Tuesday, December 22, 2009


As I go through my day, I have become aware of the times that I am judging myself. When I become aware, I can choose not to, and in that choice I can feel my body soften and release the tension of trying to live up to that internal Judge.

That physical representation is so palpable in that moment of release! That is the difference of unconscious judgment and the release of that need. And in that moment ego also jumps back into the conversation.

Ego says I should always be in self-judgment for my own sake. Ego says that if I don't constantly evaluate and grade myself, I will become lazy and apathetic. In that state of apathy, my life will fall apart, dissolve into rot and ruin! Whoo, what an imagination.

So I can see the benefit of self-judgment, the benefit of motivation. Yet, I know there are other motivations. Ego tells me that those motivations aren't as effective. Ego is so sure about this. I turn to those concepts of motivation anyway and examine them for their worth and truth.

Considering the toll that judgment takes on me, I think it must be a "push" type of motivation. Push motivations are "pushing" against a resistance. What if there were a "pull" type of motivation that enticed me to the behavior that I thought was best for my highest good? What if it was more of a carrot? What if it made me salivate like cheese cake does?

So one sure thing that might have that effect on me is the goals that feed my core values.

My old perception of those goals were as distant objects and remote experiences. They didn't have a life in the present moment; inanimate objects of fantasy, reserved for "when".

If I bring those goals and core values into the present moment as the motivation for what I am working on in the present moment, joy takes over. I am no longer in conflict with my sense of worth, and I am highly motivated to follow through, leap forward, collecting in my mental arms all the elements that will make up the whole of that goal. Each task is grounded in the reality of the goal, that enticing completeness that represents my being, whole and perfect.

Monday, December 21, 2009

What is the meaning of this?

As I go through a day, things continue to unfold the way they do. Some of the events are results of my intentions, some seem to be happenstance. Whether I think I contributed to the event or not, there is a meaning that I assign to that event.

If I am more concerned with the control that I have had over the event, I will probably assign a lot of judgment to it. If I feel that I "performed" well and accomplished my intention, I will judge it as good, and assign a meaning of good to myself and the results. If I didn't perform well, then the meaning could well be negative, maybe even adversarial to myself.

If am more concerned with others' participation in an event, I might assign it a meaning of kindness or animosity. This is particularly true if I decide that the person's meaning was wrong or bad, and I then use that meaning to color every interaction subsequent to that decision. I have given something a meaning that may or may not have been an intention.

And even when it is an intention of the other, "good" or "bad", the meaning I give it is purely in my head. What if I were to assign a different meaning to it that relieves me of putting my personal sense of value at stake? What if I choose the meaning that any particular event will have in my life?

When we are young, events happen in our life that can seem traumatic, or dramatic, and at that point we might create a meaning around that event that becomes a rule for living. The meaning that we assigned to that event might be accurate, but by making a rule around that event for similar future events we are trapped into behaviors that are myopic and dabilitating.

In a similar way, I fall into the same trap with each event in my day if I were to assign meanings to events that become bigger than the event. And the egoic mind loves to find meaning and significance in every thing that happens in our lives.

So where can I go from here? Awareness. That is my gift in the discovery. I can now be aware of the meaning that I am assigning to my day, my hour, my minute, and reconsider that meaning in the light of what my intention is for my life.

Unless my life were lived by default, I can consciously find a higher significance - or none at all - in the thread of my day that weaves the fabric of my life.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tips for Small Group Success

Compared to last year, New Thought Unity of Cincinnati has doubled the number of groups in its Book Homestudy using Michael Beckwith's book, Spiritual Liberation. There are several reasons for this increased outreach. One of the most important elements is the number of "touches" that the church-goers receive.

  • Lead from the platform: The minister must be a cheerleader in this process, announcing the Homestudy at least two months prior to the start of the program. This year we incorporated video clips of Michael into the Sunday service announcements so that there is a visual and dynamic element to engage people.
  • Printed materials: the weekly Messenger includes a Sign Up sheet that describes all the teams required to produce the program. The volunteer merely needs to check off the area of interest and fill in their name and number, drop the sheet into a prayer box, or hand it to a staff member.
  • Repetition Repetition Repetition: Some of the most interested people may not have attended the "kickoff Sunday", so repeating the message for at least 3 weeks will usually canvas the more active members of your congregation.
  • Seven to 10 "touches": Marketing gurus will tell you that it takes 7 to 10 contacts with a client before they take action. This is an important fact to keep in mind, because there may be plenty of people who want to volunteer. We only need to "touch" them enough and at the right time.
I hope these tips are useful to you for creating powerful Small Group Ministry in your church. More tips will be included in future newsletters.

If you would like to opt-in to receive my newsletter, send me a note with your email address.
Peace & Joy

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Self Discipline

What do you think of when you hear "self-discipline?" For me, it usually brought up a lot of guilt for the times when I didn't practice it. Matt Morris talks about it in The Unemployed Millionaire as a phrase that left him feeling less-than. But maybe it doesn't have to be so.

