Tag Archives: self improvement

Positive Practices for Mental Health Based on Your Enneagram Type | Types 7, 8, and 9

If you’ve been following along in this series (first post HERE), I’ve been really into reading about the ENNEAGRAM lately. This has brought about a desire to use the knowledge I’ve gained about my type to help me get through all the ways this crazy world we’re living in is bringing about anxiety/stress. What I’ve found has been wildly helpful!

Again, if you’re totally new to the enneagram, I would encourage you to check out some of the great resources available online about the types and how to type yourself.  I’d also recommend checking out Beatrice Chestnut’s book The Complete Enneagram, as well as The Honest Enneagram by Sarajane Case (who also has an instagram account and a podcast).

If you too have been obsessing about all things enneagram as of late, consider identifying some of the downfalls inherent in your type and then adopting a few positive life-practices to help you combat them.

To help, I’ve listed some examples below based on my readings of each type. I’m not saying these are the ones you should go with — they’re just a jumping-off point. They might not ring true for you and where you’re at or how you show up as an individual type. They are simply meant to inspire you to find a few of your OWN practices!

Today let’s talk about TYPES SEVEN, EIGHT, & NINE —

Enneagram Type Seven:

Positive Practice #1 – As different impulses and desires pop into your head, write them in a journal.

Get in the habit of recognizing your impulses by taking the time to jot them down in a journal. Instead of acting immediately upon each of your desires, this will give you the chance to reflect and evaluate whether it is something that will truly bring you happiness. Learning which impulses are worth acting on will take time, but the fun thing about having a written record of them is that you’ll be able to notice trends. Are you more likely to crave a certain thing when you’re upset? Are you procrastinating? Finding these trends can help you sort out what’s really good for you and what’s a distraction.

Positive Practice #2 – Reserve some time each week to “single task” or to do something you enjoy without external stimulation. 

Sevens can sometimes mask their anxieties by surrounding themselves with people. If no people are available, they might pop on the television or turn the music way up. But welcoming some silence, or at least some alone time, will help a seven to trust themselves and their feelings. To make this easier, schedule something that you truly love doing so you won’t mind doing it by yourself. And if possible, leave the TV set off and the headphones at home.

Positive Practice #3 – Set long-term visions and then work backwards to turn them into a plan.

A seven may go after a goal full speed ahead without thinking about the long-term consequences. To mitigate against possible disappointments or unhappiness, sevens may need to take a different approach when it comes to goal setting. You’re very good at going after things and getting what you want — and that’s a good thing! But what you achieved may not be what you want forever. So when goal-setting, cast a vision for your future. What do you want your life to look like in five, ten, twenty years — we’re talking the whole picture here. Now work in reverse to develop the plan that will help you achieve that vision.

Enneagram Type Eight:

Positive Practice #1 – Practice letting others take the lead when in low stakes situations.

Here’s the deal — eights love taking control of a situation and exerting their power. However, if you want true loyalty and security from the people around you, it means showing them you don’t always have to be at the front of the pack. Identify areas of your life or decisions that you feel are low stakes enough that you’re happy to be a follower instead of a leader. This will be different for everyone, but will go a long way in securing trust from others.

Positive Practice #2 – Say yes to opportunities that allow you to inspire and uplift other people. 

While eights are self-reliant and independent, they feel most powerful when they’re able to energize and encourage other people. Even better if they’re able to help others through a crisis. Eights can be “yes people” so it can be helpful for you to filter through requests by asking yourself if this opportunity will allow you to motivate, encourage, and inspire. If so, go for it!

Positive Practice #3 – Find ways to include others in your successes and celebrate them. 

Again, because you’re independent and have a perception of yourself as the leader of the pack, you may not take time to recognize the people that have helped you when you achieve something great. But as we all know, it’s lonely at the top. You’ll enjoy yourself so much more in the happy times if you make a point to recognize the contributions of others and include them in celebrations. Think: going out to dinner with the whole team when you snag that big deal.

Enneagram Type Nine:

Positive Practice #1 – Get in the habit of making decisions or forming opinions on your own so you can stick to them when you’re with others. 

