Fort Worth Blue Zones and New Ways of Living Well

Len Delony1Last week Dr. Bruster finished a wonderful sermon series titled, “Five Essentials for Living Well.” But that was not just a conclusion, for it is about a new beginning and a powerful, personal invitation to us all . . .

At the top of the “Five Essentials for Living Well” list is the greatest commandment: to Love God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind.

But how do we keep that commandment and what difference does that make in our lives?

Like an artist, we are called to chip away, or let go of, what is not at the very heart, soul, and mindful depths of our True Self, that is being created in and shaped through the ever-present love of God.

And what difference does that make?

It changes EVERYTHING!

Awakening to the very real power of grace, we realize more often when we are blinded by distraction. Paradoxically, it is usually through our own brokenness or compassion for the vulnerability of others that we see what true treasure and riches are about.

The new awareness in the Spirit makes us overflow with gratitude and energizes us. We realize our calling is unique, and can find unity in the Spirit to envision within authentic, caring community what “Living Well” can become. Then, as Parker Palmer says, we “patiently stand in the gap” between the brokenness that is and the wholeness and peace that we can envision.

I’ve had some wonderful conversations with people throughout Fort Worth recently and seen some ways we at First Methodist might help lead our community in “Living Well.” I look forward to talking with you about some possibilities in helping Fort Worth become a healthy “Blue Zone,” and even lead others throughout the world as an exemplary Blue Zone, and how we might all live well in this way of love . . .

Last week Dr. Bruster mentioned the sculpture at Main Street Art Fest.

From Parker Palmer, here is a similar image but very ancient poem entitled “The Wood Carver”:

Grace and peace,

Len

The notion of letting go is nothing new. The Chinese philosopher/poet Chuang Tzu was describing what has been named “the apophatic way” — the way of letting go — as early as the third or fourth century B.C. In his poem “The Woodcarver,” he tells the story of a woodcarver whose name is Khing. Khing is commanded by the village prince to carve a bell stand, and he does, a bell stand of exquisite and rare beauty. The people assume he has been possessed by the spirits, and the prince wants to know his secret. Khing replies that he has no secret; his is a process available to those who are willing. He speaks of “guarding his spirit,” not expending it on things that don’t matter. Khing’s first response, then, to the command of his prince, is to protect the source of his art — his spirit — by releasing all that distracts him from it.

— from “The Art of Autumn Release

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