Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

In case you have never been to an Ash Wednesday service, those are the words spoken as the ashes are imposed. It is a powerful reminder of the temporary nature of earthly life.

The past month has been a good reminder to me of my human limitations. Since high school days, I’ve had a strong tendency to take on more than I can actually do. Over the years, I’ve worked very hard to respect my limits and live a life that is gentler to myself, and consequently gentler to others.

January could be considered a “relapse,” I suppose, and February has been spent evaluating my activities, getting a better perspective, and making some changes. Changes that better respect my nature as a human being made of dust, with limitations.

So, in time for Lent, I have finished some things (a seminar, a recital, a conference, a talk at church . . .), given up some things (taking piano lessons, time spent on the Internet), and committed to saying “no” to everything new until my MFT licensure exam is behind me.

I hope that this renewed discipline will allow me to write more often, so please do come back to my blog when you can.

And remember that you are dust, and that to dust you shall return. It just may bring about powerful change in your life, too.


Carolinagirl said...

Study hard for your examp. I always enjoy reading your updates.

Sheila said...

I promise do my best!

Lisa said...

Three cheers for not overcommitting!

I'm very proud of you!

Lisa said...

OK, so I'm sitting here looking at my blog and then looking at your blog.

Are you sure we came from the same set of genes? You're always so comtemplative and I'm so -- I don't know -- out there. Spazzing around.

Great minds may think alike, but they don't always express their thoughts in the same manner. :-)

Sheila said...

Lisa, perhaps we are contributing to balance in the universe, somehow. Or, put in a less contemplative way: It takes all kinds!

Gioietta said...

I wish I could be as disciplined as you! Jon and I have wanted to start doing lent season too. I know we are too late now. I wish we could take a course in this kind of tradition keeping~ not for the sake of tradition but to fix our eyes on Jesus (you know, not something we grew up with!)

Also, I am glad you don't over commit and you see the beauty in it. I have had a hard time here in the states since I moved b/c it seems that the busier you are the more people think of you. Sad.

Sheila said...

Miriam, I wish I could be as disciplined as I set out to be!

It's a process. That's how we develop those muscles and grow.

And you're right: Many Americans seem to respect busy people, or at least be impressed by their level of activity. At some point I had to realize that what people thought of me had almost nothing to do with the value of my life. Sometimes I miss being in the limelight, but not for long.

I bought myself a bracelet for my birthday. It's inscribed with words from Jane Austen: Teach us...that we may feel the importance of every day, of every hour, as it passes.

It's a good reminder.

And I think my most treasured moment from this day was the less-than-ten minutes I sat out on our front porch and listened to the birde and watched the squirrels and just enjoyed being still.

I'm sure I didn't impress anyone during those few minutes, but they sure did my soul good!