Spiritual Maturity

I’ve been writing this blog for almost 7 years. In that time period I have documented numerous answered prayers, or “demonstrations” as they are called in the metaphysical / spiritual-not-religious corners of the world.

As I have often shared, I came into this teaching in a state of curiosity, not desperation. Not long before, I had been given a copy of the audio book, “The Secret” and begun my journey into the world of metaphysical experience. While I knew that The Secret was a doorway to a deeper path; I also knew that some of the examples in the movie were off base, and fantastical – even if they were meant as metaphorical representations of the way “this stuff works” (and I think they were meant that way and not as unrealistic goals).

Over the years that I have studied, learned and grown in my application and appreciation of these ancient, spiritual Truths; I have observed that there is a level of maturity in our use of them.

When we are immature, expectations are high and often untethered to reality. This can and often does lead to disappointment and an undermining of the beliefs. This is described best by Mike Dooley who was in the movie as “messing with the hows“. See my blog on magical thinking for an explanation of this.

When approaching the principles with maturity, however; real magic can come into our lives. This magic happens when we are willing and able to let go of the way we want things to happen and allow the principles to work as they work.

The maturity involved in this requires a relinquishment of ego – letting go of what WE wanted, and how WE wanted things to work out, and how WE saw the best outcomes as needing to be. A mature approach is one that is open at the top (nod to Ernest Holmes) and does not insist on doing things a certain way, and is always willing to evolve, even if/when it’s scary.

The following examples illustrate the difference:

A family member wanted to buy a pair of athletic shoes, but money was short. The IMMATURE wish was for more money; the MATURE knowing led to a pair of athletic shoes that met their needs, and was affordable within their budget.

A child who wanted to play the flute in band and a family that wondered about adding another instrument payment to the budget found that the IMMATURE wish for more money coming in each month so they could afford it was replaced with the MATURE knowing that they are provided when a flute showed up.

I was set to travel in the midst of a Winter storm. The IMMATURE desire I had was for my employer to cancel all travel until Spring. The MATURE knowing I experienced was that I was provided – not only with safe travel between Kansas City and Pittsburgh, but on time with no delays.

A couple years back, my daughter and her family moved across town. A few weeks after the move, the family cat disappeared. My grandson was distraught and all of us combed the neighborhoods – old and new – for Figgy. The IMMATURE wish was that Figgy would simply wander back into the yard. The MATURE knowing let go of the HOW and held on to the knowing that the highest and best outcome would manifest.

This outcome came in a call from Animal Control, more than a MONTH after Figgy disappeared. I feel strongly that this happened to teach me about faith, trust and persistence and each time I see Figgy with my grandchildren, I am reminded of that lesson (I was able to scratch his ears and give him a couple kitty-treats just yesterday!).

I’ve written often about my need for a new roof that required $15,000 and about concerns around finances specific to my student loans. The IMMATURE desires I held around these issues were for large, windfalls of money so that I could simply write a check and be done with the worry.

The MATURE knowing allowed for the outcomes that looked a bit different, but still met all my needs: I am not paying my students loans out of my monthly budget – and instead of a winning lottery ticket, a tree blew onto my roof and a part time job came my way.

These examples, along with the many others chronicled in this blog, have worked to teach me the critical importance of a mature approach to the application of spiritual principles in my life. I have learned the crucial aspect of “keeping out of the hows” and regularly see the miracles that emerge when I do.

For these reasons, I struggle to support teachers or self-proclaimed gurus who are not demonstrating a maturity in their practice. They are, sadly, leading others astray when they keep holding their hands over their bank accounts and praying loudly for more money to roll in to maintain things as they want them to be.

This behavior demonstrates a lack of depth and expertise – especially when they insist that they’ll not move off their current path (“I’m not changing the way we spend our money!”) even in the face of an obvious need to make drastic changes.

This is, I believe, spiritual malpractice. Not because I said so, but because teaching spiritual Truths to help people with hard life challenges is a sacred duty and our desire for money, position or power should NEVER outrank that responsibility.

