Learning the New Song

The old song of my spirit has wearied itself out. It has long ago been learned by heart so that now it repeats itself over and over, bringing no added joy to my days or lift to my spirit. . . I will sing a new song. As difficult as it is, I must learn the new song that is capable of meeting the new need. I must fashion new words born of all the new growth of my life, my mind, and my spirit. I must prepare for new melodies that have never been mine before, that all that is within me may lift my voice unto God. How I love the old familiarity of the wearied melody – how I shrink from the harsh discords of the new untried harmonies.”  

 – Howard Thurman, “I Will Sing a New Song”


As I have reflected on this meditation by Howard Thurman during this election season in the U.S., I’ve asked myself, “What is the old tired familiar melody in my life at this time?” I realize that it is fear, despair, obsessive worry, knee-jerk actions. What is the new song for me? Discovering it requires listening. It’s God’s invitation to something fresh and new in each moment. It requires listening, learning the melody, and then singing along. These past few weeks leading up to the election, it has been an invitation to deeper prayer for me. When I read the fear-mongering and hostility in the news, I feel dismay and anxiety.  I watch in dismay as the authoritarian playbook unfolds before my eyes, with threats of voter suppression and election result denial. Never say, “it can’t happen here,” I remind myself. 

How can my dismay at what was happening be turned into productive prayer and action, rather than obsessive anxiety? As I listen for God’s prayer in me, I hear the new melody. I find myself being drawn to pray deeply that that of God in each person in this country would be raised up and that what is not of God would fall away. I return to this prayer many times a day.

As I pray, I have a sense of God working, of the good being raised up in poll workers to give them the strength to keep counting ballots in the face of threats, of the good being raised up in judges to give them the courage to hold up justice, of the good being raised up in ordinary citizens to give them the will and the ability to distinguish truth from falsehood as they listen to the rhetoric of politicians. I have a vision of others who are uniting in the same prayer that I am praying, holding up one another’s arms in prayer as Aaron and Hur did for Moses, so that we don’t give up when we grow weary. The vision I see includes some who are called to pray at this moment, some called to work for fair ballot counting and protection of our democracy, some called to witness in the streets, some called to pray now and work tomorrow, others to work today and pray tomorrow, some to work and pray at the same time. The work and the prayer are integrated. As I listen for the new song, I continue to pray and sense how God is at work. I feel confident I will know what is mine to do when.  

As I listen for the new song, my prayer also moves to those who are marginalized. I’m aware of many who have been and still are suffering deeply, of the children at the border still separated from their parents, of the black lives lost in police killings, of those in poverty especially vulnerable to COVID-19, and more. I pray that that of God in the marginalized will be raised up to give them hope and remind them of their dignity when they are tempted to despair. I pray that that of God in the rest of us will be raised up to give us strength and courage to fight for the protection of those on the margins.

This prayer feels deeper than any particular election.  We so need the good to be raised up in each of us as we move forward as a country, as a world. Those of us who disagree with one another, who support different candidates, need the good to be raised up in us so that we are not tempted, respectively, to gloat or to turn to bitterness and despair. We need the good to be raised up in each of us so that we can hear the good in opposing points of view.  How can I listen for the good in them? How can we carry out respectful dialogue and find our way forward as fellow citizens seeking to re-build a democracy together?

May we each continue to listen for the new song that is ours to sing. May we all learn to sing the new melodies. The degree to which we each faithfully sing our new song will determine the degree of harmony and healing manifested among us.

[This is a further development of the November 2020 Executive Soul blog.]

Politician or Leader?

“A politician thinks of the next election; a statesman [or leader] of the next generation.” (James Freeman Clarke, 1870)

A midterm election year provides ample opportunity for sorting out the politicians from the leaders. In my home of the U.S., Election Day, now 8 days away, brings out the best and the worst in candidates.

Of course, most candidates are a blend of politician and leader, succumbing partly to the pressures of the next election. How can we choose wisely, discerning the degree to which a candidate exhibits real leadership rather than mere political savvy? As we consider candidates, some guiding questions that go beyond party lines might be: To what extent does this candidate focus on future generations and their needs? To what extent does this candidate focus on the issues rather than personal attacks on his/her opponent? To what extent is this candidate qualified and able to tackle the issues?

