I Can Do That With My Eyes Closed

by Davin Franklin-Hicks

I learned a neat trick.

A lifehack… actually, a lovehack.

I learned it in these dark moments.

There is a concept of “total pain” that is fitting. Total pain means being consumed by physical, emotional and spiritual pain to a degree that is unbearable. I experience total pain at times. I experienced it about four hours ago, actually.

My head is in a lot of pain which means I spend a whole heckuva lot of time in dark rooms with my eyes closed.

For some, that’s not a safe place to be considering the role fear can play in those dark places. I experience that at times as well.

In the moments outside of total pain, I do a lot of preparation for the hard moments that will come back.

I do a whole lot of prayer and meditation, affirmations and reminders. I intentionally take in the world around me, noting, close attention to the details of those I love. How they look when they laugh. How they do basic day to day stuff. How they live.

Here’s some things I noticed about some of the people I love:

My mom hums a lot and sings a lot. She often has a bubbling joy and it shines in her eyes.

My wife says “Ok” to herself a lot, right before she is going to move her hurting body over to the next task she is starting. She has the sweetest smile for me when I come in the room.

My son smiles in a very specific way right before he is going to say something funny. And he says I love you in a present, kind, authentic tone. My favorite sound.

Logan laughs, heartedly and fully. It fills the room in a very welcomed manner. It’s contagious and whoever is in the room laughs with him.

My long-time best friend Heather leans in when she is enjoying humor and looks up when she is going to drop some amazing wordplay.

My dear friend Jen does a sideways glance when she is about to drop the funny and she gets tears in her eyes from laughing hard.

Tylar breathes deep as they hear a hard truth. A centering breath and presence. They have the most amazing eye contact.

These are great attributes in and of themselves.

The payoff of being intentional in this way is rather amazing when put to use. It mitigates and eases the internal world I often must exist within. With my eyes closed and in the midst of total pain, the suffering can be shifted into an endless combination of peace, kindness, humor, strength, life.

That’s not the trick I was going to tell you about, though.

I know! Right?

You’re like “What else is he going to say?!?!”

I clearly deal in pins and needles.

My careful study and presence of mind helps me endure during times of total pain, but it does something else as well.

Loving people allows me to experience love when the people I love are not able to be with me.

Let’s take that again: My love for others creates space for me to receive love and live in it.

One more time for the people in the back: loving begets being LOVED!

In this moment right now, are you alert and aware enough to do a favor for the future you?

If so, give this next part a try before you return to the tasks and business of life.

Spend some time picturing the faces you love. Imagine them. Think about what you love about them. Get as detailed as you can. Sit with it. Remember best moments. Make a playlist of nurture and love that can hold you and be there when life gets dark and small.

When we actively love, it fills within us, it permeates our lives. It’s that “runneth over” thing…

Like a five-year old pouring his own red Kool-aid to the very tippity – toppity of his glass, sure to spill everywhere, love acts in the same way.

Love is messy.

Love gets clumsy.

Love splashes out to all aspects of our lives.

And just like that red Kool-aid, love imprints on everything that it reaches.

Imagine that.

Sin of the Self

by Abigail Conley

I write just as the American Health Care Act was pulled from a vote today. Current life circumstances mean my partner and I rely on insurance through the public Marketplace. For the first time, I kept close watch on what was happening in and around D.C. because of a deeply personal interest.

For the last ten or so years, I’ve been covered through health insurance available for purchase by individuals. I remember the higher premiums for women. I remember the twenty-four month waiting period before pregnancy was covered by insurance. I was turned down for health insurance. I had the catastrophic coverage and the good stuff, and a couple policies in between.

No one says the Affordable Care Act is perfect. After it was passed, though, the forms to get health insurance went from a multi-page health history (think what you fill out at the doctor’s office on steroids) to one page of basic information like contact information and social security number. Preventive healthcare was free all of a sudden. My premiums weren’t based on gender. There was no waiting period for maternity coverage. My millennial friends all started talking about and getting IUDs; the ACA meant there wasn’t a several hundred dollar copay for one of the most reliable forms of contraception any more. The changes were life-giving for not only me, but many others.

The Affordable Care Act changed a lot of policies for the better, even as I write knowing that my deductible and premium are both too high, especially compared to just a couple of years ago. Yes, I miss the lower premiums I had before the last year or two. I also realize many more of my neighbors now have insurance, and part of the deal is sharing their cost. I’d rather do it with tax dollars, but that’s a whole other very broken conversation.

