The Spiritual Side of Stump Removal

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Are you stumped? You have more options than you think you do.

Yesterday was Labor Day and I exerted my best to put the word ‘labor’ into the day. It was a national holiday, but no picnic in my backyard. After 19 years in the same home, we’re finally making some changes to the backyard. Thanks to the California drought, we’re swapping out half of our dog-destroyed back lawn for decomposed granite and patio stone work. On a small side slope next to my neighbor’s backyard, I’m moving my favorite plumeria trees by taking the larger ones out of terracotta pots and plunking them down on the slope.

But to make room for beauty, I first needed to get rid of a large, ugly tree stump. The thing had been lurking there for years in the corner, hidden by newly-removed bushes. Not causing anyone pain or harm. Yet. Submerged in the dirt, it was an arborist’s nightmare waiting to take out some-overconfident sop like me.

Are You Leaving All Outcomes to God?

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In my desire, struggle and journey to cultivate a beautiful life, one of the most helpful things I’ve learned to bring me peace is this simple truth: Leave all outcomes to God. In our work, life and relationships, if we want peace, we need to let go of our illusions of control and leave all outcomes to God.

Thomas Merton, one of my favorite spiritual writers, drives home this point when he writes about work and play. Read on…

The Monkey, the Banana, & the Bamboo Cage

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Once upon a time, there was a monkey, a banana and a bamboo cage. One afternoon after a long nap, the monkey was hungry and wanted something to eat. So he set off for a nearby banana plantation that he and his monkey troop would frequently raid. Walking along a dense jungle trail, the monkey suddenly eyed a banana. But this banana was in a sort of contraption that the monkey couldn’t quite name because monkeys have a very limited monkey vocabulary. Suffice to say, the banana was in a small bamboo box with long wooden slats. The box was fastened to a chain, which was tied to a nearby tree. Read on…