One Pushup, One Sit-up, and One Jumping Jack

https://www.lds.org/media-library/images/mormonad-reach-higher-1118460?lang=eng

I heard a story from colleague at work a few weeks ago about a 80-year-old man who was in great physical condition. Do those two go together?

When asked about his secret, he answered that when he was a young man, he set a goal to do only one pushup, sit-up, and jumping jack every day of his life.

Only one? Yes, one. Couldn’t he do more? Of course he could. But that wasn’t his goal. He was going for, shall we say, a lifetime of continuity. And a streak of success.

“. . . By small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.” (Alma 37:6.)

His goal was one. He knew he could achieve it under almost any circumstance. What was to keep him from exceeding his goal after he reached it? Nothing.

Let’s estimate he was 20 years old when he first set his goal. By the time he turned 80, he would have done 21,900 pushups, sit-ups, and jumping jacks, at a minimum. I am sure he did far more.

Wow. Here’s to small and simple things!  🎉

 

Nothing in Nature Lives for Itself

https://www.lds.org/media-library/images/white-cape-daisy-1276230?lang=eng

I heard this quote in sacrament meeting today. I’ve never heard it before and never thought of nature quite this way before. I love this quote.

Nothing in nature lives for itself. Rivers don’t drink their own water. Trees don’t eat their own fruit. Sun doesn’t give heat for itself. Flowers don’t spread fragrance for themselves. Living for others is the rule of nature. And therein lies the secret of life. —Amit Gupta

It reminds me of this verse from the New Testament:

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. (Luke 6:18.)

Summer Evening

https://www.lds.org/media-library/images/dry-grass-845574?lang=eng

Tired leaves and
tarnished grass,

Geese mourning
the sun,

The tide of summer
slipping into night.

When will I see your
perfect light again?

How can I forget your
inescapable bones?

Michael James Fitzgerald

Smartphone-less: Two Months Later

https://www.lds.org/media-library/images/man-smartphone-898987?lang=eng

I sold my smartphone in May and replaced it with a rather feature-less “feature” phone. (I wrote about why I did this recently.) It’s been a bit of an adventure to step away from technology and into the trackless quiet of the heart.

Yes, smartphones are very convenient devices, and I look forward to getting another one soon, but for right now, it’s all about the quiet. And being a better listener, being more attentive to others and my surroundings, being more in tune with nature and the Infinite. That’s the key for me.

I don’t believe there is anything inherently wrong with smartphones, unless it demands too much of your attention and you yield to its demands. That was my problem.

I have lost my “phone reflex” simply because I don’t have one. The phone reflex is that moment when you might have a thought to yourself and you look at your phone instead, looking for the answer to the  question,, “What’s new?” of “Why did my phone just vibrate?” and “Why hasn’t Sammy texted me back? WHY?”

I can’t really express what a relief it is to not be “on” red alert 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

According to BusinessInsider, we touch our phones 2,500 and 5,400 times per day. This can’t be good.

It sometimes seems as if our phones function like an extra limb on our bodies. Now, research demonstrates exactly how attached to the devices we really are. The typical cellphone user touches his or her phone 2,617 time every day, according to a study by research firm Dscout. But that’s just the average user: The study found that extreme cellphone users — meaning the top 10% — touch their phones more than 5,400 times daily. (Emphasis added.)

That’s really a lot, more than I thought. How much time does all that touching consume? About 1/4 of our waking hours or over 4 hours per day, according to Hackernoon.

I am not saying that all that time on our, ahem, your phones is bad. I don’t believe that, but if you have lost control, if your phone is dominating your life, to the alienation of loved ones or even strangers on the train who want to exchange a few words with you, it has gone too far.

I couldn’t manage it—my compulsivity, that is—so I had to quit cold turkey (and I am so glad I did). I plan to get a new smartphone in the next few months, but if I can’t abide my own rules, I have promised myself that I won’t keep it. That’s the deal.

 

The Rim of the Moon

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Blood_Cresent_Moon.jpg

Along a keen edge
of dark and light
I ran an unsuspecting
finger

and left behind a
sunset drop
in memory of this
forgotten world,

its atomic trouble,
double-barreled blame,
shark-toothed schoolyard terror,

from which I flee
like an invisible child
flying home
one last time.

Michael James Fitzgerald

“My Peace I Give unto You”

https://www.lds.org/media-library/images/mountain-landscape-905815?lang=eng

Within hours, Jesus would suffer beyond all comprehension, and yet he left these words—among His last—with His apostles:

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27.)

“My peace”? What is His peace? I’ve been pondering that one today. Here are a few things I’ve learned.

Lasting peace, real peace, is rooted in Jesus Christ. He was one with our Father, and He was at peace with Himself. He is the example of peace. Though He was thronged by mockery, persecution, betrayal, even torture, in this world, He overcame the world (see John 16:33). Overcoming the world, or real peace, comes when nothing in this world can break our connection with God.

We may find temporary peace in this world of ours, but lasting peace comes in the presence of God. We can find that presence at home, in nature, in the temple, or simply in our hearts. To be present with God, we must be present in ourselves. We must have a temple in our hearts, our own private holy of holies.

Peace is also the fruit of unity. Unity is the essence of God’s life. God is at peace with all beings in the universe, though they may not be at peace with Him. Which leads me to my conclusion.

You can be at peace within yourself, and with God, no matter what others are doing and saying around you. You can know peace, the peace that Christ gives, in spite of earth and hell. Peace can dwell in that private, invincible part of you, that place no one may enter or intrude upon without your permission.