Day 2 of 40 Days of Story: What kind of world do you live in?

Today we explore the world of your desire[1]. The context to your story. The Where your quest begins, the place you live in as you want what you want.


It could be the crazy world of office cubicles, or the bizarro land of online dating, or perhaps your story begins in your monkey mind or broken heart.


Wherever it is, today you’re invited to be curious about that world. To pause. To see it anew.


Close your eyes and think: Opening scene.


If you were to invite others into this world of your desire–the context of your story–what would they see, feel, hear and smell (or not smell)?


Is this world hospitable to your desire or more combative? Here’s a harsh reality: there’s always something in your world stopping you from getting what you want. That’s the way stories work.


But today is about simply observing your world. Look for the opportunities and challenges the world of your desire holds…and its absurdities.


As I said, my desire in this season is to know and be known, love and be loved in deeper ways. So…one of the worlds of my desire resides in the cosmos of online dating apps. Swiping left on yet another profile picture of a man taking a selfie in a bathroom. Seriously, people. How did this become a thing? And yet, in my quest for authentic intimacy I must ever so briefly look at random strangers’ bathrooms. Absurd. And…in this Wild West of swiping I’ve also gone on some really fun dates, where I’ve met incredible men.


That’s the kind of world my desire lives in at the moment. What about yours?


So, here’s your exercise: Set your timer for 5 minutes and write or think about the kind of world you live in when it comes to your desire. You can go all concrete, and describe your office or your teen’s slightly smelly bedroom. But I’d also encourage you to think about the absurd and beautiful aspects of your world of desire. Write about it. Think about it. And if you’re game, tell me about it.


I can’t wait to hear. And if you’ve got your own funny on or off-line dating stories…please share that too!


[1] Day One we considered something we desired in this season. Out of the 100 stories you live in, what’s the one you most want to wake up to? What do you want you don’t have? What’s something that needs to be transformed?


40 Days of Story: Let’s wander, wonder together!

You fabulous friends…


I can’t resist inviting you on a 40-day adventure with me. Let’s call it a road trip of head + heart.


Forty days to be curious about our own stories–to wander around them, be in wonder of them, and make our home in the story we most desire.


Here’s my less than secret aim: May each of us find the story we most need to invigorate us to become more of who we are, and perhaps even bring us back to life again.


The format is simple. Each day I will pose a question that invites you to reflect on your own story. I am mainly working from a screenplay story structure. But as you know, few real life stories get sorted in 120 minutes. So there’s that. Expect mess.


The adventure can be as epic–or cinéma vérité -as you need it to be.  But let’s do this!


Here’s Day #1: What’s the story you most want to wake up to? 


Hint: We live our lives smack in the middle of 100 stories–often not even knowing it. So, what’s the one story you want to pay attention to during this season?

Let’s get at it this way:


Conflict drives a story. Desire defines it.


What do you desire to desire?


Perhaps it’s clear. You want to fight to make your marriage work, but even as that thought flashes you feel scared or cynical or exhausted by it. So maybe it doesn’t feel so clear. Or maybe you want to learn to paint, share more of your ideas at work, start to write again or learn to talk with your teenager?


As we begin this journey, it can be hard to name the one story out of the hundred we want to not only give our attention to but also our hopes. But great stories always entail great risks.


I’ll tell you this. These 40-days of story feel risky for me already. I’ve carved out a career of chasing and crafting other people’s stories. And I love it! I am made for it, good at it, dedicated to it. But here’s my confession: I often feel clumsy–utterly ill-equipped–to share mine. So, I want to pay attention to that.


But if I’m even more candid, there’s something else. I long to know and be known, love and be loved in deeper ways in this season.


And that’s the magic of story. You want one thing. And there ends up being something deeper behind it. But that’s for another day…when we talk about external and internal quest.


As I leave you on this Ash Wednesday, I can’t resist noting these 40 Days happen to be during Lent. You may or may not have any context to that. But it’s a nod to Jesus wandering in the wilderness for 40 days, and it ends as the epic of epics. His is a divine and earthy story of deep desire, crazy conflict, and ultimate choice. Life. Death. Resurrection.


It’s transformation. And that is at the heart of all stories.


So, let’s get to our beginning question one last way: What do you want to have transformed? Or, how do YOU want to be transformed?


That’s your story. Now tell me about it…if you dare.