In the Christian canon, the teacher Jesus taught that leading people astray was a big problem:

but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

Matthew 18:6

The word sin is interpreted metaphysically to mean “missing the mark“. From this perspective, this counsel could be rewritten as:

  • Whoever causes someone new to these teachings to miss the mark – or use the principles ineffectively, which can create the perception that they are useless and lead people to abandon them – is committing malpractice, and should immediately cease and desist.

Does this mean that anyone not demonstrating immediate results is incapable of leading?

Not at all.

It DOES mean that to be effective and sustainable; leadership requires maturity – as evidenced in a willingness to be wrong, self-awareness, being open to ideas that conflict with one’s own, and the ability to let go of long-held sacred cows.

In other words, it means being able to understand the spiritual principles enough to LIVE them, and not just talk about them. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

 (C) 2020 Practitioner's Path 

Changing Times

In the early 2000s, I was the Dean of Allied Health in a community college. One of my programs was Medical Transcription. The enrollment in this program had declined precipitously and the Return on Investment (ROI) for maintaining faculty and other expenses to teach less than 3 students a year was just not there. In addition, the emerging technology that enabled voice recognition was decimating the profession nationally. I knew that very soon, there would be no jobs for Transcription professionals. I also knew that we needed to shift our resource investment into training that led to decent jobs for graduates.

As it turns out, I was right. There are plenty of things I’m not good at; but looking around at the world and what’s happening; seeing the writing on the wall, and making appropriate hard choices is something I’ve got a darn good track record on.

It’s not rocket science. I read industry journals, keep up with the news, pay attention to trends in the culture and remain open and willing to see realities – even those I might not want to see. It’s a skill, but it doesn’t always make me the most popular dinner guest at industry conferences or in circles of people who squeeze their eyes shut and hope that things will be different when they open them again.

I recently had an experience at a car dealer that highlighted the continued evolution we are immersed in today. In a previous blog I wrote about my demonstration of a new car. Earlier this month I took ownership of it, and had an up-close-and-personal experience with the changes we are experiencing as a society.

Our total transaction at the dealership took less than 45 minutes. In chatting with the salesperson, we shared some less pleasant experiences that we had with OTHER dealerships. He told us that in today’s world, customers come to the dealership knowing prices, aware of the vehicle specifications, and with multiple options to buy – including ordering online and picking up at a car vending machine (CARVANA) or having the car delivered to their home (CARSENSE).

Dealerships that insist on doing “business a la 1995” where the manager sits up behind a glass wall and there is haggling and an exhausting back-and-forth are in danger of becoming obsolete. Consumers today simply won’t put up with those games because there are other options that work better for them. What worked in the last decade or so will not work today – in car dealerships and in other organizations.

In our conversation we discussed the inevitable demise of those dealerships that are clinging to the old ways. It’s hard to tell how long they’ll hold on, but one thing is for sure: they are losing large numbers of customers to the dealerships that are willing to evolve.

Today’s buyers have other options than the old school way. And the proof was right in front of our eyes – we experienced how different and EASY it can be to buy a car.

There were multitudes of customers in this dealership on a random Saturday afternoon. The owners clearly understand that as the population shifts, and technology (& other) factors impact society, they have to change; they must “evolve or die“.

This quote is often attributed to Einstein, but it matters little who said it: the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

I would add that doing the same thing – in the midst of a changing culture and demographics – and (still) expecting the same results qualifies you for bat-guano crazy status!

  • Developers aren’t building new mega malls
  • Retail businesses aren’t staking all their bets on brick & mortar
  • Car dealers aren’t hiring sales personnel who can’t navigate the online car markets

The world, and especially American culture, is changing at a breath-taking pace. You don’t need to be a venture capitalist to know that if a business model from the previous century hasn’t shown viability for more than 20 years, it’s not going to suddenly turn around – especially by continuing to do the same thing over and over and over and over and…

Absent walking away; the smart money in circumstances like these is to harvest what you can, and radically change the model.

The businesses and organizations who want to remain standing as the 21st century rolls forward must understand this and be willing to make some hard choices, sacrifice some sacred cows. and make significant changes.

Those who refuse will be relegated to the pages of history.

(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path

New Thought Unicorns

There’s an old tale about a man on top of his roof as flood waters swirl below him. In desperation he prays, begging God to save him from certain doom.

