Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘purpose’

Adding Meaning to Life A =Attention


A = Attention

How can paying attention add new greater meaning to life?

Duh! That seems like such a rhetorical question, doesn’t it?

In their book, Spiritual Literacy, with a sub-title of “Reading the Sacred in Everyday Life,” authors Mary Ann and Frederic Brussat wrote: “Pay attention. Stay awake and totally alert. See with receptive eyes and discover a world of ceaseless wonders.”

What are some “ceaseless wonders” that add meaning to your days?

Do you pay special attention to:

  • daily sunrises?
landscape nature sky sunset

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  • trees in bloom?
white flowers in bloom

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  • grass greening?
alpine clouds daylight europe

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  • waterfalls?
landscape photography of waterfalls surrounded by green leafed plants

Photo by Oliver Sjöström on Pexels.com

  • ocean waves?
ocean wave

Photo by Simon Clayton on Pexels.com

  • wild animals?
brown deer standing on snow

Photo by Annika Thierfeld on Pexels.com

  • the unconditional love of precious pets
black dog beside little girl

Photo by bin Ziegler on Pexels.com

  • the companionship of friends
silhouette of people jumping

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  • the laughter of children?
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  • a beautiful, nutritional meal?

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  • a warm, comfortable bed?
woman lying on bed holding white bear plush toy

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  • a beautiful sunset?

Sunset@Placerville

Paying attention to these and other “ceaseless wonders”
WILL add meaning to your life.

What other “ceaseless wonders” are a part of your daily observations?
How do they add greater meaning to your life?

 

See you tomorrow…

What would you list as your “B” word

for adding meaning to

and defining purpose in your life?

Adding Meaning to Your Daily Life


Looking for Greater Meaning

I am always exploring ways to add more meaning to my daily life. Are you?

I want a greater understanding of:

  • who I am,
  • how to decode the world around me
  • what my purpose is here on earth,
  • and how I can live more intentionally to fulfill that purpose.

Do we need to have reached some “state of enlightenment”
in order to decode the world around us?

photography of book page

In their book, Spiritual Literacy,
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
wrote the following,
“Some traditions do see such understanding as
a gift or ‘awakening,’ but we believe it is a skill
that can be developed.”

Seeing the Spirit Within

“Such understanding” is defined by the Brussats as the ability to decode the world around us by seeing the sacred in everyday life. They suggest that we look to see the working of the Holy Spirit in our common activities: cooking, eating, working, walking, listening, visiting, praying … Recognize the Spirit moving in our lives through encounters with places, things, people, nature, and animals. Know that the message of the Holy Spirit personifies the greatest commandment: Love One Another. Cultivate the ability, the skill, to tune into the Spirit within you.

close up of tree against sky

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Loving Unconditionally

Loving One Another unconditionally is made possible by our ability to see the divine in one another. When we value each other’s gifts, when we see every other human being  as a Child of One Creator, then we are better able to respond to the Spirit within us.

In his foreword to Spiritual Literacy, Thomas Moore wrote, “It’s odd that after thousands of years of great spiritual example… we have to remind ourselves that spirituality is to be found in everyday life.”

Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy

The Brussats created an Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy with pointers on how certain practices can spell greater meaning in our daily lives.

I have an affection for using the alphabet as a stimulus for positive thoughts. I wrote an A-Z series last year on the subject, “What Makes Me Happy?” It was the start of my 180 consecutive days of blogging here at JanBeek.

So, I am naturally attracted to the Brussat’s Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy. I intend to use it as a new A-Z series here on JanBeek. In so doing, I hope to encourage you, my readers, to cultivate a spiritual vision while keeping an eye on the secular world. I hope to learn with you how we can unite our world views with our spiritual views. Wake up our Spiritual Literacy!

Restore Lost Bonds

I don’t want to live in La-La Land. I don’t want to experience a broad, impenetrable chasm between my social and my spiritual life. Thomas Moore explained that the Brussat’s purpose in writing Spiritual Literacy was to “restore lost bonds between spirit and matter, body and mind, church and home, work and prayer.”

I want my secular and spiritual lives to be in alignment. Do you?

Joint Effort

Let’s explore together ways to add more meaning to our daily lives, ways to decode the world around us, ways to live more intentionally to fulfill our purpose. Okay? Are you with me?

Let’s begin with A.

Tomorrow.

A = Attention

Quote

Be Led, Not Driven


On this Monday following Easter, I am revisiting some of my old blogs.

The emergence of spring in the air and the “drive” to get some spring cleaning done has me reflecting on life and its purpose.

Some of my newer followers may not have seen this thoughtful post. Please click below and contemplate with me this idea:    via Be Led, Not Driven

I AM


Have you pondered the meaning of life?
Have you spent time wondering,
“Why am I here?”
Who am I?

Do you wonder about your purpose?

I do!

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My more mundane answer is:
I am a Child of God,
a retired educator,
a wife, sister, aunt, friend,
a mom of 2, Grammy to 7, and
great-grandmother (GG) to one with 2 on the way.

But I am much more than that!

