Thursday, March 31, 2011

Letting Go BEFORE the Hurdle


Standing back to admire the view is a choice to let go, when to hold on — ever tighter — might be the temptation. Yet, it’s difficult to stand back, happily so, when we’ve been rejected for something that’s important to us, or when something just won’t work out.


Hurdles are synonymous for self-imposed barriers that are placed there by ourselves, but against ourselves.


We create our own dungeons of the spirit because our ideas get stuck against road blocks created from dastardly inner complexity.


The fix?


Before the hurdle — indeed, as it approaches — we let go of the issue. Go and grab a cup of tea. With it, and the elixir of time, we ‘magically’ regain our perspective.


Life exists on the other side of ordinary detachment from those things controlling us.


© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Experience of Relief


Tension builds within each of us. What we hanker for — all our problems and challenges create apprehension which we seek to resolve. All of life depends on relief.


Relief is about peace. But peace cannot happen without conflict, for peace is a product of having resolved the conflict. Relief is the golden process for the vitality of transaction in any stage of life. It’s our answer for hope.


Resilience is about the skilful acquisition of relief — even when it’s temporarily acquired by the moment, as if on loan.


Securing Relief


We must first understand that the aim is to secure this thing; and by which means, is critical. For instance, we can’t clamour for it. It must come of its own accord into our hands, by simple request.


There are conditions set for establishing relief, some of which are:


C Physical constraints commonly impose delays in obtaining relief. These are most often seen.


C Financial issues are also seen or foreseen. They encourage us to set goals to establish relief.


C Understanding the timing for relief is also to be accepted. We can’t manipulate the timing for our ends when there are other people or processes contingent.


Relief is about space.


Securing relief, then, is about creating the space to not only survive, but thrive.


When relief eludes us, then we’re easily maddened in frustration — our vital goals are blocked.


Resilience, again, is not only obtaining relief, at the right time, and in the right ways, it’s also getting it some other way than the norm; wherever it’s possible.


Enhancing Relief


Now this is the key to life itself when we consider that establishing practical control over our lives is, at terms, wisdom. (This has nothing to do with the relinquishing of control of our lives to God, for spiritual wellbeing. Indeed, we relinquish control only to see God giving us control back — but under alliance to him.)


The point is, it’s one thing to secure relief as and when we need, with the patience to endure wherever delays present; it’s another thing, entirely, to take that position a notch higher — in courage, to innovate.


This is the process of bravely planning for the acuity of relief that helps us soar into another dimension of peace.


It’s foreseeing barriers, challenges and problems before they even arrive. To do this, we have to plan; a day ahead, and in many cases, a week or more.


This means we have to take time out to plan; to be more deliberate and intentional about life.


This is about having the courage to make decisions now rather than later. It’s deciding to adjust people’s expectations of us now, than possibly upset them later.


Planning provides space, which engenders relief, and that provides peace.


Create space.


© 2011 S. J. Wickham.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Predicting Emotional Responses


Envisage finding yourself in the local gym. You discover there are new treadmills and bikes, so you organise one to use. The heart-rate monitor is attached and the machine’s started, but nothing registers. You ask the person next to you if theirs is working; apparently none of the heart-rate monitors are working on these new machines.


So you decide to report the fault to management.


Trouble is you don’t hear anything back. At one level you feel vindicated that at least you’ve done your bit. But something strange happens; a sense of rage bubbles up from within you because you took the time to report it but nobody cared enough to get back to you.


Emotional responses surprise us; whether it’s from within ourselves or others.


Responses of Others


The sort of gut reaction that we can identify with above occurs for others too. We do something, or something else occurs for them, and that brings out an emotional response that probably surprises them as much as it does us.


It’s embarrassing (for both) because of this surprise element. We didn’t know it meant so much, but obviously it does.


The reason this occurs is life’s changing all the time. We’re all placed in different circumstances continually, so the threat of being caught out emotionally is going to remain a fact of life. Besides, there are certain things that will always tend to tick us off.


Personal Responses to Interpersonal Situations


When we consider the emotional response implicit of the gym situation — their lack of response facilitating our response to react furiously — we readily see that such responses, whilst they’re understandable, are not helpful.


Emotional responses, generally, are not helpful. But they do highlight what is important to us.


If people transgress us, for example, we find it hard to reconcile any other response than vengeance. Again, though, this is not helpful. Society expects us to respond better.


Engaging the Higher Mind


The best corrective to emotive reactions is the higher mind. This is the ability to pause in the moment, thinking of appropriate responses, before a flash of action takes over.


