoy the beauty that is right in front of us, ready to be experienced, respected, awed at and enjoyed for what it is; a once in a lifetime moment. Blink and it will be gone. Get distracted and the ugliness of the world will blind you to it. Be worried about what’s next, what’s happened, and you miss what’s happening.

Benjamin Franklin said; “Take care of the present moment for these are what make up life.”

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Memories and a Christmas Cactus

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Memories and a Christmas Cactus

My riend Mary, before she passed away, gave us a Christmas cactus. This year it’s finally bloomed. The simple beauty reminds me of her. My Facebook places memories on my start page and two days ago they were of the winter we brought Mary up to our house in Pennsylvania and she stayed with us for the winter. Mary, it seems, is making her presence known to us this Christmas season.

My wife had a birthday yesterday and we had a fun time joking she was rolling down the hill to a big age milestone. We also talked seriously of life and its quick passing. Death, whenever it comes, is closer than ever.

Wisdom teaches us to number our days. This is not a morbid discipline but a joyous one. Each day is precious, not one is to be taken for granted. We are to enjoy and embrace every day as a gift, like the Christmas cactus blooms and pictures which seem from a lifetime ago.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

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Going

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Going

The sight and sounds of it are everywhere. Even though it has been cold today with temps staying in the low 20’s, the sun has shone most of the day and the melting of the snow we received Thursday and Friday has begun. Each time I take the dog outside, more and more of it has retreated from the rooftops, tree limbs, sidewalks, and grass. The frigid air cannot stop the heat from the light of the sun, cannot stop the snow from going.

There’s wisdom in the mud and leftover, soon to be gone, snow. Nothing lasts. Whether beauty or ugliness it all will pass and soon there’ll be no trace of it. It’s the same with the storms and seasons which we encounter on the path of life. Whether attractive like the snow or repulsive as the mud, all must be accepted and allowed to endure for their time.

Life is nothing if not always transitioning. Each moment, season, lifetime, is fleeting. Welcome with open hand and do not grasp as it goes away.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Out of the Loop

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Out of the Loop

I had a meeting this morning, at least I thought I had one. I missed this monthly meeting in December because of a scheduling conflict and apparently it was decided that there wouldn’t be one in January. It’s not a big deal. It gave me an extra hour to catch up with a couple of other items which needed to be done.

On my way back I set the cruise control and enjoyed the feeling of not being rushed. Into my bliss came an old small blue Ford pick-up truck driven by a young man in a hurry! He rode my bumper for a while and then finally passed me. Several miles up the road I caught up with him as he waited to turn into a shopping center. I drove past him thinking; “All that rushing and nothing to show for it.”

The canceled meeting gave me the time to drive thoughtfully, carefully and do my best to enjoy a bleak, gray, overcast day. I saw cows, hawks, Turkey Buzzards, businesses closing and others opening, people working, walking, talking, going to and fro. I was in the moment, my mind was present each mile and not jumping ahead to my next appointment and whether I would be on time.

I’ve decided it would be great to have an extra hour between all my appointments. I’m not sure this is possible so this year I’d like to try being more mindful, less in a hurry, more observant and less focused on the clock, more present less worried about what’s next.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Attention Span

Attention Span

Beth and I spent some time in our second home today, also known as Lowe’s Home Improvement Store. We needed some wood, a screen door and some other odds and ends. We filled our cart up and then headed to the garden section. We made our way down the aisle leading to outside there was a young mother, her baby and what I assumed was the grandmother. The eldest woman was holding a cup of coffee while the mom spoon fed the little one. They had to move out of the center of the aisle as we passed and something on our cart caught the grandmother’s attention. As she stared, the mom handed her the baby food container and as she grabbed it, still staring at our cart, the coffee cup slipped out of her hand and splashed on the floor. I couldn’t quite make out the expletive that escaped from her lips but the momentary frustration was soon followed by laughter from both the women.

I smiled at the situation because it seemed like something which would happen to me. It also caused me to reflect on the wisdom lessons of embracing what’s important, being fully present in the moment, not distracted by shiny things, and allowing things which aren’t necessary to slip through our grasp.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Season Pass

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Season Pass

“Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.” ~ Author Unknown

On my way back from a lecture today in Hohenwald, TN the sun was shining brightly through the limbs of the trees which are rapidly becoming barren. It still feels like summer with temps in the low to mid 90’s but fall is approaching. The leaves are already giving up their grips and descending to the ground. We probably won’t have too much color as they turn this year due to the lack of rain this hot and barren summer.

Fall is another reminder of the transience of life. Summer’s rapid end reflects our own aging and how life is fleeting. The youth of spring and summer is like the cool morning mist of fall; easy to see but impossible to grasp and hold on to.

