Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Create New Access Points

We must create news ways of relating to God and to ourselves. We need to set new ground rules for what is acceptable what is respectable. Lacking respect for ourselves we are unable to give that which we lack to others. We can't presume to give what we don't have. Depression and despondency have their root in disappointment and anger. Anger with God disappointment in ourselves.

Create new access points, innovative ways of relating to God, to your body to your very history. Reassign your body a new task one not narrowly defined. We have trapped our bodies into an unwinnable circumstance one which denies its potential and limits it to a vain unattainable ideal. Even for the few truly blessed with that beauty and symmetry of form and function it often times will undermine the inner person if seen as an end unto itself.

Abstain from hateful thoughts, speech and deeds. Even ones aimed at oneself. Establish challenging but attainable goals which employ  Biblical Principles and Orthodox Ideals which results in a life enhanced and a more authentic existence. Define your value as a person not as the world does but as God's elect should.

Remember we will be made anew: body, soul and spirit.  We are reunited with our bodies in the Life to Come so we must repent with the body also. We will be weighed and measured on Christian ideals not worldly processions or attachments. Put down your chains, hold yourself apart from what is worldly and be creative, be traditional, keep to a higher standard and remember be lenient.
We talk a lot about tolerance in the United States. Tolerance as a virtue I think not or an ultimate ideal. This is a distraction from our intended path. We are called to do far more then tolerate our fellow man we are called to love one another.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I Am Greek Orthodox

--I'm Greek Orthodox (that's still Christian). Imagine my relief.
"I am an Orthodox Christian and that means that I forsake all denominations as mere human inventions. Holy Orthodoxy was not manufactured by men but revealed by God, Himself, in the Incarnate Person of Jesus Christ and His truth was passed-on to His Holy Apostles, maintained intact and perfectly true by the Holy Spirit, even to us today. I am an Orthodox Christian, and I humbly receive this Faith not as something of my own liking or emotional or aesthetic preference or of my estimation to be befitting for my sentiments. I am an Orthodox Christian because God, Himself, wants all to come to the Church He started and to believe in the doctrine and Faith He revealed: "Father pray that they all be one as You and I are one". (John Chapter 17). -- Hiermonk Joshua

The foremost aspect to living an authentic existence is to have convictions about what is fundamentally human. The first and foremost right of a human is freedom of religion. By this I am defining religion as the human right endowed to us by our creator God to worship, praise and commune with Him. The manner in which you chose to do this is your prerogative. However, what is necessary is the conviction to find your path. Nothing is more unsavory then a cavalier approach to our Maker. Nothing creates more inner strife, more depression more psychosis then  either an unwillingness to seek out God or to search without a guide (the Church). Being a Christian is not doable when treating Him as an incidental in our lives. We can't treat God like a stray dog with a basic neglect; and expect to find peace solace or wisdom.

Likewise we are not following a Jesus who was showing us the Christ consciousness (sorry Oprah). Jesus was the God-man: the duality of Christ is non negotiable He was that  historic man who was infact God the Son, who too on flesh and became man.  The King of All born in a manger, hailed by the Heavens, He preached the Kingdom of God was ridiculed beaten, crucified,  died, resurrected and is the salvation of the world. We don't worship a vague unknowable God but the Triune God who works actively in our lives today. We don't believe that we find God in isolation but part of the body of the Christ the Church not any Church but the Orthodox Church.

Orthodox Christians should defend the right of all humans to worship God and establish no restrictions on  the expression of their belief. We are olbigued to stand for Truth for the Revelation of God. We need to have the conviction that Orthodoxy is not in the same league as a lesser faith or belief. Our Lord was commisioned to share the Truth about the Kingdom and He gave an accounting to His Father (John Chapter 17). He distinguished between the One True Faith and heresy. We must have courage and the fortitude to stand upright and proclaim this Revelation of God. We must be willing to share this with the rest of humanity. We can't become complacent or lukewarm.

Remain steadfast and continue on your journey all the while making a personal claim for the Faith. To recede into the background and take up the banner of schismatics and heretics is not the Orthodox way. We must first love God with all our hearts and all our minds and with all our effort. We must love our neighbor as ourselves and never settle for them, for that which is by nature inferior. We acknowledge that all which is knowable has been revealed through the Ecumenical Councils.

