Book Review: ‘Finding God in the Waves’ By Mike McHargue

Do you ever want to read a book not because you don’t know the story, but because you actually already DO know the story and you simply want to know more of the details?

This was the case for me with Mike McHargue’s book, Finding God in the Waves.

Finding God in the Waves

Finding God in the Waves is a memoir, a book on the Bible, and a science book all in one. It is a book in which Mike shares his story of falling away from his faith and then finding it again.

I was very familiar with Mike’s story before reading his book. I follow much of Mike’s other work in which he is better known as ‘Science Mike.’ I am an avid listener of The Liturgist Podcast, which Mike started with Michael Gungor. I also really enjoy listening to Ask Science Mike, which is Mike’s solo podcast in which he answers life, faith, and science questions that his listening audience submit for him to answer. I highly recommend both of these podcasts.

Mike has shared his story of being a strict Southern Baptist, losing his faith and becoming an Atheist for a few years, only to have an incredible mystical experience during a Rob Bell two-day conference that awakened his faith in new and exciting ways.

Wild story, right? Don’t worry, this isn’t a spoiler. Again, Finding God in the Waves, should not be read to learn the story.

It should be read to learn the details.

The how, the when, and the why.

His story is incredibly intriguing. If you didn’t just read, “A strict Southern Baptist, losing his faith and becoming an Atheist, only to have an incredible mystical experience during a Rob Bell two-day conference that awakened his faith in new and exciting ways,” and think, “Hmmm…I really need to read this book,” then something is wrong with you! Ha!

I still remember the first time I heard Mike share his story. I was listening to The Liturgists Podcast episodes 6 and 7 “Lost and Found” as I was driving home. His story had me laughing, thinking, and crying. It had me moved. It gave me goosebumps and made tears come to my eyes as I felt a flow of spiritual energy run through me.  I was shook. I don’t know of another way to describe it.

Since then, I have heard Mike tell his story many times on other Podcasts or interviews. I was able to see Mike talk in Minneapolis at a conference about Faith and Science called “Jesus Rode a Dinosaur.” (Awesome name right?! Ha!)

Again, I was very familiar with his story. Yet I still wanted to read his book.

I needed to read his book. 

I was not disappointed.

Mike’s writing holds depth and while he tackles incredibly complex concepts scientifically and spiritually, his writing is approachable and understandable.

You don’t need to be a scientist to read this book. You also don’t need to be a professional theologian.

All that you need is an open mind, a little curiosity, and a willingness to allow yourself to question.

If you come to Mike’s book, Finding God in the Waves, with those few things, then you just may find God within the pages.

Get Finding God in the Waves HERE.


What are you currently reading? Anything that is waking you up? Let me know in the comments.

May the peace which surpasses all understanding be with you all.

©Derek Harkins 2018

I Am Moved

The Universe moves me.

Whether I am looking at the clouds
flying across the blue canvas that drapes our planet,
or I am looking at those specks of light
scattered across the darkness, billions of light years away,
day or night
I am moved.

I stand still,
completely still.

As I stand and reflect on existence and the Cosmos,
I am moved.
Still, yet moving.
Another of life’s mysterious paradoxes that brings me such joy…
that I can be as still as can be,
and, at the very same time, I am moving at speeds and rates unfathomable.

Literally moving.
1,000 miles per hour, the Earth spins on its axis.
67,000 miles per hour, our planet soars around the Sun.
515,000 miles per hour, our neighborhood – eight planets (or nine if you count Pluto) and our star – meanders through our galaxy.
1.3 million miles per hour, The Milky Way makes its way through space.

And lest you still might be under the illusion that we are actually able to stand still…
The entire Universe is expanding,
moving outward at a rate of 68 kilometers per second per megaparsec.
In order to help your mind grasp the ungraspable,
A megaparsec is roughly 3 million light years.

Yes, I am moved.

Literally
Emotionally
Figuratively
Spiritually

Moved.

I am moved by the divine reflected in and through all of creation,
from the mystery of subatomic particles that appear and disappear at whim,
to the supernovas that while being the death of a star,
are actually a rebirth of matter and energy into something new…
a resurrection of colossal scale.