Accepting that life’s seasons pass quickly is the first step to living fully in every moment, not taking for granted any breath, experience, ray of sunshine, or drop of rain. Wisdom teaches us to be mindful of every moment for these are what life is made up of.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Rest and Suffering

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Rest and Suffering

Yesterday afternoon, on my way back from an out-of-town meeting, I passed a delivery truck. Its hood was up, flashers on, obviously broke down and not going anywhere. What caught my attention was the driver. He was laying down in a shady spot, one arm for a pillow and the other holding a cellphone and talking. He wasn’t nervously pacing, angrily kicking tires, yelling into the phone. If he could’ve fixed the truck I am sure he would have. If there was a way to deliver his goods he would’ve completed his goals for the day. Instead, he was resting because there wasn’t anything else to do but wait.

I struggle following this man’s example. I like rhythm, order, control. I don’t like surprises, detours, or delays. There is certainly a part of that which comes from having a Severe Anxiety Disorder. Mapping out the day so it can be more easily managed is part of my therapy. However, I also believe it’s very human to want control, to get things done in a timely manner, to feel like our lives are not always a random gathering of happenstance.

Wisdom teaches us that the distance between acceptance of what happens every moment and our expectation of what should happen every moment is where suffering is found. Knowing how to rest in the unplanned, perhaps even unwanted, experiences of life is one of the toughest and most valuable lessons we can learn.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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in the Moment

in the Moment

Yesterday, while watering flowers, a beautiful bright green Dragonfly  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragonfly) landed on the wrist of my left hand. I froze! My first thought was; “Awesome!” My second thought was; “Do Dragonflies bite?” The third was; “This’ll make a great Instagram photo!” I slowly began to walk toward my phone which was about a hundred feet away. I tried not move my arm or scare the insect in any way. Finally, I got to the phone, gently leaned over to pick it up, turned it on, entered the lock screen code and pressed the Instagram icon (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instagram). It opened but at the same time the Dragonfly decided it would leave and fluttered away. “No!” I screamed. “Sigh.” So close.

It was an exasperating reminder that no moment can be taken for granted nor forced to last longer than what is intended. Instead of worrying about taking a picture, sharing the photo for “likes” and “comments” I should have simply enjoyed the Dragonfly sitting on my wrist and the bliss of the unique moment. In wanting to capture it I lost the joy of it happening and felt the corresponding disappointment of the moment fly away, slip through my fingers.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Get Moving

Get Moving – 

“When they rise for the Work of God  let them gently encourage one another,  that the drowsy may have no excuse.” #RuleofSaintBenedict

The excerpt above was from my morning reading of the Rule of Saint Benedict today. It made me think of Beth. My beautiful wife can be described in many wonderful ways but being a; “morning person” isn’t one of them. When the alarm sounds, threatening to awake her from rest she’s not getting up without a fight. Finally, after several snoozes, she sits up, head down, exasperated sighs filling the air, one foot and then another are placed upon the floor. She shuffles to her closet, then to the kitchen and then to get a shower. Everything about her says; “I’d give almost anything for another hour of sleep!” There are a few approaches I have to help her get through these dreaded times. Some days I can engage her in a conversation, others I can be playful but mostly I’m quiet allowing her to locate the rhythm of her day. After 26 years of marriage I almost always pick the right approach to get her moving but there are some days when I choose poorly and quickly back off when it’s clear I’m pushing the wrong buttons.

Wisdom teaches us that folks have different speeds on the path of life. Each of us finds our own rhythm and we must be careful to allow others to move at their own pace. Our gift to others is not making them go as fast or slow as we want but to offer the gift of grace and love when our lives intersect for a moment or a lifetime.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

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Almost There

Almost There

April showers might bring May flowers but very little rain in May might not be a good sign for the rest of the summer.

Yesterday evening the Mrs. and I were outside looking at the skies hoping for rain. It was cloudy, gray and looked promising. As we watched it began to rain on a field across the street. We stood and watched the rain so tantalizingly close but seemingly not moving our way. “Come on!” I yelled, not sure if rain had ears but willing to take a chance. After what felt like forever the drops of rain began to move across the field and toward our house. Slowly, steadily we watched it soak the street, the driveway and then it began pouring all over the yard. It was wonderful! (If I had known yelling at rain would make it come to me, I’d have done it sooner.)