Actually, we could talk for a long time about the brokenness of our healthcare system. There’s a photo of a receipt floating around the Internet right now. The receipt is for having a baby at McKeesport Hospital in McKeesport, Pennsylvania in 1943. The cost was $29.50.  That is $415 and some change when adjusted to 2017 dollars. Yes, our healthcare system is broken. The range of the cost of giving birth now is anywhere from free to several thousand, depending on your insurance. It’s only one example in vast, complicated, broken system.

Yet, even the deep fracturing is a symptom, not the disease. The disease is self. Somehow, we have created a place where we prioritize the individual over the community. God knows, it doesn’t stop at healthcare.

I’m reminded of the parable Jesus told about a man who had so many crops one year that he had to build bigger barns to hold them all. He had no idea he would die that very night. Most translations call it The Parable of the Rich Fool. The most striking part about the parable, though, is the man’s isolation. The conversation in the story is only with himself:

And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’  Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ (Luke 12:17-19)

The concern for his own wealth and welfare, presumably in the midst of other people’s need, cuts him off from everyone around him. As I watch not just the healthcare debates, but so many conversations where there is concern about profit and the individual at the expense of the community, the corrective of the Gospel echoes, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded of you!”

May God forgive us for the sin of self.  

Below the Streets of Chicago

by Greg Gonzales

Last week, I was walking down a Chicago street, 10:30 at night, emerging from one of the sub-layer roads beneath the hotels. Nearly two centuries previous, the city’s inhabitants managed to raise up sidewalks, roads, and buildings by three feet, by hand, using jacks. Faced with a challenge, both private and public citizens rose to the task. Now, the city is far more complex, intricate, and gorgeous. However, a Chicago pedestrian inevitably comes face-to-face with the city’s homeless population, which number more than 120,000 by some counts. They raised the city, but its people were left below, in the muck.

I had trouble, though, doing my part. In the face of overwhelming loss, suffering, and fear, we can’t always know what to do — especially in the moment. So I hope this sparks a conversation, or an afterthought, to give someone in need more than dismissal.

“Hey, will you do me a favor?” I was still walking down the street, to a local brewery, and a stranger was asking a favor of me. “Well, maybe,” I replied. “What do you need?”

He lit up a bit. “You look just like my friend John!” he exclaimed, getting closer as we plodded over a crosswalk. “The hair, the eyes, the jacket — everything!” He seemed legitimately floored. “Are you him?”

Nothing set off alarms in my head: He was a black man, maybe an inch taller than I am, with a friendly and raspy voice, wearing a puffy red hoodie that hung loosely over his belly, and a military-green beanie. However, the side-comment threw me off.

“Can’t say I am,” I replied. “My name’s Greg.”

Then he asked again if I could do him a favor, and again I agreed to hear him out. Two bucks, he said, for the bus. Sounds easy enough, but he was the third person on that walk to ask for money, and the sixth or seventh person to ask me on that five-day trip. When I told him I didn’t have any cash (I didn’t), he insisted I go into 7-Eleven and get cash back. At that point, I still said no, as I was tired and in a hurry to eat and go to bed.

In hindsight, nothing could have been more selfish. I’ll bet he was in a hurry for the same thing that chilly night. The difference was, I had a hotel to go back to. In the moment, I failed to live up to my own standards, and settled for less than my best.

Let’s backtrack. My first day in Chicago was on St. Patrick’s Day, and again, I didn’t have any cash. One big, boisterous guy sitting on a green milk crate asked for “a few bucks.” Since I had nowhere to be, I picked him up a coffee, gave him a pat on the shoulder, and went on my way. Passing on my way back from the pub, we greeted each other again, and then parted ways for good. Shortly after, I was headed to 7-Eleven, when another man began walking alongside me, sporting a head of dreads and a light blue long-tee that’d seen better days. He asked for a couple bucks, and I didn’t hesitate to say I’d help him out. Then, he launched into a schizophrenic rant; each word was cut down to about a quarter, he seemed to almost be shivering his speech out despite holding himself confidently and smooth, and the only word I made out was “Muslims” over the course of two minutes. So I went to 7-Eleven, picked up a little cash with my beer, and handed him a couple dollars on my way out. We wished each other the best (or at least I think he did, too), and went on our way.

