Tag Archives: stress

DAY 7- Weird Santa Photo Week (Grand Finale)

In the video Father Chrsitmas (click for trailer) Santa gets ticked-off, grumpy, and self-centered…and takes a vacation. Huh? (He’s practically a jerk. Yeah, I don’t get it either.)

It’s odd also because, even though his vacation helps his stress level, he ends by saying, “Have a Bloomin’ Christmas!” From spending some time in England, I know that the word “bloomin” is typically used in anger, like, “You’re a bloomin’ disgrace!”

So, he may as well have said, “Have a bloomin’ Christmas and a freakin’ New Year!” Right. OKAY. So, there you have it!

It’s one more holiday weirdness to wrap our brains around.

For the final day of weird Santa week, I’m busting out the rest of the bad Santa photos in a Grand Finale slideshow. Voila!
Tell us which is YOUR favorite.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions?

CHEERS!

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Thursday’s 5 Minute Retreat (4 of 5)

Lay down your stones

Ed Cyzewski invited me to carrying on with his 5 minute Retreat series this week. Today is day 4 of 5. I hope you find this brief exercise a way to create a bit of time and space in your day to refocus and reenergize. May God bless you.

This retreat would be best to do if you have a stone or brick handy. If it’s not easy to search for one outside, find something else, that feels weighty in your hand, like a paper weight, book, full water bottle, etc. Yes, I realize that sounds weird. Indulge me for a few minutes, k?

Before we start, please take a few steps to
prepare yourself to take a short rejuvenating break to refreshen your day and your spirit. Together we will gain new perspective. So, please eliminate potential distractions nearby. (Silence your phone, computer, shut your door, etc.)

Ready?
Here we go!

Hold your stone or object in your hand.

Close your eyes and take a few deep, slow breaths. (Be aware of where you are. “Be where you are.” That is, push the chatter of your mind aside, purposefully, for this short and set amount of time.)

Now as you gain awareness of yourself in the spot where you are, be very aware of the weight of the object in your hand. Concentrate on that sensation for a bit. With your eyes closed, notice its bulk, size, “weightiness”, and stay with that for about 60 seconds. (That will feel like a LONG time. But, please do hang in there, friends!)

Now think of the things weighing you down in your day this week. Everybody has something. Do you have conflict in a relationship, too much to do, deadlines, struggles, car trouble, illness, loneliness, frustration? What is bothering you RIGHT NOW?

Think about how those things in your life really do feel like a weight resting on top of you. They are pushing you down. They feel heavy.

Now, feel the weight of the stone or object in your hand, and make the conscious association, of what weights you down with this weighted symbol of it that you are holding.

Feel their weight, and recognize that you want to be free of it. You want new strength and relief. You want to claim that release.

Talk to God briefly about your particular struggle/s, all while clutching your stone or object.

If you can say this next bit out loud, I recommend it. If that will be too awkward because of your surroundings, try to repeat this a few times in your mind:

God, I am laying my weight down. Take it from me. I willingly lay it down for you to pick up.

(Repeating this for your ownership of this act will help you a lot.)

Now set down your weight. Release it. Lay it down, with purpose. (If you are outside, you may want to throw it down, or put it in a trash can. Or, maybe that’s just me. OH! And watch out for glass. It can sneak up on you, just as you let your stone fly.)

NOW–Feel the weight lift. It’s GONE.

Breathe deeply.

Now walk away.

And thank God.

Thanks for coming along today, and daring to experience life a bit differently. I hope this is helpful to you in a special way. I’d love to hear about your experience, if you’d like to share it here.

TUESDAY 5 Minute Retreat. (2 of 5)

Thank you for coming here. Ed Cyzewski invited me to carrying on with his 5 minute Retreat series, “with my own spin”. This is day 2.

Let’s enjoy a time and space set aside for refreshment. (Please feel free to comment anytime. Sharing your experience is valuable for all of us.)

First,
prepare yourself to take a short rejuvenating break, by eliminating potential distractions. (Silence your phone, computer, shut your door, etc.)

Now, fold your hands. That’s right interlace your fingers as you clasp them together.

As you look at your hands, either your left or your right thumb will be on top. Many people hold their left thumb on the top. Which is it for you? (you can let us know in the comment section)

Now, re-clasp your fingers and thumbs so the opposite thumb is on the top.

It will feel unfamiliar, and perhaps “wrong” or slightly uncomfortable. (You can describe what it feels like to you in the comment section)

With your hands this unfamiliar way, take 3-5 deep inhales and exhales, slowly.

