Word of the Week

Good morning friends! Can you remember the last time a feeling came out of nowhere and shocked you by its presence? 

Usually we think of such in negative terms. For example, you could happily be going about your day living your best life and then, a feeling of anger, frustration or grief just surprises. Something you see or do triggers emotion and you must experience it (like or it not) right then. My widowed mother-in-law tells me this is why she sometime cries in the grocery store or at the post office. . . 

But, this week, I encountered a term, the opposite of this negative experience, and it's glimmer.

Glimmer: a sign coming of something good or positive. 

It's also a psychological word coined in 2018 by author Deb Dana. She describes it in technical terms as small moments when our body is in a place of connection or regulation, so that our nervous system feels safe or calm. So instead of our body reacting "out of sorts" to an experience in daily life (a trigger), a glimmer is a soul expanding experience that is a building block of love for our future self. 

You see, glimmers aren't found in some "long-time comin' conversation" with a friend that you finally have after 2 years. Or in a moment when you get a much deserved promotion at work. Or when you finally sell your house that has been a market forever. Nope!

Glimmers are when you have enough breathing space in your day that you see the good right where you are.

You notice the hues of a sunset.

You laugh with a child. 

You feel the warmth of the sun on your arms. 

You hold someone's hand. 

If you can stay present in these moments (without rushing to the next thing), your life glimmers before your eyes. And your heart softens just a little, preparing you to notice more glimmers in the day to come. 

I have to think that this is what the Psalm that speaks of "Be still and know that I am God" is all about. 

God's goodness can still abound to us even if our lives are imperfect and filled with pain. It's simply our soul's work to let the glimmers in. 

There's a stained glass piece hanging in my kitchen. In the morning, it glimmers with colors of orange, red, green on my kitchen floor if the sun is out. It's beautiful and reminds me of this: the light somehow, someway always finds a way in. 

I'm hoping the same for you in the week ahead, may the glimmers find you just when you need them the most. 



P.S. Interested in learning more about what a glimmer is? ​This article​ is a great summary. Or this one might give you some ideas about what is ​a glimmer for you.​

In the fall of 2021, my family and I were involved in a car accident in one of our first weekends in Athens. The airbags went off. But we were all ok. We had insurance. We walked away with only minor bruises and aches. The urgent care doctor I saw after the accident told me I would be sore for a bit. He called it our word of the week: whiplash.

Whiplash: to jerk or jolt (someone or something) suddenly, typically so as to cause injury.

Beyond a physical experience of pain in an accident, whiplash is something we can experience as an emotional or spiritual condition as well. The pandemic. A life-threatening diagnosis. A death. "I don't want to be married to you anymore."

All whiplash moments.

Whiplash leads you to question everything you knew as true. Whiplash keeps you from making many plans for the future. Whiplash can bruise you in places you didn't know could hurt so badly.

I have friends-- and maybe this is your story-- who grew up in very rigid faith traditions yet later find themselves deconstructing their faith as part of their healing journey. It's great, but the process often comes with the feeling of being tossed to the wind, questioning everything, not knowing what is "home" anymore. Whiplash is so unsettling.

Where is the good in whiplash you might be wondering?

Well, like any experience, whiplash also has its gifts.

For whiplash can be THE jolt you need to get to the place where you need to be.

Maybe, just maybe whiplash is the only way you could get there. Your life is just too stuck otherwise. Your living with whiplash teaches you much about where you want to go and what is more important to you-- what you want to put your energy toward creating when you find solid ground again.

If you are currently experiencing whiplash, this is what I most want to say to you: keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Do the next right thing. Go through the pain. And do all of this with HOPE!

I want you to have hope that even though you might feel lost or alone or overwhelmed in the whiplash of now something else is also true. Your spirit, your heart, your soul KNOW the way to healing. They just do. So give yourself some time. Rest. Be around people that encourage you. Goodness will find you again.

Whiplash never lasts forever.



How are you feeling right now? Would you say something aches in you? Is something sprained or broken? Or are you a-ok?

As much as we fall into the trap of thinking we are simply a soul walking around in a shell -- we're not -- which brings us to our word of the week: body.

Body is defined as the main, central, or principal part of something or someone.

I love this definition of body because in the context of our physical bodies it brings us back to this truth: we can't get along in life without a relationship with our body. It is the core of who we are. It's our main thing.

Yet how poorly so many of us treat ours, right? How poorly our life can feel when ours simply don't work as they should.

But is body + faith something you hear a lot of people talking about? From my vantage point, no.

I can't tell you how many times I've sat in people's homes and they've forced an extra piece of cake on me. Or I've been in a meeting that goes on and on without any breaks. Or no one talks about mental health or how trauma informs how we treat the body.

Don't stop reading right now. This will not be a lecture about diets, exercise or a daily meditation plan. I wouldn't do that to you.

But here is what i really want to say-- if you're interested in being a spiritual person, then you can't ignore what your body is trying to tell you for the good or bad. Your cells, your nerves, and your muscles are guiding you all the time.

Your body wants to teach you about what you need and how excess makes you feel.

Your body wants to teach you about what is unresolved in you and what needs more attention.

Your body wants to teach you about what brings you joy and what makes you anxious.

And how do you learn? You pay attention. Yeah, it's that simple. Listen to the cues. You remember that you are a creation with a body that God made and called GOOD. Your body can be a good teacher.

So I'm wondering this week, how might you carve out some time to pay attention?



P.S. if you're looking for a great read on faith and body, I'd love to recommend to you This Is My Body: A Memoir of Religious and Romantic Obsession by Cameron Dezen Hammon. Such a great read that I couldn't put down!