Category Archives: Uncategorized

Burnout the Lives of the Faithful

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By Cynthia Bourgeault Answering Questions at a Centering Prayer Retreat Burnout is an ego phenomenon.  At the root of burnout is the phenomenon Gerald May calls “spiritual narcissism,” which feeds on the fact that we don’t know ourselves very well. Very rarely can we give with purely unmixed motives.  People who burnout are usually responding to programs they don’t know they have.  There is a compulsive quality in some of our efforts to pour ourselves out, that compulsive quality, doing it out of lack and hoping secretly to be recognized, or to be safe, right, virtuous. We are blind to ourselves so we get tired. We need to be able to taste the ego-component in things and relax it. Just …

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The Mindfulness Miracle

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By Jon Wortmann The evolution of the human species is possible right now, if, and this is the most important “if,” for the next century, we decide to use our brains on purpose. You can evolve faster, chart jump nature, if you learn to use your frontal lobes more effectively. Your frontal lobes are the key to mindfulness, and mindfulness is all the rage these days. It should be. It is the art and science of living with intention and being where you are. It is the psychological reality of turning down unnecessary stress by only focusing on what matters in the moment. It is what fMRIs of the brains of meditating monks prove every human can do if we spend a …

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What is Co-Creation Anyway?

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By Harriette Knox How can we make a difference in the world? The answer is as simple – and as hard – as being open to God. “We are all called to be co-creators of a new, loving future where all are welcomed and all respected,” said Ruth Anderson, Director of The Servant Leadership School. The dictionary defines “co” as together, and “creation” as the act of making something. As a business term, co-creation is a strategy by which a company encourages active involvement from its customer. As a spiritual term, co-creation is the concept that we all act with God to create the current and future world. Susan Sherard, Assistant Rector, explained that, “Co-Creation has to do with our …

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You Can’t Manage Stress Unless You Do These 3 Things

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By Jon Wortmann from the Huffington Post At a recent talk I asked the audience to tell stories about how they had managed stress recently.   A good-looking man stood up. He said, “I have been unemployed. I have job interviews coming up, and I keep waking up in the morning feeling like my chest is going to explode.   “I looked up what was happening and realized I was having anxiety attacks. The next morning, as I felt the anxiety coming on, I imagined myself wind-surfing. I’m never happier than when I’m on the water, and I didn’t freak out. I truly felt calm. I’ve been using the technique ever since.”   The man’s story is the model of …

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How to Improve at Anything

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By Jon Wortmann from the Huffington Post When you realize how easy it is to improve your performance at anything you care about, you’re going to be as grumpy as I was.   Maybe you’ve embraced the mindfulness lifestyle and living in the moment is your goal. Maybe you want to be a better executive, play better golf, or beat your brother at the card game he always wins. Maybe you want to be a better parent or partner.   It can be done in minutes, naps, and bites, and we just didn’t know it. New research reported in the New York Times reveals that if you meditate for 12 minutes a day, your attention and working memory improves. These findings by Dr. …

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Once Upon a Time there was a House

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By Phyllis Tickle Anything that begins with such words as that usually carries with it the implicit promise that a tale is about to be told. “Once upon a time” rarely is a vehicle for conveying factual or objective truth. Rather, we have learned to read it as the set piece that introduces a bit of folk entertainment which, in the end, will leave us with a bit of folk wisdom forever wrapped in a memorable tale. All well and good and as it should be.   On the other hand, when a professional religionist begins something by saying, “Once upon a time,” there is the hesitant assumption that the forthcoming insight or wisdom will be less folk or common …

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The Easiest Way to Meditate

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By Jon Wortmann I worked recently with a client who said he hated to meditate, and it hit me: have we been making meditation too difficult?   To meditate is simply to focus the mind or to think deeply. Meditation can be the intentional letting go of all thoughts or the purposeful attention on a thought, like a prayer or mantra. We can mediate on our breathe. We can mediate while walking. We can meditate by imagining ourselves as a flowing river or by concentrating on a single image like a cloud.   Over the years I’ve taught athletes and executives, toddlers and teenagers, newbies and experienced spiritual leaders different ways to stay focused using various forms of meditation.   …

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The Five Mountains of Spiritual Growth

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By Greg Farrand St. Paul begins his first letter to the house churches of Corinth with a bang. Apparently there was significant tension, infighting, and conflict between church members. Paul, in his typical blunt style, tells them they are acting like babies… spiritual babies that need to grow up. He says, “Brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready.“   The implications of Paul’s words are significant. This may seem obvious, but Paul is saying you can be a physically grown adult …

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God of 2050: Will the Church be Ready?

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By Jacinta White “So much of what we talk about with the emergent church has been about what’s happening now or how the church will need to change in the next 3-5 years, as if we’re working on a short-term strategic plan. Or, some who envision the church in 15-20 years. But what about society in the age of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Artificial Superintelligence? And how will the church address the needs of that time? Needs we haven’t seen or imagined before?” On Friday, I had the opportunity to sit in on the closing session of the two day A.M.E. Zion Board of Bishops Preaching Institute, held at Livingstone College in Salisbury, N.C. If you’ve been reading this blog …

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Silence and Co-Creation

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An interview with a Pulitzer Prize winning author, Jonathan Franzen, struck me. When asked about his creative process, he said he wakes up in the morning and attempts to keep that stillness alive through breakfast. He does not read a newspaper or turn on the radio on the drive to work. He said he enters “a cold dark room” and sits in this sparseness until he can access the story deep inside him. He went on to say that we all could be so much more creative if we slowed down, eliminated the external noise and rested in our own hearts. What might I subtract from the outside in order to add to my life inside?

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