Life can be this way at times. We enter a season of dryness when our spirits and emotions are barren. We search for renewal and restoration and may even feel they are incredibly close but nothing seems to happen. We shout at the heavens pleading for the rejuvenation we so desperately need. Wisdom teaches us that in time, and on time, revitalization will come. It cannot be forced or coerced but if we are willing to accept, what is beyond our power to control, we will be strengthened and enlightened when the moment and our path are in sync with our need.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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80%

80%

We need rain. The ground is parched and a nice drenching would quench it’s thirst. Yesterday, there was an 80% chance the sky would open up and grace the land with water from heaven. I watched several times as the sky grew dark with grey clouds, blocking out the sun, threatening to unleash a torrent only to see the potential dissipate. Not a drop was to fall all day. An 80% chance equaled 0% actuality.

I was talking with someone this week whose having a difficult time with their teenager. This parent, clearly exasperated and their wit’s end, declared to me; “She just wont communicate with me! When we’re together not a word is spoken. I’m not sure she hears a word I say.” I asked the parent; “Do you know that 80% of our communication is body language? Only 20% is words. When she’s not talking she’s still saying a lot. You’ve just got to be able hear her. It takes a different kind of listening to understand what’s being said when no words are given.” The rest of our time together we discussed ways to hear and be heard with someone who isn’t able, ready or willing to talk.

Clouds and a parent. 80% seemed like a certainty when it came to rain. Speaking being only 20% of communicating seemed like never to a parent longing to bond with a child. Percentages, statistics, probabilities can bring false assurance and disappointment. This is why wisdom teaches that we are not to anticipate, generalize or give up when the odds are stacked against us. We enter and exist in every moment with the realization that every opportunity holds possibility and promise.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Blessed or Cursed

Life is never predictable.

I was talking with someone yesterday about having “blinders” on when it comes to certain people. Some folks we see in a mostly positive light. We emphasize the good, minimize the bad, expect the best and see their potential. For others it’s the opposite. We are blind to their goodness. They are viewed by us in a mostly negative way. We don’t expect the best, focus on their weaknesses, anticipate what and how badly they’ll mess up, hurt us and take advantage of our generosity.

Blinders often come from good relationships or broken ones. We put them on and rarely question if we see the whole picture as it pertains to certain people, cultures and our worldview.

The discipline of viewing life as blessed rather than cursed can be one of the hardest and most important wisdom lessons we learn and put into practice. This is true especially when our journey has been difficult and we’ve seen “more than our share” of heartache, pain and loss. To look for the good, the beautiful, the “miracle” of everyday life influences each breath and every moment.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Purpose

What is our purpose, our calling? For some it seems so easy but for others the search for the meaning of our lives takes a whole life to find.

I sat with a young father on Monday evening speaking with him about his purpose. He’s had several jobs, numerous opportunities to make a career but for some reason nothing has intersected with his interests and his skills. I asked him; “What would you like to be when you grow up?” He smiled and then responded; “I really have no idea.” We talked a little more about what he liked and disliked, his past occupations and what he found intriguing about them but at the end of the conversation we weren’t closer to him finding his “calling.”

I was okay with the way things ended because I don’t believe everyone’s purpose is clearly defined in a moment’s time. For some their purpose may change with the seasons of their life. What’s important is that we are available to wherever the path may lead. If we walk and trust we may just find that purpose and contentment with our lives are one in the same.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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The Space Between

One of the most important teachings of wisdom is the “space between.” It is the distance between what happens to us and our reaction to it. The greater the space; usually the wiser choice and better consequence. The shorter the response time; the more chance of the decision/action being poor.

Wisdom teaches us that a word unsaid is usually not regretted.  This also extends to actions. Once something is said or done there is no reverse and we must accept the consequence, good or bad. “When a person picks up one end of the stick, they always pick up the other.” Wisdom also teaches us the concept of eternity existing in every moment. It is a harder lesson to learn and grasp but powerful in its impact upon how we think about life and relationships.

Take the time, exist in the moment, breathe, be still, reflect and then decide. The difference in a quick reaction and a wise one can be the difference between life and death.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Passing Through…

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There are times in life when instability happens, an event we didn’t plan for, a choice with unexpected consequences, a season which blows winds of transition into our lives and we become blinded by the debris of change.

When we encounter these sections on the path of life it can be difficult to get our bearings and we wonder if we are wandering aimlessly. Will the way ever be clear again? Yes. Seasons come and go, the unknown soon becomes the new normal. The passing of time has a way of revealing what was once hidden.

Patience is required. A waiting for the path to reveal itself again and trusting the path maker watches over our steps.

blessings,
bdl

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How High do Babies Bounce?

baby-240_0Someone tried to make me hold a baby yesterday! Of course, I begged off.  Don’t get me wrong, I love babies. Like most people I think babies are adorable. The world would be a better place if people thought of babies more and themselves less.  But to hold an infant, for any real length of time? Come on!

