“Hey, did you see that?”

“No, I missed it. What was it?”

Does this conversation sound familiar? It sure does to me. My days were so busy and hectic that I had no time to care to notice something other than the task hand. At the end of each day I wondered where the day went! I had always lived that way, until recently.

A few years ago I changed jobs to one which allowed me to have the summer off. After 20 years of working year round, having a few months off was strange, and even unsettling. After a week without I had no idea what to do with myself. I was ”forced” to slow down. It wasn't comfortable at first, but over time I started to discover that I was physically, mentally, and spiritually slowing down. As I was slowing down I found myself feeling more peaceful. As the summer progressed I no longer was anxious, I didn't rush, and I began to notice the world around me.

I wasn't yet consciously aware of this, but I was beginning to live mindfully. As I slowed myself I focused my thoughts and attention to the present moment.…

Read more: 5 Tips on How Mindfulness Will Change Your Life

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Fall scene in MA (credit: Blog author)

Way back in the 1980's I took this photo while I lived in a small town in western Massachusetts.  Most people I know tend to get excited, perk up, prepare for, and are encouraged as Spring moves into Summer.  Not that I don't like Summer, but for me, I do the same preparations for the beginning of Autumn.  I must say, Autumn is by far my most favorite season (with Winter a close second).  And now here we are, the first day of Autumn (officially starting at 10:21 am EDT)!

As far back as I can remember I have enjoyed Autumn.  Growing up in the northern reaches of the US I am used to the colder seasons, probably part of the reason for my enjoyment of Autumn.  Of all the seasons I find this one to be especially focused on family and God.  During this season there are holidays, gatherings and the beginning of school.  Halloween and Thanksgiving are near with Christmas not too far away.  The cooler weather draws us closer together as we huddle indoors, and as we do so I hope we recognize the presence…

Read more: autumn: learning from change

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World Trade Center "cross" 9/11/2001

Today we remember all those who lost their lives, and those families who lost loved ones in an attack on innocent lives. I recall that Tuesday morning in 2001 as if it were yesterday. My question now is the same as it was 15 years ago; how do I make sense from a senseless act?

I often write about the need for us to change our perspective, so I found this quote by Henri Nouwen, a renown spiritual author, quite enlightening:

"Many people live with the unconscious or conscious expectation that eventually things will get better; wars, hunger, poverty, oppression, and exploitation will vanish; and all people will live in harmony. Their lives and work are motivated by that expectation. When this does not happen in their lifetimes, they are often disillusioned and experience themselves as failures. But Jesus doesn't support such an optimistic outlook. He foresees not only the destruction of his beloved city Jerusalem but also a world full of cruelty, violence, and conflict. For Jesus there is no happy ending in this world. The challenge of Jesus is not to solve all the world's problems before the end of time but to remain…

Read more: Learning from the 9/11 attacks

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Pain, whether it be physical or emotional, is unavoidable in life. We all try our best to avoid pain, almost at all costs. As a society, we make every effort imaginable to avoid, end, or numb, all pain in life. Yet, the more we try, I feel the more we end up still in pain and not feeling at peace or happy. According to the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, “In 2012, health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid pain medication, enough for every adult in the United States to have a bottle of pills.” 

Talking about pain leads to many questions, both practical and philosophical/spiritual. In my life experience, I have found that the two main questions asked about pain are: “Why do I feel pain?” and “Why does a loving God allow pain?” For the purpose of this article, I would like to focus on the former question, why do we feel pain? Maybe if we understood the “why” we would better understand how best to cope with pain.

According to Barbara FinlayThe basic function of pain is the same for all vertebrates: it alerts an animal to potential damage and…

Read more: How to Stop Numbing the Pain

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Have you, like me, ever dreamt of becoming an Olympic athlete? As I watch the current Olympic Games the talents of the athletes never cease to amaze me! Knowing that I will never be a member of an Olympic team, yet I realize that I can still learn much from these Olympic champions. Their example of persistence and training encourages me to do the same in my daily life.

Jim Ochowicz, who competed in the 1972 Olympic Games and coached the 2000 and 2004 USA Olympic men’s professional road racing team, said in a 2008 Forbes interview: “People don’t know the process which [athletes] undertake in their individual sports to reach the Olympic level. You get there by sticking it out. There [are] a lot of people that try and give up.” This quote inspires me!

In life, here is what we can learn from Olympic athletes so that we can achieve greatness in our personal lives:

  • Focus on what matters.  One key principle every successful athlete learns early on in their career is to stay focused on the task. In training, practice, and on the field, focus on one’s task and goal takes precedence above all else. For…

Read more: learning life lessons from Olympians

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