Here Be Dragons

stamp.php“Here Be Dragons”, the cartographer warns. Back in the day, dragons stood at the edge of the maps to signify the unknown. This addition was the map maker’s way of saying, we don’t know what’s out there. It was a warning: proceed at your own peril.

Except that much of this is false. There were mystical sea creatures drawn on maps, but of all the old maps we have access to, none of them say, “Here Be Dragons.” There is a globe, which makes this warning in Latin. Except it may not even be a warning. It could be the explorer found some creature formidable and strange enough to earn the moniker “dragon.” Other maps of the time noted where different creatures could be found. One map points out where elephants, scorpions and ‘dog-headed beings’ come from. On others one could find walruses, lions, and hippos. Dragons are not as prevalent as our imagination would tell us.

This is what I am discovering in my practice of going outside my comfort zone. Mostly, I’m finding elephants and hippos. Creatures that aren’t terribly interested in eating people or burning them alive. I have found one dragon. One thing that is still squarely outside my comfort zone. But I’ve met it, introduced myself, spent some time in its company. So next time I visit, I can say, “Oh, hello Alice. Good to see you again.” Though I may never be fully at ease in her company, I can get to know her, perhaps even befriend her.

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Dog Tired

 

dog-3Has it really only been two weeks? It feels longer than that. My intentionally adding stress to my life means using more emotional, physical, spiritual energy than I am used to. Even with my brain’s rock star encouragement, stepping out continually can be tiring. One day in particular this past week, I returned home exhausted. After a few rounds of “why am I so tired?” it dawned on me: I hadn’t eaten well that day. In this journey, I need to take care of myself. For me that includes eating well, getting enough sleep, spending time in prayer and meditation, reaching out for support when I need it, doing things which replenish my spirit. What I do throughout the day, even when I’m not engaged in my lenten practice, matters. This lenten journey is turning out to be helpfully disturbing, disrupting some of the unhealthy patterns of my days. Praise be.

May your lenten journeys, too, be helpfully disruptive and ultimately life-giving. Blessings.

Rock Star

Seven days in. The world is still intact and spinning on its tilted axis. It’s been a good week. Adventurous. You see, I don’t have this all planned out. I don’t know what I will be doing on Day 27. First, I’m simply not that person. Second, the boundaries of my comfort zone are not static. Each day, then, becomes a scavenger hunt, a search for ways to be uncomfortable and stretch myself. The effect of this way of engaging the world is interesting. Instead of being apprehensive, my brain responds, “Yes! Do that!” And afterward, instead of “Phew, we made it through,” my brain rejoices, “Goal met! You are a rock star!” That kind of encouragement is hard to beat. I am looking forward to discovering what adventures are in store for me this season.

Lenten blessings to you.

Lenten Practice

Yeah! Lent is here again!

That’s not sarcastic joy. I really do love Lent. More specifically, I heartily embrace the opportunity for intentional spiritual discipline. I like to take up a practice for these 40 days, something that will stretch me, something that disrupts my settled routine. This year, I will practice expanding my comfort zone. Each day I will do one thing that I’d rather not do, thank-you. And, (deep breath) I’ll blog about my experience of the process once a week.

This is my Day One. This. Stating my intention.

Because whatever would you think of me if you knew that I am not cool and calm in every situation? Oh, the consequences if I am not perfect! The future of the planet depends on me. The world will come to an end if I say I will do something for 40 days and something comes up and I miss a day. And if my reflections are not Pulitzer-worthy, oh, the chaos that would ensue!

Here’s to an adventurous lenten season.

What, if anything are you planning as a lenten practice?