My wife and I were never blessed with children so holding them intimidates me. Actually, it downright scares me. You have to hold their head the right way, support the neck, making sure they are not going to slip through your arms and…whoops! “You break it, you buy it!” Keeps flashing through my mind.

Holding a baby is like disarming a time bomb.  You think you’re doing a great job and then, wham! Crying, screaming, the world is ending and everyone stares in your direction thinking there’s something wrong with you. It’s just too much pressure! Like a bomb, I prefer to view from afar.

I told the person who issued the challenge I was afraid I would drop this beautiful baby girl. She said; “don’t worry they bounce.” She and I both know the difference between a baby and a basketball but she was encouraging me not to be so concerned and just go for it! She is an experienced mom and grandmother. It is amazing for a novice like me to watch a professional such as her. The baby squirms, yells, stretches, smiles, cries, moves all over the place and this pro handles it with ease.

There are times in life we need folks who’ll encourage us to stop being so concerned we’re going to do something wrong, mess something up, break something and just go for it! Life is made to be lived, babies are meant to be held, this journey we’re on is meant to be experienced.

What are you afraid of today? What are you unwilling to grasp? What chance are you not taking? Mindfulness is often described as holding loosely or letting go entirely but wisdom also teaches to miss being in this moment and what it offers is to miss life.

What would life be like today if we let go of the fear and held each moment like it was a small child? Caressing, smiling, carefully making sure we didn’t drop it and when it’s time to give it back, do so with grace.

Beautiful thought, isn’t it?

so, who’s got a baby and a basketball rim I can borrow?

bdl

Make Up Your Mind!

Mark Twain famously quipped:

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”

Monday morning it was 51 degrees. This morning? 75. The high yesterday was 79, today the heat index was 94! The low tonight is in the 70’s on Friday it’s 45. It’s that time of the year. The leaves are turning brown, the grass ceased growing and the weather has gone crazy. Happens every year.

Growing up in the south I enjoy the season of summer best. I like it warm, some would say hot. Others embrace fall, winter or spring.  No matter what time of year we prefer it never seems to last long enough and the next season comes quicker than we’d like. weather_icon

The world keeps spinning. Mother Earth travels its path around the sun and we are along for the ride.  Many lament the loss of their beloved season and voice their disapproval. Yesterday, I heard someone declare; “I wish the weather would make up its mind! Summer needs to hurry up and go. I’m ready for fall.”

It’s easy to look forward to the next season, a time when things are more to our liking. It’s convenient to forget the up and down temperatures, fluctuations in evening and morning light, weather fronts and the thunderstorms that often accompany them, are necessary.

During times of transition, instead of anticipating what’s coming, we can accept what’s happening. Not focusing on what we like and don’t like but allowing things to exist, as they are, no preconceptions or judgments. Mindfully being in the moment because we can be no where else.

A wisdom quote based on the philosophy of Socrates:

“Where are you ? Here. What time is it? Now. What are You? This Moment.”

Maybe it’s us who need to make up our minds, to choose to be here, now, this moment.

transitioning and trying to love it,

bdl

Get Off My Lawn!

Unique neighbors are not unique. For every strange, odd, eccentric, person and family you see in the community you call home chances are someone thinks you’re rather peculiar as well.

ImageOne of my outlandish neighbors decided over the weekend he would tack up “NO TRESPASSING” signs. Not just one or two but many signs in different places. They are on light poles, trees and even on the handicap ramp leading to his front door.

When these signs appeared I wasn’t surprised. His house is on my exercise route and in the last few months I’ve seen a huge dumpster in the driveway yet never witnessed anyone put anything in it. He’s had an exercise bike, a wheelchair, a TV, plants and a sign that reads “FREE” for anyone who desires these weather worn items. I’m not sure how many people live in his modest domicile but I am sure I don’t know where he puts them all.

There aren’t many things we have in common but we both like my Siberian Husky. Each time I pass his yard, dog in tow, we wave and exchange pleasantries. He reminds me to be careful at the nearby intersection because “those cars don’t stop!” He seems nice enough but what’s with the signs?

I’m curious, about the signs, about the man. What makes him tick? Why is he so strange? Why the weird yard art? Why the multitude of plastic gasoline canisters in the driveway? Where does he put all those people?

Maybe the signs are there because he’s afraid the folks who live on either side with their immaculate yards are going to start surreptitiously making over his lawn. Perhaps he’s worried someone might finally paint the handicap ramp he built. Alas, I’ll never know because he won’t let anyone get too close.

