Welcome to my web log! (blog) I hope that these entries will give you a glimpse into my world and the spirit I bring to my ministry. I write new entries every week, so check out the archives and check in again soon. Looking forward to meeting you in person…

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Last week I took a break and was as slothful as possible.  The laundry pile is still there (and growing) but I am feeling well-rested.  I am usually less like a sloth and more like a squirrel.  I love squirrels, they are always busy and industrious-looking.  Yet squirrels are also somewhat manic.  When it comes to surviving a winter, squirrelly, manic behavior is potentially justified.  In humans, manic, wildly efficient behavior is more a result of too much stress, not an issue of survival.

I have come to know and love the inner sloth in me, the one who lazes about in trees, just hanging out.  The sloth can actually move quickly, swinging through the branches with a loping ease.  It appears to have no muscles at all, just stretchy fur.  Last year in Baltimore I had the great pleasure of taking a Feldenkrais course.  Feldenkrais is a body-awareness method that asks the practitioner to pay attention to the small everyday movements in the body, noticing (without judging) the way one single movement- such as breathing- can echo in muscles and trigger other smaller movements or tensions.  I remember discovering that every time I inhaled, a muscle around my left scapula would clench.  And in the act of noticing, it changed somehow.  I could simply notice this response upon inhalation and wonder if it might not be necessary for that to happen every time I breathed.  Our survival responses get stored in muscle memory, and before we know it, a simple turn of the head involves all sorts of unnecessary movements.  

So I have great aims to be slothful- the sloth that swings through the trees with utmost relaxed precision.  Instead of squandering energy on squirrelliness, embrace an intentional slothdom- it is harder than it looks!  To be intentionally slothful means to act preventatively.  If you know something wild and energetic is happening, plan for some down time.  Ever wonder about how you finally take your vacation hours at work and then get sick during or right after your vacation?  That is the body’s demand for sloth time.  The more we carve out intentional time for nothing, the better.  

Imagine the sloth, swinging and sailing among the trees, long arms extending and stretching, luxuriating in the space in between the branches, air rustling the fur.  We need these spaces to stretch in, even in times when it feels like utter luxury.  Those who train in meditation know that the most busy, demanding days require even more time for zazen sitting meditation.  For the hardest times, they say, “Sit.”  The sloth says, “Just hang in there.”

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