January 18, 2018: The Power of Words
"...we have to create a big feeling of wholeness, and the one who has the greatest embodiment of this wholeness will speak from the greatest degree of wholeness..." - Ernest Holmes
These days, its seems like a conversation about anything can very quickly turn into a heated argument. We all seem to be on edge and can very quickly say things we may later regret. Everyone of us can, at times, forget the power and impact of our words. Our words are a creative force of energy. When used with an openness of heart, our words can help create amazing things. When used out of fear, there is little else that is more destructive. I think all of us would benefit if we learned to delay the "send" button on many of the words that start forming in our mouths.
In my education as a minister and prayer practitioner, I was taught a simple guide when seeking healing in situations where words may have gotten out of hand. This guide is to first pray as an initial step before seeking direct communication with those with whom a conflict may have developed. In this modal, any appropriate action steps are taken only after sincere prayer and communication has taken place. I have found that this guide can lead to amazing results if a person is willing to trust and give themselves over to the process.
Everything should start in prayer, but of a specific type. If you find yourself in a conflict, seek to locate a space of silent contemplation within yourself. Vow to stop telling and retelling the story of grievance that may be on a perpetual loop in your head. In that quiet spot, look at the situation with new eyes. Be willing to see where, regardless of the actions of others, you may have acted in a way to exacerbate to issue. Be willing to take a bird's eye view to see the many moving pieces that make up the situation you are in. I have found that in most situations, all parties involved have made poor choices in the creation of any conflict.
After prayer, communication can begin, but each person involved must be determined not to fall into opposing camps. Communication can only be significant if each person is determined to listen with an open mind and heart, regardless of what is said. I have found that in successful conflict resolutions, there is a magic moment when a shift happens in the room. It is a moment when all barriers finally come down to make room for a heartfelt sharing. After this point, those involved finally get clear on any action, if any, needs to be taken.
We should ask one simple question in any conflict we may have found ourselves: Which is more important, being "proven" right or finding a resolution based in wholeness that serves everyone involved? When we are sincerely seeking the latter choice, amazing outcomes are not only possible, but inevitable.
December 15, 2017: The Longest Night
We are fast approaching the longest night of the year. Throughout history, the winter solstice has held great meaning for humankind. This meaning has been expressed in religious observances in many world cultures throughout recorded history. Even though these observances acknowledge the existence of the longest night, more attention is usually given to the return of the light as the days slowly begin to get longer. I think that this is unfortunate and shows how western culture is intimidated by darkness. Instead of rushing to the light of renewal, I believe that we are better served if we stop and listen to what the darkness is trying to teach us.
In Mary Murray Shelton’s book, A Darkness Filled With Light, darkness is presented as having the potential of giving us the gifts of great understanding and transformation. She writes, “I’m not referring to darkness as evil or pain, but as the Void, the Mystery, and the home of unlimited possibilities.” One of the messages of her book is that we humans can come to remarkable realizations in the moments that challenge us most. If fact, in some of our more extreme challenges we can often emerge as almost completely different persons. Different spiritual paths through time have even guided people who have gone through such experiences to change their names to acknowledge that they are no longer who they once were.
It is human to want to work out of a difficult situation as soon as we are able, but sometimes that is not possible. We may be processing grief, facing a life-threatening disease, or working through a collapse of our financial situation. During these major transitions in our lives, we should challenge ourselves to ask a few deep, though sometimes uncomfortable, questions. What can be learned, healed or realized through this difficult moment? Who and what will I become once I make it through this challenge? As we answer these questions, I believe that the return of the light will be even more precious.
December 8, 2017 Follow the Light
The part of the traditional Christmas story that intrigued and confused me most as a child was the narrative about the star that led the Wise Men to the birth place of Jesus. How could a star move? How did the Wise Men figure out that the moving star existed as their own personal GPS? Didn't anyone else think it was odd that a star was moving through the sky each night? My child's mind was further confused as I assumed that the rogue star returned each Christmas for all of us to see. I can remember one year where my very patient grandmother sat on her porch with me one evening as I was on high alert to catch a glimpse of a star on the move.
Of course, stars do not move through the sky as described in the traditional Christmas Story, but the star is still a very meaningful symbol of the narrative. I believe that the star represents the essence of truth and transformation that is available to all of us, even when our circumstances appear at their darkest. In these moments, our intuitive connection to the Divine can seem as meager as just a spark of light as we seek a way through. These sparks of Truth ultimately serve as a means of us trusting in the process even when resolutions are far from visible. The message of this aspect of the story is that the way will eventually be made clear if we stay steadfast on our journeys.
The promise of "Once Upon a Time", stories can seem quite empty when faced with the difficult realities of life. The purpose of these stories is not to convince us that there is an ultimate "happily ever after" awaiting us if we only believe. The purpose is to remind us that a greater possibility is always available. These greater possibilities may not show up as magical stars that move through the night, but they will still seem absolutely amazing as we open to solutions we may not yet have considered.
November 9, 2017 Everything is Created Twice
There are two major construction projects currently underway in downtown Ketchum: a boutique style hotel and condominium complex and a performing arts center. A great deal of consideration and work took place before construction could begin. They both started as an idea in someone’s mind. Afterwards, teams of talented people were brought together to nurture the seed concepts. Architects, designers and tradespeople began their job of using their talents to imagining these ideas to the next level. Both projects would eventually come before the local city council and planning and zoning commission to see if they fit in with the larger vision of the downtown core. An incredible amount of work, not seen by most people in the community, took place before the first shovel could be put into the ground.
The second habit in Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is, “Begin With the End in Mind.” As he writes about this habit, he points out that, “everything is created twice.” In other words, nothing is created in the physical world until an idea or concept about it is first created in a person’s mind. In the Science of Mind philosophy, we teach that this is the instance where we are not only creating something in our own minds, but are using the power of co-creation as we also create within Mind of the Spirit. These firsts steps of co-creation ultimately lead to something new coming into existence in the physical world.
It is very important that we take complete responsibility for the first creations in our lives. As Stephen Covey writes, “We are either the second creation of our own proactive design, or we are the second creation of other people’s agendas, of circumstances, or of past habits.” The lesson of this habit is that we must trust our own instincts and unique power to co-create authentically incredible things. As we begin to trust our inner resources, we will each see amazingly authentic creations unfold before us.