Today I am a volunteer, working at the reception desk
at the Madison Valley Medical Center.
It’s a quiet Wednesday afternoon.
Not much activity for this “Purple Lady” to record.

Hopefully the absence of “customers”
means people are relatively healthy.
No need for a doctor or lab test right now.
So, what are YOU doing today?

I am pondering life’s meaning
and my place in this spot in the world.
I want to get beyond the mundane.

If you were to write a poem or essay
answering the questions,
“Who Am I? Why am I here?
What is my Purpose?
What would you say?

Here is mine for today
(tomorrow it may change…
I am a work in progress):

I AM

I am a woman who is continually growing, stretching, discovering.

I am living a contemplative life defined by the
expansion of my heart.   heart shaped red balloon

My way of acting is different from the world’s way. I am different.

black and green desk globe

I am witnessing to a different way of BEING in the world.

I strive to live in ways that demonstrate the:

  • potential for compassion
  • grace of presence
  • revelation in each moment
  • unconditional love described as Agape in His Word

My life is lived on the edges of the world’s fluctuating values.

It’s a challenging place to be.

I am open and transparent, tuned in daily to God’s newness –
– to God’s Love growing in me,
– to the Peace and Joy the Lord offers so freely.

heart shaped red balloon

I AM Jan Beekman.
aka  JanBeek


(“I am a stew – a mixture of many parts,” Thanks, CD!)

.

And who are YOU?

Wonderful Wednesday


Good morning, my friends!

It’s a Wonderful Wednesday!

Find a way to give.

My friend, Steve, has no trouble finding neighbors who need
their driveways shoveled or blown out. What a gift that is!

Volunteering to help others is giving back … or paying it forward! Someday Steve won’t be able to do this anymore. Then, hopefully, someone will volunteer to shovel or blow out HIS driveway!

Look at the book my daughter sent me:

I bet you have a story to tell about some “giving” you have done.
I try to give daily, so when I received this book, I thought,
Why not write about it?

Sous-Cheffing

I love working at our Senior Center as a sous chef (that’s a fancy name for potato and carrot peeler. salad maker, and onion slicer). I can pretend I am at a fancy Paris Bistro… and my customers are the most precious children of God! (Actually, they are!)

Visiting Shut-ins

Another way to volunteer your gifts is to visit a friend who is in a nursing home or at the hospital. Anyone can do that! It doesn’t take lessons or months of practice. Just an open heart, and a wiilngness to treat yourself to the infectious smiles your visit will bring.

In our little town of Ennis, Montana, I introduced you day before yesterday to Artists on Main, the wonderful art gallery with its amazing variety of locally created art for sale. We are blessed to have that shop… and if I had the ability to paint or sculpt or whittle or create pottery, jewelry, or stained glass, I’d use that talent to provide items for my friend, Carol, to sell… or I’d visit a friend and bring a product of my creativity as a gift.

Share Your Writing

But, that kind of art is not my forte’… I love to write, so I share my blogs orally with friends in the hospital. I read “Art is Life” to one of my dear friends this morning.

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Play Your Instrument

Before going to the hospital, I shared another one of my gifts: the accordion. Do you play an instrument?

I started learning to play the “squeezebox” when I was about ten years old. (Every good little Italian girl or boy played the accordion in those days!) Now, it is a seldom seen (in person) whimsical, portable instrument that can bring joy wherever it goes!

This one is over a hundred years old.
I bought it from Frankie, my sorta cousin, about 70 years ago.
It still works, but with only 8 buttons, you are limited to songs in the key of  F, C, G or A.

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Many people today have never seen or heard an accordion played in person. They think of Lawrence Welk and expect me to play Flight of the Bumble Bees or The Beer Barrell Polka with bellow shakes.

Once upon a time, I actually could play those advanced pieces. But now, I am content to accompany the hymn singing at church when the piano or organist is ill or out of town… or accompany singing at the Lenten Breakfast where no other instrument is available. (I did that early this morning).

In the summer, I entertain  at our Art Festival in the park.
Sometimes I pull it out at home after dinner with friends
and we have a sing-along.
It makes for a memorable evening.

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If music is not your forte’, think of other ways you can give.

I belong to the Madison Valley Medical Center Auxuliary. Sitting at the desk a couple of Fridays each month is one way I can volunteer. Donating our home for the “Home Tour” fund-raiser is another way. Our auxiliary earns thousands with that fund-raiser every year and gives the benefits back to the hospital for new equipment, beds, sheets, and other needs. It’s gratifying to be a volunteer. I’m in the center, middle row here.

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I hope you will consider ways you can volunteer your talents
for the benefit of others.
Perhaps you already do – in ways different from mine.

Tell me about a way you volunteer
or give back.
Does it express your purpose and passion?

Your story may inspire others!

 

Be Led, Not Driven


The Purpose Driven Life

I have an affection for Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life. It has so many words of wisdom – and it helped me as I was trying to define my purpose for living. I had recently suffered a burst appendix and had almost died. Prayer, God’s grace, a skillful ambulance driver, and a careful surgeon gave me back my life. I looked earnestly for clues about how I might live purposely for God to thank Him for my survival.

