It’s like falling off a log

Falling off a log became my idea of how we grow. That’s how I heard the minister as she explained that life is a series of Lessons that provide Opportunities that give us Gifts of knowing and growing. Falling off a LOG. And as I pondered the idea, I realized I’d been having just such an experience.

If I may offer a bird’s eye view…

The Lesson

Several years ago I hung two sturdy bird feeders from my backyard tree. They worked wonderfully. Birds feasted. I watched and adored.

Then one morning several months later I saw the lid of one feeder lying among most of the seed scattered on the ground. Squirrel(s) must be the culprit(s).

At Home Depot I bought ten large, heavy washers. I glued the washers into two pancake stacks of five washers each. I refilled the feeders and I placed one stack on top of each. Surely too heavy for the strongest of squirrels.

Birds feasted. I watched and adored.

The Opportunity

One morning a few weeks later I looked out and saw one feeder on the ground. Something–other than a squirrel?–must have swung, wobbled, or shaken the feeder off the hook that joined the feeder’s wire loop and the chain hanging from the tree.

Back at Home Depot I bought clasps to replace the hooks, clasps that no animal could detach from the chain. I assembled and rehung the newest solution.

Birds feasted. As I watched, I noticed that birds waste as much as they consume. As many seeds are pecked-and-cast-aside from the feeder as are eaten. And it was spring. The seeds on the ground invited deer–bucks and does and fawns–to dine on the seeds birds discarded. More to watch. More to adore.

The Gift

Time passed. One Saturday morning, the other feeder was on the ground. Its lid was intact thanks to the washers. The feeder’s wire loop and the final chain link were still clasped. The culprit had somehow dislodged a 12-inch S hook from the limb 10 feet up the tree. As a result, the entire project had fallen from the tree.

I didn’t rush to Home Depot. The next day, as I took a walk, I saw two adult deer having a minor tiff. I could not tell why.  It amazed me to see one deer go up on its hind legs, stand straight up in the air. That deer must have challenged the other because that other stood up on its rear legs, too. It  looked like the deer would start boxing at any minute.

However, the second deer discarded valor, dropped back to all fours and resumed feeding on acorns. Ah, that first deer stayed upright for a full minute. It pointed its head toward the lowest limbs in the oak tree. And that made me shift my guess as to the feeder-toppling culprit. Deer seemed as fond of the seed as the birds. An upstanding deer just might be able to knock the feeder down.

I knew exactly where the caribiners and shackles were at Home Depot. I bought four although I needed only two. No more S hooks. The chain is looped around the tree. No more clasps. A carabiner connects the feeder wire loop to the last chain link, presumably out of the tallest deer’s reach.

The birds are feasting. The deer are dining, too, though now on only what the birds let go. I am watching. And adoring.

Giving Thanks for Falling off a LOG

Creator of All, Presence in Everything,
thank you for allowing me to discover
and to accept to my Self
lessons that provide me opportunities to learn.
I so enjoy receiving the learning as gifts
that increase my awareness of your Presence.
The ease of learning is the wrapping around the gift.
The awareness of the joy
of falling off a log lets me cherish the interweaving
of living this human life and knowing your precious Presence.
And so it is. And so I thank you, God. Amen

Love & blessings,
Tim

 

 

12 September 2018

PS I’m sure you’ve read Portia Nelson’s poem, “There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk“, which she subtitled her “Autobiography in Five Short Chapters.” We have all experienced such learning situations. In my case, it often takes me just as many–if not more–falls in the hole before I decide to (spoiler alert) take another road.

Posted on September 12, 2018 at 6:59 am by Tim · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Prayer

Thrill rides with God!

Thrill rides at Silver Dollar City, near Branson, MO, recently gave Cindy and me the chance to shake off adulthood, sort of. It was my first time at a true amusement park in almost 50 years. Thrill rides have come a long way in that half-century. So have I. However, I discovered our long ways have gone in opposite directions.

The rides have been designed and redesigned to offer bigger, faster, scarier thrills. I have designed and redesigned myself to move more slowly, methodically, and with a greater calm engineered by 2 senses: heart- and common-.

By happenstance or divine guidance, we progressed from The Giant Barn Swing, a heart-clincher, through ever more chilling rides. When The Powder Keg ride ended, the eight-year-old in the seat behind us cheered, “I want to do that again!” As we exited seats on The Wildfire, a child grabbed his dad’s hand and said, “I won’t ever ride that again!”

The Time TravelerOur final ride, The Time Traveler, was the most intense.  ttttThe. Most. Intense.

The Time Traveler lasts less than two minutes. The total distance is less than a mile. The ride includes speeds up to 50 mph, a 10-story 90% (aka straight down!) drop, and three inversions (aka, upside down!!). When we finished, I heard someone say, “Thank you, God. Once is enough for me!”

I was hearing the voice in my head say that.

Time TravelerI had been spun and plummeted and turned upside down. My backside had lost contact with the seat as I hung by my thighs pressing the safety bar and my hands life-or-death clasping the hand rails. Amazing how many times I’d screamed, “Oh, God!” in less than two minutes.

And one breathless “Thank you, God!” when our car came to its blessed stop.

Why am I telling you all this? To share the fun? The thrills? The honesty of my fear? Yes to all of those. And more.

The several rides produced probably 60 Heart-Stopping Moments (HSMs)! And I’m telling you this to share that for every HSM, I was conscious that I was in God’s hands.

Now, I do not view God as the so-often elderly gentleman in flowing robes. So the “in God’s hands” phrase and image have always given me difficulty. I do not see God in any age or gender human form. Yet every time the coaster car crested a steep rise and I literally felt it fall out from under me, I reassured myself I was in God’s hands. When the ride took curves so tight and so slanted I felt sure we would leave the rails, God’s hands comforted me!

For me, there’s a double message in this. I love feeling God’s Presence in the non-adventure (but joy!) of walking down the street. I cherish knowing God’s embrace on whatever thrill rides life offers.

Thanks for the Thrill Rides

Maker of Thrills and Trust,
the wonder of your Presence–never ceasing
always embracing–sources and strengthens
my adventure, my courage, and my release.
Thank you for the willingness you feed me:
the willingness to face risks,
my willingness to enjoy faith,
and my willingness to let go in trust of You.
Whether the matter at hand is simply of no matter
or an endeavor including endless challenges,
your Presence ensures the ride will be thrilling
and satisfying in its outcome.
Thank you, Spirit, for the beautiful image
of resting in your Hand.
And so it is. Amen.

Love & Blessings,
Tim

 

5 September 2018

 

Posted on September 5, 2018 at 5:06 am by Tim · Permalink · Comments Closed
In: Authenticity, Faith, God, Gratitude, Joy, Prayer, Strength · Tagged with: , , , ,

Where’s my authenticity?

I am authentic

I am authentic
Photo by Johnny McClung

With no concern for my authenticity, I read Michael Gelb’s How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci in 1998, 20 years ago. Curiosita is the first of the seven principles that generated Leonardo da Vinci’s genius. It obviously means curiosity.

One of Gelb’s book’s exercises is to stretch (and test) one’s curiosita by listing 100 questions…100 life questions.

That challenge—and with it a prayer for stamina and patience—just to discover 100 questions may seem like enough for this post. I assure you asking 100 life questions is easier than you might expect. Once you have written 5-10 questions, you they start coming to you faster, easier, and with a rewarding sense of aha!

The real challenge is answering the questions. That rang especially true for me just this week. I discovered my several lists of 100 curiosita questions in a 1998 journal I was reading this weekend. I did not find an answer to a single question in the journal.

Now, 20 years down the road, many of the questions my life itself has answered. Or made irrelevant. Yet, several—quite a few—are still unanswered, and there’s no question about their relevance.

I am not suggesting you would ask the same life questions. Nor do I assume you haven’t answered them if you did ask them. I do know I have found delightful peace and comfort in approaching these 20-year-old questions after a  little bit of prayer.

So I’ll share my actual experience. Perhaps you’ll find some value*.

In Search of Authenticity

Spirit-without-Question, 20 years ago
I consciously asked, “What can I do to know
I am always being true and authentic to myself?”
I’m thinking my discovering the question
in a journal I wrote but don’t remember
is a push to answer that question.
Now seems a good time for me to answer.
Or at least to start answering. Or trying to answer
And of course I want your help.
I want the answer and I know it is better that I find it myself.
So I am not asking you to give me the answer.
I am telling you instead I want your guidance
in my finding the answer.
That guidance may just be assurance
that I can find the answer if I only look
That assurance may be the gentle reminder
of the Love I know is your Truth.

That reminder is that I am always certain
I am of your Truth, of your creation.
That certainty affirms my true, authentic being.

Awesome! Thank you, Spirit! Amen!

Love & blessings,

Tim

August 28, 2018

Posted on August 28, 2018 at 7:11 am by Tim · Permalink · Comments Closed
In: Authenticity, Prayer, Praying, Spirituality · Tagged with: , ,

Praying Made Easy. 15. To Release Resentment.

Release Resentment

Release Resentment
Photo by Gianandrea Villa on Unsplash

The reason to release resentment is simple. It does no good to hold onto resentment of someone else’s words or actions. Some have told me that resentment is a strong motivator. The desire to get even can be a powerful impulse.

You harbor resentment, and you become its slave. Buddha put it best: “Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.”

Psychologists have a lot to say about resentment. Here are a couple of handy, easy-reads if you are curious.

And here is my nutshell version of resentment’s price:

I am not resentment-proof. I have long looked for a set of tools to help release my resentment. Consider these, please:

  1. Commit to do no harm to others…although resentment may want you to.
  2. Stand in your resentment pain…to make #1 easier.
  3. See the inner Being of whoever you feel caused your resentment.
  4. Realize you allowed the resentment more than they caused it.
  5. Forgive. Give forgiveness. Give forgiveness for your resentment’s release.

Praying to Release Resentment

Guiding Spirit,
I am blessed by your leading me
to not cause pain to others.
When I feel pain, you remind me
that if I stand in my pain I will not share it.
You let me know our Oneness, mine with every other being.
So I release myself to know my human mind sources my resentment.
These blessings bring me to forgive,
to give up and release my unreal need to feel resentment.
I then am able to forgive at will, with joy.
Guiding Spirit, your presence allows me
to be glad that I replace resentment with Love
from which we are created.
So it is and so I thank you, God. Amen.

Love and blessings,
Tim
28 March 2018

Posted on March 28, 2018 at 5:14 am by Tim · Permalink · Comments Closed
In: Commitment, Forgiveness, Happiness, Prayer · Tagged with: ,