With Franciscan Eyes

I Am That I Am

I Am That I Am

I am that I am.
I am not the body.
I am not the emotions.
I am not the thoughts.
I am not the mind.
The mind is only a subtle
instrument of the soul.
I am the soul. 

I am a spiritual being of
Divine intelligence,
Divine love, Divine power.
I am one with the higher soul.
I am that I am. 

I am one with the Divine spark.
I am a child of God.
I am connected with God.
I am one with God. I am one with all.


Slowing Down Our Life

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The American culture we live in values speed and getting things done quickly. Doing is more valuable than being, thus our hurried pace. The more we do, the faster we do it and that makes us feel harried and disconnected. I often wonder why we continue to live in this way if it makes us feel agitated and hectic. When we hurry through life we miss the simple wonders around us. Rushing through activities can diminish the quality of our work and relationships.

So how can we solve this dilemma we are in? Here are some tips that might be helpful. Relish your morning and evening rituals such as brushing your teeth and showering. Eat your meals with intentionality. Really taste what you are eating. Live each moment consciously and deliberately. You will find that brings greater pleasure and peace when you do. Stay in touch with yourself. Do some soul-searching, meditation and journaling. Take time to think and reflect, nurture yourself and savor moments with friends. Spend time with people who seem to live a simple life at a slower pace. Learn from them.  Doing things in a relaxed manner will open your mind and heart to deeper levels of awareness which will make you feel more alive. Slowing down allows you to savor your experiences and will help you to fully focus on the task at hand. Make time for stillness, silence and solitude. We don’t have to be doing something all the time.

All the above seems easy but it is not, especially when everyone around you is rushing at a frantic pace.  It takes practice and discipline. The secret is being conscious and aware. If you have that, you can catch yourself when you are rushing through life. Once you take notice, then you can do something about it. We all have only one life to live. That does not mean we have to always be in a hurry to experience everything. No, it means we want to live our life with meaning and purpose, consciously and deliberately which eventually brings peace and contentment. 

It's Now or Never

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“It’s now or never” goes a song popular many years ago. Just those few words seem like an interesting mantra as we swing into 2024. A common practice is to look back on the old year and recall all that happened over the past 365 days—the good, the challenging, and the not-so-good.  And, of course, looking ahead, there are those New Year’s resolutions that seem to collapse on themselves in no time.

So, this year, what if we took a different view and focused on the NOW. Josh Baran in his book entitled, The Tao of Now: Daily Wisdom from Mystics, Sages, Poets, and Saints, offers some insightful word-bites that can shake us into a clearer understanding of why living in the now makes perfect sense:

  • Wherever you are is the sacred place.
  • Were you planning to wait for tomorrow to be alive?
  • People often say, “Life is passing me by.  How is this possible with life always unfolding in this precise instant?
  • You are always Here. Where else could you be? What a relief.
  • Finally, it has penetrated my thick skull. This life—this moment—is no dress rehearsal.  This is it.
  • Listen to your life. All moments are key moments.
  • What are you waiting for?
  • Fill in the blank: “I will be happy when ______.” Really?

Even Albert Einstein weighs in on the value of now: “There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Pearl Bailey is attributed with saying, “People see God every day; they just don’t recognize him.” And of course, in the Book of Exodus we’re to simply look down: “Take off your shoes. The ground where you stand is holy ground.”

Famous Brother Lawrence of the 17th century offers us a prayerful approach to being in the now through the practice of the Presence of God. He writes: “Make a sacred and intentional decision now, never to leave God willingly, and to live the rest of your life in this holy presence…. Start where you are. Do your best.” I was especially consoled by his words to those of us in our “mature” years: “Practice the presence diligently in your last days. Better late than never.”

So, as we step into this new year, perhaps we can be aware of what is happening right NOW and keep it simple. God is here. It’s a miracle. This is it! Happy New Year!