Oh, sisters and brothers, are we moving!

Nothing unifies us more than this.
We are moving together.
Brown, black, white,
regardless of sexuality,
regardless of gender identity,
Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist,
American, Mexican, Russian, Iranian, Palestinian, Chinese,
human, mammal, reptile, amphibian, birds, and sea creatures
trees, flowers, forests, oceans, lakes, rivers…

We are moving.

On this rock we lovingly call our planet,
we are ALL hurtling through space together.
We are on this journey together.

The Universe is the great equalizer.
It cares not about perceived divisions.
It is unity.
It cares not about perceived power.
It is power.
It cares not about perceived constructs.
It is beauty.

It is.

So, fellow residents of the Universe,
stand still with me.
Stand still and know that you are moving…
moving at incomprehensible rates without even taking a step.

We are moving forward.
Continually called forward together by the divine movement.
Together.

Yes, in my stillness…

I am moved.

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©Derek Harkins 2018

Enneagram Experts: Your Go-To Gurus

As I stated in my last post (HERE), I am not an expert on the Enneagram. I have only been studying it and doing my own self-reflection and deconstruction/reconstruction for a year now. That being said, I do have several experts I would like to recommend to you on just about every platform available…a little something for everyone’s personal learning preference.


We will start with my favorite way to learn – taking it back to the Old SchoolBooks! Reading words on real, bound, paper pages is still my preferred way to study and learn. Of course, many of these books I will be recommending can be found for your favorite e-reader, but be sure to have a notebook or journal ready to jot down notes in. Here are the books I recommend and in this reading order (of course if you are a One you will follow my reading order perfectly, if you are an Eight you will read in whatever order you darn well please, and if you are a Five you won’t need these recommendations at all because you will have already researched them yourself):

The Road Back to You Cover

1.The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery By Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile

Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile are the current Enneagram ‘Rock Stars’ and you will see them both featured a couple times in this article with other projects. The Road Back to You is the perfect doorway into The Enneagram.  It is the primer you need to help you find your number if you are struggling with figuring that out. It also is a great thorough starting point towards understanding all of the other numbers and their intricacies. It doesn’t go into great depth, but is a great starting point.

Purchase The Road Back to You HERE

The Complete Enneagram Cover

2. The Complete Enneagram: 27 Paths to Greater Self-Knowledge By Beatrice Chestnut, PHD

Beatrice Chestnut titled her work here appropriately. This indeed is the COMPLETE Enneagram. There is so much depth, knowledge, wisdom, and information here that calls for multiple readings of the entire book. While it is ‘academic’ and thorough, it is also very readable, so no worries there. If you are at all serious about digging deep and doing real personal reflection and work this is a must read.

Purchase The Complete Enneagram HERE

The Enneagram Christian Perspective Cover

3. The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective By Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert

The Enneagram can be an incredible tool for self-understanding, but it is also an amazing tool for enhancing your Spiritual Life and connection to God and creation. Rohr and Ebert do a great job of this by tying The Enneagram into their understanding of the Christian faith. Rohr, a Franciscan Monk and author of several other books, is known across the world as a leading and respected Enneagram expert. I found this book much more helpful and understandable after I had a deeper grasp on what The Enneagram is. It was the first book I tried to read and had to put it down to read The Road Back to You, but then came back to it recently and was pleased to be able to connect with it on a much deeper level and enjoyed it greatly.

Purchase The Enneagram HERE

(These last two book recommendations are books that I personally have not read yet, but they are on my reading list.)

The Sacred Enneagram Cover

4. The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth By Christopher L. Heuertz

Purchase The Sacred Enneagram HERE

The Path Between Us Cover

5. The Path Between Us: An Enneagram Journey to Healthy Relationships By Suzanne Stabile

Purchase The Path Between Us HERE


The next medium that I have used a ton for learning is Podcasts. Podcasts are awesome ways to learn from real experts at just about anytime whether it be when you are driving, working, cleaning, cooking, relaxing, waiting…well you get the point. Huge fan of podcasts in general, but these are a few Enneagram themed podcasts that I found to be enlightening and helpful:

The Liturgists Podcast

1. The Liturgists Podcast: episode 37 By Michael Gungor and Science Mike

The Liturgists Podcast is a great podcast all around and they cover absolutely every topic under the sun. However, I am specifically recommending that you listen to Episode 37 of their podcast initially before the others, because it is a great starting point. Michael and Science Mike interview Suzanne Stabile and Ian Morgan Cron and it gives a great basic understanding of The Enneagram and all nine numbers.

