Saturday, February 28, 2015

Keep Pressing or Stay Pressed

Would it not be fair to say that attitudes in this world are not changed abstractly, as it were, by reading something-that attitudes are partly the result of working, the result of action?
(Justice Felix Frankfurter to Attorney S. Emory Rogers during a Brown v. Board of Education proceeding, as cited in  Richard Kluger's Simple Justice )
     My friend has a saying that, to me, is very apt at describing getting caught up in superficial issues: staying pressed.  Recently, a phrase popped in my head incorporates this idea: Keep pressing or stay pressed. There's a lot of talk these days about attitude being a choice. For your humble blogger, it is the effort implicated in this choice and the reason behind getting preoccupied  that is intriguing when thinking about the subject. Even more so, it shines an important light on the necessity of perseverance.
   An insightful perspective on this comes from Fr. Slavko Barbaric in his book Fasting with the Heart. He notes that "Man's entire life and all of his activity can be seen from the standpoint of a pilgrimage." (p. 56).  On it, "He journeys toward his fullness and the final truth about himself..." (56-57).  When one loses focus on this fact, Fr. Barbaric asserts,  "He stops on the way and destroys himself in the anxious concerns of the world"(57). 
     In terms of the word "pressing", using it as an analogy for life as a pilgrimage can be quite helpful, when thinking about it. The very act connotes a particular goal as well as agency in performing the action. It also implies the use of something heavy to achieve the goal. In a positive light, this could mean using the heaviness of the bad times in our lives to get to the fullness Fr. Barbaric speaks of. Losing track of that usually means being on the receiving end of the iron.
     Implicated in all of this is the will. In many instances, will is mentioned when talking about pilgrimage. That's given, as philosophy notes, action begins in the will. Hence, an important chain begins.
     Will leads to action. Action leads to attitude. Attitude shapes the journey. The journey is everything.
     Keep pressing.
Barbaric, Slavko., Fast with the Heart (Medugorje: IC "Mir" Medugorje, 2011).
Kluger, Richard. Simple Justice (New York: Vintage Books, 1975).

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Big Picture Thinking

The big picture
Gotta big white cloud
The big picture
Starin’ at me
The big picture
On a big blank wall
The big picture
Is starin’ at me
Starin’ at me When i can see
I’ll try again
I’ve got my paints
(Lyrics from The Big Picture by Y Kant Tori Read. Source:

 For many reading this, being well into the new year has probably meant rethinking resolutions, coming close to giving them up, or finally forming some goals. In thinking about such situations, your humble blogger was reminded of a conversation from the not to distant past.  In that conversation, the term "big picture thinking" arose. The question thus posed for this post is "How does big picture thinking fit in to forming or keeping goals, or in life in general?".

It seems to be too easy to get caught up in the various steps to get to a goal that the main point gets lost. All too often the results overshadow the why. What would happen if the focus shifted towards the whole and away from the sum of its parts? Perhaps it's there where the real fruit is borne.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Food for thought

Once again,  your humble blogger  had some issues with what to share for the new post. As mentioned before,  I like to share as much original content as possible.  Sometimes, however, great insights that have already been shared are worth repeating.  Hence,  this shall be left here to ponder:

Peace and blessings this Holiday season.

Ms . RanaDee

Saturday, November 8, 2014

About (not too distant) history

Sometimes,  something tangible is needed to make history come alive.  Sometimes,  it's important to understand history as not just events that happened in the past, but real things that happened to real people and have real impacts on our society today.  Sometimes, no words are necessary,  so your humble blogger will leave this link here.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Cast out into the deep

After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”
Luke 5:4
(Source: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
This may not be a new concept (obviously), but your humble blogger felt it was worth reiterating.  Sometimes, it seems like there are times when the most significant impact one they can make in their life for the good is to do a total overhaul in an area that needs improvement. It means doing a full step outside one's comfort zone. Baby steps can sometimes leave room for resistance to kick in. It means being the bird that get kicked out of it's nest to learn to fly. Easy? No, but oftentimes the risk is worth the reward. In full transparency, it's a lesson yours truly is learning.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Scale it Back

Proverbs 4:26
Survey the path for your feet, and all your ways will be sure
There is a verse from a prayer of St. Bridget of Sweden portrayed in the EWTN series Parable that always seems to strike me:
In delay, there is danger, but in haste, there is likewise peril.
In our hustle-bustle world, such words seem all to timely. It is so easy to get caught up in what we're doing that no time is taken out to actually survey how things are going or what's the next step to take. such moments can lead to confusion or frustration.  Your humble blogger's method of thwarting such situations aforementioned is to say under my breath "Scale it back.".  This means to take a moment, pause, and analyze the situation.   Most importantly, it's a self-exhortation to slow things down enough to properly execute the task at hand.

Whatever the endeavor, the natural tendency to dive right into a project or procrastinate can result in sloppy work.  For the former, it can include imputting all the ideas which pop in your mind, some of which might not be the best.  The latter can risk good ideas slipping away that could otherwise be utilized. Allowing a moment to look at things from a different perspective helps one to get a fresh insight into what's going on.
Let's face it-life can get too hectic at times for our own good.  Sometimes our hands can't keep up with our brains.  With modern society as it is, doing is a major part of life.  If anything's worth doing, it's worth doing right.  That means putting in the time to do it right.  Pausing for the cause can help one do, like the introductory proverb in this piece suggests, step back for a look at where your at and where you're going.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Being There

Kanye West has a line in one of his songs to the effect of  "My presence is a present". Despite the cocky context in which this line was delivered (and, in all honesty, the one who delivered it), there seems to be an underlying reality-that our presence is one of the most important things we can offer another person.  The basis of this is not so much that we are special in and of ourselves. It is rooted in the dignity of being human.

Whether or not one believes in a higher power, nature saw fit for each person on this Earth to be born, grow, and commune with others.  Yet, as St. Teresa of Avila said, "All things are passing". That includes us as well.  Given our limited time on this planet, being present to someone acknowledges their existence as a fellow human. It shows that it's not all about you, that others are just as deserving of time and attention.  As, in the words of Thundercat, "seasons will change and black hair turns gray", our presence is the very least we can offer someone else. At the end of the day, it's all we really have.