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Courage, Compassion, Connection

“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do. How much we know and understand ourselves is critically important, but there is something that is even more essential to living a Wholehearted life; loving ourselves.”  So writes Brene Brown in her book The Gifts of  Imperfection

Through this Lenten season, on our walk towards yet another Easter morning of new life and renewed hope, a group of us have been courageously connecting our life experiences with compassion as we dig deeper into our spiritual beingness; opening ourselves to observe and to reflect on some of the things that get in the way of our living from a grounded center of loving ourselves even though…….
I think it safe to say that we are more aware that wholehearted living is not a  onetime choice. It is the journey of our lifetime. In the Fireside Room there is a poster which illustrates our conversations about living from a center of  wholeheartedness. Have a look. I believe it is eye-opening!  Living from a peephole of wholeheartedness invites us to dig deeper and perhaps to stir up the humus of who we are as Creator God’s loved ones and who we have come to be in this  wonderfully vast human experience.

At first glance one might say, “Why bother, my life is just fine, thank you very much!”…..until you notice that something in your life and/or your relationship isn’t quite working out the way you planned. A dedicated spiritual practice of  introspection encourages and invites us to more fully engage in our lives from a place of courage, compassion and connection because,  Even though we may feel vulnerable and fearful; sometimes wracked with shame or guilt, we are also brave, worthy of love and …we belong in God’s kin-dom unconditionally. In God’s eyes we are enough. Our task is to live into that reality on our spiritual faith journey.
Wholehearted living is about cultivating, risking and engaging in that which is  spiritually enlivening. It is about letting go of those concepts, ideas, and beliefs that can cause us distress and shrinking in our human experiences.

“… in fact, all of us in some way or another miss the mark of perfection in our humanity….BUT the good news is that regardless of all the woulds, shoulds and coulds in our human imperfections,  WE ARE ENOUGH!!” ”

Brown offers 10 guideposts to “Wholehearted Living”:
Cultivating:                                                                   Letting Go of:
Authenticity                                                            of what people think

Self-compassion                                                       of perfectionism

A Resilient Spirit                                              of numbing and powerlessness

Gratitude and Joy                                             of scarcity and fear of the dark

Intuition and Trusting faith                                of the need for certainty

Creativity                                                                      of comparison

Rest and Play                                                   of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth

Calm and Stillness                                                  of anxiety as a lifestyle

Meaningful work                                            of self-doubt and “supposed to”

Laughter, song and dance                           of being cool and “always in control”

In these times when our homes, our communities and our world are stretched in so many diverse and conflicting ways; when isolation and loneliness are huge societal problems (even within churches), we can take heart and learn from our Master Wayshower Jesus as he courageously walked his human path with wholehearted compassion and risk taking to connect with the “other.”
In this Easter season may we each, in our own way, grow in our awareness that our stories matter, because we matter and then reach out to one another with courage and compassion so that another also gets to know that they too matter and are loved!
Jesus lived His love out loud! Can we say the same about ourselves???? Something to ponder!
Easter Blessings,
Rev Ellen