Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Q: Couple questions and Happy Thanksgiving!

Just thought I'd answer a couple quick questions before the long weekend.

Dennis R. asked if my Science and Health reading includes the Bible lesson or is in addition to it. It's in addition to it. I'm reading Science and Health straight through just for the purpose I've described in posts earlier this week. The Bible lesson is a different study for me.

Obidon asked about Monday's posting: "How do you determine your values?"

This is a big question! I have to admit first that it took me months to gain the courage for life coaching. I got into it gradually. For my writing business, I had worked with several life coaches on their Websites. They would describe their services—helping people get to their core values and live authentically—and it would petrify me. I'd move off of my standard questions designed to give me an understanding of their businesses to questions like, "What if a person is too scared to be coached? Does anyone find out horrible things about themselves? What if their dreams are just too big that they can never attain them?" The whole thing fascinated me, but frightened me.

Eventually, though, I helped one of my very good friends with her site, and her approach was gentle enough and I trusted her enough that we bartered editing for coaching. And she started with getting me to articulate my values.

For example, the simple one we all hope for, which is to only do things we love. I wanted to stop doing things that drain me and instead devote all my time to things that I love doing and that energize me. Over the years I'd absorbed an external value that doing things you don't love is somehow virtuous and you'll get your reward later. My coach helped me see that this isn't *my* value, but one imposed from outside. My own value is to do things I love exclusively.

Once I knew that, I began to pay attention to those things I do in my life that I don't love. I began to notice the things that drained my enthusiasm rather than inspired me. Just noticing was a big step. Then, it became time for a conscious decision of whether I'd keep doing them or not. Some things I still have to do, to keep cash flow going, but at least I'm aware of the need to replace that income as soon as possible. Other things I'm trying out to see if they're going to be helpful in the long run.

One thing I noticed *always* energizes me is talking with people about spirituality, specifically helping them on their spiritual journey. When I'm talking with someone and helping them think through a situation, time flies by for me and I leave the conversation more in love with the Divine than ever. So that's an activity I'll always keep.

Determining one's own values is a very individual thing. What makes you, yourself, happy? Not what makes your family happy, or your church, or your boss, but *you.*

It is the will of the Divine that you be happy. Give yourself permission to discover for yourself how to fulfill that divine directive. It will be different for each of us, but it will be amazing and fabulous across the board. What a world it would be if every person lived according to their own light rather than continuing to enact the values of others!

I'm grateful that you are you and I am me, and together our perfect expression teaches us about the infinite nature of the Divine. Happy Thanksgiving!

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 11/25/2007 04:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Laura,

At least you're going to get one comment on this thoughtful presentation of some of your own values.

You say “It is the will of the Divine that you be happy.” When I read this I thought to myself: “Happy on whose terms?” I assume you meant it is the will of the Divine that men be happy on God’s own terms, which terms may or may not bring immediate satisfaction (depending on our present attitudes towards doing God’s Will).

It was Jesus’ desire that his own joy would be in his followers (this sounds like happiness), and that their joy would be made full” (John 15:11). And it was Jesus’ opinion that their being obedient to his own commands for them would be a catalyst for their experiencing this joy, which I assume is synonymous with their knowing the Presence in their minds of his Father’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit (which was Jesus’ Joy, for sure).

One of Jesus commands for his followers was that his followers were to love one another. If everyone else is loving one another and is continuing to love one another as directed, then “loving one another” back should be no problem. Ideally we should be happy while following this instruction!

Jesus also gave instructions like, “Turn the other cheek,” “Walk the second mile,” “Sell your possessions,” and “Give to everyone who begs from you,” to name a few of his teachings. Hey, is obedience here going to make me happy? Maybe not at first, but in the long run (long-term happiness vs. short-term well-being) the peace that passes all understanding will come upon you/us if you/we continue in following Jesus’ words. I think we’d all be happy to dwell in a divinely-given mental peace that isn’t dependent on the worldly situation going on.

A fragment of one of Jesus statements is well known among Christians and even among many non-Christians. It goes, ‘You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Ever hear of these words? You probably have. Like to hear the full statement? Here it is. It begins with the word “If,” which means it is a conditional statement:

“If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). Which words of Jesus should be “continued in,” or followed? Just the ones that contain instructions, I would think! Some of Jesus’ words are direct orders for his followers benefit, but many of his words are simply observations, or statements, like, “You cannot serve God and mammon.”

There is no indication here that choosing to serve mammon is a sin. Serving mammon disqualifies the server from serving God too, but it is up to the individual which master he or she will serve. Can a person be happy without serving mammon? Can a person get along in this world without serving mammon, at least part-time? How about serving God part-time, serving mammon part-time, sleeping part-time, and taking care of your own needs part-time? This is the route many seem to choose.

I’m glad I’m not to be a judge of my neighbors’ doings. I’m so glad that Jesus said not to do this. So I’m free to try to follow along myself, to try to share Jesus’ teachings with others, and to try to not be critical of those who find Jesus’ sayings less valuable than I do. This is something I value.

Jesus was a good example for men to follow, I think. And Jesus said, “If (another “if” statement) any man hears my sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world” (John 12:47). I presume he meant for us to “Go, and do likewise!” when it comes to not judging others’ devotion to Truth.

I could easily relate to a paragraph towards the end of your blog which starts off with, “One thing I noticed *always* energizes me is talking with people about spirituality, specifically helping them on their spiritual journey.” I don’t see myself as helping people, per se, I’m not a counselor, but I’m usually thinking that hopefully God will use the discussion to do the helping of each of us. However, as you say, the time does seem to “fly by” when spiritually is the topic. I think it is called being “Spiritually quickened,” or “Coming alive.”

“Freely, freely, you have received, freely give.”

Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Laura. Gary

At 11/26/2007 11:12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll just add this note: excellent explanation of seeking and finding one's values, Laura. Thanks!


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