Morning Musings

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Hurdles

  1. Old Wounds
  2. Pessimism
  3. Despair
  4. Bad Habits
  5. Fatigue
  6. Lack of Plan
  7. Lack of “Fuel” for Dreams

How To Leap

  1. Descab, administer balm, cover – protect what needs protecting while it heals.
  2. Practice optimism – find at least one thing I can consistently embrace as producing/providing substantive hope.
  3. Practice hope – commit to my source of hope.
  4. Pick one – change one bad habit at a time – replace with a good habit.
  5. Drink more water, less coffee; eat more fruits & veggies; exercise at least 20 mins. every day; sleep well.
  6. Plan to plan – make a habit of making plans, little ones that I can accomplish, build on each plan, even if I don’t have a “big enough” dream; just get in the habit of dreaming, planning, and doing, no matter how small.
  7. Pray. My dreams are born only of sense of purpose. Find my purpose through prayer.  Do this first, every day.

“Training Plan”

  1. Pray for daily purpose.
  2. Make a detailed plan for accomplishing something(s) to fulfill that purpose.
  3. Eat and exercise for long-term health and today’s fuel.
  4. Incorporate one specific good habit that eradicates a bad habit.
  5. Be grateful.  Thank God for everything.  Especially for Christ’s trustworthiness.
  6. Share a smile: articulate my gratitude. Write or make something that shares my joy.
  7. Affirm my need for time, space, and means to heal.
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Recognizing my wounds and weaknesses is not enough.  I can too easily fall into despair when contemplating my own frailty and insufficiency.  Thankfully I have faith.  And it’s deep.  And it’s old.  I thank God for the gift of faith, a faith that is deep & wide, old & new, mine & communal, here & transcendent, universal & specifically manifested in Christ.

Thanks be to God!

This morning I am reflecting on how debilitating my propensity to depression can be.  But faith is stronger.  I wouldn’t be here without faith: a sense of the rightness of hope in general, and my faith in Christ specifically.

I imagine many (most?) of my readers are not Christians, or wouldn’t describe their faith experiences the same way I do.  That’s fine with me.  And I’m not preaching here.  I am not attempting to persuade anyone to think or feel or believe like I do.  I am simply enjoying the luxury of articulating my thoughts, feelings, and beliefs!

One of my foundational perceptions of reality is that within a general truth there are specific truths that express that general truth in delightfully unique ways.  This view of Truth can be beautifully symbolized by a hallmark of great music: melody implies harmony and harmony implies melody.  The point here is that my experience and understanding of Faith in Christ is that most belief-systems have a kernel of Truth, and by God’s bountiful Grace, all those little truths point to The Truth Who is fully manifested in Christ.  Anyone seeking Truth will eventually find Christ.  Some journeys are more circuitous, some have many detours, but God honors all seekers with finding, and ultimately all finding draws us nearer to Christ.  That’s because Christ is the Logos, Christ is the Author of Truth; God created all that Is in, through, with, and for Christ.  And the purpose of it all is Love.  We, and all God created, are essentially Celebration of God’s Love!

Personally, my journey with Christ reveals not only God’s amazing Grace – God’s generosity toward everyone, but also the cost: letting go of anything that deforms me…  in my view, the door to Heaven is open to everyone, and it has a shape: Christ. I must become conformed to Christ to fit through Heaven’s door!  However, again, this isn’t accomplished primarily by my effort.  It is mostly brought about through Grace, by birth of the Spirit.  Yet, it does require my consent.  And every day, every little thing I choose or don’t choose is assent to or dissent from Christ who faithfully calls me.

So how does this relate to my lists noted above?

I find myself floundering in this phase of “mid-life”.  (It’s rather fanciful to call it MID life because I’d have to live beyond 100 years if this were my life’s mid-point!) Regardless, it’s a new stage of life, it’s new psychological territory, and I find it requires new dreams.  I tend to think that I have more interior resources than most from which to generate strong dreams, but I have been able to rely on and travel so very far on a simple vision (of being a musician and teacher) that its challenging to birth another, sufficiently equal to it.  In other words, I’m currently stuck in a feeling of disappointment: the world was so much bigger when I was younger.  The world seems so much smaller now, and frankly, I don’t like it as much as I used to!  I believe I need to find a “new” dream, a sense of purpose for the next 30 years.  I need to find an even deeper sense of Living in which I can fall in Love with Life.

