Being in the Now with God

"Prayerfulness requires you to be in the now with God. Too often you may be caught in the silver casket of nostalgia or preoccupied with something in the past. Allowing the past to come through you like a slowly moving train without your preventing it or stopping it can teach you and allow you to remain in the present. Knowing as much of your unfinished business as possible can help to avoid being drawn into it when you are quiet."
Prayerfulness: Awakening to the Fullness of Life

Personal Awareness

"Personal awareness of self before a loving God is also important because it helps self-confidence to grow and be more resistant to the assaults of failure or rebuff. Thus, it allows our character to develop and enables the presence of God within us to be felt in a good way by others. It is not that we forget or deny our faults; rather, we are better able to put them into perspective instead of being crushed by them."
Touching the Holy: Ordinariness, Self-Esteem, and Friendship

The Power of Curiosity

"Catch yourself when you are comparing what you have or what is coming your way with what you like best or feel you deserve. Instead, seek to look at everything with a sense of intrigue and see what comes of it. When waiting in line, don't simply seek to move quickly through it but allow yourself to experience the wait in a new way, devoid of expectation. Who knows — you may find it a time to settle down, breathe, be mindful, relax, and see!"
Streams of Contentment: Lessons I learned on My Uncle's Farm

Sacred Awe

"When we can let go in life, appreciate 'the now,' and have our appreciative senses fed by an attitude of gratitude, then the possibility for experiencing life with a sense of passion and awe becomes real. This is important because awe is at the core of a life of sensitivity. As Nikos Kazantzakis recognizes in his famous workZorba the Greek: 'The highest point a (person) can attain is not knowledge, or virtue, or goodness, or victory, but something even greater, more heroic, more despairing: sacred awe.' "
Seeds of Sensitivity: Deepening Your Spiritual Life

Friends as Cheerleaders

"I recently attended a college basketball game and was struck by three things about the cheerleaders. The first thing is that cheerleaders always smile. This occurred to me midway through the second half when the home team was down by about forty points. When they finished their cheer, every one of them had an ear-to-ear grin. It was as if they were saying, 'Just wait till after this time-out. We'll score fifty points in a row and win!' Friends who take the voice of cheerleaders are like that. They smile no matter what is going wrong. They have absolutely no doubt about us, even when we think the situation is hopeless."
A Circle of Friends: Encountering the Caring Voices in Your Life

Taking Oneself Too Seriously

"One of the greatest wastes of energy is also one of the biggest obstacles in fostering good interpersonal relations at work and at home. It even disturbs the peace when we are alone. The problem I'm alluding to is: taking oneself too seriously.

"We all do it. Even professionals in the healing and helping professions are prone to it. Charles Haddon Spurgeon once said: 'Some ministers would make good martyrs. They are so dry, they would burn well!"
Sharing Wisdom: The Practical Art of Giving and Receiving Mentoring

Importance of Perspective

"Perspective, how we view ourselves and the world, makes all the difference in what the contours of our life will look like — no matter what the external circumstances turn out to be. So, it is no wonder, then, that a healthy perspective (also known as 'enlightenment,' 'purity of heart,' 'the secret to a well-lived life') is sought with such dedication by some. And to have such passion is certainly one of the most important prerequisites for finding this pearl of great price. This is so because it enables us to persevere with tenacity — even during the dark days that everyone of us must experience as part of being human."
Perspective: The Calm Within the Storm

Jesus wasn't Obsessed with His Image

"In contrast to our concern with what other people think of us, Jesus did not compare himself to others. We cannot find a single instance in the New Testament where he clung to his divinity. He wasn't obsessed with his image, as we so often are with ours. Instead, he was only concerned with: (1) trying to be who he was called to be (obedience); (2) being in solidarity with others (community); (3) doing everything in the right Spirit (love)."
Snow Falling on Snow: Themes from the Spiritual Landscape of Robert J. Wicks

Paying Attention to the Specifics

"What enriches mindfulness is including all of the specifics of life. When something joyful, puzzling, sad, or upsetting happens — no matter how inconsequential it seems at first — we must remember to bring 'this too, this too' to our meditation and mindfulness. Viewing even our distractions as sources of new knowledge is a response that will reap great rewards. The goal of this approach is to transform our entire life into a rich, mindful one. In this way, rather than being tied down by so many other 'voices' (culture, peer pressure, family fears, neediness, etc.), we can respond to the truth's sometimes soft inner voice that calls us to the new freedom and fuller life that a healthy perspective can foster."
Perspective: The Calm Within the Storm

