Saturday, March 31, 2012
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Monday, March 26, 2012
Beyond positive psychology there’s eternal truth within the fact that problems are good. Problems generate stimulus for change; to provoke responses against paralysis. If it weren’t for problems we would barely live. Problems only become problematic when they exhaust our resources to cope. And overcoming our troubles builds those resources.
Problems reveal, very much, issues of our state- and position-of-mind. How we tackle our problems, and whether we do or not, depends again on those resources we have for resiliency. The resilient person doesn’t quite know how to give up. They recognise their problems, but they feel compelled to improvise, adapt and overcome them.
Troubles become impetus for their meaning for life. Their lives are made richer because of them. Everyone can develop in this resiliency.
When Problems Become The Source Of Opportunities
Depending on our personalities we may or may not see the veracity of this argument. But it pays handsomely to respect the logic that overcomes in life; if we didn’t, it might leave us defeated for an effective response, because we all have problems; they’re daily occurrences.
Converting situations we deem as problematic into opportunities to be overcome isn’t just the belief in and employment of pop psychology.
Actually identifying our problems, and creating opportunities to overcome them, those that wouldn’t otherwise present, is a lot more complex than the naysayers understand. Those not buying into the ‘rubbish’ of resiliency live stoically foolish lives, when they could just as easily employ such efforts for faith in tackling the truth—problems are there to be overcome.
The reason some relish problems as opportunities is they have faith in a simple fact. They believe in the goodness of life. They view life in simple, non-insidious terms, where smoke and mirrors are irrelevant and metaphors for life are productive. They insist on keeping their perspective. And they refuse to believe everything their imaginations can create. They learn to test everything.
Taking Life On
Notwithstanding the myriad nature of problems, their source, magnitude, and complexity, there’s very little sense in not taking life on. Even when life appears impossible, a miniature mustard seed of faith is all that’s required to test the overcoming way and find its truth appealing.
And though there’s the risk of courage required to engage the current nemesis, any lack of courage is taken as an instant admission of defeat. In a life where courage becomes simply a tool we choose to use or not, acknowledging that risk is present whether we use courage and not, and there’s little reason or logic not to be courageous, we may stand convinced. And better for us if we do.
Problems define all our lives—from beginning to end and all between. Overcoming our problems requires little more effort than pretending they’re not there. When procrastination makes way for a plan, and resources and time are committed, we can overcome any problem.
When we understand the purpose of life—that we’re destined to grow—we see that problems are the fertiliser fortifying our growth.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Red letter days, by definition, are very important days. Beyond broad definitions, though, my red letter days are days of Sabbath rest, where I get to be a hermit, but within communal surroundings. I am refreshed by visiting places of my past.
Red letter days, as you are concerned, are any day of significant conception that happens periodically—for rejuvenation. They happen often enough that we look forward to them and ponder them in reflection with warmth of heart afterwards.
One Such Red Letter Day
A short rail trip on a high-speed train got me far enough away from home to be on holiday—even for a day. Within 30 minutes I found myself walking through the outskirts of another city—an old hometown. The sense of déjà vu and freedom was palpable, as I praised God vocally and from within my being, walking briskly another 30 minutes to my destination.
Carrying very little but some reading and writing material I felt free and unencumbered. My chief aim was to get far from familiarity and just ‘be’. Being in nature helps. Being close to water, near trees and a breeze, with a coffee shop close by, is my idea of heaven on earth.
One skinny cappuccino and an orange and poppy seed muffin and a casual read of the newspaper may sound basic enough, but it’s luxury of historic convenience to me. Many times several years ago I would do just this thing, at this place, and to come back and relive those times was bliss.
I find that my red letter day experiences centre on coffee and food.
There’s a small traffic bridge close by where fishermen go for their daily catch; it’s quiet and serene and vision of the calm waters before me are therapy for my soul. Suddenly another vision captures my vague attention; without thought I’m scribbling away in my little notepad, and after several pages I draw spiritual breath, satisfied that I’ve taken down what God brought me under this bridge to give me.
