If our intention is to be encouragers, we need to recognize how we are encouraged…and discouraged.
In his book 10 Thousand Ways to Listen, Mark Nepo poses funky instructive questions. I have used these questions with teachers and graduate students who report that they re-purpose them in their own personal and professional practice.
“WHAT PREVENTS ME?”
These responses are sampled from participants:
Fear of what others think of me. Scorn of the creative process. Ridicule of my experience of God. The fixation on making money. Feeling responsible for everyone and everything. Lack of trust.
“WHAT PRESENTS ME?”
Writing poetry. Art journaling. Making music. Gardening. Dancing. Being a mother/father/daughter/son.
“WHAT TENDERS ME?”
Snow falling…sunsets…listening to music…walking in the woods or on the beach…my dog…my cat…Reiki…sitting in church/synagogue…Praying the Rosary… Centering Prayer…deep listening…deep speaking…Essential Questioning…silence.
MY RE-PURPOSED QUESTION: AS A LIFELONG TEACHER, HOW DO I ENCOURAGE?
I promote “fetchability”: openness of heart, mind, body, soul.
I offer unconditional regard.
I teach how thinking may be recognized for its role in suffering…and in recovering balance.
I teach surrender, letting go, forgiveness of all that is wearying and no longer serves our holy purpose.
I teach ways of being and relationship that promote long-term benefit in a sustainable world.
I teach the truth of accountability.
I offer reflection on wisdom traditions that are timelessly relevant to the human predicament.
I teach the importance of experience… and learning from experience.
March 8, 2017
Check out this new resource from Skylight Paths Publishing: Women, Spirituality and Transformative Leadership. The book is a collection of essays written by North American women; I am looking forward to reading them.
March 16, 2017
I am encouraged by the work of Karen Armstrong. Check out the Charter for Compassion website. For those of you motivated to learn more about effective community organizing (on a large or small scale) there are many helpful tools here. The questions designed to facilitate assessment of individual and community needs are thought-provoking and focused. You also have the option of signing the charter, making a donation to support their work, and/or reading a number of blogs. The empahsis is on learning and serving.