June 30, 2017
This is the time of year when I ‘go to the well.’ I am soon heading off for summer holidays in Minnesota and Wisconsin. There I’ll be spending time with family and friends, visiting old haunts, and lazing time away by looking at, swimming in, and being on water. When I return in late July, my time of study leave begins; while not actively ministering with you, I will be reading and planning, scheming and preparing for the year ahead. Our first morning service is on September 3, and our theme for September is WELCOME; it will be wonderful to be welcomed back by one another into the fullness of our community life together.
If you have need of pastoral support during these months, please contact a Committee on Ministry team member…Paula Greenwood, Todd Barr, or Ben Wolfe…or a Board member. They can connect you with a UU minister serving as support for you, or in an emergency, can reach me.
There’s a wonderful potpourri of Sunday evening services planned. Come at 7pm each week to experience community and informal worship/reflection/music. And, if you’re longing for more UFP connection, why not plan an outing or gathering? Just select a date and place to meet (a restaurant or pub, a movie, a theatre, a park, a lake…) and send the information to Elaine by 1pm on any Thursday. Your ‘invite’ will be in Friday’s FLAME.
May you too find ways to to ‘go to the well’ this summer…to refresh your soul and your body…and to be held in the loving embrace of all that is.
Mindfulness is something that has gotten great traction in western society over the past few decades. This should perhaps come as no surprise. Given the increasingly bifurcated nature of our lives, mindfulness, as a practice that focuses on the present moment, is a deeply enriching experience for some, and a survival tactic for others.
Jon Kabat-Zinn¹ says mindfulness is ‘to pay attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally, as if your life depended on it.’ Wow.
First, pay attention! How often have you heard that, or said that to yourself? So many things call for our attention…constantly and loudly. Our ability to pay attention gets pre-empted by so many things…worries, plans, passing thoughts, flies, the smell of dinner cooking…almost anything can interrupt us.
Then, on purpose. Pay attention with intention. Mindfulness does not evaluate what you pay attention to…except that it be whatever is happening in the present moment. As Thich Nhat Hanh² says, don’t wash the dishes in order to clean them, wash the dishes in order to wash the dishes. Only be present to what you are doing in the present moment.
And, non-judgmentally. We cannot expect to suspend all judgment; Kabat-Zinn suggests that we just not judge how judgmental we are! Neuroscientist Amishi Jha³ speaks of judgment as the “value-laden, affectively-charged meaning we give to things,” and just the heaviness of her description makes me realize how burdensome judgments can be. We may be judging/comparing beings, but at least there is hope, in the practice of mindfulness, that we can stop judging our judgments.
As if your life depended on it!? Well, Kabat-Zinn says this is literally true, because the present moment is the only time you can be alive, so if you’re not present to it, you’re missing life.
Life is not to be missed, my friends. May we be ever more mindful,
~ Rev. Julie
²The Miracle of Mindfulness
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