The Power of Drastically Reduced Ambitions

I take hope wherever I can find it.  This week, I was reading about how the demands of modern life easily put us humans in a constant state of “fight or flight.”  Our nervous systems are chronically amped, pumping cortisol through our bodies.   And sociologist Dr. Christine Carter puts it “I was living in a constant state of flight or flight, created by a pernicious and unrelenting sense that I was not getting it all done.”

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Orchard cat, Goof, inviting me to pause and pet!

I think when people come to church, one of the things they can be looking for are tangible ways of dealing with this constant state of fight or flight.   Changing something about our lives can simply feel overwhelming.  But I was reminded (as I often need to be) of the power of the small things, the small shifts.  Particularly when it comes to soothing our overly amped nervous systems.   And hearing that some fancy Senior Fellow at UC Berkeley, who specializes in happiness and productivity (and former marathon runner), runs for 9 minutes most days while her children pressed snooze…. Right! the power of doing a little bit, a lot.   As Carter puts it:

For a former marathon runner, slowly jogging for less than a mile a few days a week seems pathetically unambitious. But here’s the thing: I’m now consistently running twenty miles more per month than before I drastically reduced my ambitions.  This is because before I started just a little bit of exercise each weekday morning, I was spending a lot of time planning my exercise but very little time actually exercising. What working single mom can work out for an hour before getting her kids off to school? – Dr. Christine Carter, “The Sweet Spot.”

We can find hope in a kinds of places.  What small thing, what drastically reduced ambition might open up some hope for you this week?

I look forward to worshiping with you all this week: Planting Trees in the Apocalypse-
When asked what he would do if he knew the world would end tomorrow, Martin Luther is said to have responded, “I would plant a tree today.” We explore why we should plant trees. Our worship leaders are Rev. Darcy Baxter, Avonelle Tomlinson, and Bernadette Burn

 

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