mindful

About once a week Colton and I will do a guided meditation on sleep before bed. It sounds hoaky, but its just relaxing techniques to calm the mind and stop thinking about the million little things that need to be done or things that happened that day. I recently downloaded an app on mindfulness with a few more categories and decided to do one on the way to work this morning. (Don’t worry, my eyes were open 🙂 )

I have some people coming into my room today that could be my principal next year, so I figured one on cultivating positivity could help keep me calm. It was five minutes of simply giving me things to think about or ways to think about them. After it was over, I kept thinking about how God calls us to being mindful so many times in the Bible.

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” -Philippians 4:8

“So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.” – Romans 8:6

I’m reading Psalm 16 right now and one verse says, “My body rests in safety.” This could very well be physical, but when I know I am safe, it eases anxiety and those wondering thoughts about whats to come. My body rests when I am mindful and actively turning my thoughts to things that are right and pure.

When I am overwhelmed with all the needs of my students – my body rests.

When I can’t sit in traffic for another minute- my body rests.

When I know there is more I could do to be better at ____ . – my body rests.

When evaluators come into my room and my nerves start racing- my body rests.

Today I will focus my mind on thoughts of peace, that come from The Lord, and that sink into my day. I hope you get that same chance!

 

 

 

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savoring slow

Illegible handwriting written on sticky notes are scattered on my planner, curriculum books, and desk. I forget to throw them away or there is just one thing on them that I still need to remember.

Its rushed, remembering all the things. We make lists and put reminders everywhere so we don’t forget to send the email, read the article, print and pass out homework (always need a reminder for this one) or call someone on their birthday. Feeling all together is really just an accomplishment in the task of remembering it all.

I’m a list maker and sticky note writer. I love that feeling of getting everything done on the list or sticky note. But sometimes, it makes me feel more scattered and more hurried (which, I often am too).

This morning, I’m feeling that pull. Its the tug to go, move, do, when all I want to do is sit and breath. There is always something I can do for school, but it can wait. There is always something I can worry or stress about, but it can wait. What cannot wait is taking the time to sit.

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I pulled open Psalm 16 this morning and was tempted to skip over the beginning. The second half is much more what I was wanting for the day, but that would have been rushing. While being tempted to not take part in the sacrifices of blood isn’t necessarily what was on my heart this morning, thinking about the dedication of the writer of this Psalm could be. Thinking about the turmoil going on around this writer, while he or she was trying to stay devoted, whether or not that is something directly related to me, is still something worth thinking about.

I’m on day 17 of this whole30 thing and it’s the longest I’ve stuck to something in a long time. I’m tempted to say that was good enough and rush to it being over, but who knows what can be found or learned in the sitting? Even when something seems to not be what we want or are wanting to reach for, I’m reminded this morning to not fast forward what is meant to be slow and savored, even if it’s not something we necessarily want to savor.

When there are lists and stickies all pulling you today, I hope you have the time to breath slow, even if it is just for a minute.

a poet wonders

On a run last week I listened to the podcast, OnBeing. Krista Tippet was interviewing Eugene Peterson, who most know as the man who translated the Bible into the Message. I’ve gone back and forth about the message over the years, but something I’ve learned is I usually feel differently regardless after learning more and “getting to know” the person or thing I had opinions about before.

There were a couple things he said that made me want to rush home and open a book, one of which being the Bible. I haven’t felt encouraged to read Scripture in a long, long time. Part of that comes from just not doing it, and part of it comes from having it read it and feeling like I’m not “getting anything” from it. I’m imagining most believers or pastors reading this and having lots of comebacks- you’re not reading enough or for a long enough time, you’re not praying enough, or you should journal/memorize/prayer scripture, etc.

I’ve walked myself through all of those conversations, tried to coach myself to get back in there, just do it! Nothing stuck, until I was reminded of the deep sense of wonder in The Bible. Something that always irks me is seeing those lists of versus passed around, like, “Here are 20 verses for encouragement, the best verses for teachers, the best versus for depression/sickness/healing/etc..” Maybe those verses in the lists were just what someone needed, and maybe when I read the Bible as a young Christian I would “get something” more often, but now I don’t want to use the Bible. Its not a prescription, or a book to just read what you like, and I don’t want to cheapen it by limiting one verse to one thing.

I’m reading a series called The Magicians after watching the first season on TV. These college age Magicians are at a school and find another world called Fillory. They thought the world was fiction, since it was the setting of children’s novels, and suppose to be beautiful and filled with talking animals. Its a definite allusion to Narnia, except when they get there, it is not what they were expecting. It doesn’t fulfill them as they thought it would, and as adults, they learn that life isn’t all fantasy and fun. I’m still reading the books, and while I understand what the author is doing, I would still rather read Narnia. I would rather believe in the wonder and camp out in the joy C.S. Lewis captures. I think this is where I am at with Scripture too. I can be grim about it not fulfilling me like it used to, or I could search again for the wonder of it.

Here is a clip from the podcast where Peterson talks about the Psalms.

And somebody told me that the Psalms were a good thing to read, so I started reading the Psalms. And I couldn’t understand them. “God is a rock?” What does that mean? “My tears are in your bottle?” What is going on here? And I just kind of struggled with that, but people had told me it was important to read the Psalms. And about a month into that, I realized what they were. And I didn’t know the term “metaphor,” but I realized what metaphors were. And so then I was off. And the Psalms were my introduction to poetry.

The psalms, and so much of the Bible, is poetic and rich. It holds depth, in a single verse, but more so read as the whole piece of what was written together. Peterson also talked about how he reads Psalms and uses them to pray. I was encouraged by the simplicity, but beauty in which he described how he learned them and learned to pray them.

He says,

But for years I have — the first thing in the morning, I have about an hour of just quiet and coffee. And — but I picked seven Psalms that I thought were, kind of covered the waterfront of what’s going on. And I memorized them. And I picked pretty long Psalms, so I’d have to work at it. And so, on Sunday, I do Psalms 92, which is a Psalm for the Sabbath. And then I go to Psalms 68, which is kind of a — it’s a collection of pieces of Psalms from different kind of settings, but when you read through the whole thing, and that’s a pretty long Psalm you realize all of these things kind of fit together if you’re paying attention.

We have so much to pay attention to. So much to wonder about. So much joy still left to be found. It doesn’t have to be another world, or a fantasy, its right here when we look.