Five Minute Friday: Glue

She had only been working with our company for about a week when she started calling me “The Glue.” I knew it was a complement. That she sensed my style, my demeanor, my way of doing my job helped keep the unavoidable craziness at a manageable level. That it helped everyone feel a little more put together.

But I found it ironic. Because I barely feel “together” at all. Messy house. Messy desk. Messy bank account. Socks aren’t matched and put away. Dinners get thrown together at the last minute.

If I’m holding anything together at all, it’s surely with string and chewing gum.

My cracks, surely, are showing.
And then I saw this:

goldglue

To repair with gold. Because the piece is more beautiful for having been broken.

Because the crimson blood of Jesus turns to gold in my weak spots. And I am more beautiful for having been broken.

 

Join the 5-minute movement at The Gypsy Momma in her 5-Minute Friday challenge. Each week she posts a word. Set your timer for 5 minutes and just write. No stopping. No editing. Only 5 minutes. Just my style!

My Year of Imperfection

2011, among other things, has been my the year of my Gifts of Imperfection Project, reading slowly through Brene Brown’s beautiful “Guide to a Wholehearted Life” and learning to “Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are.”

Reflecting on each of Brown’s guideposts, based on extensive research on the common denominators among those who are living Wholeheartedly, my heart is filled to see progress in myself in these areas.

In short, the key to wholehearted living, Brown says, “Means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”

I am no less imperfect than I was in January. But far more wholehearted. And I have been blessed beyond measure by the gifts of being willing to be imperfect — or, rather, embracing the imperfection.

  • Compassion: Most fully for myself – the toughest critic in my life BY FAR. The scolding school marm is not so loud in my head. She’s learning grace.
  • Courage: When you begin to realize that God only made one you and he made you perfectly imperfect in all the right ways, it’s so much easier to reach higher, jump farther, try MORE. I am SO grateful for the journey courage took me on in 2011.
  • Connection: When you finally let your real self be seen, others will show you their real selves, too. And then you get to be real together. And THAT is a very special gift, indeed!

So how about you?

Are you ready to embrace your imperfection and begin living a Wholehearted Life. No matter where you are in life – what you have done, or not done; no matter what you think you need to ‘fix’ before you start, I can assure you there is only one best time to start. Now.

“The best time to plant a tree is 100 years ago. The 2nd best time is today.” (Chinese Proverb)

October=What is Meaningful Work?

As I am nearing the end of my year-long journey doing a slow read of The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown, I come to Guidepost 9, Cultivating Meaningful Work. It’s a topic the author admits she, too, struggled to work through the web of, but ultimately found that people who live full and authentic lives find time to do what they love — and, perhaps even more telling — love what they do.

I used to wrestle with this a lot. I felt like the rest of my family clearly did meaningful work — my Mom as a teacher of special needs kids; my Dad as a pastor, and now counselor; my sister Karen, a pediatric nurse. And what did I, a journalist and editor, contribute to the world? I made sure things were spelled right… oops, make that spelled correctly. For many years, in fact, it didn’t feel that meaningful. I really enjoyed my job. I was good at it. But a tiny little ugly voice kept telling me it wasn’t important enough to be, well, important.

Isn’t that exactly where Satan wanted me to stay. Thinking only about my near-sighted view of what is meaningful. After some time, however, I realized the following…
* Being a writer and editor was important because it was using the gifts God gave me
* Most of my writing focused on people and THEIR stories, and as Brown says, “Telling your story is the most courageous thing you can do.”
* I helped put out a magazine for business owners who were following THEIR meaningful work. So if my information could help guide them on the path, my work was meaningful, too.
* I was providing for my family with work I really enjoyed. That matters.
* I had the opportunity to meet people who shaped me in ways far beyond the nuts and bolts of editing and publishing. People who are still my friends. People who still challenge me personally, focus me spiritually, and love me unconditionally. What could be more meaningful than that?

I guess what I have learned (and keep learning as God has set me on a different career path for this part of my journey) is that doing meaningful work is not about having to change the work; maybe it’s just about changing the meaning of “meaningful.”

Power in the Pause

If you listen closely enough, there is an inherent pause in the nature around us. Just a moment of total silence between the crashes of ocean waves. A second at the end of your exhale before the lungs fill again. A winter hibernation before the spring thaw. Even a hurricane is dead calm right at the eye.