Nines have a tendency to go along with the group majority. They love to keep the peace and make sure everyone is getting along, so why rock the boat? However, a true relationship means showing up as yourself — even if you disagree on something. Because your instinct is to follow the crowd, take some time before you’re in said crowd to sit with yourself and form your own opinions. This way when someone asks what restaurant you want to eat at, you won’t have to respond with, “Whatever everybody else decides is fine!”

Positive Practice #2 – Send follow-ups after big group conversations to encourage yourself to stay focused. 

Because nines are in the habit of not exerting themselves socially, they can sometimes tune other people out, disengage, and start to day dream. To stay focused as an active participant, set a challenge for yourself that you have to send at least one follow-up after a group social engagement pertaining to the conversations that were had. Something as simple as “You mentioned xyz the other night so I thought you might enjoy this article on abc” is not difficult to do, but setting this goal will help you pay closer attention when in big groups.

Positive Practice #3 – Schedule regular cardio and strength sessions. 

Exercise can help you play out emotions you might be suppressing. For nines, that emotion is often anger. What better way to get out aggression in a healthy way than by strapping on sneakers to pound the pavement or lifting heavy dumbbells? Regular exercise can also help a nine with body awareness, concentration, and self-discipline.

P.S. Enneagram Types 1 – 3, right this way! Are you an Enneagram Type 4 – 6? Check out this post.

Positive Practices for Mental Health Based on Your Enneagram Type | Types 4, 5, and 6

As I mentioned in the first post in this series (HERE), I’ve been really into reading about the ENNEAGRAM lately. This has brought about a desire to use the knowledge I’ve gained about my type to help me get through all the ways this crazy world we’re living in is bringing about anxiety/stress. What I’ve found has been wildly helpful!

Again, if you’re totally new to the enneagram, I would encourage you to check out some of the great resources available online about the types and how to type yourself.  I’d also recommend checking out Beatrice Chestnut’s book The Complete Enneagram, as well as The Honest Enneagram by Sarajane Case (who also has an instagram account and a podcast).

If the enneagram is old hat to you, consider identifying some of the downfalls inherent in your type and then adopting a few positive life-practices to help you combat them.

To help, I’ve come up with a few examples based on my readings about each type. I’m not saying these are the ones you should go with — they’re just ideas. They might not ring true for you and where you’re at or how you show up as an individual type. They are simply meant to inspire you to find a few of your OWN practices based on your type!

Today let’s talk about TYPES FOUR, FIVE, & SIX —

Enneagram Type Four:

Positive Practice #1 – Set working hours and stick to them. (Sleep schedule and exercising regularly are of equal importance.)

Fours often find these two things to be true — 1) they prefer to do things when they’re “in the mood” and 2) they are actually happiest when they’re working (ie. realizing their full potential). This leads to a rather classic self-sabotage — not being “in the mood” to work but then being unhappy because of not working. You won’t find that full potential, or happiness, just waiting around for inspiration to strike. (And while you’re at it, set a sleep and exercise schedule too. Self-discipline works well for a four, who values individuality and freedom, because THEY are making the rules. Use this to your advantage!)

Positive Practice #2 – Small actions will eventually snowball — break your to-do list down accordingly.

You are very in tune with your feelings and view most things through the lens of how they make you feel. Getting things done or helping a loved one creates enormous reactions and emotions from a four. But in the same way, a really big task will create a huge sense of overwhelm and thus, inaction. When looking at tasks that aren’t broken down into smaller chunks, you might get the sense that you don’t have your life together and you never will. But starting small and working through things step by step allow you to feel productive and good.

Positive Practice #3 – Get in the practice of cutting off the “rehearsals” in your head.

As a four you have a very active imagination! This is super helpful to so many things and a huge part of what makes you YOU. But it can start to be harmful when you let the conversations in your imagination run wild — especially if those conversations are excessively negative. You start thinking about what you would say to someone, how you could hurt them, or who is talking about you behind your back and what they’re saying. When you notice this is happening is there something that can help pull you back into reality?

Enneagram Type Five:

Positive Practice #1 – Adopt both a breath practice (meditation or yoga) and movement practice (jogging, dancing, etc).

Fives can be really intense and a little bit high-strung. You might find it difficult to relax because you have so much nervous energy pent up inside of you. Exercise that’s more cardio focused, like running or dancing, can help you chill out in a healthy way. A movement practice gives all that energy a place to go. You might even find that daily exercise is key to achieving the chill time you need. But balancing a regular fast-paced workout with an occasional focus on breath, even if it’s just 2 minutes of meditation to start your morning, can be super grounding for fives.