Given that our world often requires us to react quickly, there is both the temptation, and the pressure, to be instinctive.


Engaging the higher mind is finding the ability to detach the emotions and look with reason and objectivity. This can only be done when we pause and actually forego our split-second reaction.


This is important when dealing with others, for emotional reactions exacerbate tense situations. It’s most important also for ourselves, because we fly off to emotive states, also, in a flash.


Engaging the higher mind is, of itself, predicting emotional responses — and it’s catering for them.


© 2011 S. J. Wickham.


Graphic Credit: Business Coaching Blog.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Lord Showed Me a Vision of You


As I arrived home there you were,


About-faced you sat with hardly a care,


Then the Lord sparked within me a jaw-dropping slur,


Suddenly enriched my mind began to stare.


It’s hard to contemplate amiss,


Just how I can,


Get moody with you upon vision of this,


Knowing the heaven-charted plan.


The vision exposed from above,


For my mind to observe,


Was of a wife provided to love,


Mine’s the role to serve.


As I stood there mouth agape,


Provision of my Lord,


A being of such womanly shape,


I ask, “My love can this afford?”


My heart did attend,


Now braced and thankfully stirred,


My vision to apprehend,


My mind now attractively deterred.


Volley of fancy,


I could not desist,


Commitment of constancy,


You, I cannot resist.


Finalising this note,


How can it be done?


Translating love to rote,


Cannot be much fun.


The vision here is one to rate,


Reflecting as it became,


A glossy, truth-felt portrait,


And beauty with want to reclaim.


There you sit before me – unaware of my affection,


Blessed am I to note the wisdom of this envisioned power,


Heart’s stirred, holy, to astonished reverberation,


From which my human pride – praise God – will no doubt cower.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~


It’s an awesome thought to be windswept to the land of God’s Presence in a vision.


This vision was a flicker in the mind of a man at work, but at home in his heart. One flash and there it was right before me.


Any Wife – Any Husband – Any Body


It’s not just my wife that’s spectacularly and ravishingly beautiful. I tend to think that it’s possible that any of us could (or should) see the raw splendour of our partners, however unrefined or elegant they are.


One human being has the attention of God such that they were created; wonderfully made, indeed, and maintained.


Our job is to appreciate this work of wonder, and in one fellow human being we have the embodiment of God as God would have them known.


This builds to an even bigger truth. How many people live their lives not loved — by their experience — like they deserve to be loved? Too many; far too many.


We live insulated lives and most of us Westerners don’t see the half of it — the sin that reviles the consciousness of God by manner of the oppressed in most regions of the world.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~


Have we lost track? That’s right, we were appreciating the beauty of my wife... and yours... or your husband.


God has gifted us with these precious beings — to live with and love and enjoy.


© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Soft on the Inside


Advertisements prey on the mind and heart alike. One such commercial got me thinking — one on road safety. It featured the delicate process of glassblowing that forms intricate pieces all moulded into the shapes of human organs.


The idea’s simple.


Have a road accident and those precious organs of ours will ‘shatter’ like glass... considering the fact that, at a cellular level, we’re full of water. Water smashing at force against tissue membranes is doing worlds of damage.


We’re all soft on the inside.


Beyond the physical, there’s the mental, emotional and spiritual also.


We’re easily bruised and battered at levels that aren’t visible — but that are felt.


For Others


Even when we try our hardest to engage safely and effectively with people we’ll fail at times. As we walk away we’ll say within ourselves, “Well, that didn’t go so well, did it?”


Perhaps the concern is what they’re thinking about us, but a lot of the time it’s because we don’t like treating people insensitively. Hurting people — especially because we don’t mean it — hurts us too. These are our thoughts for interrupted rapport.


We have many reminders that other people are soft on the inside, particularly those in our families.


For Ourselves


If others can hurt us, we’ve seen above how our hurt of others also hurts us. Many things turn us emotionally, as we think (or stew) over things — mind informing soul, affecting spirit.


Protecting ourselves is possibly as simple as being reminded of our innate softness — that we have every right to go easy with ourselves so far as the blame game’s concerned. Whilst many are not hard enough on themselves, the people likely to be reading this are likely to be partial to being too hard on themselves.


Only do we cast our minds back to the last time our hearts throbbed with the pain of rejection or neglect or abuse or betrayal — or even for no reason we could identify — and we know how soft we are on the inside.


For God


The light of God is revealing the truth to us all the time, if only we’ll discern it.


The tenuous balance that’s known to life is the balance that God’s instituted. We have no recourse to it without simply understanding that vulnerability is about life as life’s about vulnerability.