Find Episode 37 of The Liturgist Podcast HERE

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2. Typology By Ian Morgan Cron

Typology is a great podcast that is Enneagram all the time. Ian Morgan Cron, coauthor of The Road Back to You, usually interviews other people talking to them about their numbers. Many different subjects arise and how the Enneagram fits into each situation. Highly recommend.

Find Typology at your favorite Podcast app, iTunes, or HERE

the Enneagram Journey

3. The Enneagram Journey By Suzanne Stabile

Much like Typology, The Enneagram Journey is a podcast where coauthor of The Road Back to You, Suzanne Stabile, interviews people and talks to them about their number and how they relate to the world and to other people and numbers. It is a great podcast and I always appreciate Suzanne’s perspective and wisdom.

Find The Enneagram Journey at your favorite Podcast app, iTunes, or HERE

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4. The Sleeping At Last Podcast By Ryan O’Neal

If you haven’t heard of Sleeping at Last and the music of Ryan O’Neal, you are missing out! Ryan is a Chicago based singer-songwriter, composer, and producer. Ryan is also a student of the Enneagram and has taken it upon himself to compose a song for each number of the Enneagram. He has only released the first 5 numbers, but each one is breathtaking and incredibly insightful. On his podcast he breaks the songs down and tells you why he made the compositional and production choices he made based upon each number. He also has Enneagram expert Chris Heuertz, author of The Sacred Enneagram, on to help him break down each number. Each episode and song is fascinating and I can’t wait until he has released them all (mostly because I am a Nine and my song will be last! HA!) Definitely give these a listen, even if they aren’t your specific number.

Find The Sleeping At Last Podcast at your favorite Podcast app, iTunes, or HERE


Another great resource for learning is of course the internet. There are two main websites that I have found helpful, but of course there is an endless supply of information if you just Google. The two webpages I recommend are:

1. https://www.enneagramworldwide.com/  <——— My primary web source

2. https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/


Finally, if you are really serious about digging deeper you can always consider seeking out workshops or retreats that an accredited Enneagram teacher might be leading in a city near you. For those on a budget or can’t travel or who simply want to learn from the comfort of their couch, The Liturgist have released a wonderful online workshop on The Enneagram with Enneagram expert Annie Diamond. Check it out HERE


There, that should keep you all plenty busy for awhile! HA!  I hope you find these resources helpful. I would love to hear from you if you find any specific insights helpful or have questions. We are all here to learn together. Were there any resources that I missed that you have found helpful? I would love to hear about them.

Peace.

©Derek Harkins 2018

The Enneagram. The what?!

Some of you may know what the Enneagram is, but I would guess that many of you might not. This certainly isn’t a comprehensive review, but more of a teaser that might encourage you to delve deeper into learning more about it. A large disclaimer – I am not an expert. I am still most definitely a novice with lots to learn and will continue to share as I learn. I will be sharing several resources that I find helpful in a following post (which you can find HERE.)

The Enneagram, at its very basic understanding, is an ancient personality typing system – a sort of compass that helps you find yourself.  Enneagram literally means in Greek “The drawing of Nine.” It asserts that human beings are drawn to one of nine distinct personality types. These personalities are thought to be a bit of both nature and nurture. Something in us is predisposed to a personality, but we also take on a personality type very early on in response to our experiences. Our personality is a way that we human beings learn to interact with the outer world and still keep our inner-self safe. It is argued then, that our personality is not truly who we are, but it is a defense strategy we put up to protect our true self. We learn very early in life that our true self isn’t safe in the world. Our personality is who we are, but then again it isn’t. It is the walls around the castle, but it isn’t the castle itself. Our personality, our type, helps us navigate through the world. It is how we interact with others. It is how we make decisions. It is how we handle and deal with conflict. It is our subconscious habits and routines.