Sometimes our lives have “NO TRESPASSING” signs posted in different places. Ways we let people know they aren’t welcome or invited. Ways of doing things, of speaking and living that tell others to keep moving, don’t stop, look for someone else to bother. Maybe it’s easier to be thought of as independent, eccentric, strange or unique instead of building relationships and taking the risks that go with them.

If you notice you’ve put up a sign or two, why not take them down and see what happens?

wonderment and joy,

bdl

Who’s to Blame for Our Miley Cyrus Problem

ImageApparently Miley Cyrus has gotten herself into a bit of trouble. She has done something in front of a bunch of someones that, allegedly, wasn’t very lady like. I’ve never been a Miley Cyrus fan. I don’t have anything against her I simply didn’t have any pre-teens in my house when she was Disney‘s darling and i’m too old now to listen to popular music. I don’t know what it means to twerk or be twerked but i’m pretty certain it would be physically painful for me and emotionally damaging for any witnesses.

In the interest of full disclosure I have not seen the “ghastly” video that has parents up in arms, culture warriors shouting from the rooftops and Hannah Montana fans burning their t-shirts, ticket stubs and posters. I really do hope to keep it that way and before we start roasting marshmallows, and this young lady, over the flames can we at least pause long enough to ask who’s to blame and what can be done?

To be famous is quite simple. Do crazy things, be insanely popular. The most dramatic, shocking, upsetting, disturbing act or word wins the prize. This isn’t new. I was a teen in the 80’s with Madonna, endured Marilyn Manson in the 90’s, put up with Lady Gaga in ’00s and here’s Miley corrupting our youth. (They said the same thing about Socrates.)

My prayer phrase today is from Psalm 101; “I will walk with a blameless heart and set before my eyes no vile thing.” To “walk with a blameless heart” is more than not getting caught with your hand in a cookie jar, being busted or caught in the act. It is to seek and live a life that is mindful, pure and to remember the path you choose affects everyone you meet along the way. Desiring to be virtuous and faultless so others can know and see truth in you.

To “not set our eyes on a vile thing” is much more than not watching a dirty movie, looking at a magazine or visiting a website when no one’s around. It deals with purpose and where we fix our gaze. What we set our mind to, what’s important to us, what we value determines our destiny. Where we look is where we are going.

So who is to blame and what can be done about our Miley Cyrus problem? I’m not sure, probably nothing. We can, however, determine to have a “blameless heart and set our eyes on no vile thing.” We can walk the path of wisdom, love and compassion. Doing this will encourage others we meet to do the same. We can value things that really matter and avoid the trappings of fame, materialism and other trinkets that lose their luster and never satisfy. Maybe this will solve our Miley problem and just might save the world.

Oh yeah…and if you see some middle aged white guy sprawled out on the ground somewhere screaming, “I think I broke my body!” I just couldn’t help myself.

wisdom and light,

bdl

Get Off My Case!

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Life is complicated but mindful simplicity is a choice we should make more often.

Yesterday I got a new phone. Today a new case was on the menu. I hopped on Amazon.com to peruse their offerings. The problem with most online sites is when you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for it’s difficult to choose because there are so many options!

There were hard cases and soft cases, belt clips, kickstands, flips and pouches. Pink ones (not my color), blue ones, brown ones, yellow, orange, black, white. Cases made of leather, nylon, silicone, plastic, aluminum, carbon, bamboo, kryptonite? Otterboxes, Boxwave, Belkin, Samsung, Verizon, Amazon, were just a few brands. It was selection overload! Finally, I made my decision and I’m still not sure it’s what I really wanted and very sure it cost more than I intended to spend.

Buying online is a great alternative to going to different stores, comparing and contrasting but I like to hold something in my hand before I purchase it. Not being confident about my earlier acquisition I stopped by Staples when I was in town this evening. Nothing much there but a thunderstorm was dropping buckets of rain so I meandered up and down the aisles. In the paper section there was a leather notepad case. I picked it up and discovered it was the right size, right color and made a great case for my phone and it cost a whopping $2!

We don’t choose life to be so complicated, it gets that way all by itself. There are so many choices, decisions, selections and we can be overwhelmed by the amount of mental, emotional and spiritual energy it takes to keep our heads above the chaos and not drown. We do our best to make good decisions, choose wisely, live mindfully and not be distracted but there are days when it just seems too much!

I had some place to go tonight and the storm delayed me…or did it allow me a moment to pause, to remember, to wander down the path of simplicity just long enough to catch my breath from a world that has too much to offer. Life is complicated but mindful simplicity is a choice we should make more often.

grace and light,

bdl

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