Lucy Mills has moved!

You'll find all this content, plus more, over at http://lucy-mills.com.


Monday, 10 October 2011

moving day for looking deeper

I'm taking the plunge and am moving to wordpress.com.  There are a few challenges and limitations involved in doing this which have made me somewhat reluctant but I'm hoping it will work out!

Hopefully, you won't have to do much if you are subscribed to a feed through feedburner or via networked blogs, as they will be changed to the new address.  But please do subsitute the new address -http://lucy-mills.com - as and where you need.  Obviously any blog rolls or lists will need changing.

If you subscribe via Google Friend Connect and read my blog on Blogger dashboard, you will need to go into dashboard and 'add' the URL so that it comes up there - but that shouldn't take long, so hopefully you will want to make the effort to do that!

Apologies for any blips or bloopers that may take place during the changeover.

See you over at the new looking deeper!

Monday, 3 October 2011

holiness in the age of the hyperlink - #digidisciple re-post


The following is a post originally found over at the Big Bible Project as part of their #digidisciple initiative.
LET’S FACE IT, the world has shrunk. A whole wealth of information is at our fingertips, laden with opportunities, potential and possibility. The good, the bad and the ugly are all accessible to us in a digital landscape.

Overwhelmed by Choice

What does this mean for the life of the disciple? How can we choose wisely? Now when we are faced with links, bombarded by advertisements where it is so easy to click and go – how do we exercise self control? It’s so easy to look, these days. Searching only requires typing words into a box; it doesn’t require huge planning or effort.
I’m not only talking about the Big Things, like pornography and the vast array of material now available on the internet. Staying holy in the age of the hyperlink can be a huge challenge. But even the little things can challenge our discipleship– even the act of clicking on a link out of idle curiosity, surfing the net in a distracted state and coming away wondering – who ate the last two hours of my life?

Easily distracted

Some of us are more easily distracted than others. I know I am. I envy those who can keep their focus, who have oodles of discipline and self control. Those who are not prone to procrastination. Those who are not like me. Self control is part of the multi-faceted fruit of the spirit – and I find it one of the hardest.
Because it’s so easy to end up looking at things that aren’t necessarily ‘bad’.  Frequently I find myself immersed in the unimportant. I know I could have used my time better, could have been more constructive, could have – does this sound old fashioned to us? – improved my character by doing something different. I don’t want to live a mediocre life, but often I feel in danger in doing so.
Sometimes we are tired, but instead of taking proper rest, we engage in idle distractedness, and wonder why we still feel tired. Our brains and bodies work on so many levels and – much as I hate to admit it – playing Angry Birds does not often give me the rest I need.

Possibly not the most restful activity in the world...
It comes back partly to the old adage: know thyself.  We will all struggle with different things.  One person may have no trouble switching off an activity, whereas another may get sucked into it for hours.  As with so many things, whatever the media, it comes down to how we use them. We are usually aware of our weaknesses, even if we are reluctant to confess them. Identifying what these are is an important part of tackling them, of exercising self control. This is where I am weak. This is where I have to be accountable; this is where I need to put something better in its place.
This is what I need to pray about, to ask God’s Spirit to guide me and indwell me.
Lord, I want to value the time you have given me, to honour the opportunities to make life better – for myself and for others. Help me demonstrate the multi-flavoured fruit of the Spirit, self control included.

Questions to think about:

  • What does it mean to be holy? To be different? To be separate? Is it just about staying away from the bad and the ugly or is it an active seeking of the good?
  • When we spend time in the digital landscape, how do we use this time? Do we use the opportunities it gives us for the good of ourselves and of others? Or can it be simply an exercise in distraction?
  • What identifies us as disciples of Jesus in a digital age?

Thursday, 22 September 2011

whispered words


seeking
the hush and the joy of you
the depth and the breadth of you
all consuming, all inspiring

peace that passes
any level of understanding
love all-giving,
hope all-healing

faith - the hands wide open -
not an end in itself
but looking to a different ending
which is actually

full of beginnings

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Big Brother - the original

I'M CURRENTLY re-reading George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.  The first time I read it I was curled up in the conservatory of a holiday cottage while Andy was suffering from a migraine - I consumed it in one day and the end left me gasping.