Furthermore, we get the elected officials we deserve. They mirror us. Robert Kegan, in his book In Over Our Heads: The Mental Demands of Modern Life, noted over twenty years ago that many of the mental demands of modern life are beyond most people’s level of mental and emotional development. However, the U.S. greatly needs not only mature leaders but also mature citizens, voters who can direct our country’s path toward the best possible future. We might also ask ourselves: To what extent do I focus on future generations and their needs? To what extent do I focus on the issues rather than being swayed by personal attacks? To what extent do I focus on qualifications and abilities? Furthermore, as a collective group of engaged citizens, we might ask: How can we mature to take on the challenges before us? How does our culture keep us immature? How can we begin to challenge our culture to change so that it challenges us to grow up?

Elections test the mettle not only of candidates, but also of citizens. Will you ask the tough questions to sort out the leaders from the politicians? Will you examine yourself and where you focus your attention? Will you be part of the solution of helping the culture to mature? As for me, I’m pledging right now to do my best to answer these questions in the affirmative throughout the remainder of this election season.

(This is a revised version of an article that appeared in the September 2012 Executive Soul blog.)

Impermanent Leadership

I am spending this week at the beach. As I watch the waves come in and go out, I am reminded of the impermanence of all things. Mighty waves crash against the shore and immediately lose their form and power. Sand castles, carefully constructed, disappear in one crash of a wave.

At the same time as I watch the waves, I am reading Tilden Edwards’ new memoir, Life Woven in Sacred Time. As the founder of the Shalem Institute and its first executive director (for 27 years!), Tilden reflects, among other things, on what it was like to lead a contemplative organization. As Shalem’s current executive director, I reflect on what resonates with my experience. The impermanence of leadership stands out and shimmers for me.

When I construct a sand castle, I do so knowing full well that it will disappear in the blink of an eye. Yet as I build an organization, I am tempted again and again to regard my work as permanent.

Tilden reminds me that contemplative leadership is full of surprise, humility, humor, awe, and surrender. These things serve to remind us that our best human plans can be upended in a moment. He tells stories of establishing programs, not knowing which would continue to thrive and which would fade away. He recounts fundraising experiences: 1) Certain that the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation would not fund Shalem’s two grant proposals after the impassive visitor from the Fund departed, he was amazed to learn that they decided to fund both proposals fully; 2) Another year, they had to reduce staff and expenses when they fell significantly short in raising the money they thought they needed.

The uncertainty of programs and funding kept him humble. He would put his best ideas forward and at the same time, watch and wait to see what God would do. Leadership was full of both wonderful surprises and devastating disappointments.

My own experience mirrors Tilden’s. For example, when the pandemic hit and we had to cancel programs, all my careful planning became irrelevant. I had to come to a point of acknowledging “if we perish, we perish,” at the same time doing my best to discern what steps to take to meet the challenges at hand. When it became clear that some programs could thrive and even grow on Zoom, we knew that God still had work for Shalem to do.

When staff changes due to retirements, graduate programs, and other opportunities occurred, I had to trust that the way would open for the right staff to come along to do the work that Shalem was called to do. When doors closed that I thought would open, I had to reassess what I thought Shalem was called to, listening for God’s voice in the midst of the many voices (including my own) clamoring for my attention.

Contemplative leadership, then, allows for the impermanence of all things. Contemplative leaders trust that the organization will survive and thrive as long as it can be of service in the world, in the ways that it can be of service. They are willing to let go when the work of the organization is finished. They are willing to surrender their own agendas when doors close. They listen for the new when their plans fizzle. They receive what is given in humility and gratitude.

My hope and prayer is that I can serve day by day, week by week, year by year, with an awareness of the impermanence of leadership. It is a spiritual practice that keeps me humble.

3 Leadership Lessons from John Woolman

We currently face at least six pandemics in our world:

1) COVID-19

2) Racism

3) War

4) Police brutality and militarization of police

5) Climate change

6) Economic inequity

In the face of these pandemics and the related refugee crises, world hunger, bitter political divisions in this country, and international political tensions, I sometimes find myself feeling helpless and even hopeless. What can one person do in the face of these impossible challenges? Where can I find the courage and hope to move forward?

