Our minds are like puppies.

Our minds are like puppies. If we don’t train them they will go everywhere. It is like the difference between the German words “fressen” and “essen”. One is like how an animal eats, the other is like how humans eat. Both are satisfying your needs, but one is civilized and under control.

What is helping me gain control of my mind is prayer. Just like how prayer helps me be mindful and focus before a meal, it is helping me before everything else.

God is the potter and I am the clay. Clay is only useful to the potter if it is flexible and pliable. Then it is fired – a hard process on the clay, to be sure. Then it becomes a vessel, able to hold what is necessary.

We all need water but it is the cup that holds it. The cup does not nourish or refresh but it carries what does. Likewise, we are merely vessels for the love of God. We are to carry it to others and share it.

Sure I slip in my routine. I forget how important discipline (being a disciple) is. Then I have to return to my routine, my order, to become civilized again. I repent (return). With some parts of my routine I slip daily, even hourly. I am not fully in alignment.

The mustard seed idea helps me. The fact that I desire to do it means that (a) God wants me to do it and (b) it is possible. So sometimes I jump a few steps ahead, saying if God wills it then I’m already there. Not that I believe it could possibly one day occur but that it is a reality that I just haven’t lived into yet.

You know how you plan to go on a trip, and you pack and prepare for it? You have a goal in mind and you work towards that goal. All your efforts are directed there – you buy your tickets, pack, and read up on the place you are going for ideas of things to do when you get there. You might save up money in the months before the trip. Everything you do is directed towards that goal. You aren’t there yet but you know you are going. Then one day you are there. It didn’t just happen. Any life goal is the same.

Addresses?

Am I the only person who needs an address when being invited to an event?

I don’t know if it is a Nashville thing, or a Southern thing, or just a thoughtless thing, but I keep seeing invitations to events and they tell the name of the place but not the address.

There was a medieval group I belonged to that had its meetings “at the Shoney’s near Opryland.” This was the information on the group’s website, open to members and nonmembers. That line tells me nothing. I had never been to Opryland. I didn’t know where it was in relation to where I live, and I certainly didn’t know where the Shoney’s was in relation to that. I understand that Opryland is huge, so the Shoney’s could be anywhere around there. I finally figured it out by going to the Shoney’s website, looking up the addresses of all the Shoney’s in Nashville, then looking up the address of Opryland and comparing.

Is it so hard to put the street address?

Think of how many people might have been interested in joining this group who didn’t because they didn’t know where to meet. Then, once the person is inside the Shoney’s, where do they go? Further directions need to state something like “In the group meeting room” or “ask for the SCA group”.

Don’t assume. If people knew where you were meeting, they wouldn’t need to look it up on the website.

In Nashville, they often tell you where something is by the name of the building and not the address. “The concert is at the War Memorial Building”. This is useless. It might be at “Citizen’s Plaza” or “The TPAC building”. Lots of buildings downtown have names apparently. They also have addresses, but event organizers never share them.

If you want more people to go to your event, give as much information as possible. Assume your audience isn’t from around there. Think about it from their perspective. Sure, you are in the middle of this event and you know all about it, but they don’t. If you want it to be a success, share as much as possible. Oversharing is better than undersharing.

Tell the exact street address. Don’t just give a name of the site. Give that too, but not just that. Provide a map if possible.

Tell what the age range is. Are children allowed? If it is adults only, do you have babysitting arranged on site? It is only for children?

Is there a fee? How much? What payment forms are allowed? If you only take cash, tell that. Plenty of people don’t carry cash these days.

When will it start and end?

Is there a form that participants will need to print out and bring with them?

Are there any special things that participants need to bring – food, musical instruments, chairs?

You will avoid a lot of frustration if you tell people as much as you can. Assume (correctly) that they know nothing about what you are planning, and share it. Sure, there is only so much you can put on a flyer. You could put a link on your flyer, but not everybody has access to the internet all the time. Take the time and the space and put as much as you can on there. And give a contact phone number and a name.

If you don’t have enough information on your event page, you might as well not have the event.

Intention – goals, Alice, and English roundabouts.

At the beginning of some yoga classes the teacher will invite you to set an intention. This is a prayer, or a hope, or a goal. It is a focus point. It is a way of aiming yourself in the right direction.

I offer you this insight from “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”

Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don’t much care where…
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.
Alice: …so long as I get somewhere.
The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.

So you need to set an intention, otherwise you’ll end up just anywhere. You’ll wander off aimlessly and end up years later wondering how you got there. You got there because you drifted along with the stream.

Sometimes it isn’t planning to fail, but failing to plan that is the problem.

This is true mentally and physically. Where do you want to go? Do you have a business plan? Do you have a career plan? Do you have a spiritual plan? This isn’t about the “name it and claim it” trend – it is about being awake and intentional about life. I don’t believe in “wish-craft”. I do believe that everything worth having in life is made up of little tiny steps. You have to have a plan, and you have to work towards that.

Neil Gaiman in his “Make Good Art” book said that when he first started out he envisioned where he wanted to be as a mountain. He’d look at whatever job was offered him and measure it up as to whether it moved him closer to the mountain or further away. This seems like a good idea. Does this little thing get me closer to where I want to be?

Life is cumulative. A college degree is made up of many classes and many tests. It didn’t happen overnight. It took a lot of little steps, going towards a goal. Everything built on top of everything. If you took a class and read a book and attended a lecture on your own with no goal in mind, you might learn something but it wouldn’t add up to anything specific. You will have frittered away your time, aimlessly wandering. You’d end up nowhere, lost.

This reminds me of when I was on a trip in England with my aunt. She was driving and I was navigating. I’d give directions as to what leg of the roundabout to take and she’d sometimes pay attention. She’d take the third leg instead of the fourth and we’d be hurtling down, getting further and further away from where we wanted to be. English roundabouts aren’t like American interstates. If you get off on the wrong one you can’t turn around and right yourself anytime soon. You’ll be at least thirty minutes away down the wrong road before you get to another roundabout where you can reorient yourself. She could have stayed in the roundabout, going around again to aim at the correct leg, but she didn’t. This happened a lot.

After several days of this I relinquished my role as navigatrix. Why bother telling her where to go when she was going to ignore me anyway?

So, my point is to aim. Plan ahead. Have some idea of where you want to go, because either you’ll stay stuck where you are, or you’ll end up really far away from your goal. What do you want to be doing ten years from now? How are you going to get there? Sometimes it takes baby steps in that direction. Just keep aiming that way, keep walking.

And don’t get in a car with my aunt.