Two more men approached me for cash the next day, but I was cashless and thought myself too busy to stop. I felt fatigued from all the requests, I suppose. When I’m not out looking to help people, or don’t keep a beneficent state of mind, I find it easy to fall on excuses and except myself from helping where I can.

Have you ever read “The Starfish Story,” by Loren Eisley? The story goes, a young man walks up to a beach that’s covered in thousands of starfish, after a storm. He notices an old man in the distance, gently tossing starfish into the water, one by one. “Old man,” the young man says, “there are thousands of starfish out here; you can’t possibly save them all, or even a fraction of them. You can’t make a difference.” The old man pauses, smiles, and throws another into the safety of the ocean. “Made a difference to that one.” We can’t help everyone and save the world ourselves, but each individual act of kindness makes all the difference to those who receive it.

So the guilt still stings. I could have stopped and talked with him, invited him into the brewery for some suds, or actually stopped at 7-Eleven to give him a couple bucks. The night would have gone on just fine. I’m just one person, but a quick visit to the store could have made a difference. Each and every life comes with its lifetime of experiences. Each one of them matters. We all come from the same place.

When the people of Chicago raised their city in the mid-19th century, it was because they needed a sewage system and to create drainage, of which there was none, and they were wallowing in their own filth, causing epidemics. Now the city has another epidemic to face, but it’s not disease, it’s a small city’s worth of homelessness, of suffering, of tragedy. When cities are raised and people are left below and ignored, we must do our best as a whole to raise them up with it.

Is not this the fast that I choose:
    to loose the bonds of injustice,
    to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
    and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
    and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
    and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing shall spring up quickly;
your vindicator[a] shall go before you,
    the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

– Isaiah 58:6-8 (NRSV)


by Davin Franklin-Hicks

On January 29th my wife arranged a shin dig for something rather different. I had started to lose my hair from chemo and we wanted to shave it. Her awesome life affirming self invited some of our peeps over to shave my head. It was a very awesome day, actually. Lots of love and humor.

In the last few weeks I have had my nearest and dearest tell me why they didn’t shave their head when I shaved mine. Each time this revelation was presented to me, it was a bit confessional like they were getting something off their chest. “Here is why I didn’t shave my head… but I love you…”

What I loved about this is that I never wanted them to shave their head and I never knew they thought I wanted that.

It’s made me laugh to myself when I think of it. It has made me happy to know that they love me that much. And it’s also got me thinking about expectations.

They can really change things. Truly.

Expectations can pause a relationship and freeze a moment that never really existed anywhere but in imagination.

Expectations are created to get a perceived need met in a very specific way. We place these on ourselves and others. All 7 billion of us on the planet have an agenda and most are based on the same wish: to know we matter, to know we are safe, to know we are loved. Yes, there are those in the world with nefarious motives, but most are not. Most just wanna feel love.

I have learned a lot about living this season of my life. I have learned about relationship, fear, sickness, self-love, compassion, hope, anger, grief, affirmation.

I have learned about our responsiveness to mortality and fragility. I have learned we can make hard stuff even harder.

The last 16 months have been ridiculously hard for the people who love me as we fumbled about post trauma and now, post cancer diagnosis.

Sickness is made worse when there is unspoken expectation. It makes it so much worse when already it is incredibly hard.

We are scared.
We are angry.
We are hopeful.
We are moved.
We are tired.
We are all the things that happen when the worst happens.

I find it heartening, funny and real to find out my dad and my best friends all thought about shaving their head and worried that I wouldn’t feel loved by them if they didn’t.

Such a tenderness in that…

And we could laugh together because they admitted this expectation was in the mix.

So how can we know we matter in relationship without expectation? I think it starts with knowing expectations don’t foster closeness.

The expectations we place on ourselves to know the end of the story and see it coming removes us from the best of life. It removes the mindfulness of being. It removes the spontaneous love that happens when we are present to each other.

We create something new when we are truly present with each other. We are never truly with one another if we are constantly rating our relationships based on expectation rather than being aware of what is happening in the present moment.

A healer in my life talks about skillful response rather than being reactive. I like that a lot. I have learned we can meet our needs much more skillfully if we remove expectation and see it as limiting.

If we set down the expectation we have room for other things that truly meet our need for connection:


And amazing hair.

image credit: Dax: “Some of my peeps who shaved my head on January 29th. Our son Angelo did the bulk of the shaving but he had to go be a grown up at work before we got the group pic.”

