Hello, 2016! Welcome to The (newly designed) Story Place. I was itching to do a big fat blog overhaul all last year but knew it would be time consuming and require more brain cells than I was willing to commit. Thankfully, my new posse of Hope Writer friends have given me courage to learn new things. Combined with a few weeks of down time and countless WordPress help chat sessions, WALAH!
My hope is that a fresh space will encourage me to collect and share more stories. Consider this your personal invitation to subscribe over on the right to receive each post in your email box.
This week we mark time. We flip the calendar on a new year and head toward winter’s dark cold. We accept that the holidays are over. We restart alarm clocks and schedules. This expected rhythm of life is the one I can count on to make me feel most angsty and heavy.
Our stories can suddenly feel laborious and dreary. Enough to shove a bookmark in, close the cover and just numb out until spring.
As good as that might feel, we don’t have time for it. Each day is a gift, even in January. We don’t know what kind of adventures are right around the corner that might be missed because we’ve chosen to hibernate our own lives. Things can quietly grow life in the hidden darkness of winter or they can rot and decay. Our lives are no different.
What do you do then when you get tired and all you want is a new story? Fortunately, the laws of physics reveal that a few minor adjustments in course can lead to a totally new destination. Instead of longing for everything to be radically new and different, take a deep breath, accept the current circumstances and implement a few tweaks.
You might be surprised at how quickly a positive plot twist can occur.
As a reminder to self and an offering to you, here is a quiet action, thought and attitude that could help this season bear fruit all year.
- Gather Manna (a new action) – Every day. Gather as if it’s the only food you’ll get that day. When the sky just begins to lighten, before the glow of technology steals wonder. Pour a cup, pick a spot and settle in to wait on the Spirit’s daily bread delivery. It will always be just right and just enough until the next day. Lauren Winner describes manna as journeying bread. “Jesus as manna, the bread that sustains oppressed people on their journey through dangerous terrain.” You don’t do this and your soul will starve.
- Choose A Word (a new thought) – Trendy, schmendy. I say do it anyway. It’s not hard. Go for a walk and listen for the one word that calls out for your attention this year. Don’t overthink it. Just pick something to look for, to be taught by. Decide to be surprised by the power of language in a few combined letters. Allow your one word to light your way through the grayness of winter into one aha moment after another. Be the boss of your thought life by mentally chewing on one word this year.
- Embrace Grace (a new attitude) – Who doesn’t need more grace in their story? This small change of attitude could be the most impactful of all. When you encounter a choice between grace and carrying a burden (building a wall, holding a grudge), decide on grace this year. In decisions, in relationships, in changes. In all the yes’s and no’s. In the expectations and in all the mess. Embrace grace at every turn. For ourselves and others. It could be the one simple tweak that leads to a whole new story.
A Blessing for the New Year
by John O’Donohue
On the day when
The weight deadens
On your shoulders
And you stumble.
May the clay dance
To balance you.
And when your eyes
The gray window
And the ghost of loss
Gets into you,
May a flock of colors,
Indigo, red, green
And azure blue,
Come to awaken in you
A meadow of delight.
When the canvas frays
In the curragh of thought
And a stain of ocean
Blackens beneath you,
May there come across the waters
A path of yellow moonlight
To bring you safely home.
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
Wind work these words
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak
To mind your life.