Culture of Imagination

connecting spirituality to everyday life

Tag: reimagine

5 Ways to Reimagine Everything

Abstract, metal doors with built-in blinds, green glow.

Life can be so depressing sometimes.  I find myself in the midst of giving up on my dreams, struggling with anxiety and dealing with emotional pain.  So how does someone find some sense of hope in the midst of all of this?  I don’t really know, but I am trying to reimagine everything in the light of the possibilities of life.

The imagination is a powerful function with ourselves that can inspire us to be our true selves in ways that might be hard to comprehend.  I have found my imagination teasing out life within me in so many ways recently.

Showing kindness to a friend in the midst of conflict, giving my time to someone who needs a person to be with them without trying to fix anything, spending many hours in silence and solitude when I could be out doing something “more productive,” being vulnerable in asking forgiveness when I have made mistakes that affect other people and encouraging others through compassionate words in the midst of my pain are some things I have practiced reimagining.

Here are 5 ways we can further practice reimagining everything.

1. Learn from the past and unburden ourselves from the future

Our freedom is embodied in the ways we learn from our past as we reimagine the present and unburden ourselves from the future.  When we examine the shape of our lives together through reflection and rest, we are free to reimagine.  We constantly reimagine the present.  This pushes us into moments of reimagining the possibilities of life.

2. Embrace the present moment

Our reflection and rest is always manifested in our reimagining everything.  We will celebrate the past and learn from it.  We will reimagine what God has for us in the present and the days to come.

3. Allow our tomorrows and yesterdays to bring out the life of Christ within us

Through reflection and rest, we will free ourselves to work through our anxieties and regrets.  We will live into the mystical imagination in the parish.  Our tomorrows will not be so bad and our yesterdays we can learn from.  Our tomorrows and yesterdays speak to us through the mystical imagination in reflection and rest.  Our tomorrows and yesterdays can bring out the life of Christ within us in our local community.

4. Do not be afraid of examining the shape of our lives

Examining the shape of our lives together can be one of our greatest hopes as the body of Christ in the parish.  We cannot be afraid of this mirror.  We must look into the mirror and stare into our own eyes to find what is being authentically embodied within us.

5. Do not let our regrets, deficits and anxieties hold us back

Our regrets, deficits and anxieties will not hold so much weight for us as we practice examining the shape of our lives together.  In the process, we will create a new sense of Christ consciousness within us.  We will find the enjoyment of sharing life together through our everyday experiences more powerful than any other emotional state we find ourselves in.

Becky Garrison states, “Can I really not worry about my life and put all my trust in God?”

How can I start to reimagine my everyday life?

http://www.amazon.com/The-Communal-Imagination-Finding-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1427296541&sr=8-1

 

10 Ways to Reimagine Life in 2015

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1. Listen to God through the world of our everyday experience. 

The way of bringing dignity to others in their humanity is about listening.  Listening is the opposite of arrogance.  Listening provides us with an openness, awareness and receptivity to life.

God is living, moving and working in our everyday context in life.  God is present in the world.  We need to become aware of this learning how to listen, becoming more gentle and graceful.

2. Watch less TV and movies and learn to enjoy reading. 

Awhile back, I noticed how much time I was spending watching TV and movies.  This provoked laziness, apathy and frustration in me.  I started to find a way to give some of this up so that I could find the time to read more.  Reading has been so helpful for me to reimagine life as I seek to be my true self in the midst of it all.

When we become lifelong learners and learn to read good books that shape the imagination, there is a freedom that is nurtured within us.  We become more peaceful, more restful and more graceful.

3. See the sacredness of all of life through silence and solitude.

Silence and solitude is very vulnerable.  We cannot control it, but only enter into it with humility and openness.  As we do this, we will start to see and experience life beyond the duality of the sacred/secular.  All of life will become sacred.

