Latest Posts

The Great Gatsby: The Dying Fall Part One

Fitzgerald’s term for the story dynamic he wrote about in The Great Gatsby was, “the dying fall.” *  Since this book was written from a similar life that Fitzgerald lived, we can basically talk about the book and the author in one breath, especially when referring to its bigger picture. Therefore, we can look for instances of Gatsby and Daisy’s dying fall and see something very similar in Fitzgerald and Zelda’s life.

For example, Zelda spent the last 16 years of her life in mental institutions while Scott lived in Hollywood with his lover. Scott wrote, in a letter to her:

But Zelda, what wouldn’t you give to go back to the beginning, to be those people again, the future so fresh and promising that it seems impossible not to get it right? **

Like Scott, Jay Gatsby exclaims, “Can’t repeat the past? … Why of course you can!”

It has been a while since I read the book or saw a film version, so I am going to see the new film that is out, directed by Baz Luhrmann, tonight. Even though I know it has a sad, sad ending, I am looking forward to seeing it. There is something about the excess, the Twenties celebration of life and the love of a strong man for a weak woman that draws me. Will I still root for them to make it? Or, will I watch from an observer’s seat and judge their actions? That might depend on this director’s interpretation and enaction of the story, or it might depend on what is happening in my own life right now.

I am in the middle of a transition myself, taking on two new jobs and becoming more public about my life and struggles through this blog. Is my story one of a dying fall? I hope not! But maybe there is something to learn from Gatsby and Daisy?

Why do we get sucked into these oh so negative stories? Do we see ourselves in it? Are we infatuated with the forbidden? Is watching them drive too far too fast so thrilling? ***

I will write about my experience after the movie!

Have you read The Great Gatsby recently or seen this 2013 movie? What do you think?

*F. Scott Fitzgerald: New Perspectives, by Jackson R. Bryer et al

**Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald,

***Glamour and Downfall in ‘The Great Gatsby’, by Stephanie S. Smith for Relevant Magazine

Time Keeps on Slippin’ into the Future: Part Two, Adding Time

Time keeps on slippin’ slippin’ slippin’ into the future.

This first line of a Steve Miller Band song has haunted me ever since I read Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. There are so many nuggets of wisdom in there, but I have been fascinated by Ann’s statement below:

Giving thanks is ultimately an invitation to slow time down with the weight of full attention.

In Part One we explored thankfulness and slowing time down. How taking time to be thankful helps us slow down, get more focused, and act more intentionally.

In Part Two we will explore thankfulness and adding time to your day.

I’m sure all of us have said at one time or another, if I only had a few more hours in the day, I could get caught up. Can we add hours to our day? Well, not actually of course, but we can feel like we have and the results of our day can demonstrate that we have, somehow, added time to our day.

One of the deepest connections I made when I was in college was when I was working on the strand in South Carolina for the summer. I had just gotten off work. I had my server uniform on but my shoes off and was squiggling my aching toes in the warm sand. One of my roommates plopped down beside me and said, “Wow, it looks like you have found a way to be in the moment! We are going to get along great.”

Of course I had to explain how her take on me wasn’t quite right, I was always running from one thing to the next and what she was seeing was just pure exhaustion. She shared more about what she meant and as she explained that truly being in the moment can add time to your day I could really see it!

Full attention is hard. We live in a world that values multi-tasking. Our smart phones and tablets make it so easy to be connected with everyone at all times. Our embrace of virtual community, virtual shopping and virtual TV has changed the way we interact in the real world, when we do interact in the real world.

Being fully present, letting no mental, physical or emotional distractions interrupt is difficult for most of us. But I bet we know someone who does that … and that is the person we go to when we need a listening ear!

Full attention can be heavy. Ann says that giving thanks gives weight to our full attention. As we take time to give thanks and redirect our thoughts to something with our whole heart, mind and spirit, a tangible clarity will weigh down time and space in such a way that we feel refreshed and rejuvenated and reborn!

Those few minutes we spend in grateful contemplation of this beautiful world we live in and the beautiful people we live with, whether we write it down in a journal or not, can become a highlight of our day. Not a mile marker that we just add to the list of things we do in our race to complete our day, but a milestone, a solid feature, a heavy anchor, a monument!

Full attention can be relevant. We don’t have to look for fragrant rose bushes or silly kitties in our path, although surprises like that are precious! We can find the grace of full attention in our interactions with the people we encounter in our day. We can find the grace of full attention in the tasks we must perform daily or the project we are working on. We can also find the grace of full attention in our daily devotions, spiritual readings or interesting podcasts.

Here is where we find time being added to our day! The weight of full attention in an attitude of gratefulness or honor in our relationships with friends and work partners multiplies our ability to connect and communicate. We find we have more time to talk about what is important, not being sidetracked by personal issues or hidden agendas or questioning motives.

Being grateful for the reasons we work or just paying full attention to the joy of the work itself will allow us to perform more accurately, more creatively and in a more timely manner. The weight of our full attention suspends the roll of time, giving us more time in our day!

