Finding Your Calling

The world is filled with need. If I am to be of some use, I must first rise to the challenge of my own rebirth and growth, must engage in the gradual, demanding process of discovering the person I am meant to be now and taking up the work I am called to do.

“Go into yourself, and see how deep the place is from which your life flows,” the poet Rainer Maria Rilke once instructed an aspiring young writer. The advice might as easily have been written for a middle-aged woman contemplating her emptying nest. The work my friends seem compelled to undertake in their forties and fifties is no longer what they think they should do. It is what they feel, in their deepest souls, that they are meant to do. What the example of their lives suggests, what I desperately want to believe, is that once we have weathered these changes, honored our sorrows and released them, there is also great joy in moving on.

— Katrina Kenison, The Gift of an Ordinary Day, p. 284

Allowing Creativity

A woman must be careful not to allow over-responsibility (or over-respectability) to steal her necessary creative rests, riffs, and raptures. She simply must put her foot down and say no to half of what she believes she “should” be doing. Art is not meant to be created in stolen moments only.

— Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With the Wolves, p. 333

Abolishing Sin

Let me start out right here with a protest against the totally false view that Christian Universalists have lax views of sin or doctrine. No view so effectively proves God’s hatred of sin as this view that teaches that He cannot and will not tolerate its existence forever!

— Thomas Allin and Mark T. Chamberlain, Every Knee Shall Bow: The Case for Christian Universalism, p. 17


The secret of contentment, as I’ve come at last to know, is not in getting what I want. It’s not about being in the perfect place or having just the right sort of life. Contentment and grace may just be two sides of the same coin. And they are both mine whenever I remember to stop, look around, and appreciate where I already am and what I already have.

— Katrina Kenison, The Gift of an Ordinary Day, p. 269

An Opportunity

A crisis is always a chance not only to scrape away the film of your defaults but to see that life is inviting you to develop, to move in the direction of your own creative aliveness, to become more of who you are. In this way, pain is the initiator of great change, and crisis is definitely an opportunity. Indeed, it is an unsolicited chance to become more of yourself, more than you ever have been.

— Daphne Rose Kingma, The Ten Things to Do When Your Life Falls Apart, p. 41

Lower Your Tolerance to Stress

Surprisingly, the solution to stress is to begin to lower our tolerance to stress. This is the opposite of what most of us have been taught, but it is the truth. Lowering our tolerance to stress is based on the simple principle that our level of internal stress will always be exactly equal to our current tolerance. This is why people who can handle lots of stress always have to do just that.

People with extremely high levels of stress tolerance might end up with a stress-related heart attack before they begin to pay attention to what the stress is telling them. Others may end their marriage or find themselves in a recovery center for alcohol or drugs. People with lower tolerance might begin paying attention to their stress earlier, when their job first begins to seem overwhelming or when they find themselves snapping at their children. Still others, who can’t tolerate stress at all, sense that it’s time to slow down and regain perspective when they start merely having negative thoughts about their friends or family.

The lower our tolerance is for stress, the better off we are psychologically. When our goal is to feel our stress as early as possible, we can “nip stress in the bud” earlier, and return more quickly to a positive feeling state. We have choices; in fact, we have a series of “choice points,” in any situation. The longer we wait to disregard the stressful thoughts, the more difficult it becomes to bring ourselves back to our natural state of mind. Eventually, with practice, any of us can get to the point where we are aware of our negative thoughts before they pull us off track.

— Richard Carlson, PhD, You Can Be Happy No Matter What, p. 105

Growing Up as a Mother

Now, we’re in a different place and a different time, and I need to become a different kind of mother. A mother who knows how to back off. A mother whose gaze is not quite so intently focused on her own two endlessly absorbing children, but who is engaged instead in a rich, full life of her own. A mother who cares a good deal less than she used to about what time people in her household go to bed, what they eat for breakfast, whether they wear coats or not, and what they choose to do, or not do, with their own time. A mother who, though her protective, maternal instincts run as fierce and deep as ever, manages, in all buextreme moments, to keep those instincts in check. A mother who trusts in who her children are, even if they aren’t exactly who she thinks they ought to be. Who keeps faith in their futures, even when the things they do, and the words they say, give her pause in the present. A mother who remembers, above all else, that the greatest gift she can give to her own two wildly different, nearly grown sons is the knowledge that, no matter what, she loves them both absolutely, just exactly as they are.

— Katrina Kenison, The Gift of an Ordinary Day, p. 265


If you want to be impressed, note how often God’s people seem to be waiting….

I came to the parable Jesus told about the ten maidens waiting for the bridegroom…. I’d always thought that the point of the story was that we should be prepared. But in my reading after the retreat, it seemed to be just as much about waiting. Waiting through the dark night. The idea is that waiting precedes celebration. If you don’t show up prepared to wait, you may miss the transcendent when it happens.

Most stunning to me was the picture I began to get of God waiting. The parable of the prodigal son would be more aptly named the parable of the waiting father. It tells us much more about God than anything else — a God who watches and waits with a full heart for us to make our homecoming.

— Sue Monk Kidd, When the Heart Waits, p. 28-29