Soon after, a rescue boat comes by, throws him a life jacket, a rope and encourages him to jump.

The man throws the life jacket back, and tells them he doesn’t need their help – God is going to save him. Shaking their heads, they steer the boat downstream to other stranded folks.

A few hours later, a helicopter comes along and lowers a rope ladder to the man. A search & rescue officer comes down the ladder to help, but he refuses; once again telling his would-be rescuers that God is going to save him.

The Search & Rescue crew leaves, heading out to retrieve other, more willing stranded folks.

Throughout the night, the flood waters rose beyond the top of the roof and the man, having no where to go, drowns.

He arrived at the pearly gates and as St Peter checked him in, he asked why God hadn’t answered his prayers in the flood. St Peter shook his head.

God sent you a boat, and a helicopter – what more did you want?

In understanding spiritual principles, there is a tendency in some corners to believe in the existence of sparkly unicorns, or engage in what is often called “magical thinking“.

The adage shared above is a perfect example of “magical thinking” and it stands in stark contrast to applying spiritual principles to solve life problems.

Prayers get answers. In this tale, the prayer was answered first by a rescue boat, and then by a helicopter. The spiritual principles worked.

But the man had it in his head that he wanted something specific,… he had a particular idea of what it would look like for his prayer to be answered, and he turned away 2 very viable options.

Neville Goddard, Wayne Dyer and others taught that we should live in the end to manifest what we want or need. In this (fictional) man’s case, living in the end would have been getting safely off that roof. Instead of living in the end, or focusing on the end state that he desired; he was very stuck in the “how” – and it didn’t end well!

I have experienced this tension between magical thinking and living in the end, so I understand how easy it is to fall into the trap.

Not long into my present job, I was miserable and surrounded with some not-very-nice people. In addition, I had taken a significant pay cut and I was sick of that, too. I wanted my good salary back, I wanted nicer colleagues, and I wanted the esteem I had enjoyed in previous jobs. This was awful, and I wanted OUT!

I chanted, prayed, treated, meditated and intended all kind of ways for this to happen: I waited for a call from a head hunter, the winning Power Ball ticket and the discovery of a long lost relative with the deed to a silver mine, … and everything in between.

But none of that happened.

If I had given in to that magical thinking, it could have resulted in me leaving in a huff, or digging in, growing resentful and eventually pronouncing the principles as a bunch of hooey.

But I had some experience applying spiritual principles in my life, and I knew that I had to do the work. I continued to read and study, and to focus my attention and energy on what I really wanted in the end: a job where I was respected, could be successful, made decent money, and could enjoy the work as well as the people I worked with.

And all of that manifested – but not in a rainbow flurry of Prize Patrol visits. It manifested when I began where I was, working the principles and living “in the end“. It came when I settled down and accepted that everything in life is a trade-off and when I got clear on what I was willing to sacrifice (adjusting how I interacted with the mean girls) and what I was not (walking away from a pension).

When we’re struggling to get things to go our way, it’s usually due to being mired in the “hows“. It’s then that we need to take a step back and look at the end result that we desire; letting go of the details and how we think it needs to look.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say we’re building a business, and we want it to work in a certain way, and customers to interact with us in a specific way. We want them to buy exactly what we’re selling, and pay us a certain amount of money because we want/need that amount of money, and …

First of all, that’s a LOT of “hows“, and it’s all about us. It totally leaves the rest of the world out of the equation – and it doesn’t work that way.

I’ve written a lot about the Retail Apocalypse, and the changes in that industry. I am certain that many of the people working in retail have prayed for a resolution to the decline. And answers to those prayers have come in, but in different ways, shapes and forms – NONE of them being a return to busy malls and swarms of traditional shoppers “like it used to be“.

Applying spiritual principle absolutely works. But it’s not a vending machine that gives us the item we plugged into the menu board after inserting our money. It’s not “treatment in – miracle out“.

It’s also not strenuous.

If we find ourselves praying, and praying and straining to make something happen – the answer isn’t longer, louder prayers while we hold our hands over our wallets.

When we catch ourselves in this posture, it’s time to take a step back, get out of the “hows“, get clear on the end, and let go.

