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As we move farther into April (which is hard to believe!), we could all use a couple more tips on mindfulness for the last stretch of the semester.  Awhile back I shared a fun little video about paying attention to what we're thinking and feeling in a given moment, and pausing to notice rather than simply letting our thoughts and emotions grab hold of us before we even realize it.  That video was so good, I wanted to share another! 

This one builds on the first one really well, taking us to the next step of living mindfully and intentionally - choosing how we respond to the person or situation in front of us.  The goal isn't to deny that sometimes we feel angry, resentful, or fearful, but rather to choose whether or not we want to respond out of that feeling.  If we stop, notice what is going on inside us, and ask ourselves how we want to respond, we can choose to go down the compassionate, loving, and generous path. 

This illustrates the HUGE difference between simply reacting or responding intentionally, thoughtfully, and purposefully.

(Copy and paste if accessing off campus - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzKryaN44ss)

As the video asks us:  Which one will you feed?  This is a question for us to ask ourselves every day and in every situation.

 

As we celebrate on this Easter Sunday, one of the things that keeps sticking in my mind is how much of a surprise Easter must have been for those early disciples.  After the persecution, humiliation, and death of Jesus, surely they were experiencing sadness, confusion, and a strong sense of failure.  In the stories we hear, there is fear and uncertainty as these followers encountered Jesus on Easter morning, but I can’t help but think that surprise must have been a paramount emotion, too!  Resurrection, encountering and speaking with someone who was known to have died, was something that went against all expectations, yet at the same time this surprise was an invitation to a deeper level of seeing, knowing, and being.

Pope Francis at times speaks of “the God of surprises,” who comes to us in unexpected ways.  Easter seems like the perfect time to ask if we ourselves are open to the God of surprises.  Am I open to receiving unexpected love, compassion, kindness through a kind word or caring gesture from a friend, family member, colleague, or patient?  Am I willing to offer the same when the opportunity arises, even if we are both surprised by it?  Do I carry around expectations, certainties about “how things are,” when it comes to particular people or situations that prevent me from experiencing God’s love in new or unexpected ways? 

Sometimes God shows up where we would never expect God to be, the question is whether or not we are open to being surprised – that is where we truly experience Easter joy!

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Spirituality means “related to the soul or spirit, the intangible quality of every person that motivates, guides, and integrates their being and action.” If everyone has a spirit, then spirituality is not only for persons who embrace a particular religion but includes all people.

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