Positive Practice #2 – Invest time into one or two intimate friendships and seek their advice and counsel regularly.

Schedule get-togethers with your close friendships on a routine basis so that you’re more likely to follow up. As a five, you might prefer isolation. Especially if you sense the possibility of conflict. Because fives are careful about who they trust and open up to, navigating a ton of surface-level friendships and acquaintances isn’t always worth it to you. So invest your time and energy into just a few and work to build these relationships to a point where you feel comfortable working through the inevitable conflict that could arise. Ask these close friends if you could set up a weekly dinner date with them; get it on the calendar.

Positive Practice #3 – It is easy to get carried away with all your developing interests — set aside time for research and time for action.

Sticking with the scheduling theme, fives might find it helpful to block off time to let their whims run wild. A five loves a rabbit hole and will research new subjects all the time. But this can become a distraction to their day-to-day accomplishments. If, instead, you have set times during your week to explore whatever your heart desires, it can be easier to keep trucking through your to-do list when a great idea hits you. You’ll know that you have plenty of time to look into this new interest at 5 o’clock or whenever your planned research time happens to be.

Enneagram Type Six:

Positive Practice #1 – Channel your anxiety into productivity and creativity.

When sixes are able to reassure themselves that their anxieties are normal, they can be more present within their tensions. Their anxieties can become almost energizing. When anxiety crops up, sixes should turn to their to-do lists and creative pursuits. Have outlets at the ready — like a bin of craft supplies or tools for an ongoing home renovation project. When your brain starts rolling out worst case scenarios, acknowledge them, and then pick up the paintbrush or screwdriver.

Positive Practice #2 – Start a self-love journal where you can write down things you like about yourself and things in your life that make you happy.

Sixes can be extremely pessimistic when they let self-doubt and negative thought patterns take over. As a six, you might project what’s going on in your head on reality. To encourage a positive outlook, begin to identify the positives in your everyday life. Reflecting on the things that are going right in your world will help you start to cast that vision on a wider scale and negate your glass half empty tendencies.

Positive Practice #3 – Be intentional with showing people your appreciation for them.

Think: texting your best friend how much she means to you, sending a card to your mom just because, or taking your kid out to eat one-on-one when they’ve done something you value. Sixes are very skilled at getting people to like them, and because of this (plus, fears of rejection), aren’t always overt or vocal about their feelings and commitments. Challenge yourself to show someone how you feel about them at least once a week.

Ok, enneagram-obsessed loves! I hope this helps you use the information about your type to your advantage. It might take you a while to settle on the practices you want to adopt, and that’s ok! Once you do, I know they’re going to have a positive impact on your life! xoxo

Keep an eye out for the final post in this series where we’ll explore Types 7, 8, and 9! Thanks for reading!!! 

P.S. Are you a Type 1, 2, or 3 and you missed my last enneagram post?? No worries. You can read it HERE! xoxo

Positive Practices for Mental Health Based on Your Enneagram Type | Types 1, 2, and 3

During the last few months of lock-down/quarantine/(whatever you want to call it), I’ve done a lot of reading about the ENNEAGRAM. This isn’t necessarily a new obsession, I’ve been interested in it for the last few years. After working with my mom (who has done enneagram trainings for her job in pastoral care) to type myself as a 9 and reading Beatrice Chestnut’s book The Complete Enneagram, I’ve been consistently seeking out enneagram content.

But recently, I’ve really been exploring the idea of using the knowledge about myself that the enneagram offers to my advantage. Even though so much of the enneagram involves being faced with the aspects of yourself that aren’t so pretty (hi, I’m a 9…most commonly known for being lazy…yikes), it’s power comes from what you do with that information.

If you don’t know anything about the enneagram, there are a ton of great resources online to learn about the types and type yourself. I’d also recommend checking out Chestnut’s book (linked above) as well as The Honest Enneagram by Sarajane Case (who also has an instagram account and a podcast).

If you’re already up on this whole enneagram biz (and you love trolling IG for memes about your type LOL), I would totally encourage you to try taking it to the next level by identifying some of the downfalls inherent in your type and then adopting some positive life-practices to help you combat them. Doing so myself has been wildly helpful during an otherwise very stressful and scary time in the world.