With the sense of engaging relief, I ponder a meal—pizza, vegetarian. Sandwiched between ordering and pick up is 10 quiet minutes in a park setting under a tree observing birds. One seagull and one crow captivate my imagination; these birds have talked to me.
What better after a meal than to enjoy a sweet siesta under trees in a popular park with shoes off? A 15 minute nap is enjoyed, and the alertness thereafter evermore.
Time, now, for ice cream—3-scoop Sundae (flavours of chocolate and hot fudge) watching the activity on the water. Then time to walk for the train home—good exercise.
How Does Yours Go?
Whatever activities we choose to partake in on our red letter days might be beside the point; the desired material is a feeling of space and freedom and, perhaps like me, a sense of déjà vu. Whether it’s time alone or time with others is individual choice. Whatever brings us a feeling of engagement with ourselves helps us to feel refreshed.
Somehow we know, deep within or very consciously, what our particular red letter day consists of. Better still to employ the imagination upon planning. We’re the boss!
Red letter days are cool, stimulating and sufficient, seasoned with charm, and resplendently peaceful. In them we redeem bliss. That’s the only rule—they must be enjoyable. Wise are we to intersperse them within our busy lives. To be available for others we need to be available within ourselves—connected to the heart of God.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Time waits for no person and sits momentarily yet ceaselessly, at its set apportioned place, in the midst of our circumstance-of-state, in the present. The present cannot be grasped, either by possession or understanding.
The moment comes to us by thought or experience or deed or opportunity, missed or taken, and then goes, as it gives way to the next moment in the chain of events which, when strung together, are the corpus of our lives.
Times In Terms Of The Past
And if only we could, by capacity and will and planning, possess each moment, by the material of memory, what a possession we would have!
But far from being given everything, we’ve the potential to take whatever we can recall and possess it in a moment, for a moment. It pays to build the capacity of memory.
Over the entirety of our lives this library of available memory exists—and it’s more than we could ever handle.
So much for the past—what’s gone—what can never ‘be’ again, unless by re-creation (a thing having at least two meanings).
Times In Terms Of The Present
Time, in terms of the present, is where time truly exists. It cannot, by truth, exist elsewhere.
Beyond memories of past and plans for the future, both borrowing from history and the imagination, sits a translucent commodity—one, again, we cannot have the whole of.
But, in some contexts, we do.
We’re sown fully into life by the fact we’re every bit here, alive, functioning in this world. Our moments have a pungent reality about them nobody can deny.
We do, in fact, possess each moment, but the possession is deeply conditional—at terms we also cannot deny. We stand, by fact of our presents, in the unparalleled position of possessing nothing but, at the same time, possessing all things.
I mean, how would we describe life to an onlooker who’s never lived? We couldn’t find the words or image or any narrative to convey the limited fullness of it. Many understandings in this life conspire against us, but the understanding of the limited fullness of time is one motivating many a correct thought and deed in dealing with an existential enigma. The limited fullness of time communicates a paradox, and if we can understand it much better are our lives.
Time In Terms Of The Future
This brings us to paradigms of the future: the only place borne of true hope, for the present hope is always dogged, to some degree, by anxiety for the lived condition.
Our futures fuel our presents. If not, we couldn’t go on. If we’ve never been loved, we live for the day, still coming, when we will be. The future holds faithful to our hope. Only when we despair of the future, completely, do we lose all sense of meaning. But, realistically, there’s always hope, because the future is so uncertain.
The past gives us our meaning and the future gives us our hope, in a world where the present is all we have. Making sense of time is utilising the productive past and hoping, effervescently, for a good future, whilst retaining control over what we have: the present.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.
Written on a train.
Friday, March 23, 2012
How often are we misrepresented? To be remembered a certain way, as being categorically ‘us’, is a transgression against many of us—but those who’d remember us incorrectly ought to be forgiven for not knowing.
The truth is, whilst we are, at any given time, in our bodies, we may be, at any time, out of our comparative minds, broken-hearted, or dispirited. This is an incomprehensible lack, the likes of which we have no answer for.
And just as well, for if even one had the answer where would that leave the rest of us, backwashed against the harrowing business of living vanquished of desire. Not only would that be unacceptable, but reprehensible to boot.