Things started lining up in divine right order when I let go of my focus on wanting a call from the head hunter with a perfect job; the winning lottery ticket, and the rich relative. That’s the way spiritual principle works.

Answers to our prayers don’t ride into our lives on glittery unicorns – they come to us in ordinary ways, involve work on our part, and very often, unfold in ways we never imagined.

We can experience magic, if we are willing to let go, and let the Infinite Spirit show up “…as the abundant all sufficiency in [our] life and affairs.”

And so it is.

(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path

A basic tool

I’ve been in a management/leadership position for many years now, and have had (and continue to have) the opportunity to sit with people who need advice, some coaching or more (sometimes counseling for disciplinary reasons).

Often, people come to me because they’re miserable about their career prospects, their current job assignment, someone they work with, or their boss. My studies in metaphysics have helped me become a better listener, and that alone has added great benefit to my ability to assist people. Beyond that, however; I employ some simple tools that not only get results in the workforce, but would find a comfortable home in most metaphysical churches or centers.

One favorite technique of mine is to take a small, dollar store notebook and use it as a journal. Let’s take the person who comes to me because they dislike their job, but are stuck because they need the money, and aren’t having any luck finding a new job.

I hand them one of these mini/pocket notebooks (I keep a stash in my office for just these times), and ask them to take a few minutes each morning and date the top of a page, and write down 3 things that they appreciate about their current job or employment situation.

Each day they need to come up with 3 new things. I tell them to start with the things closest to them: the paycheck, the people they DO like, the free parking. I recommend this exercise at the beginning of the day because as they work, they will recognize OTHER things for which they are thankful, and they can keep a running list to use over the next days.

This activity first thing each morning also helps to reset any feelings of misery or resentment, making a way for a better experience throughout the day.

This process is so simple it seems like an impossible “fix” for anything, but I can tell you that it works. Appreciation in any circumstance is a healing balm, and this exercise helps us to return our attention to the whole host of little things that make a good life.

This works for a relationship, a job situation, neighborhood issues, family challenges and more. I’ve written before about the way I turned a miserable job situation into one that I truly enjoy by focusing on a ~$2 cup of fruit and the ability to take a walk around a suburban campus in the afternoon. Some weeks I struggled to find anything else to appreciate, but I stuck with it, and before long I had a long list. Free parking (I paid more than $100/month to park in my job at the University), time to listen to audio-books on my commute, a list of good and decent people who were also fun to work with, reasonable expectations, great benefits, interesting work, support for continuing education, generous vacation package, relaxed dress code,… and much more.

There’s not really any “magic” in the mini notebooks. They’re simply a hands-on tool for practicing gratitude; for changing our thinking so we can change our lives. I’ve found in working with people over the years that giving someone a concrete tool to use works much better than quoting sometimes-obtuse spiritual principles.

This time of year finds many churches and centers offering prosperity classes. If you’re struggling with prosperity, this tool can be a help to you as well.

Go get a mini notebook (you can get 4 or 5 of them for $1 at most Dollar stores). Each day write down 3 things about your financial situation that you appreciate.

Think broadly: remember when you 1st got the job or the benefits that are coming in now. Feel the relief and appreciation you felt when this money first came into your life.

If you are not working, and wish that you were; look at the things you can do without a job that would be hard if you were going into work every day. Sprinkle appreciation all over your days and activities. Bless the help you get from benefits or others and be grateful for it all.

The key to any of this is to look for the Good – no matter how difficult it may seem. It’s here, now – even if it appears to be hiding. Stick to it and keep looking, keep SEEING it all around you.

Finding the Good in whatever situation we’re in is a life-changing exercise, and it’s as close as a 25-cent notebook.

Give it a try – you’ll be glad that you did 🙂

(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path

Simple Things, Big Gratitude

There’s nothing quite like an impromptu gathering of friends who share some common threads and whose differences not only help to smooth each others’ rough edges, but bind us together to create a strong and interesting tapestry.

Today I marveled at the great wealth I have in my group of friends – some long-time friends; others relatively new. I am grateful for the technology that keeps us connected when life gets in the way; for good food and the bonds of friendship that are stronger than external circumstances.