That’s what “it’s all about” for me: Loving Life.  Giving myself to Becoming.  I.e. letting God birth me, ever more fully, ever more alive.  And the primary birth-canal for me is prayer.  So, today’s plan for “How to Leap” over my hurdles must start with prayer.

Thanks be to God!

The Race of Faith

12 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the [a]author and [b]finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

(Hebrews 12: 1-2, NKJV)

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50 Things For Which I’m Thankful

Today I am grateful for:

  1. My bed with firm mattress
  2. My home
  3. In safe, quiet countryside
  4. In a relatively safe nation
  5. Running water
  6. Plumbing
  7. Hot water
  8. And the fuel to make it hot
  9. An in-door shower
  10. Clean towels
  11. Antibiotics
  12. A body that is designed to heal
  13. And still can
  14. Eye-sight
  15. God who provides everything
  16. My husband
  17. My parents
  18. Peeps in Heaven who pray for us
  19. My students
  20. My piano
  21. Music
  22. Capacity to play piano
  23. Capacity to teach
  24. Opportunity to teach
  25. Piano students’ parents who champion & companion their children
  26. Ears to hear
  27. Curiosity
  28. Courage
  29. Hope
  30. Capacity to seek & find Beauty
  31. Faith in Christ
  32. Intimacy w/ Christ
  33. Spirit’s Presence, especially in suffering
  34. Desire to learn
  35. Desire to heal
  36. Desire to grow
  37. My friends & family, eps those who encourage me in healing/ growing
  38. Tear ducts
  39. Lubrication for eyes when tears aren’t enough
  40. Seasons
  41. Time
  42. Space
  43. Pens and paper
  44. Laptops and phones
  45. Silence
  46. Solitude
  47. Color; today: esp blues & greens
  48. Meaningful work
  49. “Free”-time
  50. Desire to write

Looking Forward

I am looking forward to…

  1. Having two days off in a row!  (Most of my career I’ve had only one whole day off per week.  When I had two days, they weren’t in a row.  Having two days off in a row is awesome!  It turns out two is different from one plus one!)
  2. Having the weekend for my days off!
  3. Going to family social events!  (They are usually scheduled on weekends.)
  4. Having my summers off!  (I like having big swaths of time for creative work and special projects.)
  5.  Traveling!
  6.  Not being censored!
  7. Being able to discuss “verboten” topics.  (Certain topics came up in class and the profs told us that they and we were “not allowed to discuss” some of them.  I thought that meant in class.  Later I learned that the profs couldn’t even discuss them outside of class!  I had never heard of an educational institution censoring discussions let alone prohibiting topics.  Plus, the Vatican really doesn’t want any Catholic discussing certain topics!)
  8. Not concerning myself with local politics.
  9. Not concerning myself with “tribal” thinking and parochial perfection.
  10. Trying new things!
  11. Growing!
  12. Living!

All I Need

Things I need: things, qualities, anything that helps me enjoy living.

  1. Art
  2. Books, believing
  3. Coffee, cats, chocolate
  4. Dreams
  5. Experimenting
  6. Freedom, faith, flowers
  7. Grace
  8. Healing
  9. Integrity
  10. Joy
  11. Kindness
  12. Love, laughter
  13. Meaning, music
  14. No! (yes, I need “no” in my vocabulary, in my experience)
  15. Open-ness, open-views (figurative and literal)
  16. Peace, process, poetry, piano!
  17. Quiet
  18. Roses
  19. Sweetness
  20. Truth, tenderness
  21. Up (upward thinking/viewing and the notion of defying gravity)
  22. Value, veracity, validation
  23. Wholeness
  24. Xeric plants!  I love succulents!  I love plants that grow despite little water!
  25. Yes!
  26. Zero (yes, the number and the notion of zero; I find it both mystifying and so practical it’s nearly banal.)  I also like that (until the 20th century), there was no notion of zero in musical-math.