It strikes me now as I read it again how the dark terror of the phrase 'Big Brother' has been neutralised.  Now we think of the 'Big Brother house' and rate its inhabitants, and occasionally talk of 'Big Brother is watching you' in terms of a surveillance society, but the terror is no longer there in the same way.  For those who never read Nineteen Eighty-Four 'Big Brother' seems mainly a curtailment of civil liberties and an excess of CCTV.

But the never seen Big Brother of Nineteen Eighty-Four is far more than a mere watcher.
Big Brother is infallible and all powerful.  Every success, every achievement, every victory, every scientific discovery, all knowledge, all wisdom, all happiness, all virtue, are held to issue directly from his leadership and inspiration...His function is to act as a focusing point for love, fear and reverence... George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four
The Big Brother in the book is essentially a pseudo-divine figure, a creation of the Party for the people to worship and obey.  The 'thought police' are constantly watching for those who do not hold Big Brother in the highest esteem, to 're-educate' and 'vaporise' those who believe otherwise.  The job of main character Winston is to rewrite history - constantly changing old records so that Big Brother is always right.

The power of association in this phrase is on its way to being lost...just as many literary figures and metaphors are re-inhabited by modern reinterpretations and commercialisation which don't pack the original punch.

Reading the book reclaims the chill of the words: 


Big Brother is watching you.

Monday, 19 September 2011

a retrospective on managing CFS


I've been really interested to read over at Apples of Gold about Red's experience in her CFS diagnosis and more recently her thoughts on her first session/'presentation about CFS.

It's reminded me of my own experience back in 2007 of starting my CFS 'Lifestyle Management' programme - I can't believe it has been this long!  Initially I started with four rest stops a day, and then went down to three.  I still do them.  I'm more flexible these days, but basically I stick with the same routine - Rest Stop 1 mid morning (10.30am), Rest Stop 2 after lunch (1.30pm) and Rest Stop 3 before I make the evening meal (4.30pm).

At first it seemed impossible, and yes there can be a great deal of inconvenience in dividing your day into segments.  But I discovered that by doing this I do not get to that awful stage when I've had to rely on pure adrenalin to keep going, but then it kicks out - and I am left shaking and feeling sick, exhausted but completely unable to rest.  The Rest Stops (I capitalise them in my head; this is not official language!) act as my framework, the pillars holding up my day.  I'm not terribly good at doing them properly - emptying my mind and meditating - but I still keep that habit of at least try and lie down.  This does not involve sleeping, although many people seem to assume so.  "Have you had your sleep?"  They ask me.  I don't often bother to correct them, but if they ask I will explain more fully.

Lately I am trying to make my rests more productive - really trying to turn off my mind by going through mental exercises - the most effective I have come up with is imagining a warm glow moving up my body, bit by bit, telling myself my feet are warm and heavy, my calves are warm and heavy, etc., and then doing breathing exercises throughout.  It takes discipline but I'm certainly more relaxed than when I started.

The other part of the programme was managing activity levels, so I that I set myself daily activity at the lowest common denominator and operate at that level regardless of whether I feel better or worse.  This counteracts the boom and bust cycle - doing more when we feel better, which makes us feel worse, which makes us do nothing, which makes us feel better, which makes us do more, which makes us feel worse....and so on.  That 'lowest' level is usually lower than you expect it to be and can be a discipline to obey.  You need to recognise what activities you find most energy consuming and space them out with gentler activities. When you feel you are managing your energy consistently over a period of time, you gradually increase your 'level' of activity.

Again, I'm not as rigid on this now as I was at the beginning, but it's useful to remind myself.

One other thing I've been reminded of by reading Red's thoughts is how incredible it feels finding those who understand you and your symptoms, as well as getting past the desire not to be defined by my illness.  Now that I 'own' it more readily, the reverse seems to be true - yes, this is true of me - but so is this, and this.  It is part of me and I can't deny it, but it is not all of me. Meeting with others actually released me to feel more 'me' and less 'M.E.'.

It is not all that I am - but I have had to learn to accept it, work round it, make allowances for it.  But it does not define me.  It is just another adjective of my life.


"The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people."- Richard Foster