...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Recovery: You had those ruby slippers all along

Spiritual awakening-- made possible by a loving God
Ever since Dorothy's farmhouse landed on the Wicked Witch of the East, Dorothy had the vaunted ruby slippers- and the way home- already available to her.

She could have returned home anytime she wanted, good witch Glinda finally revealed. It would have made for a very short movie if Glinda had divulged earlier. 

Half asleep, we mouth affirmations and sing those songs with their baby pablum-like words that loop around without end.  Does it all function as the counterpart of wearing the mysterious slippers? Are we totally unaware of the gift and possibility they bring?

We go back to find our way home, because it's in the beginning that God created us in God's image and likeness. There nothing to be added or deleted to make that any more - or less- true. This was true when God called us out darkness into light and life, and it is true to this moment.   
A beautiful parallel to this affirmation in the Gospel is when Jesus declares that we are light. He doesn't say we have to get something else, be someone else, or out- do everyone else in order to be light. John Claypool, the well known Southern Baptist turned Episcopalian author and preacher, once wrote, "It ... dawned on me that the secret of life is not getting something from the outside by achieving and competing. It is, rather, getting what is already inside outside by acceptance and self- giving."  
Maybe we have heard more about how we do not measure up, how we need to be more like someone else, how we are not worthwhile without something more to do or be. We can easily exhaust ourselves through reacting to others, people pleasing, placating others, and needing to be needed.
We may think we can fix and heal the sick and needy people in our life. But being focused entirely on others blinds us to our own gifts and needs, even our flaws. Instead, we move farther away from self awareness and acceptance. Those traits only obscure the way home.

The core of the Gospel is, now and always, God's acceptance of us, the way to our true and best self, the ruby slippers we had overlooked all along. We can start the journey now and don't have to wait for the end of the movie, like Dorothy did.     

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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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If you want a formula for making the best of the less-than-perfect and making the most of what you have been given, then begin to compare your lot to what you were before you were born, and it will empower you with wonder every time. John Claypool

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