So, ask me on another day, and this list might have variations.  And I realize “need” can be defined in many ways and the degree of need can be easily argued.  For today, for this list, what I mean is: these are the things/ experiences/ values that I regularly treasure/ embrace/ consciously and deliberately choose as part of my (mostly daily) living and for which I am always grateful.

For a more starkly realistic list of what I truly need?

What all human-beings need:

  1. Love (somewhere, somehow, some experience of being loved/ valued and the opportunity to love other.)
  2. Some degree of shelter, some amount of food and water, some degree of personal hygiene, some opportunity for communication (even if only within one’s imagination)
  3. Meaning/ faith/ hope.

I think that’s probably all we need: sustenance for our bodies, relating for our social selves, hope for our souls.

Thanks be to God for all Your blessings, graces, mercies.  Praise be Jesus forever.  Lord, give me the grace to be ever-more grateful and gracious, ready to receive and to share.

 

 

Sounding Letters

Twelve Things I Liked About Spelling Tests In Grade-School

  1. I liked numbering the page lines.
  2. I liked listening for each word.
  3. I liked my confidence in spelling.
  4. I liked the A’s I achieved.
  5. I liked spelling the words: thinking through each letter.
  6. I liked sounding them out in my head.
  7. I liked the “metered” Q and A rhythm.
  8. I liked the review for self-checking at the end.
  9. I liked preparing for the tests.  Mom would quiz me at home.
  10. I liked writing the words: putting each letter onto the page.
  11. I liked writing them methodically.
  12. Mostly I liked listening and sounding in my head.  It was as though that process was rewarded with a printed word.  Seeing the word as a result of listening was magical!

This is such a simple memory, but as it is such a powerful memory of pleasurable confidence, which was atypical of me in relation to test-taking, I am grateful to remember this consistently positive experience of performance, particularly in the context of a judged test.

And what fun to remember the delight in sounding out each newly learned word in my mind’s ear, hearing and savoring each luscious letter.

Authenticity Affirmations

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I affirm my:

  1. Inner Child: My awe for simple goodness is grace, a gift to be treasured and celebrated.
  2. Sensitivity: Being aware of small changes helps me see the gift of each moment.
  3. Need for Solitude: Alone-ness with God, with myself, with quiet, is nourishment for my soul; it is to be honored (never deprecated).  To recognize a true need and to fulfill it is Godly.
  4. Voice: Until I can speak freely as I truly wish, writing uncensored is holy work; I must do it.  Writing is sacred art that honors the authentic soul.
  5. Need for Music: Hallelujah for the gift of Music!  Thank You, God, for making me a musician!
  6. Need for Color: Praise be Jesus for color!  And the gift of finely tuned sight!
  7. Courage: I face my fears with deeply fertile courage founded on Hope and Grace; I have faith in God and in myself; I have faith in Life.

 

1,000 Thanks, 156-185

  1. (156) Bach
  2. (157) Scarlatti
  3. (158) Handel
  4. (159) Couperin
  5. (160) Haydn
  6. (161) Mozart
  7. (162) Beethoven
  8. (163) Schubert
  9. (164) Mendelssohn
  10. (165) Chopin
  11. (166) Schumann
  12. (167) Liszt
  13. (168) Brahms
  14. (169) Faure
  15. (170) Debussy
  16. (171) Ravel
  17. (172) Saint-Saens
  18. (173) Poulenc
  19. (174) Satie
  20. (175) Massiaen
  21. (176) Rachmaninoff
  22. (177) Dvorak
  23. (178) Scriabin
  24. (179) Bartok
  25. (180) Copland
  26. (181) Ives
  27. (182) Barber
  28. (183) Britten
  29. (184)  Puccini
  30. (185) Granados
Thank You, Lord, for composers, especially “classical” ones, most especially those who wrote so well for piano!  This is the canvas for the tapestry of my life!