I find the eighteenth-century American Quaker John Woolman inspiring and instructive for this time.  He faced one of the impossible challenges of his time, slavery, with prayer and action.  Through prayer and discernment, Woolman discerned what was his to do.  He felt called to travel to visit American Quaker slaveholders to challenge them to free the people they had enslaved.  Woolman was both loving and prophetic. He didn’t give into hating the evildoer while denouncing the evil of slavery.  He didn’t water down his prophetic message in order to “love” the slaveholder.  How did he hold this tension?

He held it through prayer and discernment.  After visiting a slaveholder, he would return to worship, holding that person in the Light, reflecting on the pro-slavery arguments with which he had been presented.  Not getting hooked by his ego, he would systematically refute each argument, returning to the slaveholder and presenting his thoughts clearly, with humility and love.  He knew that oppression hurt the oppressor as well as the oppressed.  He met each slaveholder with love, yearning for the slaveholder’s liberation from slaveholding as well as for the enslaved people’s liberation from slavery.

What can I learn from John Woolman in this time in which I find myself?  In this time when more details about the Jan 6, 2021 insurrection in the U.S. are revealed, for example, can I love Donald Trump and the people he incited to riot, people I see as dangerous for my country and my world?  When I pray for them, I do feel compassion.  I see hurt little children inside and I long for their liberation from the fear and hatred that imprison their souls.  Will I be called to speak truth to them?  Is there hope for their transformation?  These are questions that are beyond me.  All I know is that I will continue to pray for them and I will seek to be faithful as I am led.  I also know that I will work to bring them to justice, to stop the damage I think they are doing.

Closer to home, how do I love the Trump supporters in my own family?  I know that I can pray for them.  When I pray, I am changed from an oppositional stance toward them to feeling compassion for them as I see the fears and hurts that draw them toward Trump and his rhetoric.  As I am led, I can speak to their fears and hurts, and also speak prophetically to them.  And when the conversations grow tense, I can keep returning to my spiritual grounding, keep praying that I will come from a place of compassion.  When my ego gets hooked and the conflict escalates (which happens more frequently than I like to admit), I know it’s time to take a break and center down.  Loving and speaking prophetically at the same time is a spiritual practice for me.  Will it change others?  I don’t know.  But I do know that it changes me and that it sows seeds of transformation in others that might take root and grow, either now or sometime in the future.  There is no template for loving across differences, no formula that we can follow that will result in transformation of others at the end.  There is the lifetime work of spiritual practice, practice that will change me and, through my actions, sow seeds in the world.  Whether those seeds grow is up to other people and to God.

So, in this time of multiple pandemics, how can we have courage, faith, hope, and love for all, even for those with whom we disagree? First, by staying spiritually grounded through daily spiritual practice. Second, by making the practice of loving across differences one of our regular spiritual practices. Third, by discerning in community “What is mine to do?” and being faithful in carrying out our part.

(An earlier version of this article appeared in the July 2020 Executive Soul blog.)

Freedom

Freedom is on my mind.  As the U.S. prepares to celebrate Independence Day several days from now, I’ve been contemplating my freedoms.

I enjoy the freedom to vote for the candidate of my choice.  I enjoy freedom of religion. I enjoyed the freedom of a good education, which gave me the opportunities to do work I love and to marry the person I chose.  I enjoy freedom from want, with a place to live and food to eat. I enjoy the freedom to live where I want to live and to travel to the places I want to travel.

Recently, I’ve been contemplating how easily democracy can be undermined and how freedom can be eroded.  I’ve been thinking about how my country only became a full democracy, with freedom for all, on August 6, 1965, with the Voting Rights Act. Now authoritarian forces are chipping away at that democracy.

As more information came forth this week about the insurrection at our nation’s capitol on January 6, 2021, and how close we came to having the results of a free and fair election overturned, I tremble at the fragility of democracy.  Democracy requires informed citizens who engage in civil debate and respect election results.  When an armed mob storms a nation’s capitol with the support of a sitting president, democracy is at risk.

