November 13, 2017
Find tips and resources for self-care, material to assist you in providing pastoral care, and general information to help you in your practice of ministry. Information will be updated every two weeks concurrent with the East Ohio E-news. Archives Here ...
Standing Against Sexual Harassment and the Abuse of Power
by James Finley
James Finley is a clinical psychologist and core faculty member of the Center for Action and Contemplation. He recorded this 10-minute reflection in his home office following the outpouring of personal “me too” stories from victims of sexual harassment and abuse. He offers compassion and encouragement for those who have courageously broken the silence. Jim shares his own experiences of being abused and invites us to respect our sexuality and each other’s boundaries, to hold those in power accountable, and to stand in solidarity with those who vulnerably share their stories.
The Perils of Empathy: Non-Anxious Presence
by Babette Rothschild
Helping professionals are at risk of vicarious traumatization and burn-out. This article gives strategies of how to manage ones’ own emotional vulnerability when working with hurting people. “A desperate helper can't help a desperate client. To be of any help, one person, however sympathetic to the plight of the other, needs to maintain a sense of calm detachment, non-anxious presence.”
“Without some sense of separation, our capacity to help clients [parishioners] erodes. Keeping something in reserve doesn't make us heartless or cold. Far from it: the most heartfelt and healing work we do is when we're in complete possession of ourselves, and can bring to our clients a full measure of thoughtful, problem-solving compassion.”
Why Meditate Early in the Morning?
by Steve Hickman
I’ve heard that it’s best to meditate early in the morning, like 5:00 a.m. Why? I’m afraid I’d fall asleep!
I know some people find that hour to be a good opportunity for practice, before the sounds of the day begin to creep in: the newspaper delivery, the garbage truck, the smell of coffee brewing or bacon beginning to fry.
But we each have our own rhythm and routine. I would encourage you (if you are inclined) to go ahead and try 5:00 a.m. for a week or so. See what happens. Perhaps you’ll fall asleep, or perhaps, wonder of wonders, you may fall awake instead!
There is a kind of early-morning alertness that some of us possess and others only despise about us. There are morning people, and there are night people, but in fact these are just stories we tell about ourselves.
I once had a participant in a mindfulness course who said, “Everybody who knows me knows that I’m the diet cola lady. I go through six to eight cans of diet cola every day, and I always have one nearby. This week I decided to pay really close attention to what I take in, including diet cola. And you know what I discovered? I don’t like it!”
This woman had once perhaps liked diet cola, began drinking it, and stopped paying attention to it. Then at some point the story of her being the “diet cola lady” took precedence over her actual experience of diet cola such that she perpetuated a story that was not based on any actual desire or even affinity on her part.
So test out your story of not being a morning person, and if after a week or so you still find yourself awakening an hour later with a start and find a little rivulet of drool making its way down your chin, you might think about trying an evening meditation time instead. But be willing to explore, to try, and to see what works for you.
Stop Mourning the Morning
by Shelby Freedman Harris
We’ve all been there. It’s morning, the dreaded alarm clock goes off, and you just can’t muster the will to sit up and start the day.
Sadly, most of us are sleep deprived and any extra minutes of shut-eye seem far too precious to readily give up. Our brains and bodies have been asleep for hours, and the shift from sleep to wake isn’t easy. Oftentimes a busy day lies ahead, so we must struggle to get a grip on our immediately racing thoughts upon awakening. Keeping a routine morning mindfulness practice can help awaken the brain and bring stability and focus to your morning. You may even find that, with regular practice, you begin to enjoy awakening just for the moments of quiet that it brings as you start your day.
1. Let the sun shine in.
You may not want to give up your weekend lie-in, but keeping a consistent bedtime and especially wake-time every day, seven days a week is key to getting up with less trouble in the morning. Morning light helps set the body’s sleep-wake pattern, signaling an end to melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone) production at night and bringing about wakefulness in the morning. Open the shades and soak in the natural light. Even a cloudy day will do the trick.
2. Find a comfortable spot.
Once you have opened up all the shades in your room, find a spot near a window to sit (edge of the bed, a chair).
