Do you remember having a spot like this when you were little? A sanctuary where you could retreat and just…be with yourself and nobody else? Mine was under the dining room table. I enjoyed thinking no one knew where I was but me – and sometimes I still go off by myself to feel that.
“We do not learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience,” wrote John Dewey.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Taking some reflection time for myself is part of what that’s been about. It’s been needed, and it’s been fruitful. It’s good to be back.
Much of my reflection has been focused on where, twenty years in, I want to focus my energy in my ministry now. For me the joy and satisfaction in ministry has always come from supporting people in finding and living their own path of joy. The question for every person that always has to be answered is: what’s in the way of that?
Whatever creates distress in our lives grows out of conflict of some kind – including our internal conflicts about needs that seem mutually exclusive. Like our conflicts with others, internal conflicts are resolvable through spiritual practices that helps us shift our perspective, connect with the Sacred and our own core, and reorient to new ways of seeing. This is the only basis for new ways of doing and being. This is the transformational journey that life is always offering.
Bringing insight and guidance in navigating these passages, and in developing the spiritual practices which return us to living in alignment with our own soul life, is the art and skill I bring. It’s the centerpiece of the ministry I offer, no matter the format.
My ministry of spiritual direction connects with those I serve in a lot of ways. There’s my private counseling practice for individuals and couples. There is leadership consulting I bring to congregations and community groups. There are the programs for congregations and other groups in Creating a Culture of Right Relationship, and the facilitation I offer in working through specific tension, obstacles and issues.
The common thread in all of these is supporting people on a path to resolving conflicts in ways that both empower them to get their own needs met and also benefit everyone who is a stakeholder.
People find it hard to believe that this is possible. The belief it isn’t possible is a big part of what holds people back, keeping them stuck in “if only” I find. How can they “follow their own bliss” (mythologist Joseph Campbell’s language for being on the “path of joy”) – without hurting, oppressing or diminishing the lives of others? They want both, but this can seem like an unreachable goal. It isn’t, and I want to focus my ministry even more clearly on on helping people experience that liberating and life-serving truth.
I’ve updated my tagline to reflect this focus. And each time I write, I want to offer you a clear and usable “one step on the path” to resolving whatever obstacles and conflicts are blocking your path of joy!
For today, I just invite you to be with yourself. Find some sanctuary time and just be with your inner life, Listen to your soul. Noice how much you really want resolutions the tensions in your life. Notice that you want more freedom and opportunities for fulfillment both for yourself and for others. That truly is possible, and a world where more and more of us hold and live that possibility consciously is also possible.
“Yes, we can” – as you may remembering someone else saying not really that long ago.
Let’s do it.
With You on the Path,