With Supreme Court decisions that run counter to the will of the American people, I ask, with The Guardian, “Is the Supreme Court a threat to American democracy?”  Striking down New York gun laws that protect people from mass shootings, when most Americans support such laws, reveals the Supreme Court to be more a servant to the gun lobby than to the American people. And whatever a person’s opinion about abortion, a Supreme Court ruling that is at least as much about power and control and other issues than it is about protecting life is suspect.  The NETWORK Catholic lobby expressed well the need for a comprehensive understanding of issues in its statement on the Dobbs Decision:

The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization will have deep ramifications in people’s lives, many of whom may not even realize it yet. Undoing nearly half a century of precedent and jurisprudence will undoubtedly have a disorienting and destabilizing impact on our laws, the provision of maternal health care, and our already fraught civil discourse. . .

With polarization and extremist violence growing in our country, people of faith have a moral duty to work toward the common good across a spectrum of issues. Catholic teaching states that a focus on one moral priority cannot lead to “dismissing or ignoring other serious threats to human life and dignity” (“Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” #29).  

For anyone who has made ending federal protections for abortion the singular focus of their political activity, we at NETWORK urge you to expand your focus to include the economic realities of women and families. Now is the time to listen to the experience of women, particularly women living in rural, low-income communities and women of color.”

I ask myself, “What does soulful leadership look like at this time?  How can I help rebuild our fragile democracy?  What is my part?”  May we all find ways to discover our part in re-weaving the fabric of democracy.

March for Peace in U.S. Cities

Julia Ward Howe, best known for writing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” in 1862, began working to heal the wounds of the Civil War once the war ended. By 1870 Howe had become convinced that working for peace was just as important as her efforts working for equality as an abolitionist and suffragette. In that year she penned her “Mother’s Peace Day Proclamation,” exhorting women to:

“Say firmly: ‘We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies.

Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.

Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.

We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.

From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says “Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.’”

Beginning in 1872 and stretching over the next decade, Howe held unofficial anti-war Mother’s Day events in New York and Boston.

It wasn’t until 1914 that Mother’s Day was declared a national holiday by Woodrow Wilson, although Wilson made no reference to peace.

Honoring the origin of Mother’s Day, the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute in Boston sponsors an annual Mother’s Day walk for peace to end urban violence. Tina Chery founded the Institute in 1996 when she lost her son to gun violence, and this year’s Mother’s Day walk marked its 26th year.

Chery believes that mothers need to work for peace in response to domestic gun violence in the U.S. just as much as they need to work for peace internationally.

The Louis D. Brown Peace Institute supports survivors of homicide victims and has developed a peace curriculum for area schools: “Through education, collaboration, and policy advocacy, the Peace Institute works to raise awareness of the cause and consequences of violence on the individual, the family, and the community.”

Since the white supremacist killing of 10 black people in the Buffalo grocery store on May 14 and the Uvalde, Texas elementary school killing of 19 children and 2 adults on May 24, faith leaders and others are once again calling for sensible gun laws. According to a 2018 estimate, America has more firearms (around 400 million) than it does citizens, and the pandemic has caused a giant spike in gun production since then. An FBI breakdown of active shooter incidents in the US shows a 96.8% increase from 2017 to 2021.

This month, as we have once again experienced horrific gun violence in this country, remember Howe’s words: “Disarm! Disarm! The sword [or gun] of murder is not the balance of justice.” Ask yourself, “What can I do to sow seeds of peace in an atmosphere of violence? How can I speak up when I am uneasy with the words of those around me? What is my part in influencing my legislative representatives, my president?”

[This is a further development of the May 2013 Executive Soul blog.]

5 Things You Can Do to Become a Soulful Leader for Peace

In these times of bellicose threats of nuclear war from world leaders, not to mention various wars around the world, how can one work for peace? What impact can an ordinary person have? What does soulful leadership for peace look like?

