Growing Interest

I was in a sort of emotional cocoon for around a year and a half following over a decade of losses.  I continued to function (teach and attend family events), but rested as much as possible, sleeping as much as I could.  Sometime after twelve months of prioritizing rest and allowing the natural course of my grief, I began to realize I had really NO desire for anything.  Then, sometime after that, I’m not sure how long after noticing the lack of desire, I began to pray for the desire to desire.  Then sometime after that, I started praying for the desire to actually be interested in something.  More recently I’ve noticed I actually feel some interest awakening within myself for many things!  Nothing grand, no project or mission to save the world, just a budding feeling of heart.  Like, maybe my heart can dare to feel again, feel enough to engage.  It’s engagement with the outer world that is so risky.  Almost all experiences of feeling include some degree or amount of pain.  Even the loveliest feelings cause some suffering in my heart.  It’s like I’m always all too conscious of how things pass.  And it’s a huge challenge for me to experience anything without some amount of my heart getting entwined with Other.  And then Other passes or leaves somehow and part of me goes with it.

One little exercise I’ve done to help myself learn how to savor Other without claiming it unto my Self is to take photos.  When I was on retreat in Cohasset (again, at a place that no longer exists!), we were cautioned to not take away the rocks from the shore because that erodes the beach there and effects the local eco-system.  So I honored their request.  Instead, I took photos.  Tons of photos of rocks.  I love rocks.  I love looking at them.  I love how they sound knocking against each other as the waves push them around.  I love all their different sizes, shapes, and colors.  I love how hand-sized rocks feel in my hand, heavy, but smooth and well-fitted.

I didn’t just photograph the rocks though.  I REALLY looked at them as I photographed them.  I looked intently at them.  I looked at them where they were as they were.  I thought about them.  I even felt respect for them!  I knew they served some purpose right there where they were.  I felt what a privilege it was to be there with them.  As soon as I realized I shouldn’t take them home with me as a souvenir, as soon as I realized I shouldn’t claim them as some thing to own, I realized and savored their presence there.  I don’t know how to explain it.  I wasn’t worshipping them by any means.  I wasn’t anthropomorphizing them.  I was just realizing that I didn’t need to acquire something to fully appreciate it.  It was a liberating experience.  It was also very fulfilling.  It was somewhat on par with what I do with music.  When I intimately acquaint myself with music, I don’t even think of owning it; I engage with it expecting myself to be changed.

Wow!  Isn’t that lovely?!  How did that happen?  I think it’s the nature of music.  But surely, it must also be a perspective gifted to me by my piano teachers, and probably before that my mother.  My mother treasured listening to classical music.  I grew up with a respect and expectancy for music – respect for its wonder — beauty passing in time, and expectancy for me to be and become she who can hear…  I don’t know how else to say it.

I didn’t mean to write all this when I started this post.  I thought I would just list the things for which I am recently finding some interest.  Here it is:

  1. reading
  2. podcasts, especially about writing or about literature
  3. tasting new (to me) flavors, especially in teas and other beverages
  4. lipsticks (lol – I told you, nothing grand!)
  5. listening (still mostly classical music, but also jazz, & exploring whatever)
  6. thinking about where I could want to travel
  7. blogging a project
  8. studying French language

Now that I’m listing, I guess there aren’t that many things!  But the feeling of having desire, having awakening interest in life, feels huge.  Feeling desire for things that I could do in the future is a quantum leap from not feeling anything or feeling only that I want to sleep.

I think I can attribute the change within me to a couple of things:

  1. Having allowed myself to rest
  2. Having prayed for an awakening of interest
  3. Having family – just their existence helps me want to be here
  4. New babies being born into my family; my how I love seeing my nieces and nephews get married (find love) and have babies (create out of love); I love the flourishing and over-flow of love!
  5. My husband still wanting and needing me to function
  6. My students
  7. Maybe others praying for me?

There is so much more to say regarding all this, but this is all I want to say for now.


  1. I’m grateful for rest.
  2. And I’m grateful for interest in living.
  3. And I’m grateful for family.


Morning Musings

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  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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Yielding to the best yoke

What to do when you’re fed up with the world:

  1. Fast.  Does it seem like the world is a horrible place filled with selfishness, idiocy, cruelty, and all manner of evil?  Before you succumb to despair, pull back, retreat, disengage.  Forget Facebook, skip Skype, trash Twitter and Tumblr, pack away Pinterest, and set aside that smart phone.  You don’t have to let the world be so much in your face!  Take a siesta from social media.  It will be there when you choose to return!
  2. Take a nap.  But before you go to sleep, decide that when you wake you will do one specific thing to nurture your best self with the best of what you can give.  Do you need better nutrition?  Plan a simple but healthy and satisfying meal that you can enjoy upon waking.  Does your body need to move?  Or your lungs need fresh air?  Plan not only to take a walk, but visualize the actual path you will take; then, when you wake, put on your shoes and get going.  Do you need some inspiration?  Find a good book or better yet, The Good Book; pick an encouraging verse before you go to sleep, read it through at least once or twice before you dive into dream-land; when you wake, meditate on it further along with whatever you dreamt.
  3. Do whatever you planned to do after that nap!
  4. Write a letter to yourself:  remind yourself of times you came through the dark valley and rose again to new heights.  Describe at least 3 of such times.  Then gently encourage yourself to dream again.  What is one thing you can actually do today that would help you achieve one of your dreams while making the world a better place?
  5. Pray.  Thank God for all the blessings in your life and in this world.  Thank God for all the graces in the face of sins, your own and others’.  Thank God for all the evidences of redemption.  Thank God for His faithfulness.  Thank God for His Presence now.  Thank God for all the graces to come.
  6. Consider prayerfully: is there some way you can be used by God to grace someone else?  Is there someone you are ready to forgive?  Is there something you can redeem?  If not, ask the Lord for healing, for yourself, and for the whole world.  If the Lord shows you some good you can do in His Name, do it, and thank Him for that one thing.  No matter how small it might appear now, thank God for it.
  7. Practice trusting God.  You’re correct that the world is not always a safe place, and not everyone in it is trust-worthy.  In fact, no-one is always trust-worthy for everything.  But remember too, we are not responsible for everything. Be discerning with people, but trust God completely.  Trust God with your whole heart.  That’s where and how you’ll find rest from the wearisome world.  Let God fill your heart; let God make His Home in your heart, and then you’ll find your Home in God.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.”  (~Jesus Christ, from Matthew 11: 28-30, New American Standard)