In what situations do you find yourself desperately needing more time? Let’s brainstorm together …

Time Keeps on Slippin’ into the Future: Part One, Slowing Time

Where does your 24-7 go? Into the future? Become a part of your past? All I know is that it mostly seems to disappear and disappear way too quickly. I design a great plan for the week and then it’s Thursday and my plan looks like a train wreck! Priority one for Monday slippin’ into Tuesday, time with my sister on Tuesday slippin’ into Wednesday, scooping the kitty litter every day hop skip and jumping over into Friday, and so on.

Time keeps on slippin’ slippin’ slippin’ into the future. This first line of a Steve Miller Band song has haunted me ever since I read Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. There are so many nuggets of wisdom in there, but I have been fascinated by Ann’s statement below: Giving thanks is ultimately an invitation to slow time down with the weight of full attention. Giving thanks and using gratitude journals has been a good idea since Oprah popularized it, and millions of you guys (including me) have started and stopped and started again writing down all the things we have to be thankful for. And it works! It does give you perspective, a beautifully soulful perspective, on the mostly mundane lives we lead. We are blessed to live where we do, to have the ability to build relationships of love with friends and family, to enjoy some of the finer things in life.

And we all have hiccups … jumps and starts and rewinding, a lot. Not every day seems like a blessing, but going with it anyway, going with it until it changes, going with it until we decide to go for it can be a good outcome from this new perspective. Ann talks about slowing time down. Is it enough to walk more leisurely through our life, would that make a difference? The tortoise always beats the hare in the fable. A slowly plodding, sleepy, lethargic turtle. Hmmm … not the picture your friends or your mom ambitious for you or social media paints for life. The hare is the cool one, the charismatic one, his hip-hop rhythm enticing and seemingly triumphant.

But he doesn’t win the race. The tortoise goes slow … stops to smell the “whatever” … stops to take a nap … and yet somehow has enough time to win the race. Examine your day. See how your rabbit race runs. I’m usually so busy trying to keep my schedule going that I don’t think I have time to really talk to my sister or stroke my cats. I hop onto my new website for the few minutes I allot to it, hoping something that needs to be fixed or added will jump out at me. I “strategically” call my mom five minutes before I need to rush out and it limits the time spent but also limits an intimate connection that would make the call worthwhile. I get to church right when the sermon starts, but miss talking to folks beforehand and can’t stop looking at my phone during the sermon, so I get the point on electronic paper, but sometimes my heart misses it. We instinctively know the best way to live is to enjoy and savor all that we are blessed with.

Even in the midst of transition or crisis or strife, a few moments of thankfulness can calm our heartbeat and clear our mind. Slowing our bodies and thoughts can give us more time to think clearly about what we are doing. This time pulls us back where we can see the big picture, make less mistakes and act more intentionally. We can see the place for change; we can move forward with confidence.

Look for Part Two in a few days … How has giving thanks and slowing down time helped you? Please share what you have learned, or want to learn, with all of us.

Why Flux & Flow?

As you can imagine, it took many days of good old-fashioned work and using some of those new mind-mapping tools to find the symbols and words that reflected my heart, my passions and my goals for this blog. So, you might ask, why Flux & Flow?

The fire that fuels my soul is helping a woman whose life is in transition. Will you be able to see yourself and your strengths clearly? Can you figure out your new surroundings and shift into a new dream? May I help you discover your own uniqueness and how you are essential to the world you now live in?

My own life is in flux far more than I might like to admit, but then again, I value change. My friends say I like change for change’s sake, but sometimes a change is as good as a rest! That’s where you will usually find me … flowing into a change. New exercise program, new friends, new tennis team, new diet, new calling.

Definition of flux from Continuous change, passage or movement.

Definition of flow from To move along in a stream or well forth from a source.

Flux & Flow: change and move forward.

Is your life in flux? Are you ready to harness the positive energy and ignore the negative energy that comes from changes in life? Fast Company editor Bob Safian profiles Generation Flux on his website. The blogger Behance from 99U describes Safian’s Generation Flux this way: “a new breed of unsentimental, risk-taking, self-inventing creative professionals who are comfortable living – and thriving – in chaos.”

Reading that article helped me realize how I had always had the feeling that being in flux was not a good thing! That it was a thing you needed to fix or change or redirect. I began to envision a life where I didn’t have to justify the flux in it. I realized that it might really be a very good thing. I began to visualize my life more clearly and all the change I go through. I could now see all the positive movement that keeps me engaged with life, with people and with God.

So then why add the flow part? I am not really convinced, Mr. Safian, although continual chaos may work for renegade entrepreneurs, that it is a state of mind that applies totally to a person’s life. A businessman is intent on producing some type of product, be it a physical gadget or a helpful service. A person is intent on producing some viable form of life. Something a bit more organic, something that connects with reality, something that tastes good to the soul.

What is stirring around in your soul these days?

What kind of transitions are in flux in your life?

What is the flow of your life moving you toward?

I would love to explore these questions with you and discover together the connections that matter. To let ourselves loose on the current of life; drifting, falling, and rising toward a kind of life that overflows into our soul.

Please share with me your thoughts about flux and flow in your own life.