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2018 one-little-word reveal (Spiritual Journey Thursday)

Welcome to the first Spiritual Journey Thursday post of 2018. Today I and my SJT friends are unveiling our one-little-word choices for the year. My trusty altar-ego Power Shot is here to do the honors in a storyboard sequence. Take it away, PS!

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Life is full of so many lovely distractions.

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But now it’s time to get to work…

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Write and tackle that “To-do List”

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Wait. I need to see what’s happening on Twitter…

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Aand Facebook and Instagram, and Pinterest, and all the social media hangouts I love.

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No PS. FOCUS!

So there you have it, folks. My word is FOCUS.

Frankly, I was loath to leave my 2017 word LISTEN behind. So I picked its cousin who is not quite so sensory specific.

The word FOCUS came to me as somewhat of a lifesaver over the last few weeks. On November 1st, my husband had hip replacement surgery. My broken hip experience of 2014 sure came in handy here as I knew what to expect. Still, on some days the compounding of caregiving and household responsibilities together with Christmas almost bowled me over.

When I began to feel overwhelmed, I would calm myself with self-talk like: “Just do the next thing” and “Focus.” That attention to the moment and refusal to give in to distraction helped me stay on top of things through the first weeks of hubby’s recovery.

He’s well on his way back to normal now and Christmas is over. However, I’ve decided I want to hang onto FOCUS a bit longer applying it to my work, my relationships, my leisure, and my spiritual life.

The Bible passage that I’ve chosen as my focus true north is Philippians 3:13,14:

“But one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

To me this means living a life of purpose that will be effective in its trajectory because of its focus on the things that matter.

spiritualjourneyfirst-thursday-copyThis post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday, hosted today by Margaret Simon on her blog Reflections on the Teche. There you will find links to more 2018 one-little-word reveals. (Thanks, Margaret, for hosting and for making the swank 2018 Spiritual Journey button!)

 

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Teach me

As I contemplate “finding joy” (our Spiritual Journey Thursday topic this month), it occurs to me how little it takes for me to lose mine. A stretch of bad weather, a cold that hangs on, misplacing my things, upcoming obligations that worry and stress me… These and many more easily grab my attention and, if I let them, steal my joy.

On the weekend I visited a friend who, a week ago, had a heart attack. Now mending from bypass surgery, her attitude of noticing all the positive things and being grateful for them is, I think, a template for retaining joy through bad times or good.

She was perfectly peaceful about relinquishing her classroom to a substitute for the rest of the year. Her husband was laid off from work a while ago, but because of that he was free to be with her in this distant city through this time. Her doctor happened to come by her room as her heart was misbehaving, witnessed what was happening, and pushed up her surgery. Her daughter, passing through on holidays visited the night before surgery and calmed her mother’s jitters using her doula skills. My friend has a strong faith and interpreted these things as evidences of the care of a loving heavenly Father.

For all of us—my friend navigating through her life-and-death health challenge to me with my petty annoyances, I believe finding joy comes in seeing and focusing on the good in the situation and being grateful for what is, rather than wishing for something that isn’t.

I leave you with a short prayer that I wrote some years ago but still need to pray:

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Image: Pixabay

teach me

the sweet leisureliness
of being a lily
the implicit trust
of my child-hand
in Yours
the unlikely joy
that sings sparrow-songs
even when I’m on the ground

© 2007 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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sjt-2017-graphicThis post is linked to Spiritual Journey (first) Thursday, hosted this week by Margaret Simon at her blog Reflections on the Teche.

 

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Mindfulness

UPDATE:

I am totally blown away! Poetry Friday friend and children’s author extraordinaire Tabatha Yeatts has been doing poem / song matchups. Today she matched “Mindfulness,” below with some absolutely gorgeous music!

Have a listen as you read … and then pop up here again to enjoy the beautiful scenes that accompany this plainsong chant.

She’s also paired more poems and songs… so much poetic goodness HERE!

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Today the Spiritual Journey Thursday word is MINDFULNESS. It is my one little word.

When I was thinking about choosing a word for this year, the picture of our greet-each-other time in church on Sundays came to mind. People have different ways of handling this brief but regular part of our Sunday morning gathering.

I like it when the person I’m greeting or who’s greeting me looks at me and, even for a second or two, gives me their full attention. Too often that’s not the way it happens though. Too often the eyes of the person I’m greeting are looking away to the next person—or wherever.  I’m afraid that I’m sometimes that inattentive greeter too. The word “mindfulness” came to mind as the opposite of the inattention I dislike in others but especially in myself.

Mindfulness, simply defined, is “being present in the moment.” It also has a psychology definition:

“Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience” – Definition from Psychology Today.

Personally I like that second definition except for the bit about not judging. I reserve the right to judge and filter out thoughts that are critical, negative, pessimistic, hateful, etc.

Along with choosing my word for the year, I chose a Bible verse to supplement it. My year’s verse for 2016 is Isaiah 26:3. I’m memorizing it in the Amplified version. (I’ve substituted the pronoun “her” for “him”):

“You will guard her and keep her in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because she commits herself to You, leans on You and hopes confidently in You.” Isaiah 26:3 AMP

The poem below elaborates mindfulness a bit more and how I’m focusing on it this year.

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Image: Unsplash / pixabay.com

MINDFULNESS

I have brightened the walls
and enhanced the lighting
in the rooms of my mind
in order to see clearly
the thoughts that come and go.

I have put up surveillance cameras
in each room and at the door.
At the end of the day
I replay the scenes
to better understand the role
of my thoughts in the day’s happenings.

When doubt, fear, criticism, self-pity
pride and their negative relatives
manage to slip in (and they do)
I freshen the atmosphere
with balms of faith, hope, and love.
They cannot stand the fragrance
and quickly leave.

I am working on using
my single-purpose cubicles
(where no media is allowed)
for reading, listening, praying.

I welcome spies
from the land of dreams
and the outposts of intuition
inspiration and second-thought,
for they bring important insights
to my battle against inattention.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

Now I’m so looking forward to reading what other Thursday journeyers will say about “mindfulness”!

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Join us each week at Spiritual Journey Thursday

This post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday hosted each week by Holly Mueller at her blog Reading, Teaching, Learning.

 

 

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Present

Margaret Simon‘s one little word PRESENT was fun to explore because of its many meanings. I think I know the meaning of “present” that is giving her inspiration, but maybe not…

In writing about it, I chose as my subject a Bible character who demonstrates what being present means to me, even as I used the word in several ways. (In case you’re not familiar with the story – you can read it HERE.) Though poetry says it slant, I hope you can pick up why I think it’s a powerful word to focus on for a year.

Martha, Mary, Jesus

Martha and Mary of Bethany, with Jesus (Artist unknown)

Present

Mary’s rapt attention
is her present to Jesus.
Though kitchen’s clatter
bang, scrape and pour
together with multi-tasking Martha’s
deep and pointed sighs
make the present tense
Mary chooses to stay
present, focused, listening
to Jesus present life—
unwrap past, present
and future.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All Rights Reserved)

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Join us each week at Spiritual Journey Thursday

Join us each week fpr Spiritual Journey Thursday

This post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday, hosted by Holly Mueller at her blog Reading, Teaching, Learning.

 
 

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