To help get you started, I’ve identified some positive practices based on my readings about each type. I’m not saying these are the ones you should go with — they’re just ideas. They might not ring true for you and where you’re at or how you show up as an individual type. I just want to inspire you to find a few of your OWN practices based on your type!

Let’s start with TYPES ONE, TWO, & THREE — 

Enneagram Type One:

Positive Practice #1 – Take time for yourself to relax without any responsibilities.

Think: a solo afternoon outing, a solo night in, or solo weekend getaway. Ones put a lot of pressure on themselves to make sure things go to plan. But it can be stressful to be around other folks who have differing opinions about the right and wrong ways to enjoy whatever adventure or vacation you’ve mapped out in your head. Things will go a lot more to plan if you’re the only one you’re planning for. Give yourself that space every once in a while to relax without feeling like the world depends on you.

Positive Practice #2 – Set reminders that allow you to be patient instead of continuously following up.

Ones have an incredibly strong sense of right and wrong and are extremely self-disciplined. Others might not respond or take action to your requests as quickly as you may like. Because the one is also a great educator, they can view reiterating themselves and trying new approaches as helpful — when in fact this may have the reverse effect and cause the other person to shut down completely. (Which will stress a one out even more!) Instead, channel your love of planning and map out your follow-ups in your calendar.

Positive Practice #3 – Join a group that lets you display and discuss your emotions without fear of judgment.

Think: book club, film club, or any group that allows you to have conversations about the realities of humanity. Because ones are often uneasy with emotions, it can be beneficial to discuss things like how a book or movie made you feel in a group of people who are doing the same. This can help you identify emotions and emotional impulses better in your own life and help you feel more at ease about the messy aspects of being human.

Enneagram Type Two:

Positive Practice #1 – Set up a practice of asking others what they need.

Twos are known as “The Helper” for a reason — you love to help and you’re largely very good at intuiting what people need. That doesn’t mean it is what they want. And if they don’t, that’s not a reflection of you OR a rejection of you. You can and should still lean in to this “helping hand” side of yourself though. When the urge arises, do your best to make this your first step — state your intentions, “I’d like to help,” and then ask, “what can I do?”

Positive Practice #2 – Start a journal to document the “gifts” you receive every day.

Think: Gratitude Journal. Twos tend to place value on how what they’re giving is perceived, instead of looking to what they are receiving. You might not even recognize something as a “gift” because it is not something you would give or you wouldn’t give it in the same way. The more you can start noticing all that you are receiving in your life (by jotting it down in your journal), the better you will become at recognizing all the love in your world.

Positive Practice #3 – Invest your time in a service opportunity that is just for you.

This is something that is just for you — not something you know will garner public recognition or a lot of “likes” on your social media feeds. Think about your own interests and how you can give back within those worlds. Maybe you enjoy being around kittens so you sign up to foster or volunteer at a local animal shelter. The more you find fulfillment in something BEYOND just a general sense of helping, the more likely a two will resist the urge to call attention to themselves and their good deeds.

Enneagram Type Three:

Positive Practice #1 – Make time for one-on-one interactions with your loved ones.

Threes need to feel truthfulness, loyalty, and cooperation in their relationships. However, they are also fantastic multi-taskers who are always GO GO GO. Because of this, you might turn to big group outings or group vacations with your friends and loved ones to knock out that quality time all in one go. Resist this urge. Instead, slow down and really connect with the folks you care about without a bunch of other people and distractions around.

Positive Practice #2 – Schedule breaks throughout your day.

You are susceptible to burn-out and exhaustion because of a singular focus on your goals. Threes are super ambitious and value self-development — great qualities! But they also need to take breaks if they want to reach their full potential. Make sure you’re setting aside time during your day to step away from work and your personal to-do list — try the pomodoro approach or just set a few alarms in your phone to signal when you’re going to take a ten minute breather.

Positive Practice #3 – Get involved with a group project that has nothing to do with career advancement.

Again, threes are highly skilled multi-taskers so they might sign up for their office’s kickball league and think, “Cool, this will help my likability standings at work PLUS knock out a workout and be my weekly socialization time,” only to find they’re miserable every Thursday during the matches because they actually HATE kickball (and their co-workers who joined the team). If you’re going to focus so much of your energy on career, you should look for some outlets that are outside of work (and build relationships with people who have nothing to do with your next promotion) where you can take a little pressure off of that side of yourself.

