the spirit of the journey.

plant

plant

i believe that i am a patient person in many ways. patient and accepting of others. but, when it comes to processes… not. so. much. at least not right now in life. my love & i have this thing about hating the process, we talk about the process of brushing our teeth before going to bed, of walking to work, filling in forms, of waiting for answers… so, perhaps i don’t mind the process, it’s the waiting that i hate. when i know i want something, then i want it. like this whole moving thing… i am thankful to get to spend spring in sweden (hoping that it turns out to be a beautiful spring. so far, not so great), but on the other hand, i just want to get this moving thing underway. i’m ready to move on.

yeah, i’m not so good at letting things take their course. every morning i find myself talking to the trees. begging them to please just show me a few little buds, something, anything,  to let me know that they will have some leaves eventually. right now, it’s hard to believe.

and any learning process, any personal growth. forget it. i just wanna hop right to the lesson to be learned. i don’t wanna put up with the shit, the tough times, the hard challenges.

and paperwork. applications. job-searching. apartment hunting/waiting. i don’t want any part of it. nope. just get me the job. move me into my new apartment. and let me get started on my new way of life.

and yet, i know that without the journey, without the process, i will miss out on life. so do i really want to skip over everything? it’s like that quote or saying that i’ve heard somewhere about life being the stuff that happens in the middle. it’s not the dates of when we were born and when we die, but what we fill our days with. if i skip over the processes, the day to day living, and skip right to the end, then i’ve missed out. big time.

think about taking an airplane on a trip. it’s like magic. i get on a plane in one country, sit for some hours, get off in another… with totally different cultures, climate, and people. and while i love that air travel gets me to far away places quickly, i love road trips way more. i love getting in a car (especially when i’m driving) and discovering something new, or taking  unplanned roads all along the way. the road trip becomes the destination. the whole journey is the way. it’s not only about the beginning and the end, but about every curve, diner, landmark, mountain, valley, desert, motel, person, picnic, photo opportunity, and random stop all along the way.

explore
photos from pinterest

so, since i’m such a lover of road trips, surely i can take that spirit of adventure with me into every aspect of my life right now. surely i can calm my soul enough to center myself, breathe deeply, and trust the process. let everything take it’s time. to be a calm, sturdy, secure, grounded, person filled with peace that spreads to everyone i meet…. that’s what i really want. besides, the process is the adventure of my every day life… and i certainly do not want to miss out on anything.

breathe deep. and trust with me. peace.

figuring out advent.

day 2: 'tis the season for hope!

i’m a sucker for those seasons right before a big holiday.

like advent – the days/weeks before christmas. and lent – the days/weeks before easter. these are seasons that we contemplative-types love. a reason to set aside some time every day to slow down, to reflect, to soak in the meaning of the season instead of just getting caught up in the craziness of christmas. and, of course, we should be taking that kind of time every day, practicing mindfulness & mediation; but, let’s be honest. not all of us are that good at it. i know that i am not. not. at. all.

the thing is, i get so excited & inspired when this season, advent, begins, that i get a little crazy in my head. which, of course, is the complete opposite of being contemplative. i spend hours searching for the perfect book, reading, podcast, etc. to use as my advent devotional. i am a lover of words. so, i love, love love to soak up others’ words. and i want something on a daily basis. something to read & inspire my thoughts. something to get my creative juices flowing & prepare me for the day. i have a new blog buddy who has created a weekly advent mediation which i will be using, and i am so grateful for that. it looks like it will be really meaningful. you can check it out for yourself here. but, i am still searching for something else to also add to my daily routine.

well, i suppose i actually have everything i need. perhaps the problem isn’t resources, but commitment. so, now, i just need a plan. and i seriously need it because i am totally an undisciplined person. totally.

i figured that since i have created the belovelive december challenge, and since i have chosen words which reflect theological themes, i should use them in daily meditations/blog posts. then i am killing a bunch of birds with one stone, i guess you could say. i am fulfilling the photo challenge, sharing them here, and having a chance to reflect & write on the themes on a daily basis. and for me, that is what the challenge was all about. so, boom. advent contemplative moments ready to go!

now, how am i gonna do this? ok. the plan is this:

  • take my photo for the day using the word prompt.
  • set an alarm every morning from now till new years & get up (this is the part i’m bad at).
  • make coffee. light candles. put on christmas music.
  • read. write. type. post.

i can do this. i can. i want to. i need to. my soul will thank me for it. and my life will be changed because of it. truly. i know this because i have done this before in my life, and it is so meaningful. transforming. balancing. peaceful. everything in my soul is balanced when i take this time & nourish my inner liz. and that, in turn, is good for any & everyone who is around me.

