Eps 226 – Guest, Cassidy Hall: Queering Contemplation

Today is a returning guest, this time to discuss a myriad of topics from her new book from Broadleaf Books.

Queer is the way I tilt my head to look at the world,” says Cassidy.

What are ways we can get away from anything that moves us away from interdependence? Today we find out.

Once you listen, please continue to the companion page for all the rest: https://sparkmymuse.substack.com/publish/post/140153086

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Freedom from cynicism

“Critical thinking without hope is cynicism. Hope without critical thinking is naïveté.” – Maria Popova

RBSP-Launch-Streak-Double-MKilliancropThere is a balancing act for those of us with a creative spirit and a thoughtful disposition. We totter between hope and cynicism. This is the ongoing waltz, or slam dance. 

Hope, without an anchor, leads to some inflated expectations that are soon slapped down by reality or disappointment.

But, in those disappointments, we can become wounded or hardened and grow an exoskeleton of cynicism.

Proverbs 17:22

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

The truth is, I don’t understand life that well. (Not suffering or joy. Both are weird to me, still.) All the pat answers fail desperately, as it is their nature to do. And so, when this happens a few routes remain:

1. You can shut you eyes and re-double your efforts. (You’ve molted but you want to stick the feathers back on.)

2. You can live with uncertainty. This works well for a time, if you can handle it, but in truth, no one is stagnant. This is merely a stage, not a destination, or place of solace and rest. This disposition gives way to a kind of state disenchantment or resignation, and sometimes a tart cynicism. It is the stone in the shoe of hope.

• Or, one can start over, but never in the same place.

3. You can become a contemplative (a mystic, a sage, or a seeker) and this means that you’ve let some things go, but you are still fervent on all the major points. Here, you have freedom from cynicism. You haven’t let the bitterness or the indefinite way of things beat you into a sad lump.

I’m not sure where you stand, but you stand somewhere.

Finding your PURPOSE: 4 Surprising Ways

Creative Commons photo
Creative Commons photo

Today, I’m sharing with you my thoughts and draft notes as I prepare a talk.


If you’re getting stuck and feeling like you can’t find your purpose, or if you thought you knew your purpose and now you don’t really–don’t worry.

Although your basic human purpose changes very little, the details can change at different stages in life or in different circumstances. You are normal.

If you don’t know this bit about the shifts of purpose, you can go through dark periods needlessly and have longer slumps. Well, enough of that!

The WISP technique is something I came up with to keep me on track.

Not that there could be a “technique” per se.

Think of it as a rule of thumb or guide, if that helps.

Do you have a notebook?

Grab one.

Purpose – the finding and keeping of it – can be slippery. So, field notes help.

Keep track of your progress. It gives you a structure and a history to check on.





Does this sound a bit odd? Worship.
The more odd it sounds to you as a starting point, the more you need to do it to get properly orientated straight-away.

Worship is other focused, by nature. Yes?

That new perspective alone can help you make a break-through. But, really it’s much more than that at work.

“As we worship a fundamental shift happens because we remember who we really are.” -LD

At first blush it seems like worship is for God, because he is owed our worship. True?

That’s really only part of it. Let’s dig deeper:

1. God doesn’t need ANYTHING from us. He’s not insecure.

2. This means that Worship is to him (or toward him), but for OUR benefit.

To put it simply, God commands us to worship him because he wants it to be well with us.

[He knows we need it. Sure it’s his due, but he’s not an egomaniac. He’s always been taking care of us, even through the vehicle of worshipping him.]

When we fail to worship God, we start to worship lesser gods, like…ourselves, other mortals, our ambitions, the gods of the secular, dying world, and countless vanities.

Astray is where we go without properly directed worship.

Few things can create more clarity than a rightly worshipful heart.

• Clarity is a byproduct of worship and so are many other positive things I won’t get into this time.


Remember what Worshiping God helps us remember:

  • Who we are
  • Who we love (and who loves us)
  • And to whom we belong



Don’t feel like worshiping?…well you have to start somewhere.

Loosen your grip on your desires and expectations until you finish this stage. Shift your posture and you will find a new take on your life and on your purpose.

Back to that Handy-dandy Notebook!

(Shout out to Dora the Explorer)

Note feelings, changes, attitudes in your field notes now and during worship.  


So where or how should you start in worship?

You can start with something that tends to speak to you and get through to you. What worked before? Start there and keep pushing through. Maybe you’ll find something new or maybe something familiar will help.


For some this may mean getting a true break from others and a return and appreciation of the created world. (A walk, a camping trip, a hike, a solo picnic.)

For some it’s music and song. (Just listen, create some, or sing along.)

For some it’s just praying for a while. (It’s talking to God, so it’s a great place to start, if possible.)

For some it’s a with the help of a spiritual exercise like… “Praying the Names of God”

Here’s a quick “course” on how it works:
“Praying the names of God” is to first, come up with 10, 20, or 100 names of God. There are plenty: Savior, Redeemer, Creator, Father, Shepherd, Mother Hen, Majestic…you get the idea. As you say, write, and pray the names, roll them over in your mind. What do they mean? Let them affect you, be thankful and rejoice, and (of course) express your thanks and gratitude to God in prayer…which would be the actual worshiping part.

