Fill Your Horn with Oil and Move On

Shofar(As we approach another Mother’s Day,… re-posting a 2016 blog)

This Sunday is celebrated as Mother’s Day in the USA and so I find it most appropriate to share a universal lesson that most of us learned from our mothers many years ago. It is the lesson of picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves off and getting over the fact that we just skinned our knees so we can move on to bigger and better things.

In the Hebrew Scriptures/Christian Old Testament in the books of the Prophets (Nevi’im), 1 Samuel 15:35 – 1 Samuel 16:1 we read the following:

Samuel never saw Saul again to the day of his death. But Samuel grieved over Saul, because the Lord regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel. And the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and set out; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have decided on one of his sons to be a king.”

In brief review for those rustier in biblical lore than others; God had chosen Saul to be the King of Israel and Samuel the Prophet had groomed him and grown to love him as a son. Saul had some bad habits though and after several incidents of disobedience (not crazy about that word, but it works here), it became clear to Samuel and to God that Saul wasn’t going to cut it. The statement at the end of Chapter 15 sums it up: Samuel was feeling miserable about his seeming failure – he was depressed and having a difficult time getting over it.

God says to Samuel what we’ve heard many times from mothers, friends, bosses, coaches and even ourselves – it’s time to get over it and move on. The oil in the horn – presumably a ram’s horn – was anointing oil. Samuel was being told to take the anointment, or favor on Saul and move it on to someone more deserving; Saul was no longer worthy of it.

How often do we mourn over circumstances, or relationships that have not worked out in our best interests, and felt incapable of moving forward? We “anointed” or blessed a situation or relationship as an important part of our lives and now it’s in shambles at our feet. Admitting that we poured our favor on something that is not serving us as we had hoped, or as it once had is a humbling experience as Samuel’s behavior illustrates.

Of particular note, this timeless lesson is  shared from the perspective whereby God is telling a respected and wise man that it’s time to cut his losses and move on. This is powerful as it shows the great importance of knowing when to hold ’em, and when to fold ’em. God said, “Hey – this didn’t work out; it’s not the end of the world. There’s another king in the next village.”

Consider the magnitude of this event: God chose Saul, and yet at the end of the day, Saul’s choices and behaviors made it impossible for God to continue to consider him as the king of Israel. If God can say, “Hmmm – that didn’t work out as I had planned it to,…” and move on, wecantoo.

This particular story is teaching us to pay attention to the present moment, and not to hang our emotions, ego and regrets on what we THOUGHT or HOPED would happen. If it’s not happening, and you’ve given it plenty of opportunities to work out, it’s time to fill your horn with oil and go anoint someone or something else.

We know from the rest of the story that Samuel went on to anoint a shepherd boy named David who became a great king and impacted the historical development of the modern world. David made some colossal human mistakes, too but on the whole a better and wiser king than Saul promised to be by his actions. Ask yourself what you’re holding on to that needs to be left, like Saul, in the pages of history.

Whether you have anointed a career, a relationship, or any other life circumstance or decision; if it’s not serving your highest and best Good, it’s time to take that anointing oil elsewhere.

Don’t hold onto things in your past that aren’t serving your peace of mind, your Good or your abundance (which we know is much more than money); learn this powerful lesson and free yourself today.

And so it is.

(C) Practitioner's Path 2016
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Make this week AMAZING!

A little inspiration for your Monday morning, and the start to the week, and no one does it better than Michael Gott.

“Amazing, amazing – you will do amazing things.”

Make this your Monday affirmation: “I will do amazing things!

Don’t forget to support your favorite New Thought artists by purchasing their music. This album may be downloaded on iTunes or at MichaelGott.com

(C) 2018 Practitioner's Path

Spiritual bypass by any other name

VoltaireI recently shared 2 blog posts from another WordPress blogger, Jim Lockard, who wrote 2 articles on Spiritual Bypass (see 2 previous posts on this blog).

I left my local spiritual community for reasons I was not entirely able to communicate at the time, but when I stumbled upon the outing of this as a conversation across the larger spiritual communities in which I participate (I’ll be participating in a discussion around this in San Diego at the end of the month), I had an a-HA! moment.