Christ on the Cushion

by Joe Nutini

When I was a child, my parents sent me to Catholic schools. This was both a blessing and a curse. It was a blessing because I received a wonderful, college preparatory education that did indeed prepare me to go to college. I loved college.  I also loved Christ. Like seriously. I was in love with Christ. From the time, I was quite young, I felt the energy of Christ deep within my heart. It was instantaneous. It didn’t require any understanding of doctrine, bible etc. It was just there.

I became a social worker. My education and the love that was in my heart because of knowing the energy of Christ (and perhaps even angels and other “heavenly” beings) led me to that path. Buddhism increased my awareness of Christ. It brought me back to Christ’s energy and love. It also brought me back to myself, to my own heart and to forgiveness.

That’s where I am right now. To get there, though, was quite the journey. The curse of being in the Catholic school, was that as I got older, conservative and literalist doctrine began to enter my soul as a poison. I will add this caveat before I continue. I understand that for some people, conservative and literalist doctrine and biblical interpretation is what “Saves” them. That wasn’t my experience. Though I respect that it is for some.

When I was quite young, I also remembered feeling like I should have been born a boy. I literally thought that my body would look like my fathers and not my mothers. Somewhere in early childhood, I also learned not to say that I felt like a boy. I just knew it was a “Sin” per the powers that be. Just like I knew that two men kissing was supposed to be “sinful”. I kept it to myself. A secret. Mom and Dad told me I was a girl, so I decided to be one.

As time went on, I became a pro at religion class. I always had an A in that class. I was fascinated by it because I had intrinsically known spirit since the time I was young. I wanted people to explain things to me. I wanted to try to understand what was happening. Sometimes, I would argue or debate with the teacher. I didn’t believe all the stories. I didn’t believe that Adam and Eve were the only humans and they populated the earth. I didn’t necessarily believe that Jesus had to die on a cross. It just didn’t really fit for me. And so, I wanted to learn more. To see what I was missing.

I received confirmation when I “came of age” as a teenager. I believed in Christ and what I felt was a certain spirituality to the universe. I also didn’t want to go to hell, if I’m being honest. Back then I wasn’t sure if there was a hell or not but the adults kept saying there was. I wanted to do the right thing by this energy that was with me through all the troubles that I felt. I wanted to make Christ happy. I did what the church told me to do. It was a beautiful ceremony and we had a party.

At this time, I also became aware of my queer (at that time we said bisexual) feelings. I had been in puberty early and it felt like torture. I didn’t understand why my body was betraying my spirit and mind. I kept it to myself. I prayed for these feelings to go away. It was a sin. The more I did this, the further and further away Christ felt. That energy, that love, that guiding force in my life started to slip away. In hindsight, I realized I had been betraying myself. When I was 13-14, I didn’t know better.

When I was a senior in high school, my best friend and I wrote a feature edition of our school paper on LGBTQ youth. The religion teachers let us give a survey out on sexuality and gender identity. Right before we were going to print, I was called to the “brothers’” offices. They basically said that, “this issue doesn’t exist here.” They meant that there were no LGBTQ people. I told them that wasn’t true. That I was bisexual. IT just fell out of my mouth. It was the most freeing thing in the world. I felt my heart fill with that energy and love again, for a moment. I was told that I was confused, wrong and that if I engaged in “homosexual acts” I could be excommunicated from the church.

It felt like poison. Every fiber of my being rejected their words. I decided to no longer be Catholic.

In college, I began reading about every religion and spiritual belief that I could find. That included new age spirituality and Buddhism. I wanted to find out what was going on. I couldn’t believe that the God they taught me about in school was the same God who created me. Absolutely not. I figured that maybe I was wrong. That there was no Christ energy or holy spirit. So, I studied, I attended various religious and spiritual services and I began meditation.

During those years, I was a mess until I began transitioning. Even after coming out as queer, I still felt so distant from that love I had known as a child and young teen. It felt miles away. Something that was unattainable. When I came out, it felt slightly closer. When I transitioned, my life changed. I meditated and chanted in Buddhist and Hindu traditions. I attended healing arts school where this was solidified. I was invited into some native American spaces to learn their teachings.