3. Observe your breath.
Feel your breath as it moves into your body and then out. Focus on this breath and allow your mind to travel with it as you inhale and exhale. If your mind wanders to something else—like how you’d love to crawl back into bed and sleep for the rest of the day—simply note that it happened and nonjudgmentally bring your focus back to the breath.
4. Observe the weather.
Look out the window and bathe your face in natural light. Take a moment to observe the weather outside as you gaze out your window from your comfortable, seated position. Is it sunny outside? Cloudy? Rainy? What do the clouds look like, what color is the sky? Become aware of your feelings, positive or negative, about the current weather situation. Notice what arises in your mind as you allow yourself to experience the weather as a nonjudgmental observer.
5. Stand up to start your day.
Plant your feet firmly onto the floor and notice the texture, temperature of the floor. Is it carpeted and warm? Cold and concrete? Stand straight up, stretch your arms up high, take a deep breath and get moving.
Start with a Purpose
by Parneet Pal
Your day-to-day activities offer ample opportunities to call up mindfulness in any moment. Breathe space into your morning routine with this simple wake-up practice.
How often have you rushed out the door and into your day without even thinking about how you’d like things to go? Before you know it, something or someone has rubbed you the wrong way, and you’ve reacted automatically with frustration, impatience, or rage—in other words, you’ve found yourself acting in a way you never intended.
Intention refers to the underlying motivation for everything we think, say, or do. From the brain’s perspective, when we act in unintended ways, there’s a disconnect between the faster, unconscious impulses of the lower brain centers and the slower, conscious, wiser abilities of the higher centers like the pre-frontal cortex.
Given that the unconscious brain is in charge of most of our decision-making and behaviors, this practice can help you align your conscious thinking with a primal emotional drive that the lower centers care about. Beyond safety, these include motivations like reward, connection, purpose, self-identity and core values.
Setting an intention—keeping those primal motivations in mind—helps strengthen this connection between the lower and higher centers. Doing so can change your day, making it more likely that your words, actions and responses—especially during moments of difficulty—will be more mindful and compassionate.
A Simple Morning Practice to Start Your Day with Purpose
This practice is best done first thing in the morning, before checking phones or email.
1. Connect with your body. On waking, sit (in your bed or a chair) in a relaxed posture. Close your eyes and connect with the sensations of your seated body. Make sure your spine is straight, but not rigid.
2. Connect with your breath. Take three long, deep, nourishing breaths—breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Then let your breath settle into its own rhythm, as you simply follow it in and out, noticing the rise and fall of your chest and belly as you breathe.
3. Investigate your intention for the day. Ask yourself: “What is my intention for today?” Use these prompts to help answer that question, as you think about the people and activities you will face. Ask yourself:
How might I show up today to have the best impact?
What quality of mind do I want to strengthen and develop?
What do I need to take better care of myself?
During difficult moments, how might I be more compassionate to others and myself?
How might I feel more connected and fulfilled?
4. Set your intention for the day. For example, “Today, I will be kind to myself; be patient with others; give generously; stay grounded; persevere; have fun; eat well,” or anything else you feel is important.
5. Throughout the day, check in with yourself. Pause, take a breath, and revisit your intention. Notice, as you become more and more conscious of your intentions for each day, how the quality of your communications, relationships, and mood shifts.
Monthly Live Online Spiritual Practice Groups are being provided by East Ohio United Methodist Program in Pastoral Care and Counseling using ZOOM. The ZOOM format is very easily used by just responding to an invitation email and following the links; no subscription or downloads needed. These groups will be limited to 8-10 participates and will be added as they are populated. Current groups are meeting 1st Thursdays at 1:00 p.m. and 2nd Thursdays at 2:00 p.m.
The purpose of these groups is to create space for our souls to be nurtured by exploring a variety of spiritual experiences, spending time in meditation and through the fellowship and encouragement of other sojourners. We use the term “Practice” to indicate that these are groups engaged in the practice of spiritual formation.
Please contact the Office of Pastoral Care for any questions and to be added to one of the groups. Phone: 330-456-0486. Email: email@example.com .
