Thursday, February 28, 2013

Straddling The Fence

I've had this conversation a lot lately.....with myself.

When we keep our feet in two different worlds, straddling the fence as it were, what does that tell us about who we are. The reason I've questioned this......
I realize that we are all human and that our triumphs as well as our misgivings make us who we are. But when we keep one foot in one world and one foot in another, we find ourselves following two different paths, two different journeys, and a lot of times, two different philosophies of life.

Take the physical and the spiritual for example. When we have one foot in the world, we adhere to the ways of the world. Our language, our thoughts, our actions, all reflect the world around us. When we have one foot in the spiritual, we know the warmth of God's love and guidance and can express that relationship to others freely. But what happens when we continue to straddle the fence.

Again, I know we are all human, including myself. I know how easy it is to flow with the world around us, as well as flow with the guidance of the spirit. I've always heard that our actions speak louder than words, but what happens when our words speak louder than our actions.

Maybe I should clarify what brought me to this conversation. Not meaning to be judgmental....maybe just observing, I've noticed over and over the post on different profile pages that seem to conflict with themselves. One moment I see scriptures being quoted and words of inspiration being shared. The next moment, I see the carnal side with cursing and sexual connotations being shared as well.

So why do I let this bother me.....and should I. Not knowing the heart of those I seem to be judging, is it just that.....judging. But seeing it happen over and over makes me wonder. Can we live in the ways of the world and still be a shinning light to our relationship with God. Can we praise one minute and curse the next. Should we just accept that as being human.

I know life is complex and complicated. I know that we are constantly torn between the physical and the spiritual. But if we are presenting ourselves to the world spiritually, what damage are we doing by presenting our worldly side as well.

In my own words and actions, I find myself straddling that fence way too often, thus the struggle of this conversation. Who am I to be telling others they need to get off the fence and go one way or the other. Should I get over it and say, live your life the way you feel is right. Or should I be concerned at the way we show our character in black and white or in total contradiction. Should I be concerned the way some show their love of God one moment and their hatred and anger the next.....I don't know.

Will I continue having this conversation with myself......or just let it go.

I know all we can do is live life the best we can and pray that others will find their place in this world. Pray that we all will realize that sometimes our words do speak louder than our actions and that straddling the fence can only lead us down two different path of conflict, paths that never seem to find their true purpose, that never find their full potential. Pray that we all will find the way to plant our feet on solid ground, with one goal and one direction and find that place of peace and fulfillment.

and the Journey Continues.....

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Living In The Moment

We talk often about living in the moment, stopping to smell the flowers and taking time to enjoy the view. It all boils down to making each and every moment special, each minute count for something and every action working for the good.

I've been blessed....and maybe cursed with a mind that's always ten steps ahead of where I am right now. Always calculating, always working on future projects, always putting things in perspective and always planning ahead.

I tend to have so much on my mind, most of the time, that I speed through life like a whirlwind, missing out on so much of the simple pleasures around me. When I'm driving, or eating, or exercising, my thoughts are always in the future. It's as though I have the need to get everything organized way in advance. And because of that, I'm missing out on the here and now.

There is a new method, a philosophy, a way of thinking that deals with living life.
Mindfulness.....being in the moment...
It's a thought process where we become more aware of our surroundings, our physical touch and our senses.
Taking the time to become aware....

Whether were sitting at  desk, driving in traffic, or eating, it's a process of seeing and feeling what's around us. Feeling our feet on the floor, the fabric of our jeans on our legs, the touch of the steering wheel, the taste of the coffee. By starting off with the little things, we can go to observing our surroundings. The traffic around us, the person sitting across the counter in a restaurant, or the sounds of the birds, the wind blowing or the cat purring beside us.

We live in such a fast paced world of technology and multitasking, we've forgotten how to enjoy the simple things in life. And I, for one, have slipped into that same mindset.

Mindfulness seems to have come out of that hectic way of life. Where we are going through the motions. Where life seems to go by in a blink. That life where days and months, holidays and birthdays, weekends and vacations speed by in a flash.

So is mindfulness the answer......
I don't know, but I do know that if we don't start taking more time to live in the moment, we will wonder where the years went. We'll wonder how we got there with so much time wasted and not enough time lived.
If we can start being more aware of our surroundings and allow ourselves to start living in the present, we will find ourselves heading in the right direction.

My mindset of worrying so much about the future, to the point I don't enjoy the now, is a habit that has been picked up by repeating itself over and over. Sure we have to plan ahead and planning for the future is a good thing, but, if we become so obsessed with making the future perfect and not leaving room for a different outcome, we've missed the point of life. Life is a Journey, and if it doesn't happen the way we planned....... that's OK. It's all part of that Journey.

So stop right now, feel your feet planted on the floor, the feel of your back against the chair, listen to the sounds around you. Become aware. Live life. And with each moment, realize that each breath can give us a glimpse of the life that God intended for us to live.

and the Journey Continues.......

Friday, February 8, 2013

Growing Old With Grace

Working out at the gym this week, I noticed an older gentlemen walking by me. He was thin and a bit frail. He had a head full of white hair and a beard to match. As I watched him, the question came to mind....will this be me in a few years?

Growing old is a fact of life but it still has a way of sneaking up on us. It's become more obvious the last couple of years as I've reconnected with friends from High School and College on Facebook. When I see their name, I get a mental picture of what they looked like back then. Then looking at their photos, the reality sets in that the years have caught up with us somewhat.

I am one that probably won't grow old gracefully. In my head, I still feel young and alive.....most of the time. But my body tells me a whole different story. They say we are only as old as we feel. I guess it depends on how old we feel, by what day it is.

Watching my parents, as their age began to catch up with them, they felt they could still do anything in their minds, but their bodies weren't on the same page. I remember having a conversation with my Mom. As she struggled physically and mentally, she asked me what happened. How did they end up like this. All I could think of to say was, Mama.......your body has just gotten old. Probably not the most encouraging words, but the only answer I had.

When I look in the mirror, I see my age creeping up. The receding hairline, the ears and nose getting bigger, the grey, the wrinkles.....and the list goes on. I catch myself bumping into things more and more, banging my arms, or my head, or my toes. Having to carry reading glasses everywhere, then forgetting where I put them. Looking for something all over the house, then seeing it's been right in front of me all along. Forgetting why I went into a room as my mind is not as sharp as it used to be.

So off to the gym I go to help the body. I read every night to help the mind. I go through the day with a youthful attitude. I try to live for today and make plans for the future. I try not to use the words, I'm getting old. I try to live life to the fullest.

Do I always Do I keep on keeping on.....yes. Am I growing old gracefully.....probably not.
But I've learned that growing old is a gift. The last 18 years have been a gift. Everyday I wake up is a gift. Even though some days my body screams at me, I won't give up. Even though my mind wants to draw me to a dark place, I keep seeking the light.

Will I be that older gentlemen in the gym someday, I hope so.

and the Journey Continues......