When we loss the sense of the sacredness of life, we slowly die a miserable death.  Life losses meaning.  We are blinded to God’s presence within us and around us in the world we live in.  We were not meant to live in this way without any connection to authenticity.

4. Stop defining the church as a building and learn to be the church with others in the place you live.

Redefining the church as a compassionate community rooted in a particular place is what we are called to.  Becoming a rooted community of grace, love and humility in the midst of everyday life together is so important today.  The church needs to practice proximity to one another so we can become an expression of love as a collective body in the world.

This will shape us more than anything else.  The place we live becomes the medium of transformation in everyday life.  God has given us the world to live in with bodies to practice love toward others.  Place is important because it allows the church to practice the ways of love, grace and humility in the world.

5. Practice hospitality and open your home, life and mind to the poor. 

We can reimagine our lives by learning to see Christ in the poor among us.  Hospitality opens our lives to the other.  Hospitality teaches us of love.  Hospitality makes us more like Jesus in the world of exclusion and violence.

When we open our homes to the poor, our lives become about love, solidarity and hope.  When we open our minds to the poor we become less judgmental and more compassionate.  When we open our lives to the poor, we feel more human inside as we are discovering our true self.

6. Learn from someone who you think is very different from you.

The tendency is to think that we are so different from everyone else, but this is not true.  Find the similarities with others, not the differences.  We have so much in common that we could value and learn from.  We all are a part of the human family together.

Learning from others is a great posture of peace and hope in the world.  We need to have the humility to see that others have a lot to offer us.  We are incomplete without each other.  God made us for community, learning, listening and love.

7. Put all of our focus into being an expression of love.

Nothing mattes in life except love.  Love makes the world works.  Without love all we have is hatred and war among us.  Jesus came to teach us a better way of love.

Becoming an expression of love is all that matters.  Love is authentic.  Love is compassionate.  Love is the fulfillment of God’s desire for the world.

8. Stop talking about the gospel and start to embody it through your life.

Embodiment requires so much more than anything words can communicate.  Our whole lives can become an embodiment of love, compassion and humility.  This is what God’s Spirit is leading us to every day.

Embodiment cannot be argued with.  It is the most powerful thing we can do.  It is authentic and cultivates our true self in the world.  And the greatest gift we can give to the world is our embodied true self fully alive.

9. Value community more than American individualism.

We were created for community, for connection, for compassion and love.  This is the purpose of our lives.  Without this nothing matters and all we have is the American narrative of individualism, bitterness, competition and hostility.

This is no way to live as God has provided for us a better way of peace, compassion and love.  Jesus taught us to live caring for one another.  Jesus taught us a good way of life that would bring connection through reconciliation with each other.

10. Value simplicity over consumerism.

Jesus practiced simplicity throughout his life.  He did not care about money.  We are called to follow him in this.

Simplicity brings us freedom.  Simplicity frees us to love.  Simplicity is redemptive and brings us a way of sharing life together with others more freely.

Which of these ways of reimagining life do you resonate with?

http://www.amazon.com/Communal-Imagination-Finding-Share-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420145509&sr=8-1&keywords=the+communal+im

How Can Our Dreams Inspire a New Way of Life?

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For awhile now, I have a had a dream to become a great writer along the lines of Wendell Berry, Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day, Richard Rohr, Parker Palmer and Simone Weil to name a few who I admire.  This dream is starting to be cultivated in a small way as I published my first book The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together earlier this year.  My second book The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life, I am currently working on and should be out next year.  I am working on a couple more ideas for books and hope to keep publishing ever couple of years in the future.

As I love to write about spirituality, I am coming to find that this is a dream that God has placed in me.  I love to express myself through words written on a page.  It seems this has developed in me over years of longing, frustration, pain and loneliness.  We all have dreams that we need to search within to find so that we can engage the world with something beautiful.

  •  How can we dream subversive dreams together?