Our forefathers and mothers paved the way with their blood they didn't martyr for a vague understanding of some belief which could be this way or that but for the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church the Church established by Christ and His Apostles. It was this Church which gave the written Word The Bible which so many have fashioned an idol. Know who you are and what you believe and you will not falter. You will know your purpose and your feet will be firmly established on the ground. Find a spiritual guide a good sound counselor who can assist you. We all need the community of believes for encouragement. What is encouragement it is the place the manner in which we find our courage to continue.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Can Can Can Can't

Training for the next eight weeks or preparing yourself for a marathon or life long relationship in which you incorporate an aerobic activity into your life will have profound benefits to your physical health. A lowered blood pressure, lowered resting heart rate, improved concentration and  deeper sleep are just some. Your efficiency in will also improve and you will gain a  real sense of accomplishment.  Running is the model I will discuss as it is the one I am most familiar with but most activities in which you tax your cardio could apply.

You CAN improve: Oxygen Delivery- your heart can pump stronger more efficiently moving more blood volume. This accounts for a lowered heart resting rate sound familiar?

Oxygen Absorption- increase in vascular health improves your body's ability to access available oxygenated blood while removing waste bi-products.. Increase numbers of muscle fiber receptors and improve veins capacity to move blood through where it's needed.

Gait Economy- through training we gain greater strength and increase stamina which enables runners to expend less effort or energy to move through the run. The first aspect of the run to suffer when we are tired is our gait.

 Also simple modifications to gait can make running economy far more efficient and less taxing. Strength- stronger muscles contract far more efficiently pushing back the threshold of discomfort the point before pain is experienced.

Attitude- one's attitude toward circumstance is central to success or failure. A perceived internal locus of control an ability to effect a change in your ability to persevere is essential to any measure of authentic success or personal insight.

You CAN'T improve: Body mechanics- we are either endowed with the body time and gait best suited for elite running or we're not. All the training can't change genetics.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Your Body as a Gift and Vehicle for Growth

I hope some of you will decide to set your course and embark on this adventure in running. Nothing will help shape you and strengthen your prayer life like activity. Repetitive  physical activity is stillness-creating  which will take you spiritually into a place of emptying and hesychiasm. There is a quieting which allows the mind traffic to recede and prayer to come to the forefront. 

These uncharted waters should not overwhelm you as your trusted guide and partner is the road. It is honest, dependable and consistent. You can't fake it you can only show up and participate. The road is a trident partner which sifts through the pretentiousness, the facades, the illusion. It gets real fast.  You will naturally become more astute as your body sweats the impurities of life are flushed out.
Training is a series of marathons broken up into segments over months to stress the individual mind body and spirit in effect rebuilding the person stronger more determined and driven by the accomplishment. A marathon is a delicate balance of confidence in the process, a willingness to just get it done and not assuming too much. Respect the distance the process. It can rebuild us or tear into every fiber of our being.

It can be a daunting task but approaching each one run at a time recalling the good runs and putting the more difficult runs aside for later use. Later in the training and ultimately later in the course of race day you will use those more challenging moments to pull you through yet again. What is unknown becomes familiar and more manageable and less startling.

I love training because the formula is stupid-easy not because it is effortless. I love what it does for my cognition, my focus, my self esteem and the joy which comes from doing what is extraordinary despite personally being unremarkable. It is encouraging to actualize what the human drive can overcome and how a super peak challenge can rewrite a history of failure and uncertainty.
If you don’t run then Start and if you do them join us you will find you are better organized, more productive and energized, You will make healthier food choices and relate to your body as a gift and vehicle for growth. Your spirit will soar as you have hours a week to contemplate in a exhilarating purposeful solitude of prayer. You will approach stress and daily challenges with an outlet and renewed confidence.