Example: “God you are my Provider. You have taken care of me and continue to. I thank you for providing for me, even in ways I don’t now about. God you are my Rock…”

Reading the Bible might help trigger true worship. Reading the psalms or the great Bible stories like the one of Joseph can inspire a true attitude of worship. You can read using the practice of Lectio Divina for some extra punch too. As you read thorough a portion, note the works or wonders of God, and pray about them, giving glory to God. Worship.


Maybe you have other ways to get the worship started. So, just get started!



You thought this was just some quick reading or some mental exercise, huh?

Nope. I’m asking more of you.


Use a notebook to record your mode of worship and your attitude at the start, during the time of worship, and afterwards. Then, continue to enter into times of short (5-15 minutes) and uninterrupted worship experience for a few days, or until the next post (which ever is longer).

Next post we will continue and with I in WISP

Click Here 

Thinking Class: 1st session


I look around at the wars of words, the polarizing gridlock that has shutdown the Federal government (as if that could truly happen) and listen to talking heads both liberal and non liberal spew illogical nonsense. But then I realize! Most of what I hear is illogical and most arguments are irrational.

Let me explain.

Most things people say are opinions and are therefore unreasonable (in the true sense of the word: “lacking reason”). Because opinions tend to be based on emotions or other arbitrary factors they lack logic. In two to four seconds on any cable news station you’ll hear it.

This situation becomes even more apparent as you learn Critical Thinking formally.

When I learned about critical thinking and logical fallacies in depth in graduate school, I thought, why didn’t they teach us how to think in high school or at least in liberal arts university?  (I mean isn’t the whole point of education to help you to think better? Apparently  not…Silly me.)

So, yes. We literally are not taught to think well. Usefully. Thoughtfully.

That’s because it turns out that teaching people how to think independently is wildly dangerous and threatening. (Crazy, right?!)

It can upset the balance of power. That means it’s considered far better to cultivate “sheep” that follow the herd directed by the powerful instead of helping people think well using critical methods. So, we have the predicament best epitomized on cable news. Screaming and hysteria and irrational arguments aplenty! The crazies are running everything it seems.

When we stop simply believing what we are told and follow a true logical format to discover main arguments or separate opinion from facts, it can cause…wait for it…thoughtful questioning. Empires have fallen for less than that!

Critical thinking is rare and utilizing it may necessitate that answers involve reason. Serious repercussions indeed!

Why would a school (or any group exerting power) purposefully put itself in a position to be knocked off its pins by newly rational thinkers? Well, they avoid that very thing. The point is to engender obedience and conformity: Teach people in a (factory-style) system that gets them to think how we want them to and agree with us, otherwise it’s anarchy, and we can’t have that!

(See why thinking well is so rare?)

Imagine: What if you think something out of sync with your club, church, political party, or social sphere? Look out. A bumper crop of fallacies will likely be lobed at you like poop grenades! You are SUPPOSED to keep in line. Gosh, duh…you are not accepted for your ability to think outside the expectations and presuppositions of your group. So, remember, if you plan to use critical thinking be prepared to be demonized.

The worst threat of all for anyone in power is to encourage independent thinking, let alone teach it. Learning logical fallacies can lead to innovation and change and much apple cart upsetting. It’s a threat to media outlets, propagandists, governments, authorities, parents, policemen, and nearly every institution.

Below is the first poster I designed to teach (critical) thinking. Stayed tuned for more coming in the next few days.

If you’d like more people to learn how to think better, pass it along.

It could help someone.

(click to enlarge)


Click here for an extensive list of fallacies.

To see the other posters I’ve done on fallacies, use the sidebar and search for “logical”

Open Diary: On Expectations Outside Yourself

Inspired by the open heart of Henri Nouwen, I am including my own thoughts openly.  In some ways prayers too. Though these are notes I am writing to myself, some of them may have resonance with you. I hope so. 

Open Diary

You’ve been deciding so much based on what you suppose other people want, or want of you. But, you really can’t know what they want. If you can, you can’t let it decide the most important things, like who or what gets the most or best of your time. That is reserved for you children, your spouse, your best friends. When it’s all over–and it seems that will happen sooner than you think–you will just just wonder where the time went, but wonder why things were more important than people to you. Not that they were, but you acted that way sometimes.

Instead of being paralyzed by something outside yourself, look hard within and feel the presence of God calling you to live your truest self. It is the voice of Love calling you to love others better then you do now from a power that is not yours alone. It is the power that set the world to light. It is out of the abundance of Love that you were made, not just by your parents, but by the Source of all Love and Goodness: God.

When you decide things do it because the people closest to you will benefit, not for those who want to use you for their intensions and gains. Put up boundaries on your time for your family but also for yourself.

Only do what God expects of you. That is simple: Love God and love others. The other things can sort out in many ways, but they shouldn’t overshadow the first truth.

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