Just Shut Up

Written by Jacob Cody, WLLC 2015-2016

This week I tried to switch a rubber band to a different wrist every time I complained as a part of the week 3 practice. I’m not going to lie, I had a pretty rough week. I worked until 11pm three nights in a row, 2 nights of which I also had a test to study for either in Organic Chemistry or Bio, on top of joining rugby and dealing with other personal relationships. Oh yeah and attempting to get even just 6 hours of sleep every night.

Needless to say, I complained a lot, as college students do about our busy lives. This caused me to switch constantly. However, it didn’t change my habits of complaining very much, I just recognized it more. I was determined to change this habit, however, now that I was more aware of it and I amped the situation. Instead of merely switching wrists, I started to snap my wrists with the rubber band every time I complained. (This was easier to do than you’d think because I was quite disappointed when I discovered that this wasn’t the actual practice). Now I know what you’re thinking, and yes I am an animal. And honestly the snapping didn’t stop me at first. The more I did it, the worse I felt physically and mentally. I realize the purpose of this exercise was to stop complaining, but it helped me realize something else. Sometimes complaining is essential to help move on with the tough problems coming up in your life. More importantly, it helped me realize what is okay to complain about, because sometimes complaining can be productive. Let’s call that “venting.”

But I think many of us could learn from this experience on the other end of the spectrum. Some of us complain nonstop about the petty shit in our lives and that’s when it becomes unhealthy. I’m a strong believer that most things in life are good in moderation. By the end of the week, after all the venting, I could step back and realize all the things I have to be grateful for in my life, because I’m pretty blessed. More people should learn this lesson. We could all take more time to “say grace” for our wonderful lives, like Philip Yancey encourages.

Untitled.png

I Have a Serious Problem, but My Problems Aren’t that Serious

Written by Conor Sullivan, WLLC 2015-2016

I have a serious problem: I always want to be more. In a world stacked with infinite possibility, where the potential for success exists everywhere, all the time, it’s difficult to justify why I haven’t already been successful. I know I am an intelligent person, but that doesn’t seem to be enough to sate an incessant hunger for renown that burns at the core of my being. I feel the need to be acknowledged, to be loved and appreciated by the people around me. Spiritual practices, such as meditation, have helped bring me to a place of quiet and content, but as the clarity fades I begin to wonder why I still feel as if I am at the same conscious level as the people around me. Practically, meditation serves my interests through a phase of mental elevation in which I can view the world through a more complete lens than what I usually employ. In this way I can pick up on subtleties in my reality that I would normally be blind too. However, this can act as quite the double-edged sword, and often leads me to believe I employ a higher level of perception than the people around me, something that is absolutely not true.

Practicing gratefulness for our Wellness weekly activity proved to be incredibly beneficial to me as it allowed a way for me to put my life in perspective. For the first time in months I was able to view my situation in a positive light. How could I not? Compared to the vast majority of people on the planet, people who might be in the middle of civil war, famine, drought, or lack of access to other fundamental utilities. This perspective shined light on all of the opportunities and loving support I’ve been lucky enough to receive throughout my lifetime, but more than that it gave me the chance to reflect on how my life doesn’t need improving. This meant that I could finally stop putting so much pressure on myself, and simply appreciate the place I’m currently present in, rather than worrying about some theoretical idea of the future that I might have or be trying to achieve. I’m going to continue this practice of mindful gratefulness and appreciation whenever I can, as I can already see how it has tangibly benefitted my life, and I’m excited to continue to build tools for success both in and out of the classroom!

Finding Your Inner Wisdom

Written by Nikky Johnson, WLLC 2015-2016

 

Untitled.png

The past couple weeks, I have attempted to become more knowledgeable about what my mind was thinking and doing and desiring and why. Why was my body tired, and what could I do to change that? Who is my inner she? Why is she important? What does she want me to do? I participated in a practice that involved a four-part check-in of my body, emotions, mind, and inner wisdom (my she) everyday. I contemplated, and wrote how my body was feeling, and what it needs; how my emotions were feeling, and what they need; how my mind was feeling, and what it needs; and lastly how my inner-wisdom was feeling and what it needs. This practice improved my awareness of “self.” It aided me in becoming more knowledgeable of why I was thinking and doing things. But what I found the most significant of the entire practice, was the fact that I had no sense of “inner wisdom.” I could not find my she.

