Category Archives: Faith

Reflection: Take the Second Step: Use Your Brighter Lights

By Debbie Crinzi         

For a driver, bright lights are helpful to illuminate the road so it stands out clearly on dark nights. Road debris can be avoided.  You can see details much better with your brights. Use these lights when you don’t have a clear map for where you are going and when you sense anxiety rising. You also need them when feelings plummet and your body is tired—when emotions cloud your mind.

In the last blog we talked about turning the bright lights on. This involved relaxing your body and calming your mind. The truth is that our mind becomes our worst enemy. When problems arise, the mind creates a lot of chaos trying to out-think the problem. In order to hear even ourselves, we have to quiet the mind all the stories we are creating that increase anxiety and despair. We turn our lights on by relaxing our facial muscles, neck, shoulders, arms and hands. We concentrate on our breath – breathing in and out — until only the breathing in and out occupies our brain. When sneaky thoughts filter back, set them aside and go back to focused breath. After you are able to concentrate on your breath despite stray thoughts distracting you, it is time for the next step. Now bring into your thoughts something beautiful and meaningful.

chair-beach

Step Two involves switching lights into brighter lights by reminding yourself that you have much to appreciate and be thankful for. Your worries are just one piece of a whole life. Take your calmed mind and focus on something beautiful or peaceful. For some people it is the image of the object of religious worship; for others, it will be a close person or a pet who is special to them; for yet others, perhaps a place such as a personal garden, the ocean or the mountains – a place representing joy and beauty. For someone else it will be saying an inspirational chant, prayer, song, or poem.

Which is it for you? Take some time right now. Choose something that makes you happy. Relive the experience in your mind, dwelling upon the things that make you smile. Acknowledge these positive memories. Surround yourself with them. Again, you are in charge of your mind. If sneaky, anxious thoughts creep in, consciously set them aside and go back to these joyful memories.

Until you take charge of your thoughts, it is difficult to think rationally without strong emotion tearing you down. You need this time of calming, then of rejoicing, before you are ready to listen to yourself reflect and work out issues and concerns. So take the time. Remember, controlling your mind instead of allowing it to control you is a habit that only occurs through practice. You don’t need to wait for crises to rain down upon you to practice. Take a moment each day to relax yourself, focus your mind on breath, and then fill your mind with happy experiences.

Getting to school on time

By Bruce R Allen, MSW, LCSW

How do we make things happen?

When I was about 10 years old I was sitting in church with my mother. For some reason I decided not to take my usual nap in her lap. I actually listened to the sermon.

The preacher caught my interest because he was telling a story about two young boys who were supposed to get themselves to school.  They had gotten distracted as young boys tend to do and suddenly realized they were going to be late for school! There was no way they could walk as they usually did.

One turned to the other and suggested,  “Hey, let’s pray that we will make it to school on time.”

The second boy got excited and said, “Yes, maybe God will help us get there on time.”

prayer_18975289One boy knelt down, put his hands together and began to pray.  The other boy ran on to school, arriving just as the bell rang.

The boy who had knelt down was late for school.  When he saw his friend he said, “Hey, I thought we were going to pray. Why did you just run on to school?”

The boy who ran to school and got there on time said,  “I did pray………. while I ran.”

This sermon was probably my introduction to the ideas I now strive to make a part of my personal life and my work helping others.  Our intentions, our faith, our values and our theories about life need to be accompanied by a vigorous amount of activity to put those ideas in place.

It is great to be idealistic, good and faithful, but we are endowed with the ability to translate our intention into action,  which usually makes all the difference.