As The Future Comes Together

It is July 1st. Some months back I had thought that come this time I would be in Uganda. But as the time approached there was simply no clarity regarding the multiple details that would have to come into place and I soon (although perhaps not soon enough) realized that I was not to be in Uganda in what is my home-time season of summer.

I needed to be home in the early parts of September and so this detail set into place the only other possible time to make this three month trip to Uganda. We began thinking and planning toward mid-September to mid-December.

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Body Wisdom

I’m writing this in the quiet of the night. One would think that the silence of an island would enable one to sleep longer but this has not been my experience. Wide awake after only four or five hours of sleep is becoming my normal.

At first I fight it, “Just go back to sleep” I tell myself. But when this doesn’t work I simply get up and go about my time as though it were really morning. I’ve learned to run with this ‘awakeness’.

I’ve always been able to gauge low-grade depression through my sleeping patterns. When I was young and working as a baker with very early mornings I was much the same way as now, needing only a half-dozen hours of sleep at most.

Some years later as I became less congruent and authentic in how I was living life I found it more and more difficult to get out of bed each morning. When what I wanted and what I was doing was in discrepancy I slept and slept.

Sleep has proven a very useful barometer of how truthful I am in my inner core. When I am engaged in activity that is peripheral to my true purpose I become tired and lethargic in my spirit and I sleep so much more. When I am living out of my purposeful core, in authenticity about my life, I sleep less.

During some of my worst years sleep was a drug. If I could sleep longer my days would be shorter. Less boredom, less frustration, less sorrow; there is less of everything when we sleep our lives away. In contrast, living out of my inner core my body resonates excitement and purpose and I no longer need sleep as a drug.

My body tells me what I need to know about my life and the way I am living it. Our bodies, after all, know what we do not know. The internal state of our hearts and minds shows through in our bodies if we will just take the time to listen and learn to read what our bodies are telling us.

The Gift of Dissatisfaction

Dissatisfaction is one of the best gifts we have ever been given. Nothing else can move us to change and renewal of our lives quite like dissatisfaction.

So this year, as you head into 2014, take hold of your dissatisfactions and harness them toward the way you truly want to be in the world and the kind of life you want to be living.

Don’t push away your dissatisfaction, don’t brush it off as though its meaningless, rather take it in hand and allow it to guide you and compel you to make the changes in your life that suit you best.

A Reinvention

I’ve reinvented myself a few times over. From fearful and shy to settled and leading requires a few changes to one’s inner core along the way.

And as I’m looking ahead at 2014 it occurs to me that another reinvention is necessary. While the foundation is well laid within my own life and the life of Capturing Courage International the necessary and expected increase requires my own growth first and foremost.

This is the same for all of us. What has gotten us to today will not get us to the tomorrows that we want. Each new phase of life requires an expansion within our heart and mind. Our internal capacity is, after all, what grows our life.

My own process of inner growth always begins with identifying the parts of myself that I am not happy with. Where am I holding back? What still frightens me? What parts of my life are still not quite working?

I take hard looks at the outward identifiers of relationships, finances, daily habits, health, and more. What do these tell me? What have I been not wanting to see or admit?

And then I begin asking even more questions:

  • What might growth look like in this area?
  • How might I like that to be?
  • What small changes will create big shifts?
  • If I made one change in this area that would make a difference in all the other areas what might that one thing be?

Key to all of this is refusing to rush to conclusion.

Rather, we hold the questions open for some days, letting them settle in and through all the layers of our being. Questions like these will tap into our inner gut if we refuse to satisfy them too quickly with our own best wisdom.

We gather all possibilities, all brainstorming is laid out, and we wait.

Visioning then begins. How might I like to see myself? What would that particular shift do for me, how would it impact my life?

And in my mind’s eye I see myself with this new skill or that new confidence. I envision the changes I want to see, I may even feel the changes in my emotions and the way my body reacts to things. I then leave my visioning in my mind’s eye. I back away and allow my mind and will to go after what I want. Emergent energy takes over.

This process is easily 50% of the work alone. It is not so much the precursor to work – it is much of the work. Where most rush to change the outward those who take the time to shift the inner picture will end up with growth that sticks.

This is how I’m spending the last days of 2013 – I’m hanging out with myself in the depths of my own thoughts, in curiosity I am questioning, envisioning, and moving towards my own best future.

And as 2014 moves along I’ll add my own best efforts, due diligence, disciplined hours, healthy habits, and hard work to the mix, and we shall see how things have turned out a year from now.

Three Days Grace

Reading a Rick Joyner book years back I learned that pride blinds us for three days time. It was an interesting thing to read and about the only thing I remember from that book.