  1. Prayer and reflection. Soulful leadership for peace begins with prayer and reflection. Being spiritually grounded puts the problems of this world in perspective. Furthermore, prayer and reflection help with discernment, answering the question, “What is mine to do?”
  2. Remember. In the words of Gandhi, “Remember that all through history, there have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they seem invincible. But in the end, they always fall. Always.”
  3. Know what’s effective. Political scientist Erica Chenoweth used to believe that violence was more effective against violence than peaceful protests were. Extensive research convinced her otherwise.
  4. Know the facts about military spending. When people tell you that military spending creates jobs, or that the Pentagon needs more funding, know the truth. Did you know, for example, that military spending is less effective in creating jobs than spending on education, health care, or clean energy? Did you know that the Pentagon itself has identified overspending and misuse of funds within its agency? When it conducted an internal study, it identified $125 billion in potential savings over five years. Furthermore, the Pentagon is the only major federal agency that has not passed a full, clean financial audit. We already spend enough on the military.
  5. Take action. Discern what is yours to do and take action. Perhaps you, like Erica Chenoweth, are a researcher who can discover effective strategies for peace and make them known to the world. Perhaps you are a writer who can write letters to the editor of your local newspaper and speak truth to your community. Perhaps you are an activist who can join local or national demonstrations. Perhaps you are an ordinary citizen with little time, who can call your Senator or sign online petitions. Perhaps you can make a financial contribution. Everyone’s contributions, in whatever form, make a difference.

In these times, the world desperately needs spiritually grounded peacemakers. What is yours to do?

(An earlier version of this blog appeared in November 2017.)

St. Francis and Sultan Malik Al Kamil: Leadership for Peace

As I prepare to walk in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi in a few short weeks, I’m immersing myself in his life. At this time in the life of our world, I’m finding myself drawn to Francis’s peacemaking skills.

St. Francis exercised peace leadership. In the early thirteenth century, when Pope Innocent III rallied the troops for another Crusade against the Muslims in the Holy Land, Francis was appalled. The Crusades broke his heart.

As Francis prayed about what part he was called to play, he felt moved to travel to Egypt where the Crusaders’ army found itself at a standoff with Sultan Malik Al Kamil’s army. In the midst of the conflict, Francis felt called to cross battle lines and meet with the Sultan himself.

Cardinal Pelagius, the commander of the Crusaders’ army, at first refused Francis’s request to meet the Sultan, fearing that Francis would be killed attempting to cross to the other side. At last he relented, in part because of his calculation that Francis might be better dead than alive, no longer pestering him about making peace, when Pelagius was committed to the path of war.

Miraculously, largely due to the openness of the Sultan, Francis crossed the battle line and survived. Against the counsel of some of his generals, Sultan Malik Al Kamil agreed to meet Francis, and they had a mutually respectful conversation. While Francis, not an official representative of Cardinal Pelagius, couldn’t formally respond to the Sultan’s proposal for compromise, Francis spoke of his desire for peace and affirmed the humanity of the Sultan and his people.

Cardinal Pelagius refused Malik Al Kamil’s proposal for compromise and continued his siege of the fortress city of Damietta until its inhabitants had died of starvation or by the sword. Then he turned his face toward Cairo, ambitious to conquer that city.

Malik Al Kamil opened the sluice gates of the Nile, stranding the Crusaders’ army in the middle of the flood plain. As the days on the plain stretched into weeks, Pelagius’s army ran out of food and began to starve. Malik Al Kamil’s generals advised him to take advantage of the Crusaders and kill them while they were weak, just as Pelagius had done with the inhabitants of Damietta. Instead, Malik Al Kamil retired to pray and returned with a different response. He fed the Crusaders so they wouldn’t starve. Shocked that the Sultan’s army brought them bread instead of killing them, the Crusaders began to see Malik Al Kamil and his people as human beings, and lost the will to fight them. Subsequently, as word spread, Pope Innocent III had more difficulty mustering up an army to fight the Crusade, and the Crusade gradually sputtered out.

Because both Francis and Malik Al Kamil recognized in the other a person of deep faith and a person of peace, a way forward emerged when it had appeared there was no way.

How can the example of St. Francis and Sultan Malik Al Kamil enlighten us? How can their decision to seek peaceful resolutions within a world intent on war inspire us during the conflicts in our current world? Might we resolve to recognize the humanity in those whom we have been taught to view as “enemies” and together contemplate a better path ahead through dialogue and a commitment to work toward peace? The brave determination of the thirteenth-century peacemakers leads me to ask, “What is mine to do?” in the midst of conflicts, in Ukraine and elsewhere, today.

This is a further development of the Executive Soul blog that first appeared in March, 2017.

What Good is Praying for Peace?

Photo Credit: Margaret Benefiel

This morning, as Russians and Ukrainians begin talks in Belarus, I am praying for peace. At the same time as I pray, I find myself asking, “What good is praying for peace?” In examining my experience of praying for peace, I observe several things.