Ok, enneagram-obsessed loves! I hope this helps you use the information about your type to your advantage. It might take you a while to settle on the practices you want to adopt, and that’s ok! Once you do, I know they’re going to have a positive impact on your life! xoxo

Keep an eye out for follow-up posts with ideas for the rest of the types! Thanks for reading!!! 

Mindfulness: Not just for monks and yogis!

We’re all wondering if quarantine will ever end, but until it does, we have some prime time to get to know ourselves.

When someone says mindfulness, what do you think of? Do you think of monks in a temple wearing robes in silence, or people sitting in full lotus position meditating for hours on end? It would be understandable if you did. 

However, mindfulness isn’t just for ancient religious practice, it’s also a secular therapeutic method designed to settle our thoughts and reduce everyday stress and anxiety so that we can better focus. Regardless of what you’re into, jogging, debating, or being a lifestyle blogger; mindfulness can help support you and improve your potential. Think of it this way – driving a car is much easier once you’ve had a few lessons. Before that it’s almost impossible. 

But on the road of life, the vehicle you’re driving is not a car – it’s yourself, and mindfulness is the way you learn how to skillfully read the signs of the road and perform tricky maneuvers. So how does it work? Your mindfulness practice can begin as you read this blog post. You’re reading the words and you’re thinking about what they mean. So you’re doing two things. Bringing awareness to these two things is mindfulness. You are aware of what you’re doing. 

Another way to practice is to bring awareness to your breath. You are slowly breathing in and out. The very fact of that is amazing, but your awareness of it? That’s mindfulness. 

Here are a few more ways to practice mindfulness in your everyday life…

Walk in nature 

Take some time to visit  nature near where you live. Try out some mindful walking, that is, bring awareness to each step you take. Find a rhythm that suits you, then turn your awareness to other things. What sounds can you hear that you might have missed if you were lost in thought?  Impressions you encounter in a mindful state are more likely to resonate with you and others. 

Apply it to a craft 

If you already do a craft like knitting, model making, or paper folding then you probably use mindfulness all the time without realizing it. It’s that controlled awareness you bring to your subject. If you don’t do a craft then taking one up can be a great mindfulness practice. Not to mention, you can always feel satisfied with achieving an end product – something you have made yourself. But now you know that the process to achieving that final product is just as rewarding.

Use it in conversations 

Mindfulness is very effective in conversations with people, because mindfulness doesn’t only mean being mindful of yourself. Instead of thinking about what you’re going to say next, why not reflect on what has been said already – then respond. Bringing awareness to your conversations is a wonderful way to improve your interactions, and relationships, in a fun, creative way. 

When do YOU practice mindfulness? Do you find it difficult or rewarding?

P.S. Hobbies to try if you’re a creative soul.

3 Personal Characteristics to Work On This Spring

*This post may contain affiliate links.

If you’re the kind of person who is always seeking ways to improve your self, you are not alone. Self-improvement is a huge industry. As long as you approach it in the right way, it is a wonderful reminder to check your approach to life and make adjustments where necessary.

In this post, we are going to identify three personal characteristics to work on in the upcoming season. How can we audit our approach to these qualities in our own lives to identify ways we’re doing well and places we can approve? What strategies can help us develop these qualities in stronger ways?

Let’s take a look…

Resilience

Our first characteristic is resilience. So, why would you want to develop this particular quality? Well, for one thing, resilience and success go hand in hand. The more you are able to keep on going, even when things get difficult, the more likely it is that you will end up achieving your goals, whatever they might be. Fate may knock you around a little, but having the ability to carry on will help you in many ways.

Resilience is a quality which you can develop in yourself, no matter how lacking you might feel you are at present. If you want to develop resilience in yourself, the practice is in the name. Keep on trying. The very process of continuing to put forth effort is exercising your resilience. The more you do so, the better off you will be.

Action Item — 

What are 3 projects, goals, or hobbies you’ve let fall by the wayside because success seemed too difficult to achieve? 

Break them down in to bite-sized steps and get them on your calendar. 

