Go The Extra Mile is a 50km walk to raise funds for a youth suicide prevention program. We are inside the last two weeks of preparation now, and despite the pain and the uncertainties there is no turning back. Yes, there is still time to fine-tune walking gear, arrange logistical details, do more fundraising, and maybe adjust some attitudes a little…
Why am I doing this 50km walk? Yes, I want to prove to myself that I am physically up for an endurance event, and I do enjoy walking in the Dandenong Ranges. Yes, I want to set an impressive speed / time for the 50km, even at my age (and after a minor heart attack). I was aiming for 8hr, spurred on by my friend who did it in 7hr last year. However, after three full-scale practice sessions and lots of pain from pushing my body too hard, I’m now more relaxed about the time and will settle for a reduced pace with a lower risk of injury. A little attitude shift…
Here’s another little attitude shift.
How often do we put expectations on our teenage kids and push and push until something snaps or the pain brings everything to a stop? What if as parents we ease off the pressure on compliance and seek more to build relationship?
Parents are unlikely to be a teenager’s “best friends”, but you certainly don’t need to be “the enemy”. Every time a parent digs in to battle over an issue, the relationship becomes a little more adversarial and less likely to build a lasting foundation for the young life that is emerging. Those without strong foundations become increasingly vulnerable to destructive patterns and people, especially in their thinking, where self-perceptions can easily turn suicidal.
The youth suicide prevention program run by Focus on the Family is designed to help parents and young people learn the patterns and indicators – and the attitude shift that makes a difference. This is why I’ll Go The Extra Mile. See my team page at GoTheExtraMile and contribute financially to make a difference for our young people. Thanks! mb
Unexpectedly the word ‘pilgrimage’ entered the conversation. It was positioned in contrast to ‘journey’, which is my favourite metaphor for life. At first, I was resistant to the idea, because I have invested much of my thinking into developing the metaphor of the life journey into models for growth and development, and couldn’t easily let that go.
We had been talking about life and relationships, and wrestling with the changes that are required at times, especially when a relationship has been damaged. This morning’s inspiration was to realise that while a journey has a destination, a pilgrimage is more about meaning. It may also have a destination, but its meaning is much deeper and the journey more compelling if there is a relationship or at least a self-discovery involved in getting to the place of pilgrimage.
It is easy to recall pictures of a religious pilgrimage, where thousands meet at a particular place to worship. Is it the physical place that makes it special? Is it the challenge of getting there that gives it meaning? Ultimately, it is the intensity of the worship you experience that gives the pilgrimage its power – your relationship with the divine being.
Now I realise why Anzac Day has not compelled me to a pilgrimage of remembrance. While I respect and honour what the Anzac story represents, I find much stronger relationship and meaning in my living faith than I do in the history of our soldiers two generations ago.
When you look at your own life in perspective, which metaphor holds the deeper meaning for you – journey or pilgrimage? Destination or relationship? Status or experience?
Who are you a pilgrim to? Is it yourself? Your spouse? Or is it God himself? For me it is the relationships and community of shared faith that make life’s pilgrimage much more meaningful than a journey of material milestones and economic events…
When was the last time you used or heard the phrase
“Dare to dream”?
Was it used as an encouragement to look beyond the self-limiting thoughts that often define our boundaries and seal our reality?
What if the dream of something better was just the
first step to becoming one who DARES?
This thought, and part of the acronym that flowed from it, literally came to me in a dream recently, so it carries more weight than if I had sat down to intentionally work out an acronym for the word…
- Dream – awake or asleep, expand the thought, idea or image of something good
- Align – ask yourself what fits with this, what does it align with, and what needs to change?
- Resolve – choose to take action, change gears and start putting the pieces into place
- Engage – commit yourself to becoming what your dream represents (who are you Being?)
- Speak – take every opportunity to inspire others with your dream, your journey, your being
Now it’s your turn…
What is the idea, desire or vision that you have, which is worth dreaming about?
What’s it worth to you to see this become real for you? For others?
When will you become one who DARES to make a difference…
Turn your Dreams into DARES!
Easter is a confusing time – it is our longest public holiday on the calendar, yet there is no Santa, no tradition of gift-giving (apart from cheap tasteless chocolate made expensive by its special shape & wrapping) and very little public awareness of the real purpose of the celebration. So why do we keep doing it?
Is it because we’ve been commercialised into chocolate eggs and stupid bunnies by clever ads and greedy retailers? Have the flavoured hot cross buns we’ve been eating since Boxing Day been laced with an Easter compulsion? Do we just want an excuse to celebrate and Easter’s on the calendar?
Sometimes I do illogical things just out of habit, and need to be challenged to break the habit. Maybe our subconscious mind is searching for deeper meaning and we hope that Easter could bring us more than our other attempts at finding purpose?
A superficial understanding of Easter is that it brings joy, even if we don’t know how. Real joy, deep irrepressible joy that overcomes pain, suffering and disaster, does not come from chocolate, long weekends or religious rituals. It can only come from a source much greater than the origin of our crises and struggles – from God himself, the source of life.
Have you seen a good resurrection lately? Easter is the most important part of Christian faith because it connects us to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. This is the only way we can experience that life-giving joy we are searching for, regardless of how religious we are or how long we’ve been searching.
A friend of mine was experiencing a time of crisis. During a sleepless night, she said “God I don’t believe you’re there, but if you are please do something!” Almost instantly she experienced both an overwhelming peace and an insight that resolved her crisis in one practical step. I could see the joy on her face the next day!
So when you