Chaplains Corner 1/12/2017

We have all done it. Someone says or does something that triggers an automatic response. We get the overpowering urge to speak up, flare up, or shut down. When we have such an internal reaction we don’t really have to let it control us.

We can pause, not act, breathe. We can watch this urge arise, then let it go away. Sometimes that takes a few seconds, other times it means we should remove ourselves politely from the situation and let ourselves cool down before we respond.
Pause. Watch the reaction go away.

At first, you might mess up. But in time, you’ll know yourself well enough to expect this reaction, and you’ll get better at the pause. Don’t fret if you mess up — just resolve to be more mindful when it happens next time. Take note of what happened to trigger your reaction, and pay attention when something like that happens again.

Be mindful, pause, then consider a thoughtful, compassionate response.

Know you are blessed,

Eric+

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Chaplains Corner 1/13/2017

“All language about God is necessarily symbolic and figurative… The Bible uses metaphors for God, such as rock and shepherd. Jesus describes himself metaphorically as the bread of life and the light of the world. The Spirit is portrayed as breath and wind. God is not literally a rock or an actual shepherd on a hillside somewhere, yet we need these images to “imagine” the unsayable Mystery.” —Richard Rohr, All Language Is Metaphor

Know you are blessed,

Eric+

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Chaplains Corner 1/16/2017

“As you anticipate what is ahead of you, you forget that I am with you—now and always. Rehearsing your troubles results in experiencing them many times, whereas you are meant to go through them only when they actually occur. Do not multiply your suffering in this way! Instead, come to Me, and relax in My Peace. I will strengthen you and prepare you for this day, transforming your fear into confident trust.” — “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young

Know you are blessed,

Eric+

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Chaplains Corner 12/28/2016

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The great wisdom teachers and mystics say in various ways that you cannot truly see or understand anything if you begin with a no. You have to start with a yes of basic acceptance, which means you do not too quickly label, analyze, or categorize things in or out, good or bad. This is Contemplation 101. You have to be taught how to leave the field open. The ego or false self strengthens itself by constriction, by being against, or by re-action; it feels loss or fear when it opens up to subtlety and Mystery. Living out of the True Self involves positive choice, inner spaciousness, and conscious understanding rather than resistance, knee-jerk reactions, or defensiveness. It is not easy to live this way. It often takes a lifetime of prayer and honest self-observation to stop judging and starting with no. ~Richard Rohr

 

Know you are blessed,

Eric+

Chaplains Corner 12/27/16

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“There is no time or distance in the love of God. Wherever we are there it is. In the heights of happiness or the depths of sorrow, far from those we love or as close as a tight embrace, when we are taking our first breath or our last, it is there, a love so constant, so strong and so understanding, moving through the twists and turns of life, staying with us no matter what, waiting for us or moving forward to open the way to hope, the love of God is the endless force that moves through reality, touching us all equally, but felt by each one of us uniquely. There is no time or distance that can separate us from the love that is both source and destination of our being for wherever we are there is God also.” (Steven Charleston)

Know you are blessed,

Eric+

Chaplains Corner 3-3-2016

prayer changesGrowing up, the only kind of prayer I knew was when someone attempted to “talk to God” out loud on behalf of the assembled people. It’s taken a long time for me to understand that there are more ways to pray than talking; prayer is also listening. For me, this has become the most important form of prayer.  When I learn to listen for God I am also practicing how to listen to the Holy which comes from other people.

Listening deeply and listening actively are two different things.  Listening actively is what we do when someone is talking to us and we are trying to understand the message lying underneath what they are saying.  It’s what therapists are doing after they ask their client to expand on a topic.

Listening deeply is different in that we let go of our own thoughts and revel in the moment.  The emotions of the people we are with become clearer, the surrounding environment speaks to us, the small sounds we don’t usually pay attention to like a cricket, leaves slapping against each other being pushed by the wind, the creaks of our own joints, and when we get practiced at it we can begin to experience that still small voice that Elijah found in the silence after the tumult.

Know you are blessed,

Eric +

Chaplains Corner 3-2-2016

 

You are already helping someone, it’s the kind of person you are. It’s what we do at HealthSense. It’s what everyone should do.

 Help Someone

I hope you can also help some veterans by donating books for our drive to provide reading materials for veterans waiting for their appointments at the Austin VA Outpatient Clinic.

 

Know you are blessed,

Eric +

Chaplain’s Corner 3-1-2016

i-have-learned-that-faith-means-trusting-in-advanceA chaplain hears a lot of stories. You could say it’s what we get paid for – which makes the work that much more a blessing.  When I hear the reflections of the remarkable people we get to serve there are several common threads that run throughout.  One of those is the realization that there has been purpose to their lives far different than they had imagined in their youth.  Each had visions and hopes for something they would do or become, yet none of them fulfilled those dreams. Instead of being disappointed, they realized that they had been blessed by a guiding hand that was only visible by looking back on their lives through the lens of gratitude.

Whenever something I planned goes cockeyed, I find that letting go of what I wanted lets me see that there was something better all along.

The inspiration that pushes us has its own purpose.  But we can only see it when we stop to see the path we have already traveled.

Know you are blessed,

Eric+