Sunday, March 27, 2011

Prayer #158: Better Half

It takes two.
I thought one was enough,
It's not true:
It takes two of us
You came through
When the journey was rough.
It took you.
It took two of us.

It takes care.
It takes patience and fear and despair
To change.
Though you swear
To change,
Who can tell if you do?
It takes two.


It takes one
To begin, but then once
You've begun,
It takes two of you.

It's no fun,
But what needs to be done
You can do
When there's two of you.

If I dare,
It's because I'm becoming
Aware of us
As a pair of us,
Each accepting a share
Of what's there.

-- Excerpt from "It Takes Two," Into the Woods

Prayer #158: Better Half

All great partnerships

begin with trust
deepen with compromise
evolve with sacrifice
expand with revelation

yet never burst their bindings

for love
and friendship
and respect
are most forgiving knots.

Help me tie them tight, Lord. Help me be a better half.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Prayer #157: Bright Spot

Photo by superkimbo

"Find the bright spots."

That's what Dan Heath, co-author of Switch, exhorted the 2,000 attendees at last week's NTEN Nonprofit Technology Conference to do. (I was one of the multitude.)

He explained where he was coming from.* Psychologists, he said, have found that "bad is stronger than good." We as humans are biased toward negativity because that focus helps us problem-solve.

Thus, Dan said, we call each other to say, "I'm having a lot of problems with my boyfriend right now and I'd really love to get your advice on how to fix it."

What we never call to say: "I'm having a wonderful and smooth relationship with my boyfriend right now and I'd really love to examine that with you and see what's working."

In short ...

"Analyzing problems comes naturally. Analyzing successes doesn’t."

Dan's solution to overcoming human nature is to find the bright spots: forget the problems, focus instead on what’s working right now, and think about how we can do more of it.

Excellent point, I think, one that extends well beyond management theory to every aspect of life, love, and self-reflection. So that's what this week's prayer will look at -- the bright spot.

* Many thanks to Jodi Sperber for her Google notes on the opening plenary.

Prayer #157: Bright Spot

Dear God,

I have nothing to fix tonight. No sins. No shame. No slip-ups. Just something to say:

I had one moment today where I could have chosen the wrong response. But I didn't. I rose above it. For one brief and brilliant moment I embodied what You've always asked me to be. Thank You for that grace.

Of course, in the next moment -- and the 4,672 moments before and after that -- I plummeted back to earth in spectacular fashion. And I anticipate I will continue to do so for the vast majority of moments going forward since I don't see myself achieving a higher plane of being any time soon.

But I've seen now what I can be, and the lesson leaves the kind of light lingers for a long time -- long enough for me to follow it back to You.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Prayer #156: Expectorations

let's be free of expectations

Prayer #156: Expectorations

God of high callings, release my expectations
of myself
of others
but mainly myself.

Being hard on my heart does not make discernment easier.
Deriding my gifts does not permit me to more freely give them.
Demanding too much of love does not help me feel it
or share it
or build it.

So unbind these expectations' sticky grip and send them wheeling into the dark night. I will listen to them howling as they go, and in the silence that follows I'll learn the truth
be it sad
be it joyful
be it Yours.


Monday, March 07, 2011

Prayer #155: All By Myself

Ed. note: I never knew this video was comprised entirely of Celine flirting with the camera. Did the producers listen to the lyrics first?

Au contraire, dear readers ... I DO want to be all by myself.

Fella, if you're reading this, no, I'm not breaking up with you. And friends, if you were thinking of inviting me for dinner, please do -- I like eating all your food seeing you.

But with spring rainstorms and an empty house and even emptier schedule falling on the same weekend, I am reminded how necessary it is to be alone every once in a while.

This is big coming from a social creature who abhors a calendar vacuum and isn't so hot at leaving nights open to chance (despite her best efforts, I swear). That's what made this weekend extraordinary -- the fact I stuck to my guns, channeled my inner (albeit dormant) hermit, and let myself work on and think about anything I wanted.

Here's what I took away from my quiet hours of free association:
  • I am most productive when I focus on one project at a time.
  • I am refreshed when I leave the computer off for at least eight hours.
  • When my mind wanders, it's more efficient to let it run its course.
  • My brain is like a muscle post-workout; I need to give it time to stitch back together in new and stronger ways.
  • I am most likely to hit on a lucid and concise explanation of something that's been nagging me for months in the middle of vacuuming.
  • Inspiration doesn't have to shout over the din.
  • Daydreaming can be the most productive part of my day (aside from the vacuuming).
  • I pray more spontaneously.
  • I think more often about people I love.
What have you learned in your loner moments?

Prayer #155: All By Myself

God who streams through consciousness --

I pray for the discipline to shush my brain. I pray for the skill to set aside participles and leave the present. I pray for the kind of solitude that doesn't bring loneliness because it brings You instead.

Thank you for the walking hermitage that is a quiet moment. May I visit it often.