Your blood will circulate more efficiently and you will come to understand what you are made of. The distance of the marathon is a challenge for all and it is the place where I found myself my limits and how they actually exceeded my expectations. Glass ceilings we artificially set through family folklore which tell us we can’t is challenged and smashed to smithereens. Parents with one great race you will raise the standard and greatly expand what is possible for your children by your actions through your behavior. They are watching.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Body is Useful at Bending the Will

If you have been following this blog you may have gotten a jump start on your New Year Resolution. I'm hoping you have already chosen your activity and are motivated to give it a chance.  Once you begin the momentum will build and you will steadily build in strength and determination. Your sense of personal accomplishment will offset feeling overwhelmed. Take each session of activity at face value and simply "git ur dun".
We are all fighting a spiritual cancer of indifference.  It is difficult if not impossible to remain indifferent when devoting so much time, effort and sweat equity. The body is a safeguard and shelter for the soul and is also useful at bending the will and directing the mind. I know running is work. Just as walking, swimming or biking is work. Work is synonymous with moving, with your activity, which may be defined as "force times distance resulting in motion".  Join me in a resolution to challenge yourself everyday. Take practical steps to challenge yourself you will learn that quickly how artificial and arbitrary some of our convictions about what we can accomplish really are.
You will set a course and follow your path and in effect you will shatter preconceived notions about personal limits. Set time aside to quiet the  'mind' traffic, refocus by dismissing them or inviting them to join you. For example if I'm running and the rain comes I invite it to run with me. On the other hand if I have an intrusive negative thought, I show it the door, instead of mulling over it. It is a great aid setting that time aside, the alone time to go inward, the body breathing rhythmically, the heart singing its chant and the mind engaging the soul. It is a triune experience. I experience a runners high and gain satisfaction from my runs at disproportionate rates based on the extensive reading I've done. I believe it's the direct result of prayer. When people ask me to pray for them I run.
Commit and keep it fun the road will keep it real. You will learn to trust it. There are intended outcomes and consequences for all of our behavior. The beauty of the system I've been proposing is picking which result you want and then behaving in like manner. Wishful thinking doesn't get your there. It never has for me.
Tomorrow I will talk about taking the marathon challenge. You don't have to run a marathon but I understand why it's the Gold Standard. You can start something tremendous and bring it to completion. You don't have to run a marathon, you could run a half if it will get you to commit. You might chose a triathlon anything which seems just beyond your reach. In order to create peak life experiences it must be challenging. What makes this endeavor so wonderful is in discovering your inner strength and personal resolve while banishing  inner demons. I am the most unlikely person to accomplish such a great undertaking. I am so far removed from a gifted athlete or inspiring individual. My only real strength is my determination. I essentially lack good sense and despite this I press forward.  The sheer distance of the marathon (being the great equalizer) can't rightly be marginalized and demonstrates a perseverance and vested interested. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Frankincense It's A Good For You

Happy Thanksgiving! As we celebrate our abundance let's remember in our prayers: the unknown, the destitute, the lonely, the forgotten, the nameless, the homeless, the prisoners, the sick, the lost...

If you suffer with or struggle with a depressed mood or anxious affect get to church and breath deep! Remember to breakout the charcols and insence daily at home too. Go 'oldschool' on this one.

Research comming out of  John Hopkins University and The Hebrew University in Jerusalem suggest that buring insense has psychotropic effects. Specifically burning resin from the Boswellia plant (frankincense) activates particular ion channels in the brain which seem to relieve depression and anxiety. These scientists studied the effects on mice finding a protein called TRPV3 is activated when exposed to incense. Who knew...the Church knows.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fifty-Six Days to Renewel

A tonic state, the synergy between your body, mind and soul can occur in anything you do. By moving your body, you draw in the attention of your mind and free yourself from what distracts you from the needs of your soul. By nudging your comfort zone you will transform yourself. In fifty-six days you can experience a spiritual shift in your connectedness.

By consistently setting time aside to experience an intimate exchange between you and God you exponentially increase the likelihood that you will find what you seek. God rewards our efforts because of His abundant mercy. Much can be done to encourage the tranformative power of prayer: attend church, read scripture, observe fasts and commit to a 'labor of love' a challenging activity; the result will be obvious.

We are all enticed by our favorite chair, the convenience of the remote and a good show but we would unequivocally be better served by a stillness-creating physical activity. For me it is about the run, about a day at marathon,  for you it may be a brisk walk, bike ride or laps in a pool. With repeated exposure to such an effort, the spark and flame ignited in you will burn more brightly.

