The Spin Cycle

I’ve been feeling pretty bad the past few days.

Just run down, tired. My bones hurt.

That doesn’t happen to me very often. But my joints literally hurt. I’m virtually positive that it’s the cumulative events of the past two weeks….the loss of the two Bills at Northaven –Bill McElvaney and Bill Warrick. Both were deeply important to me. Bill McElvaney, especially, has been a mentor and friend to me for twenty-five years. Everyone in the congregation is feeling the loss of these two saints. Including me. So, it’s been tough to keep myself afloat and be present for others too. (Not impossible. Just tough…)


One of the things that always helps me is riding my bike. All summer, I’ve been doing longer rides of several hours. When I take those long rides, there’s time for a nice break; to sit, reflect, and often be introspective. (Which I tend to do on Facebook….)

But, the past few weeks I’ve been going on shorter, “sprint” rides, where the whole goal is going fast and pushing hard. Anyway, instead of riding Wednesday afternoon, as I often do, I rode Wednesday morning instead. And, once again, I didn’t take a break. So, no meditative moment of introspection.

deskBut when I came home and had a shower, I then lit some incense and candles and meditated/journaled here at my writing desk for a while. Amazing how much better I feel already. I think the feeling-better is cumulative….from both the ride…and the prayer/writing at this desk which is my centering place at home.

Which reminded me of something that should be self-evident: We can go out. But we can (and should) also always go in too. When I take the time, this desk becomes a White Rock sunset for me. It calms and centers me the way a good bike ride does.

But, just like going to the lake, we have to take the time to go “in.” And when we’re stressed, when we’re spinning as a fast as we can, the last thing we think we need to is to slow down, and go inward. When, in fact, it may be the very thing we need.

Speaking of spinning, Eric Schwartz just posted a stupid little video of a dryer self-destructing. The little boy in my watched and thought, “Cool!”

Here it is:

And then, it dawned on me: That’s what WE do, as people. Way too often, we’re just like that dryer. We get stuck in the spin cycle and keep spinning until we self destruct.

That’s the time when I love to recall the old Zen saying, “Don’t just do something, stand there.”

And yet, to do any of this….to ride around the lake….or to sit at the desk in the quiet…all these things require CHOICE.

They do require us to “doing something.” It’s the most difficult “something” of all, for most of us:

The choice to take and make the time.

You deserve more than just life’s spin cycle.

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He has been Senior Pastor of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas since 2001. During his tenure, church membership has grown almost 30 percent, and a completely new church facility (sanctuary and education building) has been constructed. Northaven is a leading progressive Christian congregation in the Southwest. Northaven is an eclectic collection of gay and straight families, artists, musicians, theater folks, academic theologians, lawyers and judges (go figure), socially conscious community activists, people who don't "check their brain at the door," and a wide array of others who either see it as their "last chance" inside the "institutional church," or their first trip back in decades. Eric is an avid blogger and published author.  Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's an engaging live performer whose first CD was released in 2000. His songs have won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. (As always, if you like this post, then "like" this on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too...)

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