We’re reminded in all this that we’re soft on the inside. The Lord wants us to know this; to know our capacities and to work within the design for life — which is love.


The whole point of life is to appreciate that everything revolves around the standard of care, for all things by their nature are soft on the inside.


© 2011 S. J. Wickham.


Graphic Credit: Spark Game Servers.

When Mental Silences Speak Their Voiceless Cry


Sometimes we’re stopped in our tracks and our thoughts — whilst we’re in the depths — cease. These can be simple moments or they last for some indefinite time.


We normally repel these thought burps.


People don’t like to be troubled mentally, emotionally or spiritually without ‘working’ on it. So, we fend off such things, for we like to think our way out of problems.


But some problems are destined not to be solved. Anyhow, at times God wants us to hold sway with him in the despicable silence. He wants us quiet, so our spirits can be spoken to.


The Language of Our Spirit


We do not speak English (or any other typically lingual communication) at the level of our spirits.


That language is unspoken and unspeakable.


There is little faith in it from a flesh viewpoint, however, because our human minds can’t grasp it — we cannot ‘think’ or speak back this language.


God utters it at all junctures of the human experience — even when we were babies the Lord spoke it to us, and our spirits understood it. This seems gibberish to us only because we don’t know it intimately by experience. We cannot tell if it’s true or false.


All we know is we’re stopped in our confusion, and words — at times — do not share their power with us. We should have words to dispel the confusion, but when they don’t arrive we question our minds; depressive episodes set in; we think we’re losing the plot. The plain thing is we aren’t.


Surrendering ‘Thinking’ Moments to God


When matters won’t be reconciled, and for a few minutes we’re overwhelmed in things that perplex us, there is the option: to work with the thought tremor and build silently toward the time when thought for matters is to return.


This is a fleeting cessation of the effort to think.


We really don’t have to know how to respond to every dark thought moment. Some are destined to remain as they are; unenquired of.


Staying in the moment and allowing the barrage of silence to meander through our minds without a fight to find thought for it is peace. Time for thought will return when God wishes to stop communicating directly with our spirits. Besides, how often are our subconscious minds seconded to nourish the conscious mind?


God has reason to sweep us off to a dreamy land in the context of time. Our role is to assent to these requests.


© 2011 S. J. Wickham.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Starting Again – This Time for Real

Every morning we wake for one special reason. Life begins again at a conscious level. All of what has been is history, and the rest is a mystery.

Our present mindsets are likely to be influenced by how we feel about that history — lovely or blighted — and the mystery — hope about or estranged.

At the present moment we can look both ways and see them positive or negative.

Starting again is either a simple or determined reality for us.

If change compels itself toward us then we’re we’ll want to start again determinably.

Thought of a Teasing – As Yet Unachieved – Goal

We can achieve this goal that seems just out of reach. Yes, and we know it. But what stands between us and it, is the matter of weakening resolve — choices to justify differing behaviour.

Being secretly ashamed of ourselves is nothing to do with it.

This day is the same in its make-up as yesterday was, or last Thursday, and the same potential surrounds us. God will favour us if our resolve will meet with situational determinants.

Overcome some initial temptation and we’re blessed with a redeemable confidence. Keep overcoming and — with God’s help — we’re creating the new us.

Reaching Goals

Reaching goals is — we have to admit — the practice of maintaining resolve until the last day... so often we achieve goals and then go back on our word. Not this time.

This time we understand the consequences.

Reaching goals is hence a finite concept. Never again do we rest on our laurels as we commit this day to remembering, first, there is a special commitment that underpins all goals and all resolutions.

This is to have the elephant’s memory; to remember the vividly where we came from and why we’re here; yes, every day. It’s the only way that success will make itself known.

Establishing Our Own Ground Zero’s

“Today is begins.”

These are likely to be familiar words to most of us. Given the aforementioned, it bodes itself upon us to listen to what our lives have been telling us, God speaking through our circumstances and the consequences of our actions.

Any ‘today’ can be a fresh Ground Zero, as we recognise the grace of God in the concept of the new day.

“This is the day that the Lord has made;

let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

~Psalm 118:24 (NRSV).

It is our day to make of what we choose, dictated only by the context with which we’re placed — a context we must accept.

The theory of achievement is not as threatening as the reality of temptation to give in.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Achieving a Truth-filled Thankfulness

There is an eternal dimension that we all span — and from one to another we go.

There are times when we give way to the truth of how we feel; times when we’re given to complaint. Other times we’re indebted to God in thankfulness, knowing the theory that at all times are we to be thankful (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

But being thankful is not that easy a disposition to maintain — even going against the grain of many of the so-called mature, infuriating them onto further challenges to emotional growth.