Kindness

Self-improvement is all about focusing on those qualities which improve oneself, right? But what about the ones that also help others? If you are seeking to be a fully-rounded individual, you will want to put at least as much effort into those qualities that help others as the other kind. That is of course where kindness comes in. The more you can develop a sense of genuine kindness, the better off the people around you will be.

This will improve your quality of life in a few ways–you’ll feel good about your actions and you will be carrying out The Golden Rule. As you treat others the way you want to be treated, you will find the kindness comes back towards you twofold. Develop kindness, and you will never look back.

Action Item —

Think about ways you can help others. Is there a particular cause you’d like to invest more time in or a random act of kindness you’ve always been to shy to carry out?

Schedule time for kindness each week. 

Confidence

Finally, the big C: the one that everyone wants more of. It’s hardly surprising that people should want to be more confident. After all, confidence is something which can help to improve every aspect of your life. Once you feel you have plenty of it you will find that everything starts going to plan much more often.

You can develop confidence by stepping out of your comfort zone every now and then, and it will be one of the best things you ever did for yourself.

Action Item —

What is something that scares you? Public speaking, a blind date, the bold hair cut you’ve always wanted? 

Reflect on what it would look like for you to be more confident in each realm of your life: business, relationships, and personal. Then, choose a way to step outside your comfort zone this season in all of them.

What personal characteristics are you working to develop in your own life? Could you benefit from working on the three listed above? xoxo

Book Club: Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower Pt. 1

Hello, fellow bookworms! Today marks the launch of my new Finding Delight Book Club. I’ll be reading 12 books and sharing about them with you here. I plan to post 4 times for each book — 1) about the book, 2) about the author, 3) extended reading/listening/watching, and 4) final thoughts and reflections. I’m kicking off the club with an exploration of Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower: Finding Answers in Jesus for Those Who Don’t Believe by Tom Krattenmaker.

“It is not my aim to reclaim the Christian religion … Nor is it my objective in this book to join the scholars who pursue the historical Jesus–the historically and journalistically accurate Jesus–as important as that quest might be. I am interested, rather, in what we might describe as “face-value Jesus,” the Jesus who says and does things on the pages of the New Testament. I am not worried for now about the factual accuracy of those accounts or the religious assertions that arise from them. His stories and instruction are valuable and ‘true,’ I contend, whether they are journalistically accurate or not.”

Synopsis

When you think about Jesus, what image comes to you mind? A man with piercing blue eyes and flowy hair last seen on the cover of your old Sunday school workbook? A painful expression from a cross at the front of a dim sanctuary? Or perhaps the name alone invokes feelings about religious doctrine or political stances in direct opposition to your own.

Tom Krattenmaker, USA Today columnist, separates Jesus from our preconceived notions and explains how his teachings are exactly what we need to bring reason and sense to the current state of affairs in America — even a SECULAR America.

Krattenmaker asks–
What gives life meaning?
What does it mean to live a good life?

Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower is Krattenmaker’s answer to these long-pondered queries. Surprisingly, as a self-declared secular and non-believer, he turns to Jesus. Fully. Not just as an instructor or someone to be imitated, but as a personal North Star, as it were, directing and guiding all life’s components and quandaries.

To encourage us to adopt a similar conclusion, the book paints a realistic picture of the status quo while detailing the ways turning to Jesus’s teachings can provide a much-needed salve for so many of America’s woes. And no stone is left unturned — politics, racism, sexual exploitation, mass incarceration. Krattenmaker has studied religion for years and, as a journalist, covers the intersection of religion and public life in America. It is through this lens of religious understanding, that he expresses how nonreligious folk can follow Jesus. He walks readers through key teachings, parables, and sermons and extrapolates meaning and guidance that can be applied to a modern life.

This book helps readers discover, or perhaps rediscover, Jesus. A man who, Krattenmaker believes, can help us lead a good and meaningful life. An inspiring read no matter what you believe.

***

“If Jesus had a “shit list,” you wouldn’t find people on it. You’d find attitudes and actions. Not wrong people but wrong ideas, behaviors, and ways of being in the world. He could see the humanity even in the dreaded tax collectors, who were enforcing the severe policies that kept many of Jesus’s people in poverty. He could see the humanity even in the soldiers who were carrying out his execution.”