For centuries, close knit groups of women sustained communities and maintained the ebb and flow of businesses, tended to babies and the elderly, and kept things moving forward – all while supporting each other in the daily, sometimes hectic/sometimes mundane activities of life. In times past, this support may have included helping with housework or farm work after the birth of a baby, a death in the family or other times of need.

In today’s high tech world it may still look like that in some corners, but it may also be as simple as a text message invitation to gather for lunch (this week Thai ~ next week, Mexican?!) 😉

I surely don’t stop to ponder this enough, but today I was granted the gift of a divine reminder: I am provided – always, and in all ways. I was able to stop for a moment and pay attention, to recognize even, the great blessing that is this circle of friends.

I am deeply grateful for each of you – for how you show up in the world, for who you are, for simply being you. You know who you are (all of you!) – thank you!


(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path

Understanding incentive

In metaphysical churches and centers that are struggling, I often hear people tell stories of the Christian churches in their neighborhoods that are bustling with members and activities. They point to these as examples of how it is possible to grow a congregation.

For assistance in answering this I turn to the authors of the Freakonomics series; Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. One of the (many) key points I extracted from reading the 3 Freakonomics books was that to understand behavior, we must discover the underlying incentives.

The primary incentive for church-going Christians is salvation. The community affiliation that they experience is an added bonus, not the primary reason for attendance and participation. Learning and Christian Education, I would argue, are also a lower priority although some communities will place more emphasis on this than others do.

In the wake of declining church membership and attendance, the one sector that is NOT in decline is the Evangelical wing, and for clarification, there can be mainline denominations who are by definition “evangelical” based on their leadership, even if the rest of the denomination is solidly middle of the road.

This also happens to be a place where the incentive for salvation is most pronounced. Attendance at church, and praising God (and more often Jesus) are taught as requirements, or at the very least – good deeds that Christians can and should do and that please God.

“When God sees you praising Him in the storm, praising Him in the loss, that’s what He calls a sacrifice of praise.”

Joel Osteen, Twitter

As metaphysical spiritual folks look longingly at the full parking lots and busy calendars of the Christian Churches in their neighborhoods, they need to understand that concept and how it drives attendance and participation as well as how very different the incentives are in their own houses.

Early metaphysical spirituality was intended and deployed as a TEACHING. Ernest Holmes famously fought against the establishment of a religion or church, wanting instead for the teachings he had learned in Divine Science and Christian Science to be carried back to people’s home churches and applied there.

Herein lies the core reason why the movement has “failed to mature” as Mitch Horowitz posits. It was built in the mold and model of the church, because in the early 20th century, these institutions were robust and financially strong. Unfortunately, the shortsightedness of those wanting so badly to make the teachings a business is obvious today – especially when you understand the diverse mission of New Thought as compared to Christianity.

An organization whose core mission is teaching people how to use spiritual principles to live better lives and that doesn’t believe that attending services is a requirement to please the Divine needs to understand that – like the college classroom – it is designed to serve people for a season. It also needs to remember that many of the things that fill the church pews up the street are non-starters in the metaphysical spiritual community (guilt, fear, belief that praise and worship is a mitzvah, or good deed).

People very often come into New Thought to put their lives back together after making a mess of them one way or another.

It’s for this reason that I believe that the business model borrowed from the Christian tradition is not working for most metaphysical spiritual churches and centers. People come, they learn (in varying degrees) how to apply the principle that if they “change their thinking” their lives will change.

While some will make connections and remain as part of the community, the leadership challenge now begins to grow in complexity. Almost anyone can lead a small group with a singular focus: learn new things. This is the model in the military.

Enlisted Sergeants and Chiefs lead small teams with singular-focus goals. For multiple teams with varying goals, and larger strategic needs, the military places Officers in leadership positions. Officers are highly educated, experienced leaders – able to see big picture concepts, think strategically, and unemotionally and make hard decisions for the highest and best good for their local organization as well as the country.

With only the skills and vision of what is the equivalent of line, enlisted staff leaders, leading an organization into growth and expansion becomes complicated on a logarithmic scale as the various levels of seekers have vastly different levels of interest and need. Suddenly, it’s not so easy to wave a basic book in front of wide-eyed newbies and impress them. People are using and applying the principles in their own lives, and now the bar is higher.

