Listening to Sacred Stillness: Saying No and Saying Yes

Saying No and Saying Yes Two of the most challenging words for us to use wisely and well are Yes and No. Some of us have much more practice saying, and hearing, one than the other. Few of us have found a comfortable balance of saying no and saying yes. It may be difficult for us to tell someone no, especially ourselves. We probably like to think we are giving, generous, and selfless. People may not be happy when we say no, getting angry or… Read more

Practices From the Inside Out: Sustaining Curiosity

Sustaining Curiosity Many of the people who talk to me about spiritual life expect it to be a place where they can find certainty. They feel frustrated with ambiguity and searching. People want spiritual life to be a place they can go to find answers. People apparently do not experience spiritual life as a journey, but as a destination. They want to arrive at spiritual life. We tend to value spiritual life more when we believe we have found answers. When answers are more difficult for us to… Read more

Leading Like a Monk: Monastic Life in the Everyday World

Monastic Life in the Everyday World One of the questions people ask me most often is Are you a real monk? They may be curious because I do not live in a monastery and I am married. Some people wonder about my background and how leadership fits in with everything else. Monastic life for me does not include living in a monastery or hermitage with other monks. I am a lay Oblate, a person who lives monastic life in the “real” world. The commitments I made… Read more

Listening to Sacred Stillness: Remembering Autumn Stillness

Remembering Autumn Stillness The autumns in my memory are filled with sacred stillness. Now I live in a place where autumn is a concept. The temperature does not necessarily get colder though the hours of daylight grow shorter. Most of the trees remain green. The transition from summer to autumn to winter now is measured in tiny increments. Our seasons have more to do with featured flavors than with changes in the weather. We move from pomegranate to pumpkin spice to peppermint…. Read more

Practices From the Inside Out: What is So Great About Being Grateful?

What is So Great About Being Grateful? I hear a lot about being grateful, especially at this time of year. People talk and write about how important and powerful gratefulness can be in our lives. We set aside a specific day to celebrate being grateful. Even that one day can become overwhelmed by parades and feasting, sports and shopping. Some people try to focus their attention on being grateful despite all the distractions. They commit themselves to being grateful for 30… Read more

Leading Like a Monk: Who Inspires Us Not to Give Up?

What Inspires Us Not to Give Up? We can all feel tired and frustrated. People can get overwhelmed and ready to quit. We can all understand and probably relate to how they feel. Whether at work or at home, about finances or our physical health, we know how it is. It can feel like wanting to stay in bed all day or lie on the beach. We may feel defeated or unsure of whether we can take even one more step. So many things… Read more

Listening to Sacred Stillness: Is There Anyone Out There?

Is There Anyone Out There? There are people who spend time each day listening to sacred stillness. Some of us have been listening every day for years. We believe in the power of listening and the sacredness of stillness. Even those of us who believe ask, at times, is there anyone out there? We listen, hearing stillness. The sacred stillness gives us rest and refreshes us. We feel restored, but we want more. Sacred stillness is so limitless, so far… Read more

Practices From the Inside Out: The Turmoils of Spiritual Life

Turmoils of Spiritual Life A lot of people like to think spiritual life is supposed to make us feel better, more secure. We may think of spiritual life as a security blanket, a comforter when we need help. I know people who see spiritual life as a fire extinguisher or an escape hatch. When life becomes too much for them they think they can retreat into spiritual life. Some people remember spiritual life as a distant memory from childhood. They feel… Read more

Leading Like a Monk: Finding Our Monastic Focus

Monastic Focus Focus is an essential aspect of leadership. We expect leaders to focus in certain ways on specific things. Many of the leaders I know focus on one thing after another with sustained intensity. They shine the focused beam of their attention on each question in its turn. Learning how to focus is not a challenge for these leaders. The challenge for them is knowing where to focus when. Being able to focus is one of my own primary personal strengths. My tendency is… Read more

Listening to Sacred Stillness: Conversations Beyond the Grave

Some people believe spirits are particularly active in our world during Halloween. They see the transition from autumn to winter as a time when boundaries are thinner. Christian tradition honors saints and those who have recently died during this part of the year. Daylight becomes shorter and temperatures drop, and our minds turn to deeper thoughts. As the world around us seems to be going dormant we consider our own mortality. We remember those who have gone before us and have shaped our lives…. Read more

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