Think about the habits and routines in your life that you never really notice. Like… Tying your right shoe first, or sliding into your driver’s seat a certain way, preparing your coffee, brushing you teeth, or something more important, like checking your email first thing in the morning, or interacting with your kids.

Could this be a day where you can be extra aware of your daily habits? Today, could you survey all you do, and see if you want to change some things up?

Unfold your hands and fold them the uncomfortable way–again.

Pray about what make of the details in your life, that keep you from growing, or that keep you where you are, and not where you should be.

Do you need to forgive someone? Ask God to help you. Rely on his strength to forgive that person, through you, (with his strength) even if their are no warm feelings toward them, yet, or maybe ever.

Unforgiving habits are ruts we should overcome.

Try to fold and unfold your hands several times today to remind you of the habits you are in, and the ones that should change.

Stretch out your hands, arms, and body, and let out a big breath.

Take on the day!

Thanks for sharing this with me. May you be blessed.

 

Man Cave: Of sanctuaries and retreats

(A Room Decoration and Demarcation)

It’s been said that the adult male human regularly needs some “down time” after a work day (a.k.a. Cave Time) to rejuvenate, find refreshment, recharge, gain clarity, and so on.

BUT-I doubt–a LOT–that “cave time” is truly a need reserved for the masculine of the species.

As many men will attest, females also enjoy and feel the need to retreat, and find refreshment. For some women it looks like taking a walk alone, reading a book while soaking in a bubble bath, or even not being alone–such as, sharing emotions with a trusted friend or ally.

Whatever this time looks like, it is a demarcated boundary of sanctuary, and vitally important to good mental health, and a balanced life–notwithstanding the spiritual benefits.

My husband doesn’t feel he needs a “den” or a man gym set up in the basement to get his man cave time in. He most enjoys a vigorous bike ride through the beautiful countryside on his road bike. I most like a variety of sanctuaries and refreshing conduits–both with others and without.

It’s not a weakness or a shame to realize you need space, and find your own space routinely (be it physical space, quite down time, mental respite, or beneficial time of social interaction). It is part of how we [all] live out our humanity fully, and how we are better able to best rejoin to loved ones, and others in our work or social lives in the most healthy way. If you don’t alreadly, encourage your loved ones to carve out demarcated time for this human need, as well as maintain your own. Seriously. Put in on the calendar or in your planner. It’s really that important. Be systematic so you stick with it, and keep your appointments with yourself. You will be surprised how much everyone will benefit.

Do you get the “cave time” you feel you need?

What does cave time look, or sound like for you?

Any body know Scripture that encourages ‘cave time’?

I look forward to your responses. Thanks.

The Nest, part 2

Spinning House (adapted from photo by John & Brenda Bendinsky)

Perhaps every parent tries to give their child something they craved as a child. For me, it’s stability. Emotional safely. A place that is a refuge from the plagues and tumult of the world, rather than another component to the madness.

I noticed someone’s garden bird house this spring. It hung from a cord and was in constant motion. It spun clockwise, and then counter-clockwise. And it got me to thinking…do the young birds think the world spins? When they leave the nest, does normal stability feel abnormal? I realized I grew up in a spinning bird house. Love will always feel unstable, even when it stands firm.

I want something for my children: I want to anchor our house to the tree.

Qualities of a good nest:

1. Cozy

2. Safe

3. Warm

4. Comforting

5. Place of learning/preparatory

6. Seasonal/temporary

7. Place of nurture

7. Place where you get good eats

8. Sufficient shelter

What else?

What have you (or would you want to) give to your children that wasn’t in the “nest” you grew up in?

"Safe Neighborhood?" (creative commons photo by Josve05a Flickr)

A Picture of Survival

Yesterday, we took this photo on a cell phone at Duff Park in Murrysville, PA. [I apologize for the low quality.]

I really wanted to share this because the image is a fantastic visual example of survival. Look carefully. The red square shows where the tree started. Perhaps some rocks gave way underneath it. Has that ever happened to you?

It seems that for some time the tree was pointed down, away from live-giving sunlight.

But what happened after years of struggle and persistence?

Growth. Survival. Resilience. Vigor. A Healthy (though precariously placed) Tree.

How can you survive when the bottom drops out? Grow up. 🙂

"I will survive," said the tree.

My prayer of thanksgiving: God, thank you for this example and inspiration from your created world.

What are your reflections, thoughts, or comments?

Spiritual Challenge: Prayer of Release

Spiritual Challenge:

Find a stone, and hold it tightly.

See it, and feel it as the weight of your worries.

Say a prayer of release.

Then, drop it and walk away.

Your comments are welcome here. We hope you share them.