A great read on this topic in its purest form is this article by Robert Augustus Masters. I will be quoting from his article, starting with the definition of “spiritual bypass” which he describes as:

“…the use of spiritual practices and beliefs to avoid dealing with our painful feelings, unresolved wounds, and developmental needs.”

As the saying goes,…if I had a nickel/dime/dollar for every time I heard someone say “[It’s] really only about you” or “It’s not real – just your thinking (or an illusion) – suffice it to say that I would have a lot of nickels/dimes/dollars.

Once I had suggested that we (Center) had an entrenched White, middle-class perspective and suggested that we learn about White privilege and how it may be impacting our ability to grow (I’m a White, straight, middle-class female).

I was met with denial (“if people feel that way, then it’s something in their consciousness,…”) and an unwillingness to do anything about it (probably due in part to overall ignorance about the concept of privilege) because of entrenched spiritual bypass habits.

I have written about some of the more serious concerns I’ve had, such as around teaching children proper boundaries for their own safety and overlooking significant community and world challenges and instead, hiding behind “it’s all good“.

I had also grown weary of what I have come to view as tawdry prosperity classes and practices aimed at ginning up donations to the teacher or organization, or comments that a young woman who died “had that in her consciousness” so we shouldn’t be upset. I knew I couldn’t do it anymore, but it seemed that I was the only one with “that issue“, so I left.

Maybe it is me,” I often mused to myself since everyone still there seemed perfectly content to continue with business as usual. Except that I was hearing from multiple individuals on a regular basis that all was NOT well,…but what was I going to do? I had moved on.

Then, BOOM! A flurry of activity, attention and a NAME for the things I was seeing and feeling.

It was definitely NOT “just me“.

According to Masters,

“Spiritual bypassing is a very persistent shadow of spirituality, manifesting in many ways, often without being acknowledged as such. Aspects of spiritual bypassing include exaggerated detachment, emotional numbing and repression, overemphasis on the positive, anger-phobia, blind or overly tolerant compassion, weak or too porous boundaries, lopsided development (cognitive intelligence often being far ahead of emotional and moral intelligence), debilitating judgment about one’s negativity or shadow elements, devaluation of the personal relative to the spiritual, and delusions of having arrived at a higher level of being.”

We’ve identified the problem, so what’s the solution?

One thing is for sure: you can’t keep doing the same thing, with the same people leading the same, old, tired charge and expect anything to change.

When looking at the question of renovation or demolition and rebuilding a home or other structure, there are questions that can assist you in making the decision.

Renovating an existing structure is generally recommended when:

  • The underlying structure is sound.
  • The impact on what we might call the ‘liveability‘ of the home is positive.
  • The cost of installing the measures and maintaining the building over the pay back period of the retrofitting measures represents value.
  • The local economy provides income levels adequate to fund the purchase, refurbishment and retrofitting costs.

To recap in the context of a spiritual organization that is suffering under years of spiritual bypass as standard operating procedure, renovation (building upon the existing practices, people and structures) may work out if:

  • The underlying organizational perspective is sound: e.g. the leadership isn’t tainted.
    • If there is not enough depth in the organization to clear out the old leadership and bring in new, untainted thinking and perspective; renovation is likely not an option. The old must be torn down and a brand new organization must come forth.
  • The impact on the ‘liveability‘ is positive:
    • e.g. the renovation is not simply a band-aid placed over obvious areas while behind the scenes it’s “business as usual“. There is a tendency to put lipstick on pigs (new classes, new decorations, new activities) and pronounce a transformation. It doesn’t work that way.
  • The cost of installing the measures and maintaining the organization represents value.Organizations must look at the opportunity cost of continuing to limp along pretending that there is awesome leadership in place when there are ample signs that it is not only less than awesome, but it is suffering from decades of spiritual bypass practice.
  • The “local economy” provides income levels adequate to fund the purchase, refurbishment and retrofitting costs.Here the “local economy” is the influx of people, tithes and support (including non-monetary support) that keep an organization afloat. If the old-school leadership is the only engaged entity, it’s time to demolish and rebuild from the ground up – including brand new leadership who are not under the spell of the old. It doesn’t count if the “new” leaders move in next door to the old ones and set up as BFF’s.