And the question I asked myself is “why?” Why don’t I know what my inner-wisdom is and what it tells me? This sent me on an internal journey of how I define myself; of where I find my identity. How did I find myself where I am today? After some searching, I found that who I am is defined in my heredity, (my genetics, who my ancestors have allowed me to be), in my upbringing, (in what my mother taught me, in my hometown, and in my spirituality, in what I find right and wrong), and lastly in grace. My engineering and my childhood have had a large impact in my inner-wisdom. They have taught my she how I think and feel and live and love. Yet, how I define grace molds my she more than anything else. “Grace from loving: Love the Lord Your God with All your heart, mind, soul and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.”

Untitled.pngThis inner-wisdom, this she, that I had so longed to find had been inside of me all along. It was the whisper that taught me what was right and loving and pure. It was the strength that guided me through life, and held me tight always. My inner-wisdom was not a she, it was a we. And in this realization, finding such enlightenment, I also find security in my inner-wisdom. I find love that never fails. And from the quotes of “healing,” I leave you with this: “Only Jesus can give wholeness to a broken life.” This is true to me, yet is not true to others. But it does not have to be. Everyone’s she or he or we or whatever you want to call it is different. So I challenge you: find your inner-wisdom. Find what controls you moral compass and beliefs and actions… Make your life whole.

 

Incorporating Grace and Gratitude

Witten by Summer Graham, WLLC 2015-2016

This quarter I have been trying to work on being more graceful and thankful for what I have. I tend to get in very negative mindsets and I know that it doesn’t help me. I realize that I am very thankful for my family. I’ve always been thankful for them but now they have been helping me through hard times and I don’t know what I would do without them. From class , I have really been thinking about how some of the quotes said something along the lines of “practicing grace is healing”. So I have made sure to tell my mom and my dad how thankful I am of them, for their never ending support. Also from class, I realize that to heal and to be whole is recognizing the problem and moving forward and not dwelling on the past or staying in a bad frame of mind.

So for the past couple weeks I have been practicing grace and not complaining as much. I have been using some of the practices from the readings such as from the four part check in, the author recommends, “when a strong feeling comes up, rather than pushing it away, see where you feel it in your body”(Practice: Four Part Check In). This has really helped me because when that happens I usually feel it in my stomach or gut and it has been making me feel pretty sick lately.

But I know that I can make myself feel better by doing tasks that come my way immediately instead of waiting, I like the quote from last weeks reading when the author wrote “My lazier thinking evolved from counterproductive commiserating to reflexive systems thinking”.(How I went 21 days without complaining). So basically for me to be less stressed I have to stop pushing things off until the last minute and that will help me not complain as much so that I feel better and can stay focused for my classes.

An Opportunity for Grace

Written by Allison Grossberg, WLLC 2015-2016

 

There is a bible verse, Romans 5:20, that reads, “But where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” It seems to me that the word grace, although largely theological in origin and commonly held meanings, represents a sort of opportunity for good, for beauty, for faith and for so many other things that parallel sin. For example, in an excerpt from a book entitled “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” author Philip D. Yancey writes that, “Newspapers speak of communism’s “fall from grace,” a phrase similarly applied to Jimmy Swaggart, Richard Nixon, and O. J. Simpson. We insult a person by pointing out the dearth of grace: “You ingrate!” we say, or worse, “You’re a disgrace!” A truly despicable person has no “saving grace” about him. My favorite use of the root word grace occurs in the mellifluous phrase persona non grata: a person who offends the U.S. government by some act of treachery is officially proclaimed a “person without grace.”” Here an obvious lack of grace is being described, a sort of lost opportunity to be good, or kind, or noble. Disgrace, however negative in may seem, provides the very opportunity the bible verse in the book of Romans describes, an opportunity for failure, forgiveness, and growth.

While the descriptions of the absence of grace just quoted play an important role in the conception and application of the word, I think the most essential function of grace is explained by Yancey as he goes on to write, “A composer of music may add grace notes to the score. Though not essential to the melody — they are gratuitous — these notes add a flourish whose presence would be missed. When I first attempt a piano sonata by Beethoven or Schubert I play it through a few times without the grace notes. The sonata carries along, but oh what a difference it makes when I am able to add in the grace notes, which season the piece like savory spices.” Again this description explains that grace involves an opportunity to add beauty and spice to a piece of music that would feel lackluster without it. So too in life, grace allows for the recognition of opportunities, the courage to take them, and the extension compassion and development when those opportunities are missed.