We need to dream of becoming citizens of our parish together.  The Spirit within us is leading us to love our neighbors in this way.  The Spirit within us is leading us to reflection and rest in our local community.  The Spirit within us is leading us to dream subversive dreams of becoming the body of Christ together.

  •  Can we reimagine what is beautiful in our context?

We need to see the practice of learning to dream as essential and nonnegotiable.  We cannot reimagine anything beautiful in our local context without it.  Without dreaming in this way we will be dead inside.  We cannot find life without a vibrant mystical imagination to see all of life as sacred in everyday life together.

  •  Do we dream and hope for a better world?

Frederika Carney says, “That is our task today: to dream and hope for a better world…” 

  •  Are we advocates for the place we find ourselves in?

Our reflection and rest will help us to dream for and reimagine a better world.  Our world will only become better if we embrace our local community with responsibility in everyday life.  We should be advocates for the place we find ourselves in.

  •  Do we have an intentional way of life?

This is our task.  This is our duty.  This is our way of life.  This is our subversive practice.

  •  Do we listen to the Spirit?

The call of the gospel is always for the local.  The call of Christ is always for the local.  God’s dreams are always aligned with the local.  The Spirit is living within us and rooting us into the local community we inhabit together.

  •  Can we live into something different for our world?

The world will not become anything different and history will repeat itself, if we do not take this call seriously.  The mystical imagination is leading us this way.  The mystical imagination is calling out to us to come alive and embrace a better world through our local community.

Have you ever dreamed subversive dreams for our world?  Please share one of them!

http://www.amazon.com/The-Communal-Imagination-Finding-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1409763962&sr=8-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination

Examining the Shape of Our Lives

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Living in a culture that values entertainment, speed, consumerism, individualism and upward mobility has made my life very difficult at times to create within myself some kind of practices of reflection.  I have found that without practices that help me to examine the shape of my life, my imagination becomes stuck and my freedom to live becomes disembodied.  My body has a deep need to breathe, reflect, rest, and slow down.  I am coming to understand more that my life cannot survive in a healthy way without this.

  • Cultivating honesty and trust within  

Our practice of reflection and rest helps us to examine the shape of our lives together.  We are constantly tested by our locality to see if what we believe is being embodied in our everyday lives.  Examining the shape of our lives together takes a sense of honesty and trust in God.  Examining the shape of our lives can be difficult.

  • The mirror of reality

It is the mirror of reality that will praise or shame us.  Reflection and rest cannot escape this examining of our lives together in parish.  There is a freedom to this kind of examining of our lives.  Our freedom is in our presence to the mystical imagination within us as the body of Christ in the parish.

  • Freedom to be fully present in the moment

We will find rest in the examining of our lives together.  We will develop a reflective spirit within us in the examining of our lives together.  Leighton Ford says, “The rest God offers is the freedom to be fully present in the moment, free to reflect and enjoy what has been; to let go of the deficits and regrets that wear us down; free to envision what will be, what we are being re-created for; free to unburden ourselves of regretful thoughts about our yesterdays and anxious thoughts about our tomorrows.”

  • Constantly reimagining our lives

Our freedom is embodied in the ways we learn from our past as we reimagine the present and the future.  When we examine the shape of our lives together through reflection and rest, we are free to reimagine.  We constantly reimagine the present.  This pushes us into the moments of reimagining the future.

  • Working through our anxieties and regrets

Our reflection and rest is always manifested in our reimagining everything.  We will celebrate the past and learn from it.  We will reimagine what God has for us in the present and the days to come.  Through reflection and rest, we will free ourselves to work through our anxieties and regrets.

  • Listening to our tomorrows and yesterdays

We will move into the mystical imagination in the parish.  Our tomorrows will not be so bad and our yesterdays we can learn from.  Our tomorrows and yesterdays speak to us through the mystical imagination in reflection and rest.  Our tomorrows and yesterdays can bring out the life of Christ within us in our locality.

Why is it so difficult to create a reflective spirit within us?