This is a good place to point out that leaders practicing spiritual bypass need not be shunned in the old Amish style. They do, however, need to be willing to step to the side as participants and not remain influencers while they rehabilitate themselves to shed decades-long practices of spiritual bypass.

Leftover twentieth century organizations that wish to remain viable in the new century will need to make hard choices and take some painful actions if they are to not only survive, but thrive.

Those that make the right choices will be here to impact their communities and the world for the better. Those that choose poorly will be relegated to the pages of history, and perhaps only to the memories of a few.

Phoenix

The GOOD NEWS is that from the ashes of what once was, can and will rise a new day, a new way and a new perspective. I, for one, am heartened by the leadership I am seeing emerge around addressing spiritual bypass and taking steps to ameliorate it in the larger spiritual community. I look forward to helping it take root and grow here on the local spiritual scene.

And so it is.

(C) 2018 Practitioner's Path

WHEN SPIRITUAL BYPASS BECOMES SPIRITUAL MALPRACTICE, PART 2

Required reading for ALL on the spiritual path,

New Thought Evolutionary

“Racism and spiritual bypassing are harmful in and of themselves, and their combination compounds the harm. Add gaslighting (LINK), and you’ve got an exponentially toxic brew. In this case, the manipulative elements and dizzying doublespeak were staggering. There were acknowledgements that racism had in fact occurred, followed by denials that it did, round and round. There were fauxpologies followed by defending, round and round. There were expressions of caring for those who had been hurt, immediately followed by not-so-subtle digs at them, round and round.”

~ Camille Williams,

When Spiritual Bypassing Meets Racism Meets Gaslighting (LINK)

GASLIGHT - American Poster 6 The term GASLIGHTING comes from this film.

In Part 1 of this series (LINK), we explored the phenomenon of spiritual bypassing and its effect on individuals and groups. I referenced the article by Robert Augustus Masters, PhDSpiritual Bypassing: Avoidance in Holy Drag (LINK). I encourage you to read Part 1 and…

View original post 1,092 more words

Self-awareness

The past few days have provided a very public “Exhibit A” of what disasters can befall us when we lack a grounding in self-awareness and self-knowledge.

Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson should have had the good sense to know that his background, experience and training – although respectable – was not appropriate to the position that he was offered. He should have had the presence of self and the personal integrity to say “thanks but no thanks” – but as the world now knows, he didn’t and has suffered a very public flogging for his ignorance.

This lack of awareness about one’s knowledge, skills and abilities is not limited to cheeky admirals and cocky physicians: it’s everywhere and reminds me to carefully weigh decisions set before me. I’ve seen what happens many times – and not just on TV!

To grow personally, emotionally and spiritually; it’s important to learn these life lessons and apply them judiciously across our lives. The challenge comes when we want something so much that we become unwilling to see that we’re not the best person for the job. We’re so focused on what we want, flattered with our title or power, or enthralled with where we’re going that we miss all the signals that what we want requires that we partner with people that have different skills – usually ones that we lack.

Partnering with people doesn’t mean using passive aggressive methods to attempt to remain in total control; it does not mean that we sneak around behind the scenes trying to manipulate things while giving lip service to the others at the table. It does mean that we look people in the eye and take ownership of what we bring to the table and will contribute, and what we need others to contribute. It also requires that we communicate clearly that we are willing to listen and collaborate and to let go of what we have delegated to others. Micro-managing is not an option.

I’ve observed countless problems in corporate, academic and non-profit organizations brought about by people unwilling to look honestly at their deficits. We must take care not to fall into the trap of surrounding ourselves with sycophants: people willing to sing our praises – while we distance ourselves from critics. No one likes a critic, but if we allow them, they can be among our best teachers.

When we become entrenched in what we want and how we want it to unfold, we remain incapable of bringing others into the mix – those with the knowledge, skills and ability to achieve what we desire. I’ve seen so much of this that it helps to remind me to be cautious about my own understanding of my strengths, weaknesses, challenges and points of power.