 A considerable amout of your learning, of reshaping your mind, body and soul relationship is state-dependant. Put simply a majority of the educational process transpires during labor. You must decide what your activity will be and follow through. You will not be able to access the state until you are laboring again so employ your declarative memory by making mental lists and taking note of changing in thinking, feeling and being. As you are engaged in your activity use these mental notes to create trigger words and take note of sensations (like sweating) or deep breathing.

Be sure to plan, recommit daily, chose a mentor, tag mental and physical states and journal. Remember to properly frame experiences for example breathing deeply is not synonymous with being out of breath. You don't have to write a manifesto or blog but you must keep an accounting to track progress and insight into struggle and success. Watch for patterns that coalesce to bring you to moments of clarity and well being. Everyday you must choose to break a sweat for thirty minutes for at least 4 times a week for the first fifty-six days while cross training on off days. Cross training in this endeavor is reading, writing and reflecting on your journey. If you get bored push harder.Your challenge threshold must be enough to keep you engaged but not overwhelmed.

The key to establishing the ideal settings for stillness-creating physical activity  is to find your tonic level: the place within a range between boredom and overwhelmed and to recreate that space repeatedly and with regularity. That sweet-spot takes time to find and and practice to access consistently so be patient. Don't complicate things: to increase the level of difficulty go faster, to decrease the challenge slower.  The tonic level of exertion is the perfect balance between exertion and skill.

(If you are interested in a running program please contact me).

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Wisest Surest Path of Repentance

But if he had despaired of his life, and, ... had remained in the foreign land, he would not have obtained what he did obtain, but would have been
consumed with hunger, and so have undergone the most pitiable death: ... St. John Chrysostom, AN EXHORTATION TO THEODORE AFTER HIS FALL 4th Century
Sunday of the Prodigal Son
Let's explore the knee jerk reaction of Orthodox Christians to congratulate individuals who have left the one true faith for a sect. They wish to shake off their discomfort for a facade of acceptance and a veneer of misplaced compassion. Often times they are parents of adult children who have married outside the faith or grandparents of non-Orthodox grandchildren. It is clear that these individuals deny their own culpability to why their children and grandchildren have chosen another path. They more often then not, blame language or closed mindset which lacks a 'progressive' approach to the Mysteries and worship.  Others like Sam who leave most probably because they displace responsibility for their sin and defeat to some fained declaration of the Church's intolerance. They perceive their penance over and pridefully resent their treatment. Those who become disillusioned with the Church are generally resistant to exploring their own faults and lacking; choosing rather to reject the Church and favor their spiritual paralysis.

The Church doesn't jump to embrace them as quickly as they feel is necessary. Like Sam who responded much like the alcoholic who has put together a week of sobriety without any recovery insisting that family, friends and employers get over the years of deception. Let's take a closer look:  Sam who chose to marry, chose to father children, to become a priest, chose again to sit on two separate sexual misconduct boards, chose to become protestamenos, and then chose to have a sexual relationship(s) with unknown an  person(s),  again and again he chose to commit adultery in some hotel room , some office,  who knows where; then to alleviate his own need to rid himself of guilt or remorse resigns. Following an anticipated suspension and the defrocking he chose again to alleviate himself of guilt. A divorce ensues as does a confirmation into christian sect.

Now this is the issue I have with all the warm fuzzy responses to his conversion. The wisest truest surest path of repentance is to work through what ails us what has separated us from our dignity our integrity our intended road; not to take the scenic route. His initial comfort with his new mission will subside and he will have to revisit his sin and shortcoming. This time however without the guidebook, without the best physicians, without the great men of the Church. He will have an anemic support network. Far worse he will be left in the care of the people who fed his trouble who made him comfortable when his motivation should have been peaking. So for this purpose I reserve to withhold my enthusiasm. Sam's reaction to my correspondence is  indicative of an immature self assured egotistical man, hardly the temperament of a penitent. What about the wake of destruction he left in his own path of serving his appetites.

This must be the ghetto of the Orthodox Church; who knew.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Finding Your Tonic Pace

I"m sorry about the late in the day post but I had church followed by a 16 mile run. So after running close to 2:50 minutes here's today's post. Enjoy!