What’s the soundtrack of your life, right now?

Take a moment.


Is there a song playing in your head? Maybe you have music coursing through your headphones at the moment or perhaps Starbucks has a particularly decent playlist going. Forget all that.


If you could say to your friend, your lover, your boss: Listen to this. This is my life, right now. What song would you play?


I have spent the past ten minutes flipping through my music library. I scoured my old school Over the Rhine and Ella Fitzgerald collections. I headed to Mumford and Sons. Is it Awake My Soul? Not quite. I have been playing Camila Cabello’s Havana on repeat for weeks as I’ve worked to finish a short documentary series on Cuba.


But the soundtrack of my life, right now?


If I asked you, “How are you really?” what song would you play me?


I’d play you Hymn for the Weekend by Coldplay. Definitely. I just needed time to discover—and remember—how I am really.


I listened to this song on repeat during a flight to Havana this summer. It was suppose to be the last shoot of that documentary series. I hadn’t slept for days in preparation for it. I was scared. I was sad. Those two emotions aren’t my norm nor my intimates.


But as I listened to that song, I entrusted myself to the hope in it…to the God of Hope in it. The shoot was a bit of a disaster up until the end. Nonetheless, the series has had a miraculous rescue. It’s better than I imagined.


Now the words of the song are a part of me. Yes, that’s me. Right now.


Oh, angel sent from up above
You know you make my world light up
When I was down, when I was hurt
You came to lift me up
Life is a drink and love’s a drug
Oh now I think I must be miles up
When I was a river dried up
You came to rain a flood


I feel buoyed by hope. I’m so grateful for the God of Hope’s rescue. And during such a tough recent season, I realized several friends have helped me live into this soundtrack…they’ve helped make it mine. What a gift!


And it’s got me thinking. We actually can help others own a better soundtrack for their lives. Right now.


Today, I can encourage a friend…perhaps even a stranger…to have a better soundtrack…one full of comfort or courage, grace or sultry love. Amazing.


So, cheers to that!


I’d love to hear what your soundtrack is, right now. And please do share if someone has helped make yours better…or you’ve done that for another recently.


I must admit, I’ve recently fallen head over heals for Hafiz. Here’s a little of his soundtrack.


I am

A hole in a flute

That the Christ’s breath moves through—

Listen to this Music.

–Hafiz, The Gift translated by Daniel Ladinsky




Makes the universe admit a


“I am

Really just a tambourine,

Grab hold,

Play me

Against your warm

Thigh.” –Hafiz, The Gift translated by Daniel Ladinsky


May music infuse your very being today. And may it be a dance party that welcomes others in.


3 Ways to Live to the Hilt + Embrace Rest in 2018

As we set out on the adventure of 2018, let’s make sure we know where our favorite rest stops are along the way. We’ll likely have no idea what kind of energy, sacrifice, and effort we’ll need to expend this year, but we can think about ways that are sure to refresh us.


Here are three ways I plan to replenish en route. I encourage you to identify and embrace yours this year.




I admit it. I am more and more distractible. Being surrounded by screens and bombarded with notifications my brain has become itchy. So, I’ve decided to do two things this year: 1) give myself screen-free breaks and 2) savor screen-free time with friends.


Give myself screen-free breaks. When I’ve needed a break from work, I’ve taken a few minutes to scroll through IG or FB, listen to NPR or even play a couple of rounds of solitaire on my phone. The change has been minimally helpful but rarely rejuvenating.


I go from my laptop to my phone and back again…seeing, hearing, interacting nonstop. That’s what an engaged individual in the 21st does, right? Yet, more and more evidence shows that our brains need boredom. We need time without external input so we have space to internally process our world—daydream, problem-solve, create and synthesize our memories.


Here’s an article on the link between boredom and creativity:


I’ve schedule two five-minute screen-free breaks a day. It’s such a small act, but I’m excited to reclaim a little boredom…and gain more creativity this year.


Savor screen-free time with friends. I recently visited several friends in Colorado. I noticed such a difference in the quality of connection when I had my phone out of sight. Whether it was snow-shoeing, being in a hot-tub or staying in a yurt, laughter multiplied and time felt elongated being in these offline settings with dear friends. It reminded me how important shared play and adventures are, even as an adult (or…especially as an adult).


