Archive for the ‘wellness’ Tag

Retreated: 2 Things Learned This Week   Leave a comment

This week I retreated to a camp in Glen Rose, Texas, for three days of spiritual retreat. Going on a minimum 3 day spiritual retreat is a requirement for my ordination in the United Methodist Church. I had a lot of flexibility on how the retreat itself would go.

Inspired by the TED Talk I heard from “planet walker” John Francis, I decided to incorporate silence and not using a vehicle as part of my retreat.

Two things I learned in the process:

1. It is relatively easy to be silent when you’re by yourself, but it is a challenge to be around people without feeling pressured to say something. For most of my time away, I was on the camp by myself. I went for a long walks, I hiked through the forest, I spent time creating art and reading. I was quiet.

In the silence, I was able to rest. I was able to just be, just listen. I noticed things I might have overlooked – the smell of dew in the morning, the sound of deer as they scamper away, even the sound of a bird’s wings flapping. I ate when I was hungry and slept when I was tired.

On the few occasions I walked in to town, people were friendly and I felt compelled to speak. The person I talked to the longest, an elderly man in an antique store, seemed lonely. While a vow of silence seems like a noble idea, sometimes small talk is a compassionate act.

2. Sometimes I have to consciously choose to feel safe. One of the hardest parts about being by myself, especially as a petite female, was getting over feeling anxious about possible dangers. I had to let that fear go in order to feel at peace. The fears of unknown dangers, especially while walking alone at night in the dark, cluttered up my thoughts.

Once I made the conscious choice that I was going to feel safe, I could enjoy nature fully. I was able to pray and sing like no one could hear me. It was only then that I could fully experience God’s presence.

I think it’s worth mentioning that living in a culture that feels dangerous even if the dangers are not real makes spirituality more difficult. When I walk alone at night, a part of my brain is constantly on the lookout for possible attacks, alert for sudden movements around the corner. I cannot be the only woman who feels this way. It’s a bit heartbreaking to have to choose to feel safe. My hope is that by mentioning it we can all work together for more peace, working to create a culture of safety. (Maybe you were expecting me to learn something more profound, and I did learn other things – I spent a lot of time reading, studying, writing and creating. There will be more blog posts to come.)

“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. ” 2 Timothy 1:7

Project 365: Day 100 Wholeness   Leave a comment

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I love Whole Foods grocery stores. There isn’t one near my house, so it’s a rare treat. I love walking the aisles surrounded by vibrant colors and aromas of natural, organic, healthy foods, most of which are foreign to me. Chia, flax, collard, gluten-free, vegan super foods with brands like Annie’s and Kathleen’s and Organic Pete’s. It almost feels like shopping in a foreign country’s market.

I’ve been focusing on the word “whole” a lot in my prayer life lately. Having been so broken for the last couple of years has made me appreciate the fullness, the vibrancy of Wholeness. I am so thankful to the God that restores my soul and makes me whole again.

From 1 Thessalonians 5:

“16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.

23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”

Blessings,
Erin

Questions:
Do you have certain words that speak to your heart? What are they?

3 Important Reasons to Smile Today   Leave a comment

I just watched this interesting TED Talk about the superpower of smiling, and I thought you’d enjoy it too:


(If the video doesn’t work, click here: http://www.ted.com/talks/ron_gutman_the_hidden_power_of_smiling.html)
Here are the three most important things I took away from the video:

1. The span of your smile determines the span of your life.  Research backs up the fact that people who smile more often live longer, healthier lives.  Smilers have less stress and more positive feedback.  I, for one, want to live a long, healthy life and would like to spend that time smiling, how about you?  Just think, if you can impress this idea on young people and change their behavior, you can actually make them live longer.

2. Smile + Frown = Smile.  Smiles are contagious.  If you see someone who is smiling, it is difficult to not smile back.  What a great ministry tool it is to know that you possess the power to make sad people feel better just by giving them a smile!  In the youth ministry world, this power is valuable for encouraging teens who are feeling down on themselves…and at some point that may be all teens.  How can you use this power today?

3. Smiles bring more pleasure than up to 2,000 bars of chocolate.  Want to feel good without high caloric intake?  Smile.  You feel better, the pleasure part of your brain is activated, life is good.  I still like chocolate a good bit, but it’s nice to know that I can smile thinking about chocolate without eating it all and still feel good.

That’s all today – 3 valuable reasons to smile.  I hope this post makes you live longer, happier and healthier.

Blessings,

Erin