I Invite You

I invite you

to stop and notice. You are a living, moving creature of nature. Nature is good and you are too.

Nature doesn't criticize itself, so why should you?

Even the lone tree standing tall in the middle of the field is not alone. The birds perch in its branches, the moss cling to its trunk, worms dance around its roots.

Go outside and and stand barefoot on the ground. Let the grass tickle your toes. Breathe in the air.

Though you may not feel it at the moment, you are connected to your ancestors before you. You touch all those around you. 

May the warmth of the sun invigorate you. Touch others in positive ways. Share the goodness within you.

A Centering Hymn

I recently heard the following hymn. It was new to me. I am drawn to its words, like poetry. Of course, you can substitute any word for God or Spirit if those words don't work for you.

Come and Find the Quiet Center

Words by Shirley Evena Murray

©1992 Hope Publishing

 

Come and find the quiet center in the crowded life we lead,

Find the room for hope to enter, find its frame where we are freed:

Clear the chaos and the clutter, clear our eyes that we can see

All the things that really matter, be at peace and simply be.

 

Silence is a friend who claims us, cools the heat and slows the pace,

God it is who speaks and names us, knows our being, touches base,

Making space within our thinking, lifting shades to show the sun.

Raising courage when we’re shrinking, finding scope for faith begun.

 

In the Spirit let us travel, open to each other’s pain,

Let our loves and fears unravel, celebrate the space we gain:

There’s a place for deepest dreaming, there’s a time for heart to care,

In the Spirit’s lively scheming there is always room to spare!

The First Step in Living with Integrity

This past week I've been reading over an important assignment my students did in our Lifecycle Development course this summer wherein they reflected on their lives and explored what people, situations, and events shaped their development and helped inform who they are today. People's stories and backgrounds never cease to amaze me. One reason I'm a therapist, no doubt.

Meanwhile I started reading Writing to Change the World by psychologist and writer, Mary Pipher. In a chapter aptly titled "Know Thyself" she uses the prompt I am from for a poem about her upbringing. This poem inspired the following for me:

I am from Don and Judy, Albert and Wilma, Rudy and Rose. Cornfields in cold, rural Iowa; mountains, Mormons, and snow in square-corned Utah; and the heat, thrills, rush, and vanity of big-city Texas.

I am from simple, faithful, Germans. A preacher and a teacher. Hard-working, Bible-reading, Midwestern folk.

I am from a garden with carrots, cucumber, beans, and rhubarb. A small hill backyard with lilac, crabapple, scrub oak, and forsythia. A kidney-shaped pool to relax, play, and burn.

I am from a yellow banana seat bike. Mudpies. A weathered treehouse. Mutts, hamsters, a guinea pig, and Siamese cats. Church potlucks, opening presents on Christmas Eve, neighborhood hide-and-seek past sunset.

I am from impoverished people with a pattern of pinching pennies. Long car ride vacations visiting family in other states. A red Corolla, a beige gas-guzzling Dodge, a white diesel Rabbit.

I am from long hours of non-electronic house, school, store, and restaurant play midst the furnace, washer and drier, and big storage shelves. Sunday drives, babysitters, bridge club, choir, camping, and pong on the black and white TV.

I am from meatloaf and scalloped potatoes, corn on the cob, pigs in a blanket, macaroni and cheese, Thousand Island covered iceberg lettuce, chips and hot sauce, koolaid, and milk and cookies.

I am from The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, M*A*S*H, Brady Bunch, Mr. Rogers, and Mr. Green Jeans. Grease, Neil Diamond, Barbra Streisand, and the whipped cream covered naked woman of Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass.

I am from places so different from where I am now and yet pieces live on.

I've also been thinking lately how above all else, I want to live with integrity, i.e. in alignment with my values. I think that starts with knowing yourself. Part of knowing yourself is having the willingness to look at your past, even the painful parts, and learn from it.

For fun, you can write an I am from poem. Include your parents and grandparents, elements of your childhood play, what you ate, what you music you listened to, places you visited, pets, etc.

And if you're feeling bold, share it with me via Facebook or twitter or leave a link in the comments.