Here are a couple of my favorite quotes and invitations to be more present:


For Presence

by John O’Donohue

Awaken to the mystery of being here

and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence

Have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.

Receive encouragement when new frontiers beckon.

Respond to the call of your gift and the courage to

follow its path.

Let the flame of anger free you of all falsity.

May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame.

May anxiety never linger about you.

May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul.

Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek

no attention.

Be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.

May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven

around the heart of wonder.

To Bless The Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings, Pg 42


“Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”― Jim Elliot




When do you feel most present—most present to others, to God, to yourself? Are there places or people that invite you to a deeper sense of rest? How might you invest more time this year with those people and in those places?


I’d love to hear about that and any practices you have to cultivate presence. Do share!




The more I breathe the air of the Information Age and move about in a world where IRL has be identified, I need wonder. I need more and more wonder.


Surprise me with a small, generous gesture. Give me beauty and grandeur to recalibrate my soul.


Let’s get out of the office, the house, the shopping mall for five-minutes and look up together. Find figures in the clouds. Spot a hawk. Hear the sky tell us a story. I need that. I want that.


This year I’ve committed myself to a few ways of chasing wonder.

Nature. I crave motion in the great outdoors. Admittedly, I go stir-crazy without it. But it’s not simply that. My thoughts tend to get crisper, my prayers more honest and my heart more at rest when I’m in nature. So, I’m trying to get time outside five days a week…no matter how cold it is (burrr).

Children. There are few things on earth like the laughter of children. While I’m not a mom (though have longed to be), children have a way of grounding me in wonder…whether it’s chasing them, or spinning them around, or hearing about their day. I’m so grateful for friends who have welcomed me into the lives of their children. I’m committed to showing up to that invitation—and all the contagious laughter that goes with it—as much as I can this year.


Reflection. I’m trying to end each day with a couple of moments to reflect on where I experienced wonder and also how I experienced disruption. This helps me remember wonder—and pause again to give thanks. I’ve also added a practice of noting any conflict or frustration. The hope is to try to deal with and release each day’s disruption to make more room for tomorrow’s wonder.


Here are a couple of quotes from two people well acquainted with wonder:


“I have one talent, and that is the capacity to be tremendously surprised, surprised at life, at ideas. This is to me the supreme Hasidic imperative: Don’t be old. Don’t be stale.” ― Abraham Joshua Heschel


“The multiplicity of forms! The hummingbird,

the fox, the raven, the sparrow hawk, the

otter, the dragonfly, the water lily! And

on and on. It must be a great disappointment

to God if we are not dazzled at least ten

times a day.” — Mary Oliver, Good Morning




When\where\with whom do you tend to experience wonder? When was the last time you were so lost in beauty, laughter or reverie that you simultaneously lost self-awareness and yet felt fully yourself?




To me, gratitude is like Golden Hour. It softens, beautifies and can even magically transform situations.

I’m trying to start every day with “Thank you.” “Thank you” whispered to God. “Thank you” written out in my journal pages. “Thank you” said when reading Scripture and making my coffee. “Thank you” texts to dear friends and those I go on dates with, even if they’re one-date-dates. “Thank you” to cashiers and kind kids and people in traffic. And I find when I start my day off with “Thank you” the gratitude tends flow more naturally the rest of the day.


And, when I’m disappointed, frustrated or angry with someone…or myself, I am attempting to pause first. Before I rant and react, I try to think about my appreciation for that person…or myself. It’s not that disappointment, frustration and anger aren’t valid emotions to have but they’re not as good at illuminating an entire scene as gratitude (that Golden Hour).


Here are a few odes to thankfulness:


“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” —G. K. Chesterton


“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” —Zig Ziglar


“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” —Oprah Winfrey

“Bless the notebook that I always carry in

my pocket.

And the pen.

Bless the words with which I try to say

what I see, think, or feel.

With gratitude for the grace of the earth.

The expected and the exception, both.

For all the hours I have been given to

be in this world.”

Mary Oliver, Good Morning




Perhaps you too find gratitude to invigorate you as well. Maybe you have different ways of thinking about it, practicing it, expressing it. I’d love to hear. I’d also enjoy finding out what other ways you plan to refresh yourself this year.


Whatever ways you chose to re-energize en route, may rest, joy and meaning mark your 2018. Cheers to life abundantly. May you live it to the hilt!

Page 10 of 22« First...89101112...20...Last »