By understanding our type, our predispositions, and reflecting on our self, we are able to gain some self-awareness and begin to move beyond our personality and into our true-self. I will now give you a brief run down of the nine types, and will provide a link for each type for further description. I will include a picture of each numbers ‘Totem Animal’/ ‘Spirit Animal’ as well for something fun.

  1. The Perfectionist

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The One is known as The Perfectionist or The Reformer. These names fit the One well. Ones are able to see what’s wrong in the world almost immediately. They can determine what needs fixing in a situation, in a relationship, at a job, in an organization, in others, but mostly in themselves. Ones get a bad rap, because who wants to be criticized all the time, but Ones are actually incredible people to have close to you, as long as you are willing to be open to self-reflection and growth. Ones demand an integrity that holds the people around them accountable. They are honest and forthright. Every One will tell you that they have a literal voice in their head that they name ‘The Inner Critic.’ Learning how to navigate and relate with their ‘Inner Critic’ is probably the most difficult, yet the most important task the One has. An integrated healthy One will have figured out how to use the ‘Inner Critic’ as a tool to better themselves and the world, but they will not allow it to hold them captive. A disintegrated One allows the ‘Inner Critic’ to run the show. It becomes the loudest voice in their life. Nothing and no one is good enough, especially themselves. Ones tend to be hardest on themselves. This leads them to live their life in resentment and anger. Ones move to a Four in Stress/Disintegration and move to a Seven in Health/Integration. Find out more about Ones HERE.

  1. The Helper

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Twos have a deep-seeded belief that in order to be loved they have to earn it. Because of this belief, Twos then feel driven to help, care for, and support others whom they want to love them back. Twos will always care for others before themselves. They are extremely intuitive emotionally and are able to tell what others might need, and then they work tirelessly to provide that need for them. Many of us love Twos for this, because they give us love and attention and are willing to do almost anything for us. However, Twos also have the ability, especially in disintegration, to come off as intrusive and manipulative. They can insert themselves into relationships and/or situations that they haven’t been invited into. The greatest challenge for Twos is focusing so much on helping others in order to be loved that they never help themselves. An integrated Two will have learned how important self-care and self-love are. Twos move towards an Eight when they are in Stress/Disintegration and move towards a Four in Health/Integration. Find out more about Twos HERE.

  1. The Performer

 

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Threes believes that the path toward being loved is paved through success and accomplishments. Image is incredibly important to Threes. They literally believe that if they perform well enough then they can make themselves lovable. They are extremely driven and can be quite charismatic. They are able to assess a situation or a room of people and figure out what/who they need to be in order to be seen in the greatest light. Because of this, Threes are known to be able to put on many different masks depending on the situation or context that they are in, which makes it difficult to actually know who the real Three is. They have a competitive drive that makes them want to win at all costs. An integrated, healthy Three has the power to do an incredible amount of good in the world. Threes move towards Nine in Stress/Disintegration and move to Six in Health/Integration. Find out more about Threes HERE.

  1. The Romantic

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Authenticity is what Fours crave. They need something real and meaningful. They are always seeking and searching for something more, something deeper, something more momentous. They want their life to have meaning and their relationships to have meaning. In their need for more, they can have a tendency to be jealous, seeing what others have and being upset or disappointed that they don’t have it too. “The grass is greener on the other side of the fence” can often be their mentality. In disintegration they can come off as self-absorbed and dramatic, but in health they can be incredibly empathetic, creative, and real. Fours are deeply in touch with their feelings. In Stress/Disintegration Fours move toward the Two and in Health/Integration they move towards the One. Find out more about Fours HERE.

  1. The Observer

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Fives have a tendency to live their lives inside their head. They are detail oriented and information driven. In many ways they fear the experience of the world and the pain that it can cause, so they build walls of protection by withdrawing into their mind. The more information, statistics, and details they have, the more they feel that they are in control. Others might feel that Fives are disconnected from the world, over-analytical, and overly private, especially when in stress. If Fives let you into their lives and into their world, it is a great honor and privilege. In Stress/Disintegration Fives move towards the Seven and in Health/Integration they move towards the Eight. Find out more about Fives HERE.