They may even begin to ask why those who “teach” it, can’t “do” it.

Inevitably what happens is that the veneer begins to crack, and the value proposition comes into question. People with busy lives, multiple responsibilities, and limited time during the week are going to, at some point, question the value proposition in showing up to an organization that is stuck in first gear.

Here’s where the reliance on the Protestant Church model starts to fray. People whose incentive was to learn, and who received what they came seeking will “graduate themselves” and move on, visiting on occasion, and still holding fond memories for their time there – like many of us do when we look back on our college years. But the purpose of weekly attendance is often a declining value proposition.

For organizations that live and die based on what is thrown into the offering plate on Sunday morning, this is a significant weakness, and threat to their survival.

For these reasons, the model would work better if it looked more like the business model in higher education, than the Church. After all, it is a movement built on the concept of TEACHING!

Without the divine mandate, there must be a value proposition in place that people can buy in to. This value proposition has generally been teaching the “change your thinking, change your life” concept.

It’s a great concept and it works, but once people learn “how to use it” the Law of Diminishing Returns kicks in.

This economic law holds that when any factor of production, such as labor, is increased while other factors, such as capital and land, are held constant in amount, the output per unit of the variable factor will eventually diminish.

In spiritual speak, when any input is increased (attendees, members) while other factors are held constant (message, class offerings, activities remain the same basic level/content), the output per unit (e.g. growth, expansion) will eventually diminish.

There are clear and compelling reasons for creating metaphysical spiritual communities where people can learn, grow and find support. The problem lies in trying to apply a model that works in another tradition without a) understanding why it works there, and b) attempting to force that model onto an organization that has very different beliefs.

Repeatedly trying to make something work because it’s “the way we’ve always done it” is the modern definition of insanity. It could also be ‘Exhibit A’ as to why Officers lead large organizations and enlisted staff are required to remain in their defined lanes of responsibility.

An Officer reads across disciplines about trends in community affiliation, explores the underlying differences in different communities, thinks deeply about the many implications and ramifications of his/her decisions, and makes a strategic plan to capitalize on that knowledge for the best interests of the team. The very best officers are also capable of, and regularly practice, self reflection and awareness.

A Staff Sergeant will keep telling the Commanding Officer that s/he can take the platoon up that hill,… they can do it, s/he knows they can and they’re all willing.

The Sergeant’s heart is admirable; his/her tenacity is a core strength of our democracy and the stories from individual life examples make compelling blockbuster movies.

It takes the wisdom, intellect and vision of an Officer to not only see the battle on the hill; but to understand the war, the environment, his/her people, the peace time that lies on the other side – in other words, the much bigger picture.

We don’t live in a Hollywood movie, and the truth is the truth – even when we don’t want it to be.

(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path

The author is a US Navy Veteran, and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Management from Carnegie Mellon University. She currently works in a leadership position in the healthcare industry and is a popular blogger in that arena, and speaker at local, state and national conferences where she shares best practices “from the trenches” in leadership as well as advice on personal growth and development based on wisdom from many corners of history.

Understanding life's seasons

I attended college at a University in a traditional healthcare program with about 20 other classmates. Like many people, I look back on this period as a positive time in my life. At the end of our baccalaureate studies, my classmates and I added a degree and credential to our resumes and went on with our lives.

Today, more than 2 decades have passed, and I have more knowledge and wisdom in this field of study than I could have imagined at that time. I have worked in this profession in various roles and am now considered to be an expert with deep knowledge and good insights in the profession – often sought out for my counsel and wisdom on things related to the business.

From this perspective, I would find little to no value in returning to the “Introduction to Health Information” classes that I took in the first semester of my college studies. Not only would that contribute little to my knowledge base; but listening over and over to lectures on the basics would be boring, aggravating and a big waste of time.

I do attend annual conferences in my profession and sit in on specialized seminars intended for the working professional. I find many of these to be of value and attend when I can. I consider myself to be a walking/talking example of the extreme value that can be derived from the undergraduate program when the basics are taken and applied in a larger context of the industry. But as this walking talking example of success, I don’t need or want to sit in the introductory classes over and over.