First, praying for peace changes me. I notice that, as I pray for peace, my desire to be a peaceful person increases. I notice my motivation to de-escalate conflict in my marriage, my family, my faith community, my workplace, my neighborhood, and my world growing stronger. Creative ideas about how to achieve this goal spring up, as well.

Second, praying for peace results in divine guidance about what part is mine to play. As I pray for peace, sometimes I am led to spend more time in prayer supporting activists in the streets, sometimes I am led to protest in the streets myself, sometimes I am led to write letters to my elected officials, and sometimes I am led to give money to groups working for peace. Along with this divine guidance comes a sense of freedom and energy, and the sense that I am being the best link in the chain of peacebuilding that I can be and that I don’t need to engage in hand-wringing or waste my energy worrying.

Third, praying for peace helps others. I often hear from those I am praying with or praying for how much their energy and creativity and effectiveness increased when they were the recipients of prayer (and I experience this myself when others are praying with and for me).

Fourth, praying for peace makes a difference in the world. While most of the time I can’t see the effects of my prayer, I sometimes can. Occasionally I hear of people whose minds were changed or people whose hearts were encouraged as they stood for peace in the upper echelons of power. At the times that I can’t see the effects of my prayer, I trust that it strengthens the Russian athletes opposing the war, that it encourages Ukrainians not to give into despair, that it sparks creativity in diplomacy, and that it waters a host of other seeds of peace being sown in this conflict even as I write.

Finally, my faith tells me that praying for peace is good in itself. While I can’t always know the good that comes from praying for peace, I do it because I am a follower of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, and I want to follow in his footsteps.

May we pray for peace in these perilous times, both knowing the good outcomes we see as a result, and also trusting in the ones we can’t see.

Heavy Hearts and Active Hope, Part 2

Last month, I wrote in this blog about carrying a heavy heart due to the COVID surge, police killings of black and brown people, voter suppression, the undermining of democracy, and the destruction of our precious planet. This month, these continue to weigh on my heart as I add to the list the imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Last month, I wrote about “Active Hope,” articulated by Joanna Macy, as a practice to help us face these seemingly intractable problems. This month, I add Constance Fitzgerald’s work to supplement and buttress Macy’s, then close with a practical tool by Alan Seale.

In her essays in Desire, Darkness, and Hope: Theology in a Time of Impasse (Cassidy and Copeland, eds.), Constance Fitzgerald points to the intractable problems we face today as indications of the limits of the rational mind. The finest minds in the world have tried to address these problems and failed. She names our time a time of “impasse” as we seem stuck in so many arenas.

Fitzgerald claims that we need to go deeper than the rational mind can take us if we want to address this impasse. She draws on the work of St. John of the Cross and his concept of the Dark Night as a way to go deeper. For John of the Cross, she claims, the Dark Night of the Senses, when we no longer see God’s answers to our prayers or hear God’s voice or feel God’s closeness, is God’s invitation to let go of our preconceived notions of who God is and what God should do. It is an invitation to be purified of our attachments, emptied, so that there is room for God to enter. The subsequent Dark Night of the Soul, when God seems to have disappeared entirely, reveals deeper attachments and provides a further invitation to purification.

Once we have said “yes” to this invitation to let go, opening space for God, prophetic hope emerges in unexpected ways, claims Fitzgerald. We have a sense of what is ours to do, perhaps only one small step at a time.

Alan Seale’s work, “The Deep Simple,” complements Fitzgerald’s with a practical tool for going deeper that can be used with individuals or groups. Seale’s questions go deeper than the rational mind in order to open us to the hidden wisdom within.

The five questions of “The Deep Simple” are:

  1. What are three things I know to be true about this?
  2. Which of those things holds the greatest power for us to explore right now?
  3. With that thing that you choose to explore, if something new was trying to emerge or something wanted to shift, what might that be?
  4. Who is that asking you to be? What role is it asking you to play in that shift?
  5. What is one step you can take now that begins movement toward that shift?

With Constance Fitzgerald and John of the Cross’s spiritual process of self-emptying, complemented by Alan Seale’s “Deep Simple” practice, I can begin to get unstuck and take my first steps. Though my heart remains heavy, I have tools to help me move forward.


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