Episode 87 | A Guide to Decision Making and Spiritual Discernment with Nancy Bieber

I'm wearing a sweater and socks as I write. The weather has definitely entered into that unsettled pattern of fluctuating between steamy hot days and rainy cool ones. We know where this is heading and I am trying to enjoy the warm days as well as the cozy fall feeling ones. This week I am thinking about change. I'm saying goodbye to a good friend who is moving on to a new adventure in her life. I'm contemplating my work and how I'm finding my voice in this new direction. I'm thinking about what I want in this next season of life.

When we are in the middle of changes we needed to have a good way to discern what is best for us in our current situation. I had the opportunity to interview Nancy Bieber this week on Reframe Your Life. Nancy Bieber is the author of Decision Making & Spiritual Discernment The Sacred Art of Finding Your Way. She is a spiritual director, psychologist, retreat leader, and teacher. She writes out of her many years’ experience of working with people, offering insights, exercises and guidance. She served on the teaching staff of Oasis Ministries for Spiritual Development for 21 years and developed their program Contemplative Living in Daily Life. Nancy is an active member of the Religious Society of Friends (also known as Quakers). She has led retreats and workshops on spiritual discernment, and deepening our spiritual lives for groups in the United States, as well as in New Zealand and England.

 Click on book image to order.

Click on book image to order.

 Click on image to connect with Nancy Bieber.

Click on image to connect with Nancy Bieber.

Episode 86 | What are the desires of your heart?

What are your heart's desires? And how do the choices that you are making support the desires and dreams you have in becoming a reality? I explore the topic of desires in this week's episode of Reframe Your Life.

A very basic definition of desire is a strong feeling to want or have something. We have lots of desires. I desire to be healthy. I desire to have good friends. I desire a good night’s sleep - especially after a restless night of sleep. You may have some beliefs about desires that make it difficult for you to trust them.

Here are some beliefs I have heard about desires:

  • You can't trust your feelings or desires.
  • Following your desires will lead you to destruction or harm.
  • The heart is wicked and not to be trusted.
  • Feelings are not scientific or factual
  • You shouldn’t make decisions based on feelings or emotions

What messages have you heard around desires?

I remember the mixed messages I received over the years around desires, emotions, feelings, faith and spirituality. One day I read, “God gives you the desires of your heart” and I started thinking about things differently. If my very desires were given to me by the Creator then how could they be bad?

This week I was reading a book a friend gave me by Sage Levine about developing your business. It’s called Women Rocking Business and although I find the title a bit hokey I’ve been surprised to find the content so focused on the spiritual side of business.

She talks about our desires as being our Yellow Brick Road. They are the stepping stones that lead us to our destiny. When we start to pay attention to what we desire we start to make decisions that are aligned with our truest self.

And here’s a fascinating thought she shares. The word desire comes from a Latin root (sidus) meaning star or heavenly body. De-sire can be broken down to ‘of the sire’ which translates to ‘Of the Kingdom of God.” When I read that I immediately thought of the spiritual teaching, “Seek first the Kingdom of God."

What if following your desires is actually seeking first the kingdom of God? What if all the other stuff we take on, all the shoulds and oughts are really creating a barrier to being who we are designed to be?

We are desire. It is the essence of the human Soul, the secret of our existence. Absolutely nothing of human greatness is ever accomplished without it. Not a symphony has been written, a mountain climbed, an injustice fought, or a love sustained apart from desire. Desire fuels our search for the life we prize.
— John Elderidge

I've been using Danielle Laporte's Desire Mapping Process for the past 5 years to help me explore my feelings and desires. I am an affiliate and you can click on the photo to find out more. The workbooks are inexpensive and are helpful anytime you want to do a deep dive into what's next.

Getting clear on your desires is the first step in reclaiming a healthy and vibrant spiritual life. Of course, desires need to be balanced with discernment and in the next episode we are going to talk about what a healthy discernment process looks like. And I will be taking you further into this in my course that launches in October. It's called Call of the Sacred and you will spend six weeks learning how to create a healthy and vibrant spiritual life.

Episode 85 | Healing Spiritual Wounds with Carol Howard Merritt

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You can find this week's episode on iTunes here.

Many women have been hurt by religious institutions. It may have come from the views on women, LGBTQ, or your own personal experience within a faith organization. Whether you've left or stayed you have probably needed to reconcile your experience.

I've been following this week's guest on twitter and I was excited when she agreed to be on the podcast. Rev. Carol Howard Merritt is the award-winning author of four books, including Healing Spiritual Wounds: Reconnecting with a Loving God after Experiencing a Hurtful Church. She is a frequent contributor to websites, magazines, and journals. She’s a Presbyterian (USA) minister, who has served churches in Cajun Louisiana, Rhode Island, DC, and Appalachia.