  1. The Loyalist

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A little bit like the Five, the Sixes find safety living in their head. Sixes, who are also called Skeptics, have a deep distrust of the world and find the world to be dangerous. They question everything and seek certainty. Safety and security are their number one concern. Because of their distrust, they tend to question authority. Even though the Six might doubt and distrust you, they are people you can trust and develop deep friendships with. They are great problem solvers, but can be perceived as controlling and challenging. In Stress/Disintegration Sixes move toward the Three and in Health/Integration they move towards the Nine. Find out more about Sixes HERE.

  1. The Enthusiast

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The Seven is all about living life to the fullest. They believe that life should be lived and experienced through positivity and with as little pain and drama as possible. They have an extreme FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and are constantly looking forward to the next adventure or experience. The problem is, this often causes them to miss out on the present, because they are so worried about the future. The idea of being bored might be their biggest fear. Sevens, especially in stress, can come off as self-serving and unable to commit to anything. Yet having a healthy Seven as a friend or loved one is a gift, because they will take you on adventures you never dreamed of. The Stressed/Disintegrated Seven moves toward the One, while in Health/Integration they move towards Five. Find out more about Sevens HERE.

  1. The Challenger

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Eights find protection and safety in power and strength. They exude confidence and use conflict as a way of communicating their thoughts, ideas, and opinions. Conflict is not a negative experience for Eights, but simply a form of expression. They have strong feelings and beliefs and have no problems pushing those who they disagree with. They are direct and focused on action. They do not like to be controlled and will fight for others if they are being unjustly controlled. Eights can come off as being impulsive, stubborn, and difficult to work with. However, Eights also are able to advocate and get things done in ways that the other could only imagine. If an Eight is on your side, you will have an advocate and friend who will work tirelessly for you. If an Eight is against you…look out! Eights move towards Five in Stress/Disintegration and towards Two in Health/Integration. Find out more about Eights HERE.

  1. The Peacemaker (my number)

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Harmony is the goal of every Nine. Mostly inner harmony, but in order to have inner harmony they need outer harmony. Conflict is the Nines’ greatest fear, because of this Nines avoid conflict at all costs. This usually leads to Nines being agreeable, easy-going, go-with-the-flow type of people, because they don’t want to rock the boat. If someone else has a strong opinion Nines will generally defer to them. Nines have the gift of seeing all sides and can empathize with everyone. They are inclusive and want everyone to feel welcome and comfortable. A healthy Nine holds great power, in that they are able to relate to everyone yet they also have a great understanding of themselves. A disintegrated Nine will most likely be unable to tell you who they are or what they believe. They are so busy appeasing others they have no idea who they are themselves. Nines move towards Six in Stress/Disintegration and move towards Three in Health/Integration. Find out more about Nines HERE.

 

There is my very brief overview of the nine numbers of the Enneagram. What number resonates with you?

©Derek Harkins 2018

Why are you afraid? – Part 3 of 3 on Fear

(The following is a poem I wrote while reflecting on Fear and Jesus’ response to the disciples in Mark 4:35-41 when Jesus calmed the storm. It is the final post in the 3 part series. You can find post 1 HERE and post 2 HERE)

Why are you afraid?

Why are you afraid of change?
Do you not know that I, the one who can calm even the sea, will be with you through it all?

Why are you afraid of giving up your privilege and power?
Do you not know that the last will be first and the first will be last?

Why are you afraid of ‘Those people?’ People of Color? Women? LGBTQ people? Muslim people? Atheist people? Immigrant people? Refugee people?
Do you not know that they are your sisters and brothers, my children, whom I love deeply?

Why are you afraid of losing your present life, your possessions, your money, your security, your lifestyle?
Do you not know that in me you will find real life?

Why are you afraid of failure?
Do you not know that I have already forgiven you?

Why are you afraid of death?
Do you not know that I conquered death?

