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Showing posts from June, 2010

should and want

What is the difference between doing something because I "should" and something because I "want to?" We talked about the difference between these two motivations last week in a group discussion. Jon Ortberg holds that "should" does not have the stamina to get you there. Only "want" can do that. "Should" is an auxiliary engine, but can never serve as a long-term primary motivation because "want" will always win out over "should." Will power can give you a long lecture on how you should not eat that second piece of chocolate cherry cake, but if you really want it, you know you will eventually stuff it into your mouth.

"Want" is much stronger than "should." I think that desire might be the most powerful motivating force on the earth. It will win over money. It will wear down "should." It will keep us going long after we have run out of energy. It won't stop in the face of pain, discomfo…

word accident

You know the feeling when you say something and you realise later, "Oops, perhaps that really wasn't the best thing I could have said?" I had some occasions this week where the words that came out of my mouth didn't really express the sentiments that I wanted them to. Instead, they reflected my impatience and an annoying habit of trying to force things right by my own efforts. I hate it when that happens. It leaves me feeling scummy and a bit paranoid about ever opening my mouth again. It can also lead me down a path of unhelpful introspection where everyone's actions around me become tied into something I did or said wrong, at least in my skewed perspective. I mean, how much more self-centred can one get?

The nagging sense of failure clung to me for a few days, even after I apologised to people, and then I received a note from a friend far away. She was recalling some random comment I made to her years ago; it was a fond and funny memory and she wanted me to know…

containers

The problem with containers is that I like them. I love their different shapes and sizes and the promise of tidiness that is attached to them. I like stacking them and arranging them on shelves. However, there is a major difference between containers and what they carry. Sometimes I forget that. I can focus on the loveliness of the container too much, and then what is inside becomes almost secondary. Events, meetings, and traditions are containers. They are meant to carry something that is valuable to us. These containers can come and go and morph into different forms, and we should never get too attached to their malleable shapes.

A weekly church meeting is a container. It is meant to carry something really important, but it is only a container. It is a time and place to recognise that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. It is a time to recognise the presence and work of an almighty God and see beyond our limited world of work and play. It is a place to devote ourselves to…

good to great

On the recommendation of a friend, I started reading the book, Good to Great by Jim Collins. It contains the highly readable and interesting results of 5 years of research conducted to answer the question: Why do some companies make the leap from good to great and others don't? It is much more than a book on business. It is a book on how to do life with others and make something great of it. It talks about the unexpected but absolutely necessary factor of humility, putting the interests of the "whole" ahead of your own interests, focussing on "who" before "what," and the amazing potential of disciplined dedication. Here are some quotes that I found stimulating:

Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice. (p. 11)

When you have disciplined people, you don't need hierarchy. When you have disciplined thought, you don't need bureaucracy. When you have disciplined action, you don't…

expiry date

I threw out something today that was past the expiration date. The year 2007 was printed on the back of the bottle, and I figured it was time. Probably way past time. I don't know why I hold onto things that are no longer useful. It seems wasteful, I guess. But whether or not it is wasteful is not always the best deciding factor.

I said something yesterday that I regret. It was posed as a question, and on some level I guess I was asking for information, asking to understand, but the question was pretty loaded. It was skewed to carry the following message: "What's your problem? Why don't you get it together? I've figured this out, why can't you?" I didn't even realise how arrogant my attitude was until it was pointed out to me (those are real friends for you). It turns out that there are other ways to see a situation, to accomplish a task, than my way. There are people with completely different sets of skills from what I have, and I can be somewhat blin…

hello girls!

Some of the girls (or should I say women) that I used to hang out with in high school are having a little get-together this weekend in Manitoba. I can't be there, so I thought I would write a little something that would give them a glimpse of what I've been up to since we last saw each other.
Some of the jobs I have done since high school: actress in touring theatre company, maintenance crew at mental institute, video producer for motorhome manufacturer, office assistant for City of Hampstead, assistant to psychoanalyst, switchboard operator, communications assistant at Stratford Shakespearean Festival, front desk clerk at art gallery, data entry at a newspaper, Youth and Children's Co-ordinator at Anglican church, delivery driver for music store, data entry for Diners Club credit card, extra for several movies, data entry for Gynecology conference, and communications for Vineyard Montreal church.This is me and Dean on our way to Florida last year. I am giving you a great v…

mailing list of life

I was reaching for something the other day when Dean pointed at my arm and said, "Hey, that's new!" He was referring to the triceps swinging lazily in a stretchy hammock of skin under my arm. Yes, they are new! They arrived recently without me even having to order them! Other old lady body parts have been showing up as well, all free of charge! Isn't that amazing? Do you like them? I hope so, because I'm not sure I can return them.

Despite what plastic surgeons and cosmetic manufacturers would have us believe, it is impossible to get off the "Old Person Body Parts" mailing list once you are on it. Packages show up at random and unexpected times. One day you are putting on your clothes and Surprise! Here are your new larger and longer buttocks! Or you may be just sitting there reading a book and Voila! Your hands have been upgraded to the new super-wrinkle skin and hey, here's some bonus brown accent spots! I can honestly say that some days it is har…

baseball church

I know a lot of people who have had a bad experience with the church. I am one of them. Complaints can range anywhere from boredom and irrelevancy to abusive authority and embezzlement. It is not a pretty picture. We, as Christians, do not have a proud history in many ways. I am not sure how to respond to the growing number of friends who have chosen to avoid much of the organised church.

At the very least, I still want to be their friend, but some of them find even that difficult since I serve as a leader in a local faith community. Understandable. I also want to be a good listener. This means that when people tell me their stories, I realise that it is an honour, a privilege, and a gift to be trusted with their pain. I cannot discount their experience, explain it away, or trivialise it. I can attempt to put it into context and try to understand the larger picture, but I can never dismiss its impact.

Today, while I was doing some stretches after my workout, I watched Extreme Makeover o…

letter to pain

Every once in a while, a not so pleasant thought flits through my mind. It is when I remember something bad that has happened in my past. How someone has hurt me, treated me with disrespect, or disappointed me. How I have lost someone or something that I used to love and enjoy. How I failed or got something horribly wrong. My mind skips over a few of the details from the past and flicks its tongue over the bitter taste of the experience. It can't resist poking the empty hole where something used to live, like a tooth that has been extracted.

I usually let the mind have its little foray, which can include some well-executed words (what I would like to say to those who caused me pain), an indulgent pang of longing for what used to be, and a brief moment of self-pity. Then I tell the thoughts to move along, and we get back to reality. I know that these thoughts will decrease over time as I walk forward in grace, so I don't give much thought to their appearance a few times a week. …