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Cleaning Up for 2017

There is a Japanese tradition that I really like which is that you begin the new year with things as orderly as possible. This is something I have tried to practice for the last decade or so and while I have not always had the energy or resources to do it, especially in years that were particularly challenging, I find it a very helpful practice.

Cleaning up can mean straightening up where you live or where you work and it can also mean taking care of relationships that are out of whack. It can mean trying to clean up our attitudes towards things or moving out of unhealthy mental habits or spiritual habits. An unhealthy spiritual habit could be something like believing that we are powerless OR believing that we are all powerful. Having a right relationship with our own sense of agency and what we can and can’t do is an important thing as we approach the end of this year, 2017, which has been so difficult for so many of us.

In this new year, living our values will be more important than any other time in my lifetime. In a world in which values are increasingly being discounted in favor of simple commercial consumerism and the right to do whatever one wants at whatever cost, we need people who are willing to commit to their values.

In cleaning up at the end of this year, I will be looking at my own attitudes and my own priorities in this world. I may not be able to put the world in order, however, I can straighten up my corner.

With faith and gratitude, Leslie

January 21, 2018: Humility for “Thinking” People

We live in a world plagued by the secret cost of shame, in which people are told to build themselves up and to think positive. How does the ancient practice of humility allow us to find a better balance and engage ourselves with reason and realism? This is the second in Rev. Leslie Takahashi’s series of “Do-It-Yourself” Virtues for these troubled times.

January 7, 2018: “Leftovers”

Though not consumed immediately, these morsels can be saved for a delicious meal in the future. They may also become a curse haunting us from the back of the fridge, taunting us to eat or throw away. Rev. Neal will suggest recipes for managing and thriving with the leftovers in our lives. No, not the food but the hurts, disappointments, and regrets, that we all collect in our metaphorical refrigerators. Rev. Neal Anderson will lead this service.

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