Why are you afraid?

I am with you.

I love you.

You are mine.

Peace. Be. Still. 

©2018 Derek Harkins

 

 

How do you feel?

Jessica, my spouse, asked me Friday night after I published my first blog post, “Well Derek, how does it feel? How does it feel to finally get your blog started – to put yourself out there?”

Pretty sure my first reaction to that question was panic and horror. That’s always my first reaction to the question, “How do you feel?” Feeling usually leads to having opinions, which usually leads to action of some kind, and…well…you should know from just one post now that action can disrupt a 9’s harmony. Having opinions and feelings and then voicing them is a risky venture for a 9. The probability of conflict skyrockets. I suppose doing anything at all will cause the probability of conflict to rise, as opposed to doing, feeling, and voicing nothing. Which is why I often opt for the safer path – keep my mouth shut and my head down.

But I am trying not to do that.

I breathed deep and let out a nervous laugh as I tried to allow myself to ponder her question and engage it.

“I feel nervous and scared,” I finally responded.

I don’t know why I felt so bad for feeling that way either. In reflection, of course it is normal to feel nervous and scared when putting oneself out there for the world to see. I am trying to be open and honest, trying to find my true self and communicate that to others. I believe that this is an important part of my waking up. I am finding myself, who I really am. I need to be honest about that and sharing with others is a way that I can own and truly embody where I am at in my journey. So, yeah, that’s terrifying for me.

Ugh…I wish I had stayed asleep! Ha!

That was my first thought after creating my blog. Why am I doing this?! Why am I putting myself through this?!

It is necessary though. As much as my being cries out against doing the hard work of inner reflection and dealing with things in a healthy manner (as opposed to doing nothing which is my inclination), I know it is exactly that hard work that I must do – that I need to do.

So, after an hour or so of further inward turmoil, I decided to be vulnerable and share further with Jess.

“You know…I was pretty surprised by the amount of shame I felt rise up within me after hitting that ‘publish’ button. I sat there looking at my post thinking, ‘What are people going to think?’ I have been here before. I felt the shame from my past failures.”

I have tried to start blogs before…twice. I got them kicked off and then instead of engaging in the difficult work, I went back to sleep. To be fair, I had a different purpose in mind for my other blog. I was not at the place I am now. I was not ready to wake up, because I didn’t even realize at that point that I was asleep. While I recognize that  I am different now and this time feels very different to me, I still have a fear that this will end like the others…4-5 posts and then back into hibernation. And the shame I feel thinking about that sucks. But at least I know what I’m dealing with. I can name it and own it. Thanks to Brené Brown, especially her book Daring Greatly, I am able to understand what I am feeling and going through and begin to move past it.

Taking steps forward instead of backwards, no matter how small they may be, is the name of the game.

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As with anything in life, when making a change or transition we as human beings need support and accountability from others. Accountability is huge for 9’s. It helps us sustain momentum. It is hard for 9’s to get started and it’s incredibly easy for us to stop. Sustaining any sort of movement and momentum will be important for me. And that is probably the number one reason I will be writing about my journey and sharing it here.

As part of my own accountability I am going to post some ideas I have for future posts, in order to encourage myself to make future posts! So, in the future you might be seeing posts on:

  • A general overview of the Enneagram and what it is. A very brief description of each number.
  • A more in depth post on what it means to be an Enneagram 9, to not only help you know me better, but so that I can know myself better. Each time I write I find out something new about myself.
  • You will continue to find posts about my everyday life experiences when I feel moved to share them and reflect on them.
  • Posts about how my faith is changing, going through a deconstruction and renewal. Along these lines I will probably write a series of posts about the Bible and how scripture informs my journey and how changing how I read and approach scripture has caused my relationship with God to deepen.
  • Posts about my love for Science and the Universe and how it all works. Also, you will read plenty about how I think Science and Faith compliment one another.
  • Posts on spiritual practices, especially meditation, that I am finding incredibly useful.
  • I will probably be writing some book reviews. I have been reading a great deal and want to share the wonderful books I am reading with others.
  • At times I will also share some poetry, prayers, and liturgies. I probably won’t share my sermons here as they get posted elsewhere and are intended for the specific context that I serve.

