Be Still

Be Still is ready for you!

Here's the link: http://bit.ly/bestillmay2018

Also - here's a cool resource for families about unplugging this summer: 


God soup

Source: Unsplash
When encountering a faith community or person whose spiritual life is different from your own, it doesn’t seem helpful to start from a place of judgment. Instead, what if we opt to begin from a place of compassion? What if we start by simply acknowledging the reality that there are different ways to see the world and make sense of it? 
Let me say concretely: this approach doesn’t mean we all need to passively adopt one another’s perspectives. Far from it! No one is asking us to just combine all our beliefs, creeds, and commitments into one big bowl so we’re left with a bland pot of God stew. No thanks. I don’t want to eat that soup, and I doubt you do either.
-A passage from this week's Post-Bulletin column; here's the link to the full reflection 


Spiritual Practice of Worship

The last stop of the Lenten series! Worship as a spiritual practice. 

This year's Lenten series for the Post-Bulletin focused on spiritual practices. It was such a meaningful journey for me and I pray for readers, too. The interviews and visits and experiences that led to the composition of the series were all a true blessing, and I am so grateful to all who participated. 


Spiritual practice of Silence

Good afternoon! Thanks to all who have signed up for my new forthcoming monthly newsletter "Be Still." If you'd like to receive it in your inbox, just visit http://www.emilyannecarson.com and click the button! The first edition will be coming out in the not-too-distant future.

Here's a link to this week's Post-Bulletin column about the spiritual practice of silence: link. There's one week left in the series! It has been a wonderful adventure; I've really appreciated the opportunity to connect with so many awesome folks in our community.


Transition to Digital Newsletter

Hey friends,

I'm transitioning from blogging to creating of monthly digital newsletter. Sign up by visiting http://www.emilyannecarson.com and then hitting the newsletter button.

The monthly newsletter will be called "Be Still" with content related to spiritual practices, photography, contemplation, books, and music!

I spend a lot of my work days at a computer living out my vocation in ways that I find really meaningful and fulfilling. But with so much screen time, I'm feeling a pull to spend less of my non-working hours on a computer/cell phone. And, quite honestly, with the current rhythms of life and freelance writing and other responsibilities, I'm having a hard time fitting blogging into my routines in a way that doesn't just feel like I'm posting randomly for the sake of posting so I can stay connected to you!

Then I remembered: Hey Emily, there are other ways to stay connected! How about a chill, thoughtful monthly newsletter! Yes! Let's do that! 

Blogging will still be in the background (especially to share columns and #powersheets and that kind of thing) but I think...at least for a time, this new newsletter might be a way for me to write and stay without having to be on a computer/cell phone every day in my non-working time.

I hope you'll sign-up and join me!



Winter Scenes

Some snaps from a recent winter hike with Finn and Justin...(and an eagle).


This week's column

"The biggest roadblock for most meditators is the inner voice that says “I can’t sit still,” “I’m too lazy,” “I don’t have time,” and so on. Actually, the more you believe that you don’t have the time to meditate, the more you really do need to meditate." - Doug McGill in this week's Post-Bulletin column. The spiritual practice we're exploring this week is meditation. Here's the link: http://bit.ly/31018pb.


Holy Everything Reads: Option B

Let me tell you about the book Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant.

It's my book group pick this year for the book group I rejoined a few months ago (whoo-hoo! love those ladies), so I wanted to get it read early so I could start chewing on some discussion questions.

Sheryl Sandberg is the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook. She's also the author of Lean In and mother of two young children. In 2015, her husband Dave died suddenly while they were on vacation in Mexico. He was in his mid-40s. Sandberg writes Option B out of a very authentic, vulnerable place. It's her story and personal learnings alongside real research and psychology.

She is so very self-aware in her writing. She admits that after Dave's death, she and her children had access to many resources that the average person doesn't have. Nevertheless, grief and death are still so hard...so matter how much wealth or power you have amassed.

It's so very inspiring to me that she took at the things she learned about adversity, resilience and joy and boiled it down into a resource that accessible to all. This book would be an especially helpful read if #1) you're in the midst of a major life transition or trauma, #2) you know someone who is, or #3) you work with other people and want to be a more compassion human.

So basically everyone would benefit from this book because everyone experiences adversity in life! And most of us go through periods of very intense challenge and adversity somewhere along the way.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book with the bolded ones being the quotes I found most personally impactful:
-Grief is a demanding companion.

-Resilience is the strength and speed of our response to adversity—and we can build it. It isn’t about having a backbone. It’s about strengthening the muscles around our backbone.

-The sad truth is that adversity is not evenly distributed among us; marginalized and disenfranchised groups have more to battle and more to grieve.

-Three P’s can stunt recovery: (1) personalization—the belief that we are at fault; (2) pervasiveness—the belief that an event will affect all areas of our life; and (3) permanence—the belief that the aftershocks of the event will last forever.

-He suggests that “the most powerful thing you can do is acknowledge. To literally say the words: I acknowledge your pain. I’m here with you.”

-There are two different emotional responses to the pain of others: empathy, which motivates us to help, and distress, which motivates us to avoid.

-There’s no one way to grieve and there’s no one way to comfort.

-Psychologist Kristin Neff describes self-compassion as offering the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to a friend. It allows us to respond to our own errors with concern and understanding rather than criticism and shame.

-Self-compassion is associated with greater happiness and satisfaction, fewer emotional difficulties, and less anxiety.

-In a more recent study, people spent five to ten minutes a day writing about things that went “really well” and why; within three weeks, their stress levels dropped, as did their mental and physical health complaints.

-“When we are no longer able to change a situation,” psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl observed, “we are challenged to change ourselves.”

-“I am more vulnerable than I thought, but much stronger than I ever imagined.”

-In Viktor Frankl’s words, “In some way, suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning.”

-Although it can be extremely difficult to grasp, the disappearance of one possible self can free us to imagine a new possible self.
-“How we spend our days,” author Annie Dillard writes, is “how we spend our lives.”