Initial Thoughts

Can these two truths coexist within one person?
1. Jesus is the answer.
2. I’m not looking for God.

They seem contradictory, right?

I love that this book shows me, as someone who has walked away from organized religion, the ways in which they are not. Krattenmaker does a wonderful job exploring Jesus’s teachings — explaining metaphors (for those of us apprehensive with *pulls thing out of thin air* miracles) and cultural context. This allows for a more holistic application of bible story to current conundrum. A leap that can be hard to make when the subject and setting of these stories feel so far removed from our own.

Wherever I’ve been on my own faith/spiritual journey, I’ve always conceded that Jesus was and is a pretty important dude. Afterall, he was able to split time in two. No small feat! But despite regular church attendance and religion classes throughout my formative years, I still wouldn’t say I have an intimate knowledge of his teachings.

Curiosity about the historical Jesus had me pick up this book last year. Which I would definitely recommend as a way of placing “the man” in time and space. Curiosity about what he taught, however, has me poring over Confessions of a Secular Jesus.

In recent years, I’ve seen some good done in Christ’s name, but a lot more bad. Maybe you feel the same way? For me, in 2019, this is what is hard to grapple with when approaching a book like this one. I found myself proceeding with caution towards the idea that Jesus can be a moral guide for all folks — whether they worship him or not.

Yet, Krattenmaker’s interpretations of the Jesus philosophy is winning me over. His philosophy…

that love is the way,
that responding to war with peace is a powerful counter-strike,
that finding the humanity in all persons is possible and beautiful,
that forgiveness can be subversive.

Perhaps these are the answers we can find in Jesus if we take the time to look.

Read this if you’re interested in: Philosophy, Self-Improvement, Religion + Politics, Literature

Read this if you loved: A Secular Age by Charles Taylor, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan, What’s Beyond Mindfulness by Stephen Fulder, What the Qur’an Meant by Gary Wills

Other books by Tom Krattenmaker: The Evangelicals You Don’t Know and Onward Christian Athletes

Keep a lookout for Part 2! It’ll be hitting this site next week.

My New Journal Approach

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Here’s the deal. I’ve never been a great historian of my own life. I admire the folks who keep detailed accounts of their days tucked away in composition notebooks and moleskines. What a gift to be transported back in time years later. However, try as I might, I’ve never been able to pick up this habit. (Blogging is the closest I’ve come!) I’d love to be able to look back at handwritten pages and recall dishes I ordered at restaurants and the songs I played on repeat for months at a time. I’d like to find sustainable ways to track my gratitude and personal triumphs.

So, what’s a girl who loves to start journals and abandon them three days later to do??? After a little reflection, I’ve landed on LISTS. I LOVE a list. I love to make them, I love to read them, I love to organize the random into neat little bullet points. Aha!

*Trumpet Sounds* Enter my new approach to journaling…THE LIST JOURNAL! 

keeping a list journal

And what do you think my very first list shall be? If you guessed a list of lists then *ding, ding, ding* you nailed it! A list of lists I want to write in my list journal.

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far…

  • Books that have motivated or inspired me to make changes in my life.
  • My favorite topics of conversation.
  • Where we take visitors when they come to Miami.
  • All the acts of love that made up our beautiful wedding.
  • Standard packing list.
  • Every speech piece I ever competed with.
  • Weird things I did when I was super broke.
  • Reasons I love Wink.
  • Stuff that makes me feel better when I’m sick.
  • A running account of movies seen in the theater.
  • Favorite YouTube workouts.
  • Everything I’m thankful for on a given day.
  • Folks I’d like to send letters to on a more regular basis.
  • Chet’s masterfully prepared meals.
  • My most worn clothing in a given season.
  • Books I would recommend to someone who wants to read more.
  • The best seasons of The Real World. 🙂
  • Childhood memories that make me laugh.
  • Photos I want to frame and display.
  • People I admire.

My thought is that recording lists, along with the date, will give my future self a nice window into where I was in the world (physically, emotionally, AND mentally) at the time of composition. Or at least offer me an outlet to reflect on past events, articulate my gratitude, and mindfully create space for happiness. Wish me luck!

What do you think? Would you keep a list journal? Got any tips for being a better personal historian? I’d love to hear!! xoxo 

P.S. My notebook system and how I prioritize my passions.

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