 

day 2: 'tis the season for hope!
day 2: ’tis the season for hope!

advent is the christian season before christmas. it includes the 4 sundays (and weeks) before christmas. while it is a christian celebration, i believe that it can be a time for people of all, any, or no faith. yes, for us christians, we talk about waiting for god who comes to us in human form, to show love, to bring peace, to bring light to an otherwise confusing world. but, here is where other faith traditions all meet. we all hope. we all wait. we all yearn for peace & love. this season is a time when any of us, if we make the time, may  reflect a little on our lives, on our place in the world, on the places we experience and spread that same hope, peace, love, & light.

in a sense, advent is mindfuless. it is to be aware. to be conscious. to be expectant. to be alert. to be present in the present moment. to tap into something deep within your soul that reminds & inspires you to keep going. it is a reminder that even in the darkest & coldest of winters, the light always returns.

yesterday was the first sunday in advent. it was the sunday of hope. and that’s just what advent is all about. remembering the coming hope. trusting that all will be well. that, even if we don’t understand when or how, we trust anyway. we work for peace anyway. we love anyway. we live life to the fullest anyway.

slowing down for advent allows that hope to soak into my soul, and prepares me to learn to live. to simply be me & to be the change i want to see in the world.

so, today, we wait. and we hope.

day 3: waiting - my little zola was just waiting for me to move so she could steal my place. hehe.

day 3: waiting – my little zola was just waiting for me to move so she could steal my place. hehe.

The house lights go off and the footlights come on. Even the chattiest stop chattering as they wait in darkness for the curtain to rise. In the orchestra pit, the violin bows are poised. The conductor has raised his baton. In the silence of a midwinter dusk, there is far off in the deeps of it somewhere a sound so faint that for all you can tell it may be only the sound of the silence itself. You hold your breath to listen. You walk up the steps to the front door. The empty windows at either side of it tell you nothing, or almost nothing. For a second you catch a whiff of some fragrance that reminds you of a place you’ve never been and a time you have no words for. You are aware of the beating of your heart…The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment.”

— Frederick Buechner, Whistling in the Dark

hope & peace, my friends.

23: technology.

my first apple. still using it.by the way, check the time. now look how bright it is outside. crazy sweden.

with technology, we always think about moving forward. progressing. everything getting better. faster. thinner. sleeker. cooler. smarter. and to be honest, that is what happens with technology. it gets “better” with time. it improves. i mean, when i was in college/university blah-blah years ago, we only had 1 computer lab. we had to sign up for a time to use one of the schools 10 computers if we wanted to have our papers typed, not hand-written. true story. i had a word processor in my dorm room. do some of you even know what that is? it’s a fancy typewriter that had a 3 inch screen that showed what i was typing on the paper that came out the back as i typed it. yep. and then, my cell phone. it was in a bag, and it sat on the floor between the 2 front seats. i plugged it into the cigarette lighter and it was only possible to use when riding in the car. it was a car phone. there were no real cell phones. i listened to cassette tapes & eventually had a crapload of cds in my car, all over the floor. in order to change the cd, i needed to stop at a stoplight or pull over, since it required so much effort to find a cd, take it out of it’s case, & insert it into the cd player. oh, and don’t even get me started on the internet. it was just being introduced to the public. i remember some conversation with an old boyfriend about email accounts. he had set up one (he was always on the cutting edge. still is.) and i had not idea what the hell he was talking about. why would i need an email? couldn’t i just call people? or visit them? (i had the same battle with texting some years later. hehe.)

so, in a rather short amount of time things have changed drastically. for the better? well, yes, i think. although, i could name a few negatives too. but, i’m not gonna do that in this post. in this post i’m admitting that i’m a techie junkie. there i said it. lina & i want the newest things. these things are fun & exciting, but smart & practical in many ways also. they make things work better, make life easier, allow us to communicate & keep in touch better. yes, yes, they’re expensive too. generally. but, we save our money & decide to spend it on these kinds of fun things, instead of buying new & expensive clothes, shoes, bags, etc. all the time. it’s our choice. and we choose to invest in cool, new, up-to-date technical things. yep. we’re  little bit nerdy in this way. and perhaps a little materialistic too?

however, today as i’ve been thinking about technology & all the great things it has done, i thought in general about moving forward. is it always good to be pushy & move forward? always anxiously waiting for the next great thing. is it good to always be so eager to progress? perhaps the desire to progress and move forward at warp speed is a symptom of desiring to be in control. at least it is for me, in some ways, i think. i want things to move on, to what i want them to be. and i always associate moving forward with being better. i want things done in my way, in my time. therefore, i want control over the situation. i suck at backing off & letting things be. but, perhaps i need to slow down. to accept & take things as they come. things will progress. that’s natural. but, perhaps sometimes i need to back off and stop trying to control the progression. just let it be. let things take the time they need to take. and while it’s taking it’s time, try to be aware of what’s actually happening now, how i’m feeling now, instead of always missing the now because of wishing/hoping for what comes next. besides i can’t get to “then” without experiencing “now”. i need today. and won’t i be a better person for living for today instead of always looking toward tomorrow?

in other words, wait. trust. hope. live.

it’s a fine balance, being proactive with our dreams, hopes, and futures… and waiting, letting things take their own sweet time, letting life unfold, trusting the process. life moves so fast anyway. why would i want to be in a hurry? i’d be missing out on so much.

here’s to all of us finding the courage & strength to back off a little bit. to slow down. to let time do it’s thing. here’s to trusting that, in time, we will all feel peace.