Monthly Archives: January 2014

replacing rituals

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We do not think ourselves into new ways of living; we live ourselves into new ways of thinking. –Richard Rohr

I’ve started a new ritual!

Normally, I spend my entire afternoon drinking Diet Coke or Coke Zero with the thought that this chemically-induced high will keep me going through the difficult part of the day. What I’m coming to realize is that perhaps a gift I could give myself (instead of limitless diet soda) is the gift of a new ritual.

We use our rituals to help us cope, to help us feel protected, to help us feel safe in the world. Sometimes, on closer inspection, we see that our rituals aren’t actually helping and we might care for ourselves by finding rituals that are more inline with being whole and healthy.

I’m often way low on energy and I decided that I would try something new. I KNOW Diet Coke isn’t the best thing for me. I can give you a dozen reasons why it’s taking me down down down. But isn’t that the whole point? We can’t think ourselves into new ways of living. We must actually live ourselves into new ways of thinking.

So, my new afternoon ritual is tea and toast. It feels vaguely British. It feels like a treat. I drink a bit of English Breakfast tea with some Dave’s Killer Bread covered in almond butter. And I skip the soda.

What you see when you begin replacing rituals is that good decisions, just like bad decisions, have a momentum to them. When we take the time to take care of ourselves—body, soul, and spirit—we tend to build on each good decision.

Here’s to tea and toast.

What ritual are you replacing these days?

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prayer rugs on the pavement

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See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? 
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. –Isaiah 43:19, NIV

As we practice beginning again this New Year, is there a new thing God is doing? A way in the wilderness? Streams in the wasteland? Are you perceiving, sensing a fresh work?

Beginning again helps us see that changes can happen, even slowly, that we can be more aware of the ways in which we are numbing instead of living, floating out to sea.

Sometimes God’s way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland do not arrive or appear in the packages we anticipated. In fact, just about never. The “way” is often crafted through the disciplines of showing up, reaching out, letting go.

The above picture was taken in Bahrain, two doors down from the villa we rented. There was a small neighborhood mosque two doors down, and I loved how Friday noon prayers would spill out into the streets and the men would just put their prayer rugs down right there on the pavement. And then they’d go to lunch and just abandon these gorgeous, ancient, vibrant rugs right there in the street. I loved it. The juxtaposition of one-of-a-kind, handmade Persian carpets lining the pavement. Cars driving right over them.

Is there a prayer rug on the pavement of your life? A beautiful flash of brazen vibrance, perhaps unexpected, in the middle of the concrete jungle? Art in the desert?

Is there a “new thing” you’re perceiving? A new work or a new way? How might you join God in his way-making in your life?

As my dear friend Linsey says, “The work is within you.” In other words, you might even already know — deep down — the next step you need to take in this new direction.

I believe that and I believe in you.

With love on this Monday,

Leeana

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believe

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My word for 2014 is believe. I’ve never chosen a year-word before, but I keep seeing “believe” and I keep saying “believe” (as in, “I believe in you”), so I decided it would be my word.

Believe is the intersection of hope and trust, where what we know and what we dream confer. I think believing requires a certain courageous capacity, allowing space for what might be, allowing our desires to awaken.

So, this year, I’m believing.

Believing in my own voice

Believing in my new book

Believing in my marriage

Believing in my Luke and Lane who will be starting K in the fall (!)

Believing God is bigger than . . . all the many forces and voices that tell me I shouldn’t believe.

Believing in the strong safety net of my friends and family

Believing in you and me and in our capacity to breathe and become

What is your word for 2014? Why did you choose that word?

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home

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I’m high on ideas and low on energy most all the time these days.

The curse of being an ideator is that you always, always have more ideas and more extravagant ideas than you could ever accomplish. I’ve found that my ideation has been in overdrive since having children. And, of course, what awful timing, as there is so little margin in these full days of nurturing little ones.

Most of my ideas have to do with my home—what I’d like to change, enhance, the spaces I’d like to create or recreate, etc. Maybe life feels ever so slightly out of control at times, at the very least chaotic, and I believe serenity will come to me via throw pillows and lampshades.

HOME is our epicenter in these years with young ones. Someday soon, the ball field or school or ballet class will be our epicenter, but for now, it’s right here. At home. And I cherish it more than I can articulate. I love home. I love our home. And I love the feeling of creating a place for us to enjoy together—functional, beautiful, interesting, creative, familiar.

But too often, the piles become unwieldy, every single surface seems submerged, I have one hundred new thoughts and the energy of a sloth, and my eyes just glaze over. It feels “debilitating” as The Nester wrote in her beautiful post this morning (so worth taking the time to read). Yes, debilitating.

Making and keeping a soulful space for myself and my family is, all at once, impossible. My head is full and spinning, and I can’t get up off the couch. Cue a tiny little whisper of despair.

Then, yesterday, I went to church. And something really magical happened. Wanida was up in front and Linsey was sitting next to me, both with the most beautiful, brazen voices. When Wanida would sing harmony, Linsey would sing melody, and then they’d switch, like they’d practiced it. But, they hadn’t. It was just happening. Strong, free, shameless voices.

Also, Scott Wildey gave probably his best message ever from Ecclesiastes about where we find purpose and meaning. I was reminded that “there isn’t enough out there” to fill up our voids (to quote Anne Lamott). All is chasing the wind. The big trick—which is both the good news and the bad news—is that we must first experience that home within before we will ever, ever find it out there.

So, in the spirit of beginning again, I am asking God to come into the manic ideas and panicked brain, and give me rest from my own machine of a mind. To show me what I need to attend to and what I need to let go of. To help me find compassion for myself.

He answered my prayer with a Chargers win, which I will take. And, also, through the ministry of voices—lusty, audacious, vulnerable, free voices. Calling me away from my own small thinking and into the spacious place. Thank you, and Amen.

I can guarantee you that sometime tomorrow I will make a stop back in crazy-town. Absolutely 100% gonna happen. I’m praying that God will meet me there and remind me that he has more for me. And, together, we will begin again.

As Wanida belted out:

“Let me be singing when the evening comes.”

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