Honesty becomes us, despite our desire to show how tough, or faithful, we are. Our feelings have a way of permeating our worlds. Least of all can we hide these from our loved ones, friends and work colleagues. Our sleeves get filthy very quickly.

Bridging an Enormous Chasm

There is a great deal of difference between the truth of horrendous feeling and the thankfulness that comes from a heart-glad sigh for knowledge of God in life.

The former is a reality we cannot ignore. The latter is different. It’s supposed to be a sign that we’re genuinely surrendered to God — obedient in the faith — for those not thankful surely have still much to learn.

Truth be known, that is naïvely stated.

Human beings will be ungrateful from time to time. It’s a fact of life. It’s the flesh bearing its way again (and again) over the person. We’re all blighted.

Nobody who’s spiritually inclined is going to be happy with their position in spiritual growth, however, until they bridge the chasm between truth and thankfulness.

What is it that will bridge the chasm? How will we abide to the truth whilst also being thankful? The answer is the character trait of humility. To wallow yet become thankful is one part of being humble.

Model for Prayer – Lament Leading to Thankfulness

Jesus never said we’re not to lament.

The psalms show us the blessings enfolded to the person who’s truthful about their emotions. The way we deal with the truth, then, is we take it to God, finishing these prayers of bitterness or complaint in thankfulness.

Bringing the two concepts together is about being rigidly committed to the truth at a personal level — so much so that the slightest cringing epoch of complaint or fear or want is listened to and heeded.

Feelings occur for good reason. We’re encouraged to get to their source, and from there reach a landing of peace — for it is possible — and then go on in thankfulness.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Being in YOUR Dream Life

Imagine now the famous person of your choice — the one you perhaps struggle not to idolise. You inwardly envy them for having ‘the dream life’. You think how one of their best days might be. They would not have enough days to live — so surreal would life be!

We can have that life. Indeed, we already have it, we just don’t see it.

Whatever life we have, we have.

It’s ours and we own each minute. We’re living the dream. Though, you may remain unconvinced.

Tapping into Possible Truths

On my best-of-days — as they’ve been ending — I’ve come to loath them because normalcy must make its return. Surely this is the same for the person we highly esteem; the one we think has it all.

They already have it all. Or perhaps they don’t. They see a different horizon to what we do. Maybe they’d envy our lives? (Imagine that!)

I’m reminded vividly, at this point, of my petty complaints, and the fact that my own dream life remains more proximal than ever doesn’t deter me looking over the fence. Some hours I cannot be satisfied, despite the chronic and enduring intercession of the Lord over my life.

That’s a truth I can’t contend against. It’s a fact that weaves its way over, in and through each of our lives.

Being Alive IS the Dream Life

At the cusp of time are we; as if surfing the cosmic wave.

Yes, beyond eternity, but for a time, we exist in bodily form — for whatever reason. There is a purpose. We just don’t always know it, for when we lose grip of our purpose we flounder. And any distraction can come in and sweep this purpose of ours far from periodic sight.

Linking purpose to the fact of the present-held life is enough for awareness of the dream to subsist.

But facts are one thing, to feel it is another.

Experience – the Dream Factor

The actual fact of living is the dream factor. We just don’t see it, mainly because we’re so preoccupied with our vast and passing concerns — a list, at times, too endless to contemplate.

Being in our dream lives is so close it cannot be reconciled, but it will not remain in our conscious minds for long. Still, the practice is one of the mind; enjoying stillness with itself.

Experience has it. Not the depth or length or width or height of experience, but simply the breathing-in and breathing out experience that’s common to all.

What we best do is learn to experience. But it’s a moment by moment reality; something for which we must accept.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Graphic Credit: Dale Tidy.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Why Am I Floundering?

Got everything to be thankful for but still not happy... at least, not all, or even most of the time — or even just lately?

Our lives get inordinately complex — and that’s only the exterior; the things we do. Add to this the things we are. That’ll take us to cusp of our spiritual sanity, as we push that envelope. And where we push for purpose, the envelope’s easily reached.

Mismatches

Many of us are mismatched in life, and truth be known, getting matched-up — so to speak — is the great goal of life. Yet, there are so many ways we can be matched up... matrimonially, vocationally, pastimes etc. Having everything matched up all at one time might occur but it’s unlikely to remain that way.

Many singles will want to be matched-up, whilst there are married people who’d separate if they could — their matches just not working.