Yet something was still missing. I could feel that I was in touch with the love of the universe again. And yet, that Christ energy was missing. It felt like an emptiness. So, I began exploring Christianity once more. I spoke with literalists who debated with me, stating that I didn’t understand the scripture or bible. So, I studied it with them, pointing out linguistic differences from my studies in college, debating meaning and syntax. I hung out with Unity and Unitarian Universalists who helped me understand and heal from some of my experiences. I met people from the United Church of Christ who explained their understanding of Christ. I met liberation theologians who, like the UUs and UCC folks, made the most sense to me intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually.

And then I found Shambhala Buddhism. I read the book, Shambhala, the Sacred Path of the Warrior by Chogyam Trungpa, the person who brought this form of Buddhism to the US. He was literally saying everything that I had thought and felt for many years. I viewed a talk about “Jesus as Bodhisattva”, a concept that I had read about before but didn’t quite understand as well before.

So, I decided to take Shambhala classes. I distinctly remember sitting in the first class. We meditated for hours. I couldn’t shake this feeling that it was I who had been blocking myself from fully feeling the world. I had internalized these poisonous messages that I had heard for a good portion of my life.

I breathed in, when I breathed out, I found Christ again. It was a distinct feeling, so hard to describe. Like putting the last piece into a puzzle and being on fire at the same time. The intensity of it lasted for a moment then dissipated. A chunk of the poison left me and in its place, was this gentle love. A love that came from both within me and outside of me.

Today, I continue to work on undoing these teachings that kept me so far away from this Universal love, the love of Christ, and the love or Buddha nature within. I personally believe these are also complexly intertwined and simultaneously always available to me. I still learning, debating, meditating, praying and learning. I often wonder if these things happened for a reason…a journey to build empathy, love and relationship with others.

Hope, Creativity, and Art

by Rae Strozzo

In the midst of struggle, creativity is where hope finds vision.

We are in need of creativity and compassion in this moment.  This is a love letter to art and creativity that is so essential to all of us. Sometimes love is hard to see, and context is everything.  So first – the bad news.  

The current political moment seems so polarized and almost surreal.  We are at war now.  The U.S. is fighting itself as it has been since its creation but with a scary vigor. Fear seems to trump so much of what is good in the world if we spend our time on Facebook or watch more than 10 minutes of the news.  Shuffling through the lies to try and sort out what might be true feels like the new daily battle.  

The U.S. is fighting and exploiting other countries for the needs and greed of a few and the government and pop culture feeds it back to us as nationalism and what a “great nation” does for freedom.  All the while internally African American churches burn, Jewish community centers deal with bomb threats, and our Muslim brothers and sisters try to cope with threats, acts of violence and destroyed property.   Transpeople of color are murdered, gender expansive people commit and attempt suicide at astoundingly high rates, and lgbtq youth are homeless at much higher rates than their straight and cis gender peers.  

Walls are built to make and keep people illegal and separate, and families fear being broken up by immigration sweeps.  Our country incarcerates more people than any other country in the world, and that is also to make a buck at the expense of those people’s lives and the lives of their families – most of whom are people of color.  Many of our neighbors grow up trapped in poverty and in systems of oppression that get labeled welfare, child protective services, and the mental health care system and so on, but work against the people they are created to help and against the people who work in those systems who want to help.  

Many ignore these problems and systems, and we step past the oppression because it is as subtle as “professionalism” in a workplace that really just says look/be whiter.  Or we say we are moving to a better neighborhood or sending our kids to better schools without seeing that those are whiter neighborhoods and whiter schools.  We live in “Right to Work States” that really say it’s okay not hire people who aren’t white enough, straight enough, gender conforming enough, Christian enough because as long as we don’t say it, we haven’t done anything wrong.   

Now is a time when a college education is so expensive only the most privileged can have it without the reality of mountainous debt and where public education is stifled by our system of lack. We live in a time where art and music struggle to find access points to most people’s lives and where the funding for those things are viewed as unimportant and stripped away.   We are taught to blame the poor rather than help. We are taught to walk away from people who don’t see things the way that we do. We are taught that tough love is about shunning people from families, from churches, from communities, so that somehow they will want to come back to us, but in the way we want them and not in the way that the universe created them.  

We use our limited understanding of creativity to control other people. We use our limited understanding of creativity for greed.  Succumbing to those same limits causes us to destroy our planet.  Our creativity is limited by what we think we know and it is wasted on anger, fear, destruction, and an illusion of control. We stifle vulnerability because we mistaken it for weakness rather than a place where new ideas are born.  We are strapped down by prejudice and are unable in those moments to be our fully connected and creative selves.  Empire wants us to die for lack of imagination. White supremacy wants us to hold it up out of that same lack of imagination.

