Standing At the Edge

standing at the edge

the first step

is the only step

-even now, by jill sabella & rosemerry wahtola trommer

A New Year, and what are your resolutions? I prefer to think of them as dreams, dreams I’ve resolved to make real.

Here are a few of mine:

  • More play. I don’t get enough and it is beginning to show.
  • More collaboration. I want to work with and alongside people more rather than on my own.
  • More poetry. I received a beautiful little gift called “even now” for Christmas. It has only 3-line poems resembling haiku, accompanied by artwork of only three brushstrokes. Minimalist, profound, I’ll be sharing them here.
  • A devotional book. I’ve long wanted to publish a devotional based on humanist spirituality. I can’t figure out how to get it started, but start it I must.

In order to do anything or add anything to our lives, I believe, we must stop doing something else. Law of equal and opposite reaction. If I want to do these four things, I will have to stop doing some other things.

That’s a tough one, especially if the “stop doing” list involves other people’s expectations. Family members have a way of making us cling to old behaviors, since it often benefits them emotionally.

Don’t try to tackle all of the emotional hurdles at once. Standing at the edge, the first step is the only step.


An Appetite For Possible Things

All happiness depends upon a natural zest and appetite for possible things.

from Bertrand Russell, “Conquest of Happiness”

When we lose our sense of the possible, our mood darkens.

That first inkling of the road stretching out to a point of light in the distance is about possibility. When we pick up a new book, this is what we hope for. When we embark on a new job, a new relationship, a new project, we draw motivation from the possible.

Inevitably, all people and all projects end up closing off some of the possibilities for us. Once we make a decision in one direction or the other, we commit to a path, and the rest of the options become unavailable.

Our own commitments and choices can thus make our lives seem bleak, like being enclosed in a possibility-less state, like a drab cubicle with no exit.

If we add to that a disposition to look at things fatalistically, it looks even bleaker. If this is the way it was, is, and ever shall be, then what is the point of hoping?

But within the world of constraints, there is still possibility.

We are endowed with creativity, which can find the cracks in the cubicle. We have, under even the most severe constraints, freedom to choose again tomorrow which direction we will go.

Let us open our eyes again to the possibilities, however faint or dimly lit they may be, so that we may be drawn to them, and feel our “natural zest” reawaken. If it is dark, let us be like the seed, and gently push up through the soil. Let us tap that deepest resource of our humanity, our creative spirit.

Living in the World of Cause and Effect

Midweek Devotion

November 5, 2015

We have true power when we learn how to live in the world of cause and effect.

Every religious person, even the most literal-minded fundamentalist, must of necessity live in the world of cause and effect. They must do it daily. The Bible can’t tell us how to make breakfast, replace the broken furnace, navigate in traffic, or help our kids with their math homework. Not to mention larger issues we face like understanding financial markets or finding a cure for Ebola. The Bible has no idea what to do (besides pray) when a child has Asperger’s, or when our hard drive crashes, or when our spouse is dealing with depression.

Who Placed The Rocks?

Who Placed The Rocks?

In each case we must act in the real world. We leave behind the world of fantasy and pay attention to the world of cause and effect.

This is hard to do.

We want badly for there to be a powerful personal agency behind it all, reminding us of its purpose, comforting us when we stumble, and giving our emotions some kind of anchor.

By applying my creativity to the real world I discovered an important spiritual truth: the agency is inside of us. We get to live within the cause and effect of the universe.

The inner workings of the cosmos, are the inner workings of me!

Take a GoodMinute

How can I find my own personal agency today?

Why do we look for personal agency (or god) outside of ourselves?