We’re having a heat wave, a tropical heat wave… The forecast for here in Kelowna this Thursday is 39 degrees Celsius which is about 103 Fahrenheit. I’m so happy to say, I do love the heat! Good thing, too, as our home doesn’t have air conditioning! Fortunately for us, we live on a hill and the sun is behind us by 4:30pm, so there’s time enough that we can open the windows and hope for a little cross-breeze. Also, fortunately for us, both Kenn and I like the heat, and we have one standing rule regarding the heat – no complaining! It seems we wait so long for the beautiful summer heat, that we’ve agreed that once it comes, we won’t be served in any way by complaining about it.
So aside from my ‘no complaints’ weather lesson, I also wanted to share how much I appreciated Rev. Melody Bailey’s talk, “Are You Being Served?” I always appreciate the reminder of the value of being in service – whether that service is to another individual, to a community, or to ourselves.
I especially loved her reminder to us to be aware of the stories we make up – about people, about things, about events, and so on. I sometimes like to call this the art of M.S.U. (making stuff up, or making s%#t up!) I’ve noticed that some people (even sometimes myself), are masters at making stuff up. I’ve made stuff up about why people aren’t coming back to in-person services in droves; I’ve made stuff up about why I haven’t heard from someone for a while; I make stuff up about lots of things! One of my favourite inner M.S.U. moves about why I haven’t heard from someone for a while, sounds like my inner voice saying: “Oh, oh, did you say something wrong to them?” Or, it’ll sometimes say, “Oh, maybe they just don’t like you anymore” when there is absolutely no reason in the world why that would be true.
I think maybe our minds just don’t like not knowing, and so we make up stories to satisfy ourselves, and give ourselves answers, even when they’re highly unlikely. For some reason, for many of us this feels more comfortable than living in the mystery.
This goes directly against the wisdom I’ve learned from the book titled The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership by Jim Dethmer, Diana Chapman and Kaley Warner Klemp, who share that one of the highest aspirations we can have for coping with a world that is constantly changing, is to remain open and curious. When we’re open and curious, we make ourselves available to a vast array of potential and possibilities, rather than freezing our options into what is often times our narrow, pre-conditioned past experience.
I’ve learned a wonderful tool for creating more awareness around this and it’s to preface our assumption and what we think is going on with the words: “The story I tell myself about this is: [fill in the blank].” And so, in my example about not hearing from someone, instead of assuming I did or said something wrong, I would simply preface that thought with: “The story I’m making up about this is that I said something wrong and now they’re upset with me.” This small tool allows me to distance myself from my own M.S.U. so that I can realize it’s perhaps not true; it’s just my story, and that maybe there’s something else going on. I hope that makes sense! (The story I make up about that is that it makes sense in my mind! LOL!)
I’m off to Edmonton this coming week to help facilitate a retreat and to hold the last School for Spiritual Leadership class for this current cohort of Ministerial Students. I’ve had the honour to serve as Dean for them for the past three years. They are bright lights in my world and in the world of Centers for Spiritual Living as they are the next generation of ministers and teachers in our movement. They have been a delight and a joy to work with, and I bless each of them on their pathway.
“Every story I create, creates me.”
— Octavia E. Butler
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