That is a lot, especially acknowledging that it isn’t even close to giving voice to all of what is up in the world right now.

But the good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way.  I firmly believe this.  All of these situations are things that were set in motion by people.  Logic suggests that if people created it, then people can also dismantle it. So there is hope. If we can be vulnerable enough to hope, then we have a place to start to vision something different, and that means creativity can come back to us and with its divine purpose intact.

Hope is where real creativity comes in.  Creativity, as it meets compassion, produces healing and love. This is where the arts are a healing force. Creativity as it is connected to love gives us the capacity for participation in beauty. It is the ability to turn the wound into a foundation for solidarity and into an olive branch for the “other side.”

As it is said, those with the capacity for great anger hold the capacity for great gentleness. So too those with great creative power towards greed hold that power for generosity. Those with great creative power toward destruction also hold great  power for creation. All of us hold creative power.  It is the link that bonds all of us to each other and to the universe. Creativity is what makes us human. It isn’t just a painter or a musician who holds creativity. Creativity is our mirror of the universe. It is our tether to the divine.  

Artists are a part of the priesthood of the creative and have a connection to the creative energy of the universe. When artists share their work, they open that connection to and establish that link for others.

The creative process and the artistic result aren’t just for the artist. Art is about completing a cycle and about helping other people and the culture it is a part of change, grow, and evolve. Art is a sacred reminder that we are ALL part of the creative flow of the universe. That is its purpose. Art reminds people that they have things to express and to express them. Creative expression is divine language no matter how it is spoken.

The teacher who makes a place for a struggling kid to learn because they take the time to rethink how they teach is a part of that energy.   The police officer who figures out how to stop violence without using it has that energy.  The activist who rallies support while seeing the other side as people and not just an opposing force is a part of this creative energy too.  

These are just examples. All of us have a link to what makes us our best selves. That is our link to the creative energy of the universe. We have been given this gift. But it isn’t about our minds and not even about our skill sets. It’s about our willingness to get vulnerable and listen to what our higher selves are telling us.  To listen to what our souls are telling us. To listen to what the universe is telling us.  

The path that is uniquely ours in life is lit by love and compassion as motive. Come to life with love and compassion and the steps to take become real.  The creativity to make things happen in our lives and in the lives of others becomes real.  Art is made in song, in paint, in photograph, and in every kind word, in every loving action. Listening to the creative energy of the universe and using that energy for kindness and compassion can heal a lifetime of wounds.  

True Perception: The Path of Dharma Art says, “Thinking goes as far as the mind understands. Then what? Art.”

Change for the good of all goes only as far as our ability to create compassion.  Then what? Art.

You Are Wrong

by Amanda Petersen

I have been noticing a lot of pain recently around being right. Contemplating this I am reminded of an idea that I was introduced to a while back: I am wrong…a lot. I thought the moon was made of cheese when I was 3; I was wrong. I thought the Berlin Wall would be up forever; I was wrong. I believed I was to be a professor of Old Testament studies; I was wrong. And there are some things I believe to my core today that I will look back on and say, yep, I was wrong. Something amazing happens when I allow myself to be wrong. My life loosens up. I have to lean into God more. I’m willing to risk because the goal is no longer about getting it right. Instead, it’s about being willing to be open to the next thing. Being wrong is no longer a failure, it is an opportunity.

Letting go of certainty is uncomfortable, scary, and painful. Being wrong is also very painful and yet, when I practice uncertainty and am willing to be wrong, I find the Divine shows up, relationships are healed, new opportunities appear, and life gets bigger. I have heard the struggle of many “How could I have missed this?” Or “how could I have been so wrong?” And there can be a stuck-ness in this because of the assumption that being wrong is a personal failing, as opposed to asking the questions to work toward growth and self-examination.

I’m not saying one should throw certainty out the window. No one would be able to function without some certainties. It’s more a practice of holding certainty lightly. I find this practice leads to gratitude. I know the sun rises every morning and as certain as I am, I also know that I could be wrong, which makes me grateful it does!

This week, reflect on how much room is there for God to move while practicing getting comfortable with all the wrongness in life. Or practicing calling Mystery into those places of your ‘rightness’ and see what you notice.

Want to talk about it? Come to Dinner and Conversation on Friday.