A tonic pace is the most beneficial balance to approaching running and life. It is the point where I maximize my effort without being overwhelmed or too relaxed. It's about making the most of our time, our prayer, our run. From this place we enter the flow 'super-fluidity', the high, ecstasy, the super-peak experience of spiritual performance.
In running it can be describe as effortless resistance, free running. Set the tone, the context and the conditions to be totally present in the moment before God. My legs move like pistons of a train. When distractions come,  the aching hip or a noise or other types of 'mind' traffic refocus by dismissing them or inviting them to join you. When the rain comes I invite it to run with me.
These moments, these out of this world experiences make their arrival during prayer: We can be running,  peeling potatoes, sweeping the floor, and motionless. I require have difficulty with attention I can spend an afternoon chasing a thought that pops into my mind. Running fully engages my body demanding my attention and overt commitment. It's what it takes me to run the crazies out; to clear the flight of ideas, the fragmented thinking and the constant distractions which plagues.
Consider seriously doing something extreme create a peak experience like running a marathon! We'll explore that tomorrow!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Monastic Ideals of Prayer: Extreme

The role of a monastic his/her sole purpose is prayer (not outreach). If we believe in the power of prayer then it is not a futile or a selfish experience but a gift to all humanity. We are all cosmically better off for the hermit living on frozen tundras of Russia, cells in the deserted lands of Egypt, Serbia, Romania or Greece, etc.  In fact the health of the Church is directly linked or correlated to the health of our monasteries. We are each called to serve according to our own abilities.

The monk intercedes for all of mankind on an entirely different plane then the relief worker. To use the metaphor from yesterday's entry: the monastery is akin to the research lab. Not all physicians can operate within the lab nor should they; some work directly with patients and each according to their specialty. All serve in the spirit of healing. To marginalize the work of the monastic or hermit is to lack insight into the difficulty or impact of the task. Most of us who work tirelessly at something (if ever) receive secondary gains for our effort: salary, praise, recognition, status, perks, seeing the difference we make. The monastic must work or labor on faith; sights unseen without a visible system of support. They are engaged in an extreme adventure sport without any of the guarantees of organized events.

I try and strive for monastic ideals of prayer in my blessed life by setting up peak conditions for the activity of prayer. I am a novice and unlike monastic  prayer ninjas I come up short. The cares of this world choke off and encroach on prayer time. Laziness and the conditioned need for distracts have me watching t.v., surfing the net, or listening to music track rather then pray. We decide not to pray.

There are triggers which I employ to set the parameters for prayer beyond the Liturgy beyond Vespers. This practice has also dramatically improved my Church life. There is a reciprocal relationship which is clear. In actually there is nothing, no moment in our lives which exists in isolation. They are all threads in and part of the tapestry of our lives. To believe that moments of defeat or success are not consequential is a lie from hell.  

My experience in the martial arts gave me the humility, discipline, determination, self confidence and success to beginning running over 6 years ago. Running has provided the path for deeper personal understanding and prayer. For those of you who know a bit about me distance running is my niche. I am too old and lack the talent to succeed at running fast so I run longer where completion not time is the reward. More importantly it gives me the time and space to get the distractions of the day out of the way and find the prayerful space. The mile provides the difficulty level which gets my attention and helps make it real. It is reliable and a honest non judgemental partner. My next entry will discuss this in greater detail.

Politically Correct Speech Defining Our Terms

Friday, November 19, 2010

Open and Closed Systems

Rigidity and frigidity should not be misunderstood for order or some fained attempt at purity. Understanding the similarity and distinction between marriage and monastic orders is imperative as each are in fact distinct systems.
Growing side by side as the church each nurture the faithful and offer God all the broken hearts and contrite spirits. Each have committed to advance the cause of The Kingdom within the distinct boundaries of their calling and obligations.
A church community should not try to impose monastic ideals to parishioners while monastic communities shouldn't have active outreach programs designed to establish a make shift parish. Each system should be a safe haven for its members. In married life too often couples are given rules for living that are incompatible with marriage and create undo stress and conflict. The wife becomes a 'refusing wife' while the husband becomes a resentful authoritarian.
Monasteries begin to function like 'religious' communes and less like prayer centers. Priests tend to over reach in their role as confessor and attempt to be spiritual fathers dictating the lives of their parishioners wrongfully in detail. Likewise spiritual fathers of the monastic order too often attempt to over-pastor pilgrims as a parish priest ought.
An obvious difference between them would be their open and closed door policies. Parishes exist as open systems making no restriction on parishioners or any visitor. The parish can't mandate a uniform policy they are a tapestry. The parish must accommodate those who show up for services. The monasteries however do not or should not function like that. They should provide a safe haven which closed and self contained to foster prayer. A monastery prays the way science labs do research. They are under no obligation to receive other monastics, guests or pilgrims save to fulfill the command of hospitality.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Do you Believe In Church Wisdom? Benefits of Rule

