Road Trip!!!

Serra Labyrith

I love a good road trip. Give me 6 or 7 hour on open highway, a bag of Puffy Cheetos and some Twizzlers and I’m good! Don’t get me started on having just the right playlist of music! This may not be bliss consciousness but to me it’s real close. The cross-country move I recently made with my son in our pick up truck was as close to a unitive experience as a contemplative could ask for. I doubt the rest of my family felt that way. But I loved it. I think that’s why I love walking labyrinths. Walking a labyrinth is a road trip mixed with a Divine encounter with a side order of change…


Three Certainties about Ambivalence


How can I make life decisions when I can’t figure out what socks to wear? It was easy when sock choices where limited to black, brown or white when wearing tennis shoes. But with the onset of multicolored strips, polka dots and patterned socks, I’m absolutely outdone. So I’m staring at the abyss that is my sock drawer thinking, “And I’m the one tasked with trying to figure out life… great. Ambivalence sets in and all the decisions of the day crowd around to such a degree there’s no room for my socks or me. Have you been there? Have you had that moment when all of the possibilities you face spread out before you like the branching out of a river delta? The generation I care for and mentor have been there for sure, so I get ambivalence…

Three Words that Change Everything

Let It Be

As a contemplative I crave moments of the quiet lull and the stillness of being. That’s my stuff! That’s how I want to live my life. In a real way, I’d like to live from a place of non-reactive centeredness. The only problem with this is the holiday season. As much as this time of year is filled with days off, time with loved ones and varying degrees of attention being paid to the Christ, it’s mostly just filled with activity and stressfulness. And typically my contemplative orientation is replaced with the end of the year meltdown. The anticipation of hope the season of Advent is supposed to bring is coopted by the anxiety real life has to offer. The students I care for are consumed by the hurry that papers and final exams bring. As a Spiritual Director those I guide are riddled with the distractions of the day. An overall uneasiness casts such a thick cloud over so many of us we are fooled into believing the only way to make it through the end of the year is by gathering up all they have within them and grinding it out alone. Then three little words from a young Middle Eastern girl calls all of this into question…

Let Me Drown In It



One of my unique claims to fame is as a child I almost drowned in a Rock and Roll legend’s pool. Chuck Berry is a very distant relative of mine. So distant I’ve never even met him. But I did get a chance to swim in his pool. I was supposed to stay on the shallow side because that’s the place for those who cannot swim. The beach ball I was playing with just wouldn’t allow it. The ball flies across the buoyed line that separated the shallow from the deep. I pursued and began to sink. Then the hand of my uncle pulled me to safety. Saving me from being a footnote in Chuck Berry’s storied career. This experience reminds me as well of the safety of the shallow end of things…

Tips from a Messy Contemplative

MeditateI would love to talk about meditation and contemplative orientation from a place of perfection. I would love to land on the ground from levitating in the lotus position to tell of the richness of mindfulness practice from a place of certainty. But I can’t! I’m a father of two sons, the husband of a wife I strive to understand, and a spiritual teacher who most days feels more like a fraud than a competent witness. All of which are roles, which clutter my mind. In some ways I am the worst contemplative around. I remember being in the middle of a sermon shouting in this real bombastic voice about the importance of silence and didn’t grasp the irony of it until I sat down. I suck at silence. I once entered a retreat center introducing myself to a sweet unassuming nun who notified me in a tender tone just above a whisper that everyone there takes a vow of silence. And for the next 4-6 minutes I nervously explained to her how I totally get what that whole silence thing is about! It was a nightmare. When I enter into silence my mind begins to race. Distraction takes over far too often. And in the midst of my meditation I keep wondering, “How does that Dalai Lama dude do this!” I would love to talk about centeredness from a place of true competency. But I realize the “certain” mystic may be the worst spokesperson for contemplation these days. Hear from a voice that truly understands the time torn life. Hear from a guy that knows what it means to be event rich and time poor. Take a tip from a messy contemplative emphatically stating: Even bad meditation can transform your life.


Breathe III

Defining one’s self is rough. Knowing who I am and being comfortable with that guy has been a lifelong work it seems. I’ve moved from identity being defined by others to self-definition all the way to being defined by God. This is rough work. And it doesn’t help when identity get’s bruised by the occasional lady clutter her purse in the fear I might snatch it or when you see the constant barrage of negative images in the media of people clothed in my color of skin. Being stopped by police officers for merely driving while black is real and does real damage to the identity defining of those being stopped and frisked…