Beliefnet
Cut the Crap Spirituality

I remember when I was in high school, I used to listen to Harry Chapin’s song “Cat’s in the Cradle” and contemplate that I don’t want that to be me: “I don’t want to be too busy to enjoy my family.”

The lyrics of the song tell a familiar story:

My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talking ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew
He’d say, “I’m gonna be like you, dad
You know I’m gonna be like you.”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
“When you coming home, dad?” “I don’t know when
But we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then.”

My son turned ten just the other day
He said, “Thanks for the ball, dad; come on, let’s play
Can you teach me to throw?”
I said, “Not today, I got a lot to do.”
He said, “That’s okay.”
And he walked away, but his smile never dimmed

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
“When you coming home, dad?” “I don’t know when
But we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then.”

Well, he came from college just the other day
So much like a man, I just had to say
“Son, I’m proud of you. Can you sit for a while?”
He shook his head, and he said with a smile
“What I’d really like, dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later; can I have them please?”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
“When you coming home, son?” “I don’t know when
But we’ll get together then, dad
You know we’ll have a good time then.”

I’ve long since retired, and my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind.”
He said, “I’d love to, dad, if I could find the time
You see, my new job’s a hassle, and the kid’s got the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you.”
And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

I use that song often to remind me to soak up ever minute with my kids – To not look for tomorrow, but to live today. It’s not easy, but I’m glad I have my reminders.

Another reminder is advice from my old boss who didn’t say much, but I’ll never forget his advice: “Life goes by really fast – Don’t miss out on your kids.” Remember – “Life is what happens when you are planning for it.” He told me stories over and over of dad’s regretting missing out on their kids lives. He was my boss. He wasn’t worried about my work life. We as worried about me missing life because of my work life. I’m so grateful for his advice.

So simple, but yet so hard. And yet so important.

The present is all there is – don’t miss it looking forward. The present is all there is – Don’t miss it by looking back.

Thank you Harry Chapin for that Wonderful Song. Thank you to everyone for the reminders – They are so important.

So simple, so hard, but yet so important. Let’s all keep reminding each other.

DON’T MISS OUT ON LIFE BY NOT BEING – IN THE PRESENT – It’s ALL THAT REALLY MATTERS.

Timothy Velner is a husband, father, attorney and author living in Minneapolis. You can follow his daily blog – a series of discussions between the worry-self and the present-self at – thespiritualgym.me

I often get frustrated over the differences among us – it makes getting things done more difficult and life more uncomfortable.

But upon reflection I’m so grateful for the differences among us.   If life is about growth, the differences among us are one of our greatest blessings.  They allow us to look at things from different perspectives and evolve at a rapid rate.   Because of the differences among us, society will evolve – there is really no way for it not to.   But for each of us individually, growth is not a given.   It is a choice.   And the choice starts with how we view our differences.  Do we view them as an opportunity to look at things through different lenses?  Or do we look at our differences as an annoyance to our ease and comfort?

Society tells us that life is about ease and comfort.   Going against the flow is not an easy task.

Timothy Velner is a husband, father, attorney and author living in Minneapolis. You can follow his daily blog – a series of discussions between the worry-self and the present-self at – thespiritualgym.me

 

I try to do at least some form of exercise every day.   Someone asked me why I do that, and I said:  “I feel like I’m being productive – That I’m doing something to better myself everyday.”

I’m happy I exercise everyday.   It makes me feel better, and hopefully will improve my health.

But in thinking about mind, body and spirit, the area where I should be spending the most energy is the spirit.  I believe at the end of life the mind and body will be gone, but the spirit will continue.   And if this is true it may be that the mind and body are simply tools for spiritual evolution.

For me “sharper” tools make for a better end product, but I hope I’m not losing sight of the goal by focusing too much on the tools.

Timothy Velner is a husband, father, attorney and author living in Minneapolis. You can follow his daily blog – a series of discussions between the worry-self and the present-self at – thespiritualgym.me

When I’m shopping or out in public it often seems that people or cars constantly cut in front of me and lollygag. So often does this happen that I often say to myself – I bet this person will cut right in front of me and putz around, and sure enough it always seems to happen. It’s weird – Almost like my thinking creates my reality.

So I tried a little experiment recently. I decided to change my expectations. Now I think – “He won’t cut in front of me. Or if that car does cut in front of me, it’ll just move ahead and won’t putz around.” And amazingly, it seems to work. I no longer seem to experience people continuously disrupting my flow.

Hopefully, I’m smart enough to know that changing my thoughts about outside events won’t directly affect the outside events. What it does, however, is impact my perception of the events. And that’s all that really matters. Because at the end of the day, reality is nothing more than our perception of it.

Changing my thoughts about “life flow” has helped me (at least occasionally) live more peacefully. I’m not worried about people cutting in front of me. I’m not worried about disruption. I’m living in the present moment.

It takes work to monitor my thoughts. But is extremely important – at least to me. My contentedness depends on it. As Buddha was said to have said: “What we think we become.”

The world is as it is. Whether it’s with us or against us depends on only one thing – our perception of it.

Timothy Velner is a husband, father, attorney and author living in Minneapolis. You can follow his daily blog – a series of discussions between the worry-self and the present-self at – thespiritualgym.me

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