Rules, rules, rules. They get a bad wrap for sure. In a society where freedom of expression and liberty trump common sense and morality it is easy to fall away from basic obedience. Prayer Rules, Exercise Rules, Dietary Rules and countless others make their mark on one’s life. They teach the Biblical concepts of obedience, stamina, determination, perseverance, etc. Rules cultivate the landscape overtime preparing us when turmoil strikes and often times ward off trouble at the onset. Even a small rule is vital and better than no rule at all.

For example in the most common banal sense, brushing one’s teeth every morning is the least we can do for oral hygiene and health. To really address care of our oral health, we should eat less sugary foods, brush several times a day, floss and see a dentist every six months. Most people especially children really neglect their mouths beyond cosmetics. Prayer is the same.

A consistent prayer rule, though small will have an even greater effect, as the need is vital to our spiritual, physical and social health. A prayer life is an imperative.  The Church year with its Lenten Seasons provide the necessary rhythm for living for God in a measured accessible way. Like the training of an elite athlete we can’t always be pushing stressing the limits of our ability. On the flip side too much recovery, too much rest, too much comfort compromises the fitness which slowly it slips away. There is a natural ebb and flow to prayer.

So for us mortals living outside the monastery walls let’s do the basics: attend Church with regularity, pray daily (even simple small prayer) and read Biblical text (don’t underestimate a verse or two) and established readings (just a quote). Try and watch movies which provoke moral questions not which attack the gate of our soul with salaciousness or obscenity. We need to be good stewards of our own spiritual and physical health we are the gate keeper.

Additional help is on the way through disciplining the body. Fasting even when  handled in small doses (meat restrictions on Wed. and Fri.)  will have profound effects.  It seems simple enough and yet many of us break the rule without paying any note to the possibility of its long term benefit.

Society secularizes the foundational cures and preventative measures with artificial instructions and structure. Dietary and Stress Reducing Techniques mimic Church recommendations but profess them to be based on a higher rationale. We are cautioned to eat less red meat and limit meat by- products by the American Medical Association (AMA). They advise regular stress reducing techniques replete with self help gurus’ encouraging meditation, yoga, and even the repetition of mantras (to the exclusion of the Jesus Prayer of course).  Prayer is about more then managing stress and fasting is about more then dieting.

So establish or more importantly adopt some rules and be transformed. Understand that after the initial enthusiasm there will be resistance, then doubt, but keep at it. The Church encourages all to come as we are but will show us how to discover our truer self. The Church doesn't seek to answer scientific questions it addresses what science must dismiss outrigtht because it can never answer questions of faith.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Avoidant and Complacent

Life’s trials and tests are an opportunity for growth. In actuality each moment is the decisive moment at hand. Don’t fold under the fear of success. This fear drowns us in self-pity; let's not continue bound by self defeating beliefs which keep us contained, unfulfilled and miserable.  Smash to smithereens all the self doubt removing all the ‘yeah buts’ from your conversation and internal dialogue. Get honest about becoming real with yourself. 

Having become too practiced at complaining and holding a grudge against our bodies, childhoods,  parents, and God we opt to live in a ego dystonic mindset. By living counter intuitively we in effect regularily choose not to be healed but to remain a paralytic. It is time to set aside that defeatist mindset and do something about it.

Get practiced at being honest, grateful, strong and trusting. The subconscious, the part of us that stuffs all our hang-ups down, will be free to explore  a new dimension: the one free of judgment which recognizes intuitively that we are doing something grand and that our past died. This is the first day of the rest of your life. By engaging the mind, body and soul you will be transformed and transfigured by the process.

