Saturday, March 28, 2009

Freedom through Twitter discipline

read time 3-4 min:

Discipline sometimes gets a bad rap, or connotation. It’s mainly because we don’t connect it to freedom. We assume that we are slaves to discipline, but actually we are set free by it. It is our compulsions and excesses that rule or enslave us. It’s discipline that throws the prison doors wide open.

Before I set out on the "tips and tricks" part, first think of five things you would like to do with more time. For me, it would be cycling/exercise, gardening, de-cluttering/house up-keep, reading more books, and writing more. Now, think of yours. Go ahead, really do it. Get them down on paper. I’ll wait. Once you have them, the reasons for reading this will be far more worthwhile and concrete.

The facts are that Twitter is fun, helpful, but addictive and it sucks away time, right? Eventually, it enslaves until, or unless, we become disciplined, and put it in its proper place. Once that happens, we can do more things we’d like, and make sure Tiwtter works for us, not the other way around. Working on the computer for a living adds to the draw of continual Twitter tweet too, but it cuts down our efficiency overall. This happened to me.

First, to convince you further, it may help to know that there are some unattractive Twitter traits that are red flags of an undisciplined life (Twitter life, or otherwise).

1. Maybe you like to give lots of mundane tweets that you care to reveal, but no one really cares about like. “I’m eating Fruit Loops.” or “Good Morning, Tweeps!” or “What a lot of calls I have to make, yuck, Mondays.” This clogs the Twittersphere, and really sidelines you as irrelevant, to be honest. As the funny guy in the video link below says, “People with friends don’t shout into the darkness hoping someone will listen.”

2. Maybe you self-promote: If you are on Twitter mainly trying get customers, it’s usually really obvious, and annoying. Try to limit your trolling for consumers, because Twitter is not really the answer to all your business acquisition needs. Balance is key.

3. You are unemployed. If you are tweeting a lot–this will be assumed by your followers, all too soon. Sometimes “Entrepreneur” or “self-employed” is another title for this predicament people use in their bio. The over-tweeter has too much time on his/her hands, or maybe obsessive issues, or may really need to diversify his or her interests. The constant tweeting really pegs one as desperate, in some kind of way, seriously.

What can you do to rein things in, and use your time in the wisest ways possible?

•Time managing software like Rescue Time is free, and is very helpful with this. It will tell you what you are doing while you are on your computer in graph form, specifically, and give you reminders (set by you) that keep you concentrated on actual goals. The low tech version can be great too. Setting a fifteen-minute allowance on your mobile phone alarm, or a kitchen timer (one can purchase in any supermarket) works too, if you abide by it.

•Limit Twitter time to only two or three bursts per day, instead or going back to it all throughout the day. We just have to remember we are gaining our freedom back. This will be a very good, and life-giving improvement. Your productivity will increase, and even your energy level.

•Plan one new endeavor away from the computer to accomplish that will take some time, and take action this week. A short project, or a new skill is a good place to start. Like running a half mile, building a shelf or flower bed; or something relational, like helping a neighbor regularly, or preparing a brunch (or eating breakfast out) with a friend once a week.

I’ve found freedom this way. My time on Facebook and Twitter has gone down, yet my pleasure in these activities has gone up. I also have more time for other things I enjoy doing. I hope you find these ideas helpful and hopeful.

Here's the hilarious cartoon video link with some truths about life on Twitter.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Prayer Exercise for Groups-Jacob's Ladder

Visual: Jacob’s Ladder by William Blake

Prayer Exercise
Dreamwork – Praying using Images and Symbols

Jacob's Ladder

A portal, a threshold,
To the Presence
The unconscious awakens
In another realm
To Spirit, and symbol
Upon heights where angels
Murmur and gaze
And saints gather
In the Light

Reading: Genesis 28:10-19

Prayerfully listen to the reading, and sketch
images that come to mind during reflection or
prayer time. (Or note words from those images.)

Silent Prayer:

God, Great Dreamer, Creator of our waking and
Our sleep. Meet us in our dreams. Speak to us with
Your Presence, and your whispers Divine. Awaken us
To your Reality evermore even from the shadowy
Realms of our slumber, that we may plunge further into your
Love. Amen.

Music Presentation:
Artworks by Victor Bregeda. Song by Paul Lisney, Jacobs Ladder

(artwork/music presentation full link:

Friday, March 20, 2009

No future tense...

"I shall not want." It's a popular second half of the verse 1 of the 23rd Psalm. the trouble is, it's just not very accurate. There is no future tense in Hebrew. There is no shall or will. This verse talks about the now. (Sometimes it is translated "I lack nothing," which is closer to what the Hebrew says.)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Age of the Sage...gone? or personal taste?