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This book of Daily Inspirations is a complement to The Purpose Driven Life. I used it as a devotional and as a journal, writing in the margins and at the top and bottom of the pages each day.


Soul Feast

But recently I read a quote by Marjorie J. Thompson in her book, Soul Feast.

Thompson wrote, “I admit I do not care for the language of ‘driven-ness’ in recently popular books and seminars…” She went on to explain “… it is significant that the Bible likens us to sheep, not cattle.”


My Haiku

Giving overtime thought to Marjorie J. Thompson’s  quote I wrote the following Haiku:

Live from a posture
Of profound trust and deep love
Be sheep, not cattle

 

Deep Conversation

My husband and I had a deep conversation about life and death, purpose and the difference between being led and being driven. When I am weary, Jesus leads me beside still waters. He refreshes my soul.

alberta amazing attraction banff

Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

Cowboys here in Montana drive their cattle to the next pasture and farmers in Switzerland drive their cows in the springtime up to fresh grass from the lower meadows where the beautiful animals have spent the winters.

agriculture alps animal background

Photo by Krivec Ales on Pexels.com

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But Bob’s point as my hubby discussed the difference between being driven and led, was that cattlemen drive their cattle for the same reason shepherds lead their sheep. They have their best interests at heart. (Well, they may be driving them to market!)

There is a connotation to the word “driven” in our American culture. It seems to imply push-push-push, a relentless effort toward getting to the top.

 

Hope for the Flowers

I was reminded of a book for adults and others (including caterpillars who can read)  titled, Hope for the Flowers, by Trina Paulus. It was copyrighted in 1973, but it is as pertinent today as it was then (and it still is available on Amazon.com).

As I recall the story, the caterpillars in this clever little tale are climbing over the top of each other, creating a  “caterpillar pillar.” One little creeper is on the outside edge, getting tired of the climb, wondering if it’s worth it. She asks a fellow climber as she looks at the daunting distance to the top, “What’s up there, anyway?”

“Just other caterpillars pushing each other off so they can be on top,” her climbing companion explained as one of the fuzzy creatures came tumbling down and crashed to the ground.

(How sad, huh? I am fascinated by these wonderful creations and their metamorphosis.)

caterpillar close up hairy insect

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Right about then the disillusioned climber caught the eye of a beautiful butterfly cruising by. “Climb on down,” he encouraged. “Spin yourself a chrysalis, rest inside, and eventually you will emerge a butterfly like I did. Then you can join me.”

(Of course those quotes are from my memory, not the actual book. I loaned it out to someone…. don’t remember who… but I have ordered a new one. Hope for the Flowers is a terrific book to have on hand as a reminder of my journey!)

Moving Down the Administrative Ladder

I discovered this beautiful, child-like, but profound, paperback when I was working as a curriculum coordinator in the district office at a school district in central California. My office was waaay too far from the children. I had been an elementary teacher for over 20 years and the principal of a K-6 school with over a thousand students for nearly a decade. The “caterpillar pillar” (that ambitious climb to greater “success”) led me to the district office. I knew after only about three weeks that it was not where I belonged.

I stuck it out for two years. Did the best job I knew how. Wore at least a half a dozen hats (Federal Programs director, language arts and music coordinator, in-service leader for new teachers, mentor for new principals, etc.) I learned a lot, and am glad I did it,but generally, I was not happy. My love & my gift was teaching children and helping “my staff” grow to be their best selves. I loved the interaction with the students, the teachers, and the parents.

As I climbed back down the “pillar” and announced that I was going back UP to the classroom (as soon as I rested a year and earned my butterfly wings), I was told, “What are you doing? That’s the wrong direction!”

Some warned, “You can’t go back down! People will think you’ve been demoted!”

“Yes, I can,” I insisted. I slid into my chrysalis, listened to The Voice of Reason and Transformation, rested, and devoted more time to my family, myself and my God.

I emerged a happy butterfly and was led back UP to a group of first graders. At the end of that year I led them on to second grade. What joy! I still hear from some of those children twenty years later. Several of them are my Facebook friends!

Best move I ever made!!

antenna beautiful bloom blossom

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


The Voice

Contemplative time
Creates vessels of vision
Hear the “still small voice”

.
Let God fill you up
with new creativity
Receive fresh insight

.
I encourage you
To let contemplative time
Be a microphone

.
Let unstructured time
Be a transformative time
Listen to The Voice!


Take time to rest.
Build your chrysalis.
Listen to your heart.

Find your True Purpose!

You may want to consider getting Rick Warren’s, The Purpose Driven Life,
and the accompanying inspirational/journal:

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and look for Hope for the Flowers. It’s out there…

Be Led, Not Driven

O = Opportunities


Day #15 in my A – Z series of “What Makes Me Happy?”

OPPORTUNITIES

Opportunities

Should not ever be wasted

Grab onto one now

.

What opportunity might you take advantage of today?

.

Share with me an “O” word that makes YOU happy.

.

Oh, and Happy Halloween!

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