Until next time, may the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, be with you all.

© Derek Harkins 2018

Waking Up

Waking up is hard.

Waking up is painful and difficult. At least, if you are me it is. I know that for a lot of you blessed ‘morning people’ out there, you don’t have any problems waking up and getting out of bed. My middle child is one of your kind.  Let me just say this:

I don’t get you! 

How do you do it? Ha! I have had several jobs now that have forced me to get out of bed well before I wanted to. I can do it. I can. I can even come to enjoy it…

But only after I have actually swung my legs out of bed and wiped the sleep out of my eyes.  Those moments when my alarm clock is going off, and I snooze 5 times, is pure torture.  It is the war of all wars raging inside of me trying to get out of bed every morning.  My body and mind fighting with all of their might against their arch nemesis – Responsibility.

Yet, once I am up, coffee in hand, I do quite enjoy the morning.  There is a peace that can be found in waking up early that cannot be found at any other time.  I only have to conquer myself each and every morning to find that peace.

That is life though, isn’t it? And not just life, but a life of depth, purpose, and meaning.  A spiritual life of any kind, I am finding, will be conquering myself each and every day to find that peace. A certain someone said something along the lines of, “If you lose your life you will find it.” Oh, that’s right…Jesus! We must die to self in order to have life.

Wake up!

These are words that have not only been emblazoned on my heart and my very being the last couple of months, but they are a mantra – a way of life for me now.  I am currently in a state of waking up.  My eyes are opening.  It is painful and everything in my being is fighting against this awakening.

Why?

Because change awaits.  I am a human being. If there is one thing that human beings have in common, it is the engrained resistance to change.

I believe we all need and experience awakenings in our lives, no matter what your number is. However, as an Enneagram 9, my resistance towards waking up is a little more complicated. 9’s are often called Peacemakers.  We are called peacemakers because everything in our being cries out against conflict. Conflict makes us uncomfortable and pained. 9’s are all about keeping and restoring our inner and outer harmony.  If the outer harmony is thrown out of whack, our first instinct as 9’s isn’t to resolve that conflict, but to retreat within what other 9’s call our Inner Sanctum. The sanctuary that we have built inside ourselves to hold our own inner harmony together. It is this harmony that 9’s try to sustain at all costs, and change is the number one way to throw harmony into dissonance. So what is our primary defense against the dissonance created by conflict?

SLEEP.

Figurative and literal sleep. 9’s in times of deep conflict and change can just fall asleep.  Not only can they, but they actually do just fall asleep.  Sometimes in the middle of the conversation or disagreement. Our body literally shuts down trying to sustain the harmony we hold so dear.  We will also figuratively fall asleep to keep the harmony.  Our being will actually appear to leave our bodies, but in reality we just go inside of ourselves to our Inner Sanctum.  9’s are very good at continuing conversations without actually being present.  I don’t say this to brag.  I believe it is a downfall of 9’s.  It is a survival mechanism. We will hold entire conversations without actually being present. If you are married to a 9 or have a 9 child or friend, you will know exactly what I am talking about, because you have probably seen this happen in the middle of an argument or conversation. Knowing this now grieves me in many ways, because it not only happens in conversations or conflict, but we can be asleep for life itself.

This is my reality I find myself in now. I am just now waking up. I have been stirred. My alarm is going off. The beams of the morning light are breaking through my eyelids.  My Inner Sanctum has been disturbed.

My being is awakening. 

My instinct is to pull the covers over my head and try my hardest to go back to sleep, but something inside of me cries out and will not allow it. Not this time. Not anymore.  I have been asleep for far too long. Something is different this time. I can’t just retreat. I am being stirred and shaken.  It is both exciting and terrifying at the same time. Perhaps that is why I am being drawn to write, to document my journey of waking up…because I don’t want to go back to sleep.  Writing and speaking the reality – the pain, joys, progress, and failures – will give me accountability, something I know I need in order to not fall back asleep.

This is my journey of waking up.

© Derek Harkins 2018