Have you noticed some people really appreciate wise Sage advice. Could it be personality style? Maybe for those who feel they are journeying--something like Frodo in Lord of the Rings--they imagine others are down the road a bit ahead of them, and maybe those folks (like sages) can see around the bend, and be a guide.

Other people scoff at Sage information giving as arrogant. Thinking, "It's all personal perspective. No one can't really speak into my life, and know–or even assume to know–what could be helpful for me. "Sage authority" is quite suspect for them.

Where do you line up? Do you value Sage wisdom?

If you welcome it, and could ask for any sage advice at all, knowing there would be no judgement pointed toward you, what would you ask?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

If you have located God...

If you have located God, whether in experience or locale, mode or method, be assured it cannot be the Divine. God is not fully known, or knowable. For God is no-thing, no object, no sensation, no perception that we should confuse with that with the real "him" (Spirit). We know in part. We glimpse the light trails. Both cannot be true that he can be everywhere and Spirit, and also so very graspable in the ways we usually think so. That is why the Logos of God is so helpful. (Christians call him Jesus. God in flesh.) But God, worshiped in spirit and truth, the Eternal, is always with us, always Other, always approachable, and always incomprehensible, immeasurable. Unpinned down, except in our delusions.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Habits can turn into compulsions. They often do. At this point they become choice-less. They take away our freedom. We cling to them out of fear of loss. The anxiety creeps in so that a once comforting habit becomes an enslavement as a compulsion.

Growth is caught in a rut in those areas where compulsions rule.

Can you identify any for you? They can be routines, rituals, ideas, practices, ways of feeling secure, and so forth.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

worry vs. prayer

Worry is like meditating wrongly on all the things you can't control, enough to grasp them unwell, and hurt yourself by it.

Prayer is like meditating on all some things you can't or can control, enough to let them go well, so they will not harm you.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Scholar produces fantastic translation

Renown Hebrew and Old Testament scholar David Dorsey gave us a copy of his new translation of Ecclesiastes. Some people get confused or depressed reading this book. He says it is his (biblical) favorite. It's probably because from his in-depth studies he's seen the hope and well of wisdom throughout the work. He claims there are currently no quality translations available to read (in English). Translators have to make decisions on the words chosen, and for this book it seems they often don't convey so accurately the main theme, and some important ideas.

To sum up this translation: Ecclesiastes is about trying to communicate the transitory nature of existence. Not in a morbid or hopeless way though. The wisdom of the author comes out as he explains that he has done it all, tried it all, and seen it all. He pursued wisdom, knowledge, wealth, all his desires, and considered–quite wisely–all the big issues that plague human experience. He understands that, in reality, there is a certain kind of pointlessness to life because both the good and the wicked prosper. Sometimes good people are hurt and ruined, and come on calamity, while the wicked proper. In the end we all come to the same end. The author of Ecclesiastes explains that contentment is what is most important. (And often this is what is most illusive, especially for the wealthy.)

Friday, March 06, 2009

escaping God

I remember being five and hiding under my blankets and thinking, "God can't see me here. Nobody can see me." I knew this probably couldn't be true, but I remember even then wanting privacy. The bigness of God is frightening if we really consider the reality of it. And for that reason, I suppose it is no wonder we wouldn't try to run, even if it might be in vain. Even if we know it is in vain. Just as much as it can be frightening, it can be comforting too, and overwhelming if we realize the immensity of all that power and love turned toward us. It is willing turned toward us.

I used to think God was basically displeased with me, and with humanity. I think I was sold a human idea of God. Maybe it was a doctrine based on keeping people in line. If behavior modification is what religion is for, then it's nonsense. But I don't believe that's it. If God is Creator, then "he" knows all about us. "He" is acquainted with our instinct to run off, and still loves us. Just like I love my daughter and son, despite their less than wonderful actions sometimes. And I imagine God is much better at patience than me. God does epitomize all of my ideals of perfection, and hold in "himself" the capability to love without end and bounds, seeing and knowing all. There is always someone to come home to. That home is begins with awareness, that God will/does abide within.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Discovering/re-discovering God-Continuing Theology

Resistance lives on the fringe of growth, near our periphery. When we have to reconsider what we’ve known, and adjust to realities bigger than what we first realized. God is bigger…always bigger than we figure on. Just when we get a grip on our theology, he will stretch us further. The bounds of his mission, his grace, his love, and his “Otherness” pushes us further on, into this unknown, and really unknowing.