What’s your canary?
I’m always looking for new tools or ideas to get to know myself better. One of my favorite reflections that I’ve stumbled across in the past few years is the concept of recognizing one’s “canary in a coal mine.”
The phrase “canary in a coal mine” comes from the tradition of miners to bring the birds with them into the caves where they were mining to ensure that they didn’t run out of oxygen. The birds would tweet and sing, but if the air got too thin or too much carbon monoxide gathered, they would go silent. That was a clear sign that it was time for the miners to evacuate.
Gretchen Rubin, one of my very favorite podcast hosts and authors, brought up the idea of identifying our personal canary in a coal mine. What is our “tell” when we get overwhelmed, exhausted, or close to the end of our rope? What do we turn to when things feel out of control?
I have two canaries that I’ve identified (and probably many others still to be discovered!): chai lattes and online shopping. If I find myself shopping for new blazers or filling up an Amazon shopping cart, it’s a sign to pause and ask myself why I’m seeking a hit of temporary dopamine. I don’t particularly love chai lattes because they are too sweet for me – but the minute things get stressful or I feel uncertain, I’m a chai latte girl.
Knowing these “canaries” helps me wake up and pause the numbing so I can figure out what’s really going on and take action. I don’t berate myself when I look down and see a chai latte in hand; rather, I see these moments as an invitation to slow down and create some space to check in with myself.
So here’s a challenge for you: what’s your canary? What’s something you don’t do normally, but that you run to when things get hard? Reply to this email and let me know! I’d love to hear from you.
This Week on The SundayMonday Show
Episode Fourteen: Know, Love, and Serve: Encountering the Homeless
Today I’m welcoming Emily St. Paul to the podcast! Emily works for Christ in the City, and has spent the past year and a half working closely with the poor and loving those who she meets on the streets.
In this episode, Emily shares her journey to becoming a Christ in the City missionary, offers insight into how we can best love those we encounter in our daily lives, and shares some of the stories and lessons she’ll take away from her time as a missionary. We are called to “know, love, and serve” the poor, and my hope is that this episode leaves you feeling encouraged and inspired to do just that!
Leave us a voice message and let us know what’s on your mind! Send in questions, comments, and ideas for how you bring your faith into work.
What we’re loving lately (on the blog and beyond!)
“There is a chasm between the vast scope of our needs and what influencers can provide. We’re looking for guidance in the wrong places. Instead of helping us to engage with our most important questions, our screens might be distracting us from them. Maybe we actually need to go to something like church?” This piece, written by a non-religious opinion writer for the New York Times, cuts deep. It reveals the culture in which we live, where we long for connection and purpose and meaning and answers but get stuck worshiping at the altars of Instagram “psuedo-preachers.” This piece is good. Give it a read.
If you’re anything like me, you might have been sucked in by Disney’s latest Marvel release: a nine-episode series focusing on Wanda Maximoff and her husband, Vision. The series has twists and turns (I enjoyed it!) and this reflection by the Word on Fire Institute is so good. Why does the idea of creating a dream home, where everything is in our control, appeal to us so much? (Especially right now!) I loved this video and if you’re a WandaVision fan, I recommend you take a listen.
I love this challenge posed by Fr. Mark Mary of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal on YouTube: use the name of Jesus at least once in conversation this week. It’s so good. What better way to witness to the center of our lives!
I am a major fan of Patrick Lencioni and the work he does to make our work better! He recently released a new framework for leaning into our “working genius.” Basically, what are you good at in the course of getting a project done, and how can you lean into that? He just released a brand new podcast show all about our Working Genius, and it’s so good. If you want to take the test, you can use his code ATTHETABLE for 50% off the quiz!
Have something you’re loving that you want to share with us? Respond to this email!
Liturgical Living with Gabriela R.A. Doyle
- March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day! Probably one of the most famous feast days, there are many ways to celebrate. My personal favorites are praying St. Patrick’s breastplate prayer (which is a great way to start each day!) or going on a walk to search for clovers and meditating on the Trinity. One poignant way to live the day liturgically that I’ve read about reflects on the fact that St. Patrick was sent to minister to a land familiar to him. In honor of his special day, think about how you can be a witness to Christ in your everyday faith, work, and life.
- March 19th is finally upon us and that means it is the Solemnity of St. Joseph, my favorite saint! If you haven’t read Fr. Calloway’s Consecration to St. Joseph, I highly recommend you do so. Other ways to celebrate including eating the bread shaped like his staff from Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe (if you’re in the DMV area); putting out a small feast on a home altar to honor him like the Sicilians did, to give thanks after his intercession delivered them from famine; wearing red; praying the Litany of St. Joseph; trying you hand at baking zeppole, an Italian cream puff made in his honor; and beginning the holy cloak novena to place yourself and your intentions under our spiritual father’s protection. If you’ve been considering buying a Sleeping St. Joseph statue or medal, today is the day to splurge and celebrate! Learn more about the devotion to the sleeping St. Joseph here.
Words of the Week
“You cannot be half a saint; you must be a whole saint or no saint at all.”
// St. Therese of Lisieux
Intentions for This Week
For fathers, and all men who desire to be strong fathers and husbands, that they might receive the grace to do so well. For those who are lonely. For those who have unanswered prayers.
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Jane Kennedy lives in Washington, DC. She is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and works in criminal justice reform. When she’s not working or writing, she’s probably catching up with friends on FaceTime, getting lost in Rock Creek Park, quoting C.S. Lewis, or trying to recreate Salt and Straw ice cream at home.