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2018 in Focus (Spiritual Journey Thursday)

My One Little Word for 2018 is/was FOCUS. I wrote about what I expected my focus on FOCUS to do for me back on January 4th, and did a mid-year evaluation on July 5th.

Since then I haven’t actually dwelt on my OLW a whole lot. But reading these two posts and looking back over the year helps me see that focus has, in some small way, actually become part of my DNA—though I could still do much better.

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A Bible Journal doodle I did on the word FOCUS, in January, 2018.

In September we took the trip to the Canadian Maritime provinces that I was dreaming of back in July. Before our trip I focused on getting ready. During our holiday I focused on the sights, sounds, smells, tastes—all the wonderful moments of exploration and discovery.

When we got back home, I kept my promise to myself and again picked up and focused on the fictional story I’ve been writing (in some form or other since 2014). I’m thrilled to announce that the first draft is nearly done!

Something I do to help me focus on this project (and others) is to set my iPad timer for the amount of time I plan to work on it (for this one 90 minutes a day, four days a week). That somehow frees me to dive in and get immersed in the work without the distraction of looking at the time.

Another focus trick I use is to treat myself after onerous tasks. Treats are things like drawing, painting, doodling, or reading (not food!).

My one little word for 2017 was LISTEN. I was sad to leave it behind. But I didn’t—at least not completely. I have found that habits I formed during my year of LISTEN are still with me. (For example, in conversation, when someone cuts in and begins to talk over me, I immediately stop talking and listen—something I trained myself to do last year when I was trying to become a better listener).

Similarly, I hope that habits I’ve formed this year under the influence of FOCUS will prove to be just as sticky.

And now, it’s time to focus on Christmas. To all of you—have a very blessed one!

Merry Christmas Header

spiritualjourneyfirst-thursday-copyThis post is linked to Spiritual Journey (First) Thursday, hosted today by Irene at her blog Live Your Poem. There you will find links to other Spiritual Journey Thursday posts.

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Selah

I was intrigued by the word “Selah” when I first saw it on our list of one-little-words a few weeks ago. This will be interesting, I thought. When I started working on Michelle‘s one little word this week my initial intuition was confirmed. Selah doesn’t have a sure meaning.

“Selah” by the dictionary is: “An expression occurring frequently in the Psalms thought to be a liturgical or musical direction, probably a direction by the leader to raise the voice or indication of pause.” In the Amplified Bible, it’s transliterated “Pause and think of that.”

Despite or maybe because of this uncertain etymology it turns out to be a lovely word to take liberties with. I interpreted it as I would if it were my word and what it would say to me.

My real-life poet friend Laurel and I met yesterday and when I mentioned the subject of “Selah” she recalled she’d written about it too. She has given me permission to share her Selah poem with you. I love how we approached this differently—one as a seeker of Selah, the other as a serendipitous discoverer of it.

Picnic tables in the park

Photo © 2016 by V. Nesdoly

Selah (I)

Period. Don’t move
from this place till you’ve chewed
and swallowed the thought.
Delay. Mute the music.
Take a breathing space
a rest, lull, time out
maybe not as long as a coffee break
but at very least
a poet’s line break
or comma’s worth
of time.
Some lacuna in your life
will give it wholeness.
Take a hiatus
from your hurry.
Stop and listen.
Halt.
Hush.
Pause and think of that…
and then carry on.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

Selah (II)

Where is it,
this place of rest I seek?
I never find it, but sometimes it finds me.
There I can hear my breath
and I know I am alive, still.
There, I am me, still,
with needs of my own.

I wait for the quiet to catch me

Surprise me with stillness,
sustain me with solitude,
only moments long but endless
in memory, cooling
the singed edges of my soul.

© 2005 by Laurel Archer (Used by Permission. All rights reserved)

(You can read more of Laurel’s wonderful poetry at her blog Four Parts Hope and her annual advent project Toward Christmas.)

Join us each week at Spiritual Journey Thursday

Join us each week at Spiritual Journey Thursday

This post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday hosted each week by Holly at Reading, Teaching, Learning. We are currently writing about the one-little-word each of us has chosen as our “banner” for the year.

 
 

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