As we move forward from the latest public display of  someone who “didn’t know what he didn’t know“, we all have an opportunity to pause and examine our own lives to make sure we’re aware of the wonderful contributions we can and do make, as well as those areas where we are struggling and need to let go.

And if we’re fortunate enough to be flying under the radar of the media – as thankfully, most of us do – we have time to self-reflect and course-correct. We can reach out to those with the skills we need for our business, project or organization to be successful. We can learn how to let go of our ego and let those who do things well, do them in support of our larger goals.

The best news about this approach is that we can more readily achieve our goals, and we don’t have to shoulder the whole burden. We can leverage the skills and contributions of others, while concentrating on what we do well and in the end, celebrate how the diversity of knowledge, skills and abilities makes great things happen.

Admiral Jackson, while having some faults (we all do), could have saved himself a very public humiliation, as well as what may end up to be a significant change oToolbox with tools. Skrewdriver, hammer, handsaw and wrench. 3df fortune due to the allegations that have surfaced, had he been more in touch with what he does well, and what he has no business taking on.

We are all well-advised to learn from his story; to save ourselves from unnecessary and often-public failure.

Learning to look honestly at what we do well, as well as what we simply don’t have in our personal or professional toolbox, is an important and positive step toward finding success in our careers, our communities and our lives.

(C) 2018 Practitioner's Path

 

Inspiration to go

I’ve rarely met a craft gadget that I didn’t love and if it’s something that I can use to unite spiritual wisdom with a fun and creative activity, all the better!  I recently discovered a small hole punch for scrap booking – on the clearance wall, even – and was inspired to take some of my favorite sayings and compile them into a tiny booklet. It fits in a purse or backpack easily (2.5″ x 2.5″) and is a quick reminder on “those days” that indeed, All is Well.

This is a great activity for a spiritual class and the sky is the limit on what you can create. I chose inspiration but you could pull together quotes focused on healing, abundance, protection,… anything! Let your mind wander and have fun with it.

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I assembled the squares, cut from card stock and gathered some additional decorations, including die cut shapes and stickers. I also turned on my laminating machine so it was ready to go. I decided on the front and back covers and added the designs I chose (music notes), setting these aside.

I then gathered the quotes I wanted to use, typing them into text boxes in a Power Point slide. PPT File (mini booklet)

Next I printed them out and trimmed  using a paper cutter (keeps the lines straight). If doing this in a group setting it’s a good idea to have a 2nd set of printer ink cartridges on hand.

Once you’ve printed and cut out the sayings, lay them out on the card stock sheets to determine where you want each one to go. I used a dab from a glue stick to secure the printed saying to the card stock and then lined these up on a laminating sheet and ran through the machine. You will not want to use liquid glue as it could ooze out in the laminating process. You don’t need the glue to do anything other than keep the papers from shifting during lamination.

NOTE: I had hole-punched the card stock before laminating so that it was easier to cut through after 2 sheets of plastic lamination were applied.

After laminating, I cut out around the squares, and re-punched the holes using my new craft gadget, and set about my final decision on the order of the sayings.

I used aluminum split rings that I can open and close without pliers as the “binder rings” and chose colors to coordinate with the papers.

For my mini-booklet, I chose the Hebrew word “ruach” that has several English translations: wind, breath and Spirit; and quotes by Ernest Holmes, Florence Scovel Shinn and Neville Goddard as well as a bible verse that I had written a blog around.

Once assembled my mini-booklet was ready to go with me.

While it’s surely true that I could turn on my phone and find one of these quotes or a Tweet to read, there’s something quite satisfying about creating my own mini-pep talk that goes with me every day.

Booklet 6a

These principles are simple, certainly but as life can be complex and difficult at times, remembering the spiritual Truth of who we are isn’t always easy. This project – both the process and the end result – is a simple but powerful tool to help us stay connected.

If you decide to do this in your Center or group, I hope you’ll take pictures and share them with me. You can email me here.

Enjoy!

(C) 2018 Practitioner's Path