I had been thinking about this a few weeks back when I recognized a former classmate in a college watering hole where I was picking up some favorite carry-out food. Although well past his college years, he appeared not to have moved much beyond the activities of those days.

He still sat at the bar and drank way too much as he ogled the now much-younger women. It was upsetting to see someone I had once viewed as having great potential in this seemingly stunted condition.

This reminded me that most of the circumstances and situations we are in right now (today!) are intended to be seasons – not permanent states of being. Remaining as we were in our college days is not only sad and ridiculous – as I observed in this former classmate’s behavior; but boring and of little value – as in attending an Intro college class over and over.

Students coming into my profession learn about the history of medical records, the first Medical Records Librarian and how she convinced the physicians of the day (1928) that proper medical documentation was an important aspect of patient care. Students learn about the various early milestones and how they all contributed to the foundation that is the profession today. It’s a couple of slides in one of the first lectures, and it’s not touched on again after that initial introduction.

The reason? There is little to no value in rehashing these stories over and over and over. It’s information that is nice to know but has very little relevance to anything today – other than being a part of our history. It also is not critical information for those wanting to come into the profession. Instructors can leave that information out of the introductory classes and the impact to the profession would be minimal if at all.

In this regard, no one in this profession – or any profession outside of history academics – would pay for meetings, conferences or continuing education that only rehashed old manuals, founders’ statements and other old “stuff”.

Active professionals want to know how to work in today’s world, with the tools available and the circumstances experienced today. They want resources that are relevant to their lives in the 21st century as Directors, Managers, Supervisors and other professionals in the health information field. In addition, anyone who wants an opportunity to speak in front of hundreds of people at a state or national conference needs to understand this – or they’ll never get the invitation.

I don’t think this general trend is unique to the Health Information profession but is instead a universal truth. Anecdotal observations in my profession and the larger healthcare industry also suggest that it is more pronounced in the culture of the 21st century than it was in earlier times. It comes down to the question of value and today more than ever before; people are value conscious.

There is a zero value proposition in an experienced and accomplished person sitting in class after class of “Introduction to ___ . Organizations that understand this are likely to find success, while those that do not have less certain futures.

This truth, in combination with another reality that is often missed or not understood (and that I will cover in my next blog post) presents a particular challenge to spiritual organizations. Once people learn “how to use It“,… there’s a diminishing incentive to come around and listen to the same thing over and over.

Mitch Horowitz wrote in his Foreword to Harv Bishop’s book, New Thought (R)evolution,

“New Thought, in its churches, books, and internal dialogues, has failed to mature.”

He goes on to suggest that:

“What New Thought needs, I believe,… is a refined, broadened, and matured intellectual culture, which takes into account developments in politics, science, psychology, and the overall human crisis in living, and then turns back on itself to ask: what can we offer?”

I believe that the churches and centers that are successful have had robust programming in place and strong communities that have been able to weather the storms of time. They have developed that “refined, broadened, and matured intellectual culture” and they’re likely to remain intact as long as their leadership remains competent and they have the bandwidth to offer the introductory materials as well as more advanced studies.

In closing, I will share some observations I made at a number of workshops and seminars hosted by famous (nationally and internationally known) spiritual teachers. For context, I’ve never attended more than 1 workshop offered by any particular guru.

In chatting with fellow attendees over the years, I discovered a large percentage of them could be classified as “frequent flyers” at these events. They were able to quote line and verse what this teacher taught and what that teacher recommended, and in small groups they competed with each other about who had attended MORE of this guru’s workshops or that guru’s retreats.

What I found most fascinating was that for all their bragging rights, none of them seemed to have learned enough to apply the principles in their own lives. To a person (or couple – there were a number of frequent flyer couples), these peoples’ lives had not embraced the “change your thinking, change your life” mantra.

These folks seemed to be stuck on the bar stool, like my former classmate – mired in an early developmental stage and seemingly incapable of maturing into applying what they had learned in their lives.

These concepts aren’t hard, and they don’t require graduate-level aptitude.

They do require personal discipline, self-control and initiative. But it’s much easier to sit in workshops and daydream about how easy it would be to live by applying the principles than it it is to actually get up and do the hard work to apply them.

(C) 2020 Practitioner's Path

Coming next: understanding incentive