Poetry Break

"My wife who is a religion teacher for primary grades tells me there is a time-honored tradition in her school, and it is this: Students from kindergarten and the first grade may with their teachers' encouragement go into another class and interrupt the lessons in progress. They do this for a very special purpose which they boldly announce through the use of a sign atop a stick which one of the group holds. The sign says:'Poetry Break.' "
After 50: Spiritually Embracing Your Own Wisdom Years

Nurturing Activities

"In New Zealand, some nurseries plant kiwi fruit vines near other plants because the kiwi fruit attract bees. The bees then pollinate not only the kiwi but the other plants as well. The same can be said about nurturing activities in which we get involved. Such food for our soul not only feeds us now but also opens up new possibilities that we might not have even considered. The wonderful possibilities are endless."
After 50: Spiritually Embracing Your Own Wisdom Years

A Little Rule

"To have our spiritual life give structure to our day, we need to develop 'a little rule' of prayer and reflection.

"In this way, rather than letting our lives slip away or inadvertently move in a direction we didn't want to go, we can stay both disciplined and alert to the presence of God in all of our life experiences."
Everyday Simplicity: A Practical Guide to Spiritual Growth

Carrying Quotes with You

"Winston Churchill once said, 'It is a good thing to read books of quotations. The qualities, when engraved upon the memory, give you good thoughts.' The quotes and stories in this book are not intended to be entertaining throwaways but are meant to be carried with you — within. They help us to see things differently. Most times that's all it takes to make big changes. Even if you don't have the time to read a chapter, the quotes and stories take only seconds. Then by recalling them during the day, you can quickly bring the lesson to mind."
Riding the Dragon: 10 Lessons for Inner Strength in Challenging Times

Renewal Zones

"Listening to music from the Celtic version of theSecret Garden eases my soul when I am tense. A short walk in the woods detoxifies my spirit when I'm preoccupied with the sadness, futility, and fear I have encountered. Renewal zones are essential, then, if we are to remain vital, compassionate and grateful in life."
Riding the Dragon: 10 Lessons for Inner Strength in Challenging Times


"Clarity helps us to face almost any issue or person and feel the force of the biblical injunction, 'Be not afraid.' It is at the source of a healthy attitude toward life. With clarity, our actions become psychologically sound and spiritually responsive. Yet most of us consciously and unconsciously avoid seeing the Light. This may sound ridiculous, since being clear is so akin to being fully aware, fully alive. However, the process involved in seeing life clearly requires a good deal of focused energy and often forces us to give up so many of our nostalgic Illusions."
Availability: The Spiritual Joy of Helping Others

Contagious Holiness

"The presence of contagious holiness not only creates a feeling of support, it also calls us to be open to experience the same holiness but in a unique way in our own lives. In this way, apprenticeship can have a positive ripple effect leading to a stronger spiritual community. A number of years ago, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa was addressing the divinity students at General Theological Seminary. About half way through his presentation, one of the seminarians in the audience nudged the dean of the seminary who was sitting next to him, pointed up at the stage and said: 'Desmond Tutu is a holy man.' In response the dean asked, 'How do you know that he is holy?' To this the seminarian didn't even blink. Instead, after a brief pause, he replied, 'I know that Desmond Tutu is holy because when I'm with Desmond Tutu, I feel holy.' Can the same be said of us by those who we encounter in our daily lives?"
Crossing the Desert: Learning to Let Go, See Clearly and Live Simply

Appreciating the Wisdom of Other Faiths

"Another difficulty in benefiting from spiritual wisdom is the paucity of interreligious dialogue. Spiritual wisdom of one religious tradition is often inaccessible or outside the experience of those from other faith traditions. For instance, the average Catholic would probably not read Ram Dass and a devout Buddhist might not think to reflect on the words of Father Anthony de Mello, a Jesuit priest. Yet paradoxically, both could benefit and advance personally, professionally, and even spiritually in their ownfaith if they did. You don't need to see spirituality as a smorgasbord or be a 'spiritual tourist' to appreciate how the wisdom of other faiths can be nurturing to your own beliefs and psychology of living."
Simple Changes: Quietly Overcoming Barriers to Personal and Professional Growth

Sit Prayerfully in Silence

"When we sit prayerfully in silence and solitude, we are entering the desert, our desert. In this sacred space, the goal is not to hide from others, devoid of pain, or to hold ourselves apart from and above the community in which we live. It is to receive the grace to learn to face ourselves directly so we can learn to live ordinariness, to live ethically and generously with others."
Snow Falling on Snow: Themes from the Spiritual Landscape of Robert J. Wicks