Tag Archives: peace

Shifting My Perspective

Property of Kristin Giuliani

September was an exhausting month. It was enlightening and beautiful. It was tedious and draining. I was challenged and stretched and asked to step out of my comfort zone. And I somehow feel simultaneously refreshed and depleted. I have a sense that I just closed a chapter in my life and am stepping into a new one. Although it’s early, I think this new chapter will be defined by unique perspectives – shifting out of autopilot and being willing to look at everything that defines me in a completely different way. I am redefining my work, how I use my skills, and how I spend my time. I can feel it. Change is coming.

 Property of Kristin Giuliani

I am someone who thrives on change – external change. I like to be a participant in changing locations, changing weather, changing activities, changing routines.


However, I am realizing that it’s a lot less fun when I have to initiate the change by changing something internal first. And the clear message of September is that I can start a new, exciting chapter in my life, BUT, not by first changing my circumstances. I have to change how I see my circumstances first, and look at the same old mundane things in a new way.

Property of Kristin Giuliani
That is infinitely less exciting and infinitely more challenging for me.  And even though that is the entire point of this blog, internal change in the absence of external change is hard, and I’m lazy. And unlike my sister, I still haven’t quite mastered the art of being disciplined.

Property of Kristin Giuliani
After spilling out some deep, soul-searching posts this past month, I feel myself at a bit of a loss this week.

Property of Kristin Giuliani
I am an introspective, internal-processing introvert, and much like I reach my saturation point with people, I also arrive at a point where my external words have run out. I’m sure as this new chapter inches forward, the words will come. But for now, they are hibernating.

So instead, as I step into October, I thought I could share the essence of what I feel I need to be doing through images.

You know, trying to see dishes, laundry, and onion chopping (and the tears they inevitably produce) as art rather than drudgery.

Maybe using my camera to look at my life from a different perspective will help me begin the internal shift.

Then maybe I can see the art hiding in the process of internal change, too.

And embrace it as the exciting journey toward the external change I crave.

Property of Kristin Giuliani

The Burr Queen

I have spent the last 42 hours at beautiful, peaceful Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey in northeastern Iowa. I have walked, slept, prayed, read, sketched, and avoided nearly all human contact. Aside from a few texts to check in, I have used my phone exclusively as a camera. It has been the perfect birthday gift for this extreme introvert from my awesome husband.

I feel refreshed, rested, and renewed.

And a tad bit rattled.

The silent, undistracted peace has made me realize that I have unknowingly become The Burr Queen.

A few weeks ago, we went camping with some wonderful family friends. Our 6 kids, who are collectively louder than 8 overcrowded preschools, had a blast. They ran around, created tin foil instruments, had a parade, explored and got lots of bumps and bruises tripping over guy-lines. They also ran through burrs.

All of the kids had a handful of burrs stuck to pants, socks and sleeves. But as we were getting changed for bed, I realized that one shirt was completely covered in burrs. When I questioned the owner, she told me:

I put them there, as decoration. I wanted to be The Burr Queen.

I sighed, trying not to be irritated. How could she not see what an unnecessary mess she was making! So much extra work!

Together we spent the better part of an hour removing all those tiny little burrs.

As I come to the end of my time of silence and reflection, I am ashamed to realize that I have been doing the same thing. Adding burrs to my life, slapping them on without thinking. In the midst of my life, I am proud of my burred-bedecked garments. I keep finding more to stick into the empty spaces. I think they are adding value, that they help make me happier, more successful, more peaceful, more productive, a better mom or friend or wife or Christian. Because I listen when our society says that survival mode is inevitable, that busyness is a sign of success. That burrs are a necessary part of life.

But in the end, when I have a chance to step back and look at myself without distraction, I can see they are just burrs. They snag the fabric, hide in seams, get snarled in hair, and sometimes are pushed so deep, that little pieces get left permanently behind.

The tricky thing is, burrs aren’t bad. They just don’t belong on my clothes. They belong in the ground, producing green plants and beautiful flowers.

This trip has made me realilze that it is nearly impossible for me to identify burrs while in the midst of my life. Because I am so impulsive, so easily distracted, so exhausted by human interaction, I just get caught up in and worn down by daily life. I grab at whatever is closest, whatever seems good, or whatever has worked in the past without really examining what I am doing. And what was a green sprout or blooming flower for me before, has become a burr without my even realizing it.

So I have begun the arduous process of finding and removing the burrs and putting them where they belong.

I had a lovely, inspiring conversation with Sister Carol yesterday, learning about her life and reflecting a bit on my time. She said:

It sounds like you need to make this type of retreat a regular occurrence.

Yes. I do.