Raised as a conservative Christian, Merritt discovered that the traditional religious institutions she grew up in often inflicted great pain and suffering on others. Instead of offering refuge, these institutions have betrayed people’s hearts and souls. Merritt contends that many people leave the church because they have lost trust in the institution, not in God. Healing Spiritual Wounds addresses the church’s dichotomous image—as a safe space and as a dangerous place—and provides a way to restore personal faith and connection to God for those who have been hurt or betrayed by established institutions of faith. Merritt lays out a multistage plan for moving from pain to spiritual rebirth, from recovering theological and emotional shards to recovering communal wholeness.

Sympathetic, understanding, and deeply positive, Healing Spiritual Wounds offers hope and a way to help them heal and reclaim the spiritual joy that can make them whole again. Click on book cover to purchase. Find our more about Carol Howard Merritt at her website. Or follow her on twitter: @carolhoward

And here are some of the blog posts I've been working on - I won't list them all. Follow me on social media for daily updates.

You Will Have Regrets - On this post I talk about some of the regrets I have and what I've learned.

You Don't Have to Remain a Victim - If you have ever been abused you know that dealing with your abuse raises the question of how to deal with your abuser. I talk about why I think confronting abuse is part of healing. NOTE: If you have been abused find support in your healing journey. Feel free to reach out to me.

Is that what you really value? - Are you living by your true values? Part of the course I am developing explores values. This post will get you thinking about what is important to you.

Episode 84 | Do you feel good about your clothing purchases? Interview with influencer Leah Wise

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Do you like clothes? Do you love fashion? Do you enjoy putting together outfits? Or are clothes more utilitatrian for you? My mother has told me I've always loved fashion. I remember riding my bike to a casket factory and dumpster diving for silk remants to make my Barbie doll clothes when I was a kid. (Clearly that was back in the day when ten year olds were out exploring the neighbourhood on their bikes without parental supervision.) My friends and I would go find all kinds of beautiful fabrics and come home and hand sew outfits. And it wasn't just my dolls that were well dressed. I started carrying a purse when I was 5. I worked in retail stores throughout high school so I could buy clothes with an employee discount. I can tell you what I was wearing in all of the significant memories of my life.

So when I started looking at the bigger impact of my clothing purchases it was disturbing. Was I supporting garment factories? I had no idea how much water it took to make one T-Shirt. (It takes 2700 litres of water to make one T-Shirt.) This awareness that my choices were actually hurting people and our planet created a crisis for me. Then to top it off the first time I went to Cambodia I saw first hand the living conditions of garment workers. It was deeply disturbing.  

When I returned to Canada I decided to start being more thoughtful about my purchases. And I took to social media to find out more. On Instagram I discovered this week's guest, Leah Wise. She is a writer and blogger based in Charlottesville, Virginia. Her expertise in the fields of sustainable fashion and social justice have afforded her the opportunity to write for publications such as Elephant Journal, Mind Body Green, Relevant Magazine, and Christianity Today, as well as on her own blog, stylewise-blog.com. Over the past five years, Leah has created successful influencer marketing campaigns with dozens of ethical brands on her blog platform. Leah has been named a top sustainable blogger by Bustle, ORIGIN Magazine, AGAATI, FeedSpot, and Moon Cloth, and has received various write-ups on ethical lifestyle blogs and brand websites.

Here are some of the highlights of what we talked about and links to some of her articles for more on those topics.

Capsule Wardrobes: If you love expressing yourself through fashion and the idea of limiting yourself to 33 items makes you feel stifled creatively check out Leah’s take on capsule wardrobes. Read her blog post here: Why I Quit My Capsule Wardrobe Leah also talks about the Wonder Wardrobe Capsule Closet Course - read her blog post about it here and if it appeals to you there is a discount code at the end of her post if you decide to sign up.

Are you wondering about sustainable/ethical/fair trade and other terms? When you start to think about your purchases including clothing you begin to encounter a lot of new terms. Leah defines them in this episode and in more detail on her website. This resource is very helpful as you start to navigate this new world in your clothing shopping.

We discussed Leah's blog post: I Don't Think Conscious Consumerism Has Made Me a Better Person where she discussed some of the struggles that go along with being an online influencer in this area. There is a lot to think about this week! At the end of the episode I ask Leah for some more resources to inform and inspire you on this journey.

Leah suggested these two documentaries to expand your thinking on this topic:

The True Cost  and Poverty Inc.

To connect with Leah you can find her at her website or on Instagram

A Blessing for Equilibrium

by John O'Donohue

Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,

May the relief of laughter rinse through your soul.

 

As the wind loves to call things to dance,

May your gravity be lightened by grace.

 

Like the dignity of moonlight restoring the earth,

May your thoughts incline with reverence and respect.

 

As water takes whatever shape it is in,

So free may you be about who you become.

 

As silence smiles on the other side of what's said,

May your sense of irony bring perspective.

 

As time remains free of all that it frames,

May your mind stay clear of all it names.

 

May your prayer of listening deepen enough

To hear in the depths the laughter of God.