The Program in Pastoral Care and Counseling encourages the spiritual formation of our pastors believing a strong spiritual base is the greatest resource a church leader can possess. It helps us weather the many storms of ministry and deepens the incredible joys ministry provides. Following is a list of Spiritual Directors in our area. We encourage you to take advantage of this rich resource. This listing will appear in each edition of our bi-monthly webpage updates and new names and contact information will be provided as we learn of them and have permission to include them. If you are a director or know of a director that is not included here please let us know.
Debbie Baker - firstname.lastname@example.org
Bruce Batchler-Glader – email@example.com
Harry Finkbone - Finkbone1@gmail.com
Joyce Gordon - firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Hollingsworth - email@example.com
Liz Nau – firstname.lastname@example.org
Hazel Partington – lakehavenministries.com
Jennifer Olin-Hitt – email@example.com
Judy Ringler -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharon Seyfarth Garner – email@example.com
Valerie Stultz - firstname.lastname@example.org
Carol Topping - email@example.com
Laura Tradowsky -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Laurie Tucker - email@example.com
The Hidden Cost of Phone Addiction
by Stephany Tlalka
The dark side of phone addiction: they're a tool for self-avoidance. What if the biggest problem with our relationship to our phones wasn’t that we rely on them constantly—the “lazy brain” argument—but that we have a genuinely unhealthy, addictive relationship to them?
This animation from The London School of Life revisits phone addiction, suggesting that when we’re constantly attached to our phones, we constantly find ways to detach from other things. From the narrator, philosopher Alain de Botton:
“To say we are addicted to our phones is not merely to point out that we use them a lot. It signals a darker notion: that we use them to keep our own selves at bay. Because of our phones, we may find ourselves incapable of sitting alone in a room with our own thoughts floating freely in our own heads, daring to wander into the past and the future, allowing ourselves to feel pain, desire, regret and excitement.”
“Addiction sounds horrible,” de Botton continues, “but it’s a hard name for a normal inclination: a habit of running away from the joys and terrors of self-knowledge.”
de Botton explores how we use our phones to avoid “a frank encounter with our own minds” and how that impacts us:
1) Google becomes your brain. “We consult our phones rather than ourselves,” says de Botton. We cobble facts together from an unending resource outside of ourselves instead of being patient with—and drawing from—what’s already there.
2) We can’t immerse in moments of awe. When we’re trying to take in the vastness of the Grand Canyon—and then a spouse tries to take a selfie. “Without meaning to, [our phones] strip away the help that the grandeur of nature can offer us.”
3) We don’t receive the most important notifications of all. We’re constrained in what we get notifications about, says de Botton. Yes, gym workouts, dentist appointments. But what about alerts for solitude? What about taking time to think about the “final appointment”? de Botton ultimately laments that, as impressed as we are by our phones, they are more accommodating to and focused on the doing side of our nature than the being side (e.g. emotional intelligence).
How a New Blend of Mindful Movement Can Help You Heal
by Kalia Kelmenson
My favorite way to really catch up with a friend is to go for a walk. Some prefer meeting for a drink or lunch, but I love to walk and talk. A newly developed type of therapy combines movement and talking as a way to heal from trauma, anxiety, depression and addiction.
Expressing emotion has cathartic effects, running gives you a certain type of euphoria, and mindfulness helps you stay connected with what is happening in the present moment. The combination of all three, termed Dynamic Running Therapy, or DRT by its’ founder William Pullen, is an opportunity to process traumatic experiences and challenging emotional states.
Pullen, a psychotherapist, offers a guided version of DRT in his book Running With Mindfulness. He clarifies that at the heart of DRT is coming to a place of self-acceptance, “it offers a way to learn to be more accepting of who you are inside and of the things that have already happened to you. It helps you value what is real in the here and now, not the stories that you tell yourself.” In tandem with accepting yourself is being patient along the way; of letting yourself take your time.The process involves these three steps: ...
If you have any questions or issues you would like for us to address or would like to get email alerts when new resources have been posted please contact Howard Humphress at firstname.lastname@example.org or use our quick contact form.
Or contact our office at email@example.com or call 330-456-0486.
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