August 9, 2008


"...feelings seem to be a lifelong pursuit..."
from THE WEST COAST TRAIL: One Step at a time

A real life conversation recently overheard in a coffee shop from a table of four men in their mid-twenties who were otherwise apparently intelligent and career oriented young professionals: "We were having this argument about something or other and in the middle of it, she asked me how I was feeling and I said, Fine. And then she got even madder. Maybe I should have said something different, like used a different word or something. Do you have any idea what I should have said?" His helpful and concerned colleague offers, "Well, I'm not sure, maybe you should have said, Good."
This is a true story, as related by a friend at a dinner party last night, whose counselling niche is teaching variously challenged young students social survival skills and was related in the context of how people communicate through text messaging and have lost the ability to interact verbally. The lesson here is our inability to actually express a feeling because we don't know what they are, let alone, how to access them. If you read my blog from yesterday (and if not, why not???) then we began a discussion of how to locate and recognize something called feelings and how they might be useful as we attempt to discern a course of action that is in our best interests. We are constantly being met with the need to make choices amid a sea of conflicting ideas, thoughts, desires and emotions and through a studied refusal to accept the existence of a power within each of us, we have evolved into self destructive beings who seek answers to inner turmoil from an outside world with a totally different agenda.
We have surrounded ourselves with noise, distractions, busyness and a visual cacophony of promises all competing for our time and attention and taking us away from looking inside ourselves and from hearing the inner voice of intuition, instinct and truth. Those are the difficulties we face in coming face to face with ourselves and where do we start, in order to access what is freely available to each of us? Where do we begin to know who we are, what we are and why we are here? What is the first step on the road to finding meaning and purpose?
Step 1: BE QUIET!
Without question, the first gift we need to give ourselves is the space to experience quiet. How in heaven's name can we hear the inner voice of wisdom amid radios, TV's, cars, kids, pets and the million and one distractions that we surround ourselves with? We can start by insisting on 5 minutes of silence every day, even if it means getting up before everyone else or going to bed later than everyone else, or finding a place in the midst of our day to pursue the pleasure and experience of solitary QUIET. In my world, this may be the single best use of those buildings we call churches and most especially if there is no one else there including a priest or minister. An oasis of quiet for us to spend a few minutes in contemplation - step 1 on the road to peace and joy. Go ahead, try it.

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