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In this edition of Transforming Challenges, Senior Consultant Tom Reid offers insights into the spiritual journey in his article, “Spiritual Journey-A Gradual Awakening.”
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The Reid Group News
- Maureen Gallagher is facilitating a two day planning meeting in early November for AJ Gallagher on the sex abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.
- John Reid and Tom Reid continue the search for a new Executive Director with the Catholic Legal Immigration Network.
- Tom Reid is offering a retreat for men: Spirituality, Relationships & Daily Living, November 9-11, Copalis Beach, Washington.
- Tom Reid has just returned from Soularize 2018- Soul Purpose: Inhabiting Our Unique Psycho-Ecological Niche a gathering of 300 men in Albequerque, NM, focused on the work of Bill Plotkin, including an evening of conversation of the heart with Fr. Richard Rohr.
- The Reid Group is a strategic partner with Tryon Clear View Group, a cost reduction company that specializes in Purchase Services Audits where they identify, verify and recover billing errors, vendor overcharges which are refundable to organizations. They then secure these reimbursements from the vendors. In addition to telecommunication, copiers, waste management and utilities charges, they also audit postal services and credit card processing. The only fee paid by the client is a percentage of the actual savings. The first two contracts secured by this strategic partnership are a college and a Catholic parish; we have received the first report of savings for one of these contracts which showed savings of $60,000 over the next five years in telecommunications alone. If you are interested in this service, contact us at info@TheReidGroup.biz.
- Our Strategic Partner Joe Sankovich has developed an important resource for dioceses and parishes with cemeteries called TOOLBOX FOR PARISH CEMETERIES. For more information go to: sankovich.com. Joe Sankovich, former director of cemeteries in the Archdiocese of Seattle, and owner of Sankovich & Associates since 1990, has developed an educational tool for parishes with their own Catholic cemeteries. Directed to pastors, parish business managers, cemetery managers/sextons/superintendents, parish cemetery advisory board members and parish finance council members, the six hard copy manuals are formatted in the same fashion as the early diocesan teaching documents for the Second Vatican Council. Sankovich waited until he had worked with/in more than 1,200 parish cemeteries in different areas of the United States, and conducted more than 100 seminars with pastors, parish and cemetery employees/volunteers, to organize and format these manuals.
- The Reid Group is also a strategic partner with The Steier Group. The Steier Group is a national, capital campaign fundraising firm based in Omaha, Nebraska, with offices in Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Oregon and Texas. They provide nonprofits with customized campaign planning studies, guidance from a team of expert project managers and strategic insight designed to help our clients reach their fundraising goals. Contact Nic Prenger, Steier Group president, for more information about the firm’s services. http://www.steiergroup.com.
So as you look at your individual or organizational future, what are your challenges? Could you benefit from skilled support? Give us a call at 206-432-3565 or send us an e-mail to start transforming those challenges into opportunities.
SPIRITUAL JOURNEY – A GRADUAL AWAKENING
Tom Reid, Senior Consultant
Are we there yet?”
Anyone with children knows that question all too well. It perfectly describes one concept of “journey” where the “there” is all-important and the “getting there” is only to be endured.
In contrast to this understanding of journey, the spiritual journey is one where “getting there” is the work of a lifetime. This journey never gets “there;” it is a lifelong process that never ends
The spiritual life is profoundly counter-cultural. Our drive-through, short-cut, I-want-what-I-want-when-I-want-it culture presumes that faster is better and instant gratification is a right. Against this backdrop, the idea of a “spiritual journey, gradually unfolding,” is so counter-cultural as to exist on some ethereal plane with which we can’t connect.
So, let’s bring this down to earth—literally. If you garden, you know that you can’t expect to drop the cutting in the ground and have a rose bush the next day. You prepare the soil, fertilize and water—and wait for growth to come. And it does come. Then you weed and prune and keep on watering—and welcome the new growth that may branch out in unexpected places.
To use another familiar image, it takes nine months for a new human life to be born. The process can’t be rushed, compressed or abridged without the possibility of doing significant damage. And the birth brings you not to the end of the journey—it doesn’t get you “there”—but rather to the beginning of a new one.
“The journey of a thousand days begins with a single step”
This lifelong spiritual journey stretches before us—but the problem is, many of us never begin. We don’t take that first step. We want assurances, perhaps, about where we’re going.