Authenticity comes with owning personal strengths and understanding perceived weakness. By learning how the greatest obstacles set before us are both self-imposed and a mental exercise of refusal;  we must accept responsibility for our learned helplessness. To become complacent and avoidant is an affront to your calling as children of God and self-proclaimed servants. Being called to righteousness let's make the journey home.

Start today by identifying new guidelines for engagement. Don't resist recommendations don't be dismissive afterall it's not working. Take a challenge read, pray and move! 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Orthopraxis is tangible

Orthopraxis is tangible.
Orthodoxia is an abstract.

In utilizing the social media phenomenon sweeping the Internet and now through blogs we are connected in ways unforeseen even ten years ago. This may prove to  be an amazing resource for the church and I hope to contribute in small part to to this online outreach.  Together we can come from the isolation and cast our vision for how Christians can best be served by this exciting format.

Banishing aimless meandering. You don't  have to be a different person you simply need to establish new rules of engagement.  If we want a different outcome we need to establish new parameters. Challenge yourself by embarking on this journey. Without challenge there can be little meaningful and intelligent change. Set the tone, the context and the conditions to be totally present in the moment before God. These moments, these out of this world experiences, make their arrival during prayer:

We can be running,  peeling potatoes, sweeping the floor, and motionless. I require regular demanding activity to reach this place of solitude and honesty before God. Running fully engages my body demanding my attention and overt commitment. It's what it takes me to clear the flight of ideas, the fragmented thinking,and everyday distractions with the monotonous malaise which plagues daily living.
Physical labor is one of the best educators of Christian traits. St. Paul describes discipleship as the good race the wreath of  glory. Conditioning especially paired with an openness to prayer and God stomps out (slothfulness, despair, lust for power and idle talk)  learned helplessness and learned avoidance. The Christian code of conduct is enforced naturally with a good training mindset: Charity, humility patience and love.  Dedication, persistence, endurance, loyalty, perseverance and stamina all Biblical principles.
I suggest getting off the proverbial therapeutic couch and in effect use our bodies, stress them and engaging them in our spiritual work actively. By taking the abstract and making it material the theoretical is operationalized and self-evident. I believe once we have a firm working knowledge of these principles and skill set we will easily integrate and assimilate our strengths into core functioning and approach to living.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Blog Challenge Kickoff Official Blog Launching

The Burning Bush
Individuals want intuitively what is missing in their life: acceptance, understanding, validation and unconditional love. They seek refuge from disapproving tones and judgements which cast dispersions on them.
Orthodox Counsel is designed to compliment traditional Orthodox support networks. We all can celebrate victories, empathize with challenges and share relevant personal experiences aimed at assisting one another gain greater self awareness and personal success.
As one part of the greater Orthodox nexus my effort is aimed at supporting fellow journeymen on their paths to achieving inner peace and resolve by sharing my experience. My pragmatic and spiritually based worldview has concretely strengthened my relationship with God, improved my interpersonal relationships and helped me become accountable for how I choose to engage with  my circumstance.
I have learned that continued exposure to, and the mastery of, a demanding task is an essential ingredient to personal growth. I have found running to be what works best for me. I encourage each of you to challenge yourself regularly methodically to take an honest accounting of  how you choose engage with yourself, encounter others and seek God. With each consecutive blog entry I hope to explore another dimension or skill set associaled with  personal growth.
The blogger-sphere is filled with pastors, clerics and big thinkers. This space is for real people with profound interest in increases self awareness and experiencing love and acceptance from within. Our Savior has given Himself over for each of is and is very much an active participant in our lives. The Holy Orthodox Church secures the road for our journey.  Take up your walking stick, lace up your sneakers, find your courage and challenge yourself.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Your Place In The Cosmo

Laminin Foundation for Cells
as seen under microscope
Humans have been in the world for thousands of years while the universe in existence for millions of years. This fact leave many to feel isolated and insignificant. We must remember that God created each of us calling us from nothingness. Within the context of the cosmos we are hardly a speck and yet God saw fit to create us each at our appointed time and at every age. God our Loving Master loves the despised, the humiliated, the abandoned, the unwanted, the forgotten, the lost. He awaits our response to His perfect Love. He calls us to His bosom for safety and Grace. Let us not be troubled or feel alone for He will keep us.