I've decided that self-discipline is actually self love. Self discipline is required for accomplishing goals that feed us. We have certain goals that we look to because we think they will make us feel really good. We might feel good about ourselves, or what the goals do for others in our life, but there is a great feeling associated with achieving goals.

As we envision those goals, there is a drive to attain the goals that is based on our concept of prosperity. That prosperity is not necessarily money, but a richness of life, a richness of quality of life.

In attaining our goals, we gift ourselves with what is in our higher good. We experience the power of the universe at our fingertips, knowing the universe is only too happy to oblige us with the things that make us happy.

If we gifted someone in our lives with the attainment of their goals, wouldn't that be a sign of love? It is a clear sign of honoring and respecting that person by helping them become all that they are capable of.

So what happens when we gift ourselves with the very same goals? When we follow through on a plan, we are not only ensuring that our self love is expressed in the accomplishment of a goal, but that the love for Self is being expressed in every step of the way. That is the expression of love that is our opportunity to experience. The process is a constant self love that is waiting to be appreciated.

So now I try to look at all opportunities, commitments, even to-do lists of tasks as ways that I can show my self that I am worthy and loved. It becomes a loop of energy and love that is only present when I am aware of how I am expressing through the actions of my day.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Signpost of Fear

Steve Sherwood gave me a great lesson in dealing with fear. He said that fear is a trail, footprints in the sand, showing me the way to my greatness. As I was reading Mackey MacNeil's excellent blog today, the challenge of fear jumped out at me and helped me recall Steve's lesson.

But I also felt a revelation to pay attention to fear as a signpost to what will help me achieve my greatness. Not just a signpost, but a welcome signpost that will become my best friend. From where I am now, that seems somewhat remote to my mindset, but I know I have already moved a little bit in that direction.

The challenges for me are two:
  • Can I discern the difference between fear of my greatness and my intuition of a less wholesome situation?
  • Will I be able to trump my ego's reaction to cut and run?
From my safe position of this moment that tells me I can be the observer in any situation it is not so hard to predict a rational and self-fulfilling sequence of events. From right here I can see that I would be able to recognize the opportunity of fear and turn around to my authentic self and move from that spot. But does that happen in that event?

This is where spiritual self-discipline comes in.
What do I want? How bad do I want it?
I was recently introduced to the phrase Spiritual Self-Discipline, and realized that it was something that I had not excelled at. I was pretty good at putting myself between a rock and a soft place. The soft place seems to win a lot.

As I examine this idea of fear being a signpost, a very welcome signpost that can show me the door to my authentic self, I can entrain my brain to be more aware of that fear, and to automatically turn to my authentic self for my next word or action.

Such was the case today. Having been sent a letter from an attorney's office on behalf of someone who seemed unwilling to explain a simple situation to me in their own words, I decided to bring my authentic self to the table and open a dialogue in the hopes of enticing his authentic self. Knowing I have no control over him, I decided to express my understanding of the situation and let him discover his own interpretation. Whether it is the one I would choose is out of my control.

Having turned to the fear as an opportunity to reach out and speak from my authentic self, I am much more at peace. It's a start.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Struggle and strife

Can you be grateful for struggle?

"Our race is designed to skate on the razorblade edge between order and chaos. Too much static order and we're bored. Too much flirting with chaos and we feel endangered. We all want to feel safe and loved. Yet by definition the human condition entails conflict.

"Note well that without exception anyone who has achieved anything in life has had to struggle to do it. Coming up against resistance gives us a chance to learn who we are and what we are here to do."
-Dr. Fred Alan Wolf ("Dr. Quantum" in The Secret)

This one can be a tough one to embrace! Struggle is for my own good??!!! Whoa, not anything like what I learned through the years. "A life of ease is the place for me!"

But I guess I've never lived looking for ease, always choosing the challenges that have a greater reward. Maybe not a financial reward, but the process. As an artist, that was always true; the joy and satisfaction of creating artistic work seemed to be enough.

And now I am even more excited about my new work as a Small Group Book Study designer because I know that my work and insight will bring forth the wisdom and insight of all the people that I touch with my programs.

In the meantime, I'm keeping Dr. Quantum's words in my head today as I have my van towed to the shop for repair - 15 minutes after I sold it. Maybe I can dream bigger.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Retention savings 25%?

While discussing my competitive advantages with a breakout group in Legacy Connection this morning, I mentioned that satisfied employees have a higher retention rate. Good employees will stay if they feel they are contributing to the company, and being involved/engaged in the process of company culture shift empowers each employee to feel they are contributing. Increased sense of self worth leads to greater satisfaction and higher retention.

One member informed me that the average length of employment with a company is 3 years. The loss of one person from a company costs the company between one and two years of the position's salary.
When job satisfaction increases that retention rate to 4 years, a company is able to save the cost of replacing each of those people, saving the company up to 33% of attrition costs!

When job satisfaction and empowerment increases that retention rate to 5 years, the savings climbs to 66%.

A big challenge for companies is keeping their best employees in the face of demoralizing layoffs and payroll cuts. Giving ALL the employees a say in the company with Inspiring Connection book study programs can pay huge dividends.