thePhilBritton.

Short riffs on being human

I don’t agree with that. It’s not a good position to start from. Maybe what would be better is “This isn’t ideal, but I’m here, now, so let’s get started.”

This is something my dad told me often growing up. I'm going to try to riff on it a bit over the next few days. One thing I've always admired about my dad is that he's always been able to create and build neat and beautiful things with limited resources. An artist at heart, his focus is on what needs to be done, and then using whatever is at hand to create it. Rather than waiting until all the pieces are in place to start.

Seven days of blogging every day. Seven days of leaning into the fear, of working to build the habit and the discipline. Sometimes it feels mundane, but sometimes the mundane is profound.

How else do you get where you're going? Get a compass to make sure you don't wander.

When I look back, every move forward has come, at least in large part, because I've shown up. Not because I have the best ideas or skills or charisma, but because I've raised my hand, sat at the table, threw my hat in the ring and said “what can I do to help?”

Each and every one of us came from a mother. While Mother's Day celebrates the art and struggle of mother-ing, and rightly so, it's also a good day to pause and remember that we all started somewhere. We all entered this world at a specific place, a specific time, and a specific set of circumstances. It's true to say some of those are better than others, and it's true to say that's not fair or right, but all we can do is work with what we've got. Recognize it, name it, thank it, honor it, then move forward, and work to make the next person's entry point a little better off than the last time around. Then repeat.

My middle son and I had a nighttime routine for a summer where we'd sit up and watch Man vs. Wild videos until he (many times both of us) fell asleep. They were great, special times, but one of the things that has stuck with me is a phrase Bear Grylls would say often. He'd find himself in a sketchy situation, devise a rough idea of a plan to get out of it, and after explaining it to the camera he'd say “OK let's just get into this.” That little phrase indicated the moment when he decided that he had thought through the plan enough, and the rest would have to be figured out while he was actually executing the plan. There's a humble self-confidence in one's abilities in there, too, and the understanding that action, doing something, was the point. Not reckless or rushed, but not stagnant either.

Sometimes planning can be another way to hide.

Since sometime in February, I've been getting up to work out at 6am. I set my alarm for 5:40am, because I know that the hardest part is getting out of bed (and I'll need some convincing). I have to remind myself of that every morning – that it's all about getting started. Once my feet are on the floor, it gets easier.

It's comfortable to stay where you are, but it gets easier once you begin.

I've been toying with this idea for a long time, the idea of blogging daily. I've been following Seth Godin's blog for the better part of a decade, and few things have influenced me more. Not because of any profound one thing, but because of the slow and steady and consistent drip, drip, drip – communicating a way of seeing the world, engaging the world. So I'm going to give it a try.

I thought about starting on a certain day, but that's just another way of hiding. So Thursday seems like a good enough day. Bob Goff talks about quitting something every Thursday, so I'll say that I'm quitting procrastinating starting this practice.

See you tomorrow.

PB

Terry My Spiritual Director, Terry

My first experience with Spiritual Direction was several years ago at a silent retreat. It was also my first experience with old practices like lectio divina. Terry was the one leading the retreat, and set aside time for attendees to meet with him if they wanted. I had friends that had been doing so for some time and spoke highly of the experience, so I signed up. We had an enjoyable 30 or 60 minutes together, and after the retreat he followed up with some resources we had talked over.

Fast forward a couple years, and I found myself entering the mists of deconstruction. Looking for some kind of guidance, and wanting to connect to some firmer ground in the older church traditions, I reached out to Terry to see if we could meet. Three years later, we're still meeting every month, and I treasure those conversations. We've talked over everything from politics to genealogy to theology to philosophy to creativity, even a little disc golf and community building.

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