Fortunately the human condition is home to lack; times, fleeting and lasting, in which we’re not okay. But... it should also be said...
Despite the pain involved, the state of depression, though ghastly to the extremes, is a fundamentally acceptable condition for anyone in the position of being human. It proves us normal, thinking, feeling, responding persons.
This is not about saying depression or depressive episodes should be left as they are. By no means!
But there’s a point at which we accept depression is normal, as part of the human experience. It touches far too many to not be. Not only are depression and depressive episodes to be destigmatised, but they’re to be accepted, indeed welcomed, in the folklore of phenomena—life happens and we cope the best way we can. Sometimes it’s enough; sometimes it’s not. In all of it we’re learning.
Is it our fault one of an unlimited number of painful things has occurred to us? No, it could never truly be. Could it just be that Jesus, in John 16:33 and other such verses, is giving us a spiritual ally in the cases of depression? Here Jesus reminds us that he has overcome the world; that faith in his name is sometimes the only way through.
Experiences Of Being
The halcyon state is pure ‘being’. What a hard thing to describe and how much harder, again, to experience.
But being encapsulates whatever ‘is’ about us, just now, and it faithfully accepts a safe place within itself, beyond estranging fear—even though stimuli for such fear is experientially present. The fear doesn’t affect us so much. Oh, this is a salubrious thought—and to stay here, bliss! Nothing can overwhelm us.
So, where is this going in the context of feeling not okay?
Sometimes the experience of pain feels good, beyond a sadistic delight—only when we know the pain’s good for us. Stretching a tired muscle can be painful, but that pain reminds us that we’re doing a good thing for the muscle.
Likewise, when we feel to the outer edges of our being, even when we’re depressed, we know that by tapping into our real issues, the future will go well, eventually, for us. Good is being made out of the present challenges.
Given the commonality of depressive episodes, could it just be that such pain will work, eventually, for our good? There’s a purpose beyond all such mental ills. Just now, though, we invest whatever energy we have in just being real. God will do the rest.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.
Written under a bridge.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Is there a connection between the hustle and bustle of life and a lack of gentleness we’d otherwise wish to embody? That’s the thesis here; that the gentler worldview can only be nurtured when life is made to slow down.
The gentler worldview forces us to relax. When we seek to be gentle our decision-making is influenced positively and we wrest a personally-available control. Genteel, as is our encroaching way, we begin to care by actualisation. By our gentleness we begin to reject parts of the busy world and its hold over us.
Flitting here, flitting there,
Shouting fear, cannot care,
Not now; perhaps not ever.
Life’s run thin, no time to spare,
A deafening din, no climb to dare,
But... stop... now... be gentler.
Like most poems, they need to be unpacked.
Most of us relate with the ‘flitting here, flitting there’ nature. In just trying to keep up, in trying not to fail, and by trying not to forget, inwardly we’re shouting in fear; we cannot care when we feel this way—out of control. And whilst we continue peddling on the mouse-wheel of life there’s no real chance for the gentler us to emerge.
A life like this is run thin; like an internal combustion engine running lean for fuel, we are starved of the quality that brings any meaning for life. A life run thin has no time to spare. At times like this life’s a deafening din; a humming mirage of unhelpful noise. We would hardly climb to dare, by faith, with such an onerous worldview.
When Time Comes To STOP – Going A Gentler Way
By noticing how futile the busy life has become... we stop. We take the time to reassess life. We bow out of the rat race for long enough to get perspective.
At such a time when clarity re-emerges, we perhaps note that being gentler within ourselves and within our world is tending toward a more controlled life. With courage we take the bit between our teeth and we propose and execute some adjustments. Our genteel approach is marked in a higher sense of maturity; we begin to respect ourselves, our environment, and other people significantly. Time is no longer the enemy. We’ve made space, daily, and within our moments, for a gentle frame of mind and a calmer heart. ‘Gentle’ is now a byword.
An out-of-control life compels us to a gentler worldview. Being gentle with ourselves helps us be gentle in our environment and with others. Being gentle and calm we enjoy significant control. Life is happier, better, and more meaningful.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.