Then there are those who find themselves skilled at a craft that doesn’t interest or inspire them; they’re great at what they do, but there’s no purpose to it for them. Mismatches often occur with workloads too.

Misfires

Wrong day, wrong time... it’s just a case of mistiming and the classic internal combustion engine misfire. The spark’s going off too early or too late and the fuel-air mixture’s going to waste or it’s being ignited by the exhaust.

Misfires occur in life when we feel we’re too young or too old for the things we’re into, or that the crowd we’re working with isn’t on the same wavelength. Misfires are as frustrating as they’re obvious. They can breed embarrassment.

Misnomers

Labels! Most of us can’t get away from them, whether they’re applied to us by others, or self-applied — a case of hearing a judgment from others enough times we start to believe it.

So, if we’re fighting a label — knowing it’s really not us — then why don’t we fight the easier way; ignore the label and any thought of a fight. What are labels after all? They’re about as meaningful as we make them up to be.

Beyond Mismatches, Misfires and Misnomers

It’s quite normal to flounder every now and again. Nobody has a perfectly matched, fired and labelled life.

Beyond knowing that in theory we should be thankful for everything we have, it’s a healthy practice to cut ourselves the slack of complaint, especially as tensions mount for change.

We’re all changing and, indeed, our circumstances are continually changing, as are our hearts for things as they attempt to combine the external realities with our internal desires. Within the chasm of such change there has to be times of mismatch, misfire and misnomer. As the dust settles things can be adjusted.

It comes down to having a little patience with ourselves during the upheaval of change; because the floundering feeling isn’t going away overnight.

It’s a healthy thing to ask, “Why am I floundering?” if we are. It’s a good thing to wrangle with the tension that mounts — however painful it might be.

Let it have a voice!

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

Graphic Credit: Michael Mucci.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Soul’s Quiet Contemplation


Whether poised amid harmony or barrelled with lament,

The soul’s wistful journey hums along content,

Proof of which is given, the moment we lower the heat,

Such ‘defeat’ is seen as something that can’t be beat.

Sojourn to life is made – and paradoxically so,

Times taken out are the ones in which we’ll grow,

Moves the purpose, assuaged, onto God’s hearty stead,

Better are we now, certainly in the head.

But the common infiltration happens in the heart,

That’s the contemplative part from which many of us have to start,

For hearts feel most, the emptiness of life,

That evidence of times when we’ve received for ourselves, strife.

Basking in the bath of the steamy Holy Spirit,

Assigns the life disposed and God’s along to cheer it,

For assignment’s a thing that meditatively must,

Come home to the self, at will, preventing signs of rust.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The process toward spiritual rust is threateningly present today, as always. It’s what happens if we neglect the contemplative process. This assumes that knowing ourselves is then knowing God and vice versa.

As we bask in the bath — which is the fully vested Presence of the Lord, by manifestation of the Holy Spirit — we gain issuance of the Divine placement of our lives and the direction for heading.

This is confirmation or redirection — sometimes both at the same time.

A Process of Spiritual Contemplation

Can there possibly be a more important activity for life than connecting with God?

With certainty we can know this: everything we do we should do for the glory of the Lord. That’s both primary and achievable — from wherever we are.

Time taken to continually plug-in with God — a cherished human need — is rewarded. Through both head and heart there is a bond established with the inner self that’s otherwise left untapped.

Head – Heart – Holy

There are many ways of engaging in spiritual reflection. As uniquely made we are, so too are we fitted individually with our grasp on God. No one size fits all.

But we each think, feel and — on moral and wisdom concepts — we decide.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

First, we sit, stand or lay still — asking God to quiet the mind; the heart already quelled.

Second, we enjoy this moment of sheer nothingness. Oh what power enlivens the moment; God is known this hushed instant.

Third, we are sprung home to a thought. God’s placed it there, amid the silence. We ponder it in continued silence, allowing our spirit to meander with it.

Fourth, the level of emotion enjoins. The heart considers the meaning of the matter, but without external influence. This God-indwelled heart is pure as driven snow, so we allow the heart to adjudicate as it will.

Fifth, when we’re ready — and not before time — we introduce into the mix the biblical set of God’s teaching. Extracted for final meaning is the conformed thought; a deduction produced with holy Presence and the assurance of reverence.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The first stanza of the poem is important. Peace is ever-present, for peace is God. This is a thing known when all the noise is pushed right away; when we just be.

This is a thing many will consider defeat; but nothing has victory anything like it. The soul’s quiet contemplation is matched to the eternal realm. Nothing can compete. But equally, nothing and nobody can understand it.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.