Nature seems to know instinctively — there is power in a pause.

So why do we as humans so often race right past it?

This month, in my continued study of Brene’ Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection, the focus is on cultivating Calm/Stillness, one of the 10 guideposts for living a Wholehearted/Authentic life.  As Brown says, calm is about “Letting go of anxiety as a way of life.”

This is about more than sleep… though we often get too little of that as well. It’s about pause, stillness, calm, breathing. Only in still waters can we see a real reflection of ourselves. In the waves, even in a ripple, the image is distorted at best; invisible at worst. And only through times of reflection, of quiet, of peace do we REALLY see, hear, taste, touch, and smell. Only here do we REALLY LIVE! And, it is here we give ourselves the energy we need to tackle the rest of our lives as well. Not without anxiety or stress, but in spite of the anxiety and stress.

A pause can be useful to gather your thoughts, send up a prayer, reassess a situation, notice something new, hear God’s still small voice, find a moment’s peace, or just give yourself a well-deserved break.

So I’m going to seek more pauses in September. Breath deeply 3x before I make a phone call. Recite a favorite verse or quote at a red light. Close my eyes for 30 seconds after I park and before I head into the office in the morning and my house each evening. Seek at least one item of beauty that crosses my path every day. Be willing to call a time-out and hit the reset button when I need to.

Thanks for taking a pause to read this blog. Will you join me taking more time-outs this month?

June, July & August: It’s Summer; Let’s Play!

Creativity. Play. Rest. Each is severely undervalued in today’s currency. And it’s much deeper than being busy.  I am learning that our adult detachment from the activities we did naturally as children is not about maturing and responsibility. It’s about fear and hiding and comparison. And it’s time to let go and have some fun!

As I turned my attention back to Brene’ Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfections recently, I was pleased to notice the next 2 Guideposts talk about Creativity, Play, and Rest. What better time than summer to embrace and practice these keys to Wholehearted Living?!?

Brown describes Cultivating Creativity as Letting Go of Comparison. Little by little our willingness to show our creative uniqueness becomes overrun by our need to fit in. Handmade outfits seem shameful next to the latest mall fashions. Standing out in our style, decor, personality, vehicle, and more become a flashing red sign… “I’m not like you. Make fun of me.”  Why doesn’t Unique mean Special anymore?

Cultivating a Life of Play is about Letting Go of Equating Productivity with Self-Worth. What’s the purpose of play? What is the reward of play? Unless you can hit a 100-mile-per-hour fastball or pull off a 360-degree dunk, many would argue that play serves no practical purpose. Of course, the secret is this… that’s why play is FUN! Play researcher Stuart Brown says it this way, “The opposite of play is not work — the opposite of play is depression.” Wholehearted people make time for purposeless play.

And when did being exhausted become a status symbol? Why is rest considered a weakness? I’m tired of being tired — how about you? As a nation, we take fewer vacation days than almost any other. And we’re proud of it?? We were made for more than that!

So in the spirit of Creativity, Play, and Rest, here’s a look of what I’ve been up to so far this summer…
* We redecorated Christian’s room while he was gone to Grandma & Grandpa’s, meaning I pulled out my sewing machine and paints. I searched through thrift stores to find fun, unusual decor. I repurposed found items in new ways. (Our old padded headboard is now a bulletin board behind his desk.) And man, was that fun!!
* I’ve been trying new recipes and eating new foods, getting creative with food combinations. The results have been pretty yummy!
* We’ve been to the beach as often as possible. Sometimes you’ll find me in my chair reading a book. Sometimes I’m stretched out on the blanket taking a nap. Sometimes I’m the one on the rainbow boogie board.
* We went to a waterpark (my first visit since I was a teenager) — I rode big slides and giggled when I finished.
* I drove a GoKart.
* We went to the zoo and took the time to sit and watch. Relaxing. Resting. And we were rewarded with seeing the baby chimp, giant turtles in the lake near the entrance everyone else moved right past, and so much more.
* I have played golf in the middle of the week.
* I challenged Christian in Skee-Ball at ChuckE.Cheese.

I have not always acted my age or used my inside voice or followed the leader. And it feels pretty good!

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