In my years as a high school religion teacher, I often noticed that my students’ questions carried an implied challenge: “If you answer this to my satisfaction, then I’ll believe.” They didn’t want to risk any movement toward belief until they had concrete truth to hang on to.
But the journey will never begin if we wait until we have all the answers. Morton Kelsey, Jungian analyst and a professor of mine at Notre Dame, advises us to act/believe/live “as if”—to step forward into the uncertainty of the journey as if we knew what we were doing.
The lifelong nature of the process and the depths of uncertainty can be so daunting as to render us hopeless. The road is so long, the mountain is so high—why even start? For a period of time, I had a life coach who drummed this mantra into me: “Small steps, taken consistently over time, equal big results.” Having climbed Mt. Rainier twice, I can tell you that’s a lot of steps and the task seemed impossible looking up from the base to the summit. The key is simply to begin. Even the smallest step, taken over and over, will move you on your journey.
“Jesus came that we might have life and have it abundantly.”
And what is the point of the spiritual journey, anyway? What is it that we are moving toward, growing into? The question presumes that you have found in yourself a longing to know God that goes beyond an intellectual affirmation of belief. It draws you into the journey and accompanies you on your way. And where are you going? To abundant life—that is God’s wish for us. It is a life lived fully, a life that receives the abundant gifts of God and pours them out for others. “Let your life,” says Kelsey, “manifest genuine love.” Or, in the words of St. Iraneus, “The glory of God is a person fully alive.”
A journey unfolding
Just as a journey across country (with the kids in the back chanting “Are we there yet?”) moves through different states, so does the spiritual journey pass through various states. On the journey we move from:
- Thought to action (“Seek and ye shall find”—am I seeking? Or just thinking about it?)
- Head to heart (knowing what to do vs. doing/living what I know)
- Doing to being (making time for silence, solitude and reflection vs. being consumed by the constant busyness of doing)
- Fearful to hopeful
- Living in the past or future to living more and more in the present moment
- Denial of needs and feelings to an awareness of needs and feelings
- Other-directed to inner-directed (being overly concerned with the expectations of others vs. hearing the “still, small voice” within)
- Judgment to compassion for self, others and all creation
- Narrowness to openness
- Rigidity to flexibility
- Holding on to letting go
- Fragmentation to integration and wholeness
- Parochial concern only for self, family and friends to a growing care for all creation
- Perfectionistic framework to a developmental framework (acceptance of the whole of myself; Julian of Norwich, a doctor of the Church, wrote “my sins are my stepping-stones to God”)
Where are you on the journey?
“Come, follow me”
The spiritual journey is one of unclenching as well as unfolding. We hold so tightly to what we know, to what is familiar. We have to let go in order to move forward. This is risky business, this response to God’s call into uncharted territory. The psychologist Abraham Maslow describes it as a choice we face every day: to move forward into growth or step backward into safety.
The spiritual journey mirrors the rhythm of life, the seasons of dormancy and re-birth. It engages us in the Paschal mystery of dying and rising to new life. What season are you in, now, on your journey? Where are you being called to die, to leave, to let go? Where is new life opening before you? Who or what can be a source of support for you on the journey?
Are you there yet? Probably not. But much more importantly, are you getting there?
Tom Reid is a Senior Partner with The Reid Group, a national consulting firm helping leaders and organizations transform challenges into opportunities to create a better world in the areas of Strategic Planning, Leadership Formation, Leadership Search, Fund Development, Conflict Resolution and Meeting Design and Facilitation. For more information about The Reid Group, its programs and services, visit our website: www.TheReidGroup.biz.
© 2017 The Reid Group
The Art of Change: Faith, Vision and Prophetic Planning
Think about what your organization could do if the process of planning met the inevitability of change head-on—and it resulted in significant success.
Organizations large and small, religious and secular, for-profit and not-for-profit, successful and unsuccessful, go through change. John Reid and Maureen Gallagher of the Reid Group have been instrumental in helping many groups discover the power of Prophetic Planning. This book presents a complete overview with detailed information that any organization will find useful in understanding how to plan for change.
The Art of Change: Faith, Vision and Prophetic Planning, and its companion CD are now available from Liguori Publications as well as from Amazon.com.