As a chapter entitled “Concerning Grace” from another book points out, “Living in a state of grace can mean nothing more nor less than living in a disciplined awareness of the divine flow.” Grace then is simply a give and take of opportunity and loss, and awareness and ignorance.

 

 

 

My Grace

Written by Brenna Flynn, WLLC 2015-2016

 

For this blog post, I decided to refresh my memory on grace. In class, we discussed what grace is and a lot of people had many different perspectives. I wrote down what my classmates thought and chose to incorporate their thoughts into my post. Some of my classmates spoke of it as “forgiveness”, some said grace is “love”, and others “were not exactly sure”. Their definitions alone made me wonder what grace actually is, what it means to me. I decided to read “What is so Amazing About Grace” by Philip D. Yancey, and he gave me an entirely new perspective on grace.

Yancey discusses grace through using different people’s stories. My favorite story is of a woman whose husband died in France. She came to the home of two women with no money, and they allowed her to pay them rent by doing chores and cooking. Later on in the tale, the woman from France wins the French lottery. Instead of spending it on herself, she uses the money she wins to make a huge feast to celebrate the sisters’ dead father’s birthday. When told people would be sad about her going back to France, she responds that she will not be returning because she spent every cent of her lottery winnings to make the feast. Here, Yancey defines grace as “a gift that costs everything for the giver and nothing for the receiver” (p. 25). Never before had I heard grace defined in this way. It really made me think that grace is a gift I can give to others, not just forgiveness or love, but instead, a total giving of part of myself to someone else, without the desire for compensation.

This reading really helped me ponder about what grace actually is through its stories. Towards the end of the text, Yancey defines what grace is not. I learned that grace is not following the strict of the strictest rules of organized religion, such as never allowing yourself any sort of pleasure. Trying to be graceful to others is not attacking them for their “sins.” Instead, grace is a gift, a gift of love and healing, that is given to us all, no matter our circumstances. In the words of Yancey, “grace comes free of charge to people who do not deserve it” (p. 42).

I was looking at some quotes we got from class last Thursday, and one says, “Only Jesus can give wholeness to a broken life.” This reminds me of what grace is because through Jesus, I am given the grace of forgiveness, I’m given the grace of being set free of my wrongdoings, I’m given the grace of those who will do anything in their lives to help me overcome any issue or tragedy I may be going through. This reading, and that quote, helped me realize that grace is all around me, sometimes I just need to look hard enough to find it.

 

 

Grace

Written by Riley Robert, WLLC 2015-2016

Untitled.pngLast week in Wellness class, in between the snacks and fun times with friends, we discussed an article that Kate brought in on the topic of grace and what it is. After reading the article, I was concerned I hadn’t came to the conclusion she had wanted. The article had all these different definitions of grace, how it was the acceptance of what was around you, how it was flowing with your surroundings, things of that sort. This paper had over twenty different definitions of grace, and I struggled to relate to any of them on a deeper level.

Untitled.pngAfter some thought, I decided my inability to relate to this article was due to the word it surrounded, Grace. Grace to me is simply the way you conduct yourself in a situation, not a word that can cover such a wide array of topics as the article suggested. I felt like the word grace, in most if not all of the definitions, could have been replaced with the word love or acceptance, along with an array of other words that I haven’t taken the time to think up and consider.

All of this deeper thought on the meaning of the word grace and later on love and acceptance really got me thinking what my definitions of love and acceptance would be. That is, my personal definitions, how I would answer if I was asked in some random survey, or like a Buzzfeed video. These were the responses I came up with.

Love is wanting good things for someone, and wanting to be around them, even when you hate them.

Acceptance is embracing the vibes other people emit, even if they aren’t identical to your own.

The Grace article had a few definitions that are somewhat similar to these, so maybe I just needed to pin down my own definitions for the meaning of the assignment to impact me on a higher level. Either way, I liked how the article made me define two words that I’d generally taken for granted in my life.

Untitled.png