I'm not sure exactly where I'm going with this resolution, and I really have no business adding another when I haven't made much progress on the others yet. But it's the 8th of the month, and this one intrigues me.
Fear and worst-case-scenario thinking has too much influence in our lives. It's natural: One phone call with really bad news can make one jumpy every time the telephone rings, even though the ratio of bad to good (or at least neutral) calls is very small. It's natural, but it's not right.
I haven't thought much beyond that yet, but I know that two passages are going to play a large role in the outworking of this resolution. The first is three lines from one of my favorite choir anthems, And the Father Will Dance* by Mark Hayes:
Cast away fear for you have been restored!
Put on the garment of praise as on a festival day.
Join with the Father in glorious, jubilant song.
The second is one of my favorite Bible verses, Philippians 4:4-7.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
It remains to be seen how this all plays out, and whether it merits its own number or should be considered part of Resolution #3 (Learn to Relax). But this is a beginning.
And now, the part of the post wherein I am forced to admit my lack of progress:
#1 Read More Books Yech. Only two books read in May, and one ridiculously short. That's partly due to still plowing my way through the The History of the Ancient World and The Chronological Guide to the Bible, and partly to having more distractions in May than usual, but mostly I must admit I haven't been making reading a priority, which is exactly where I was when I made this resolution in the first place.
#2 Rediscover Feasting Nothing much to report, although we have been consistent in keeping Wednesday as a weekly fast day, which both of us have found beneficial, mentally and physically.
#3 Learn to Relax I haven't made any more effort to find an Alexander Technique teacher here, though I am hoping to have some time with Janet's teacher when I go to Switzerland. My doctor told me that I am hard-wired as a "hot reactor," which merits a blog post of its own at some point. I find most of the symptoms way off base for me, but some are spot-on. In any case, I'm determined to prove him wrong about the hard-wired part (being convinced of my own neuroplasticity), so I need to give this higher priority.
#4 Like More Things Spinach: I've liked it raw, in salads, for along time, but spinach is actually better for you if it's cooked a bit, and I've detested cooked spinach ever since I discovered that—contrary to what I saw in the Popeye cartoons of the early 1960's—it was green, not black, and didn't give me super strength. I still don't care for spinach plain, but now I love mixing a handful of spinach leaves with other vegetables on pizza, or in an omelet or quesadilla. So that's a victory. On the other hand, I bought a can of sardines planning to force myself to eat a small bit: they're so good for you, but the thought and smell turn my stomach. I backed out at the last minute and let Porter enjoy all of them.
#5 Pay Attention At least I can say that I've been paying attention to paying attention, and trying—albeit with limited success—to bring my mind to focus on the moment instead of always being in three places at once.