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Live THIS Day

A younger friend told me about a life crossroads, which felt weighted by conundrum. I asked, So whats next? She replied, Im just waiting for God to show me what he wants from me. OK, I said to her. But in the meantime, until you have your life and self figured out and straightened out, I have a suggestion: Live this day, with this self, without holding back. Today; savor, doubt, embrace, question, wrestle, give, risk, love, fall down, get up, accept your incomplete and fractured self, know that anything worth doing is worth doing badly, speak from your whole heart, and whenever you can, lavish excessive compassion and mercy and healing and hope and second chances and grace and restoration and kindness on anyone who crosses your path. Who knows, we may love one another into existence. And Im sure God wont mind.

from the book This Is the Life: Mindfulness, Finding Grace, and the Power of the Present Moment by Terry Hershey

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Why Do We Live Small?

We all wrestle with some internal governor prescribing some need for moderation or temperance, which translates, “It’s time to put the kibosh on all manner of joy or ecstasy or elation or, God forbid, wholeheartedness.” Here’s the deal: When we give way to any such shackling measure, we put a lid on our passion and our spirit, and we short-circuit the bounty and generosity that would spill from our heart. This all begs the question: What is the reason we internalize this script, and how does it procure its power? In other words…why do we allow ourselves to live so small?

—from the book This Is the Life: Mindfulness, Finding Grace, and the Power of the Present Moment by Terry Hershey

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The Sacrament of the Present Moment

In letters written in 1740, Jean-Pierre de Caussade (ordained member of the Society of Jesus) wrote about the sacrament of the present moment. We are invited to choose to live each day as a sacrament (as a gift), enabling us to see, to hear, to taste, and to touch grace—the goodness of God’s presence in our world. We need to bring this sacrament back and allow it to be front and center in our lives. I’m pretty sure that St. Francis would agree. Franciscan spirituality is an incarnational earthy spirituality. Put simply: God is close, never far away.

—from the book This Is the Life: Mindfulness, Finding Grace, and the Power of the Present Moment by Terry Hershey

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Being Present Is Honoring Now

John Duns Scotus (a Franciscan theologian in the thirteenth century) talked about “thisness,” the particularity of the Most Extraordinary Ordinary Thing in the World. Thisness reminds us that being present is not about arriving at some Zen state of mind. And being present is not about dismissing what is current. Being present is about honoring precisely what is current—which means the wonderful scandal of the particular. Our mind is more pleased with universals—those never-broken-always-applicable rules and patterns that allow us to predict and control things. Well, such rules may be good for science, but they are lousy for life.

—from the book This Is the Life: Mindfulness, Finding Grace, and the Power of the Present Moment by Terry Hershey

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The Messiness of Life

Messiness exposes vulnerability. I will admit, vulnerability is not my strong suit. I do prefer self-sufficiency. And rising above. And yet, self-reliance sounds laudable, but can be an obstacle, because it is difficult to say the words “help” or “thank you.” So, here’s the good news: There is power in embracing vulnerability. And vulnerability never exempts us from the sacrament of the present. Because vulnerability allows us to rest in that touch, that blessing.

—from the book This Is the Life: Mindfulness, Finding Grace, and the Power of the Present Moment by Terry Hershey

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Unabashed Joy Is Already Inside of Us

Let us pause and remember that savoring isn’t something you add or acquire. Unabashed joy is already inside. It springs from within. It is a well of abundance that you draw from. So, savoring is not a technique. And savoring is never an end unto itself. It is always fueled by gratitude. And gratitude lights up our senses. We enter into, we show up to the needs and cares of this day. I suppose that it’s a chicken or egg scenario. And which comes first, I’m not sure. I do know that savoring makes space for gratitude. And gratitude begets savoring. Either way, we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of the present.

—from the book This Is the Life: Mindfulness, Finding Grace, and the Power of the Present Moment by Terry Hershey

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Listen to This Moment

A Hasidic rabbi was interrupted by one of his followers while he was tending his garden, “What would you do, rabbi,” the student asked, “if you knew the messiah was coming today?” Stroking his beard and pursing his lips, the rabbi replied, “Well, I would continue to water my garden.”

So, before we decipher life, let us see life.

Before we wish for another life, let us feel this life.

Before we give in to “if only,” let us listen to this moment.

Before we succumb to “someday,” let us inhale this day.

Before we trade in this life for the life we “should” have, let us taste this life.

Each of the above is a choice; a choice to be open. To be available. To be curious. To be alive. To be willing to be surprised by joy. To know there is power in the word enough.

—from the book This Is the Life: Mindfulness, Finding Grace, and the Power of the Present Moment by Terry Hershey

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Live Without Holding Back

I have lived most of my emotional and spiritual life with a heart condition. Because I have lived cautious and afraid, holding back my heart because of what it might cost, or require of me. Or fearing (running from) my brokenness, not believing that an open and broken heart is an invitation to live my days giving, creating, embracing, connecting, savoring, and celebrating. It is no wonder that, too often, I do not see. Hundreds of years ago, in an era much more fraught than ours, St. Francis learned to live without holding back his heart. His antidote to confusion and paralysis was a return to simplicity, one step at a time, one person at a time, one good thing at a time, the right-in-front-of-you idea of searching for the light even while living with the darkness. His genius was that he saw what was hidden in plain sight. It was so simple it is almost impossible to see; we are wired to be present.

—from the book This Is the Life: Mindfulness, Finding Grace, and the Power of the Present Moment by Terry Hershey

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