Since then I’ve had grand opportunity (i.e.: my own pride) to test this out, and I’ve found it to be completely accurate.

Blinded, literally, by our pride.

So I’ve learned to give some space and time for my thinking and responses. When I’ve been kicked in the gut by another (as I experienced yesterday) there is always an element of my pride that has been hit.

Yes, the other party was in violation to an agreement made, but the part of me that feels the violation is simply my pride. And when pride gets kicked up, like sand in a dust storm, we just can’t see so well for a few days.

Our discernment is foggy, wisdom is compromised, accuracy is at 50% or less. It is therefore imperative during this time to sit back and allow the dust to settle before addressing everything that went wrong.

Give it three days, regardless of the trouble three days space will allow new light to shine on the situation. Three days allows emotions to settle, disappointments to be reckoned, betrayal to be grieved. It’s a good investment.

Stepping Out then In to Christmas

Some dozen or so years ago Christmas was a much embellished affair at my house. I’d always loved decorating and wrapping gifts just so (this is an understatement). But as the years went by and as the demands grew I found myself increasingly dissatisfied with what Christmas was becoming and my bondage to it.

The straw that broke the camels back was the year my ex and I took our five kids to the dollar store. Each child had their gift list of some 20plus family members that they were going to get a gift for, and then their friends on top of this.

Now, I must say that teaching our kids to give gifts instead of focussing on receiving them was one of the really great things we did. For many years the children rarely thought or voiced what Christmas might bring them, rather it was always about their gifts to other people.

So the year that we realized that the dollar store could facilitate this gift giving in a fairly economical way was a bit of a eureka. And I still have fond memories of children with a basket in hand trying to shop for their siblings and parents while all in the same store at the same time.

It was later at home that it all unravelled for me. The next day or so and just in time for Christmas I found myself helping five children over the course of some six hours wrap and keep straight 300 gifts!

This on top of all the food preparations for our Christmas Eve dinners. On top of the shopping for our own five children, “Oh I found another gift for so and so, and now we have to find one more gift for the others so that they are all equal…” And so on brought me to a ‘no more’ in my spirit.

I just couldn’t do it any longer. Christmas had become way out of control and I just wasn’t enjoying myself any longer.

To confound the difficulty my ex was making decisions that then required me to carry the brunt of the work (of those decisions) and I was toppling under the loads.

So I began extricating myself. The camels back was broken.

Needless to say I began dialling back on what I was willing to do and be part of. It was a slow process. And a hurtful process for my ex. He couldn’t understand why I wasn’t in agreement anymore to some of the things we had most been about at Christmas.

But I just couldn’t do it any longer. And so I began to make Christmas what I wanted it to be, what I could be glad for and what didn’t kill me each year.

And in that process I learned that it needn’t all be done. I learned in fact that nothing need be done at Christmas. I learned that Christmas happens first and foremost in my heart and that all the rest is simply expression and worship.

Since then till now, for some years to this point, early in December I find a deep peace and quiet and worship descending into my inner being. My soul is bathed in holiness as the Lord presses in close. This to me is the heart of Christmas and sets the table for whatever else the season may hold.

As I’ve refused the craziness peace floods in.

I decided that what I really wanted to do was to buy one gift for each of my children. Instead of keeping tabs on numbers and dollars spent between them all, I would instead take a leisurely afternoon shopping and find one gift for each one that I wanted to give them.

No more shopping lists that makes me feel like I’m at the grocery store. No more requests filled out like I am a vending machine. Don’t tell me what you want, I want to surprise you!

So, for Christmas each year I’m simply in charge of making the 20 lbs of mashed potatoes for our family dinner. One year I took scads of pictures.

I might buy a few gifts (but even these last two years I’ve not had the funds to even do this). I put up a small tree.

And I might do some Christmas cards, every three years or so perhaps.

And guess what. My children still know I love them. Family is still there to hang with. We still eat just fine.

Christmas is now a true expression of the freedom and grace that Jesus Christ came to give. No longer is it wrung through with ought and should and exhaustion.

Instead there is freedom for my children to come and go throughout the day. There is peace and comfort in just being. We always have a great meal that is spread between all of us in the making.

It simply works.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Change of Pace

It’s been a few days since I’ve last written. The last couple of days have been a shift into silence and sanctuary. Ensconced at my family’s home on Mayne Island, with a bit of a head cold, has brought my productivity to a m-u-c-h-slower-p-a-c-e.

I’m a big believer in following the natural rhythms required by body and soul, mind and spirit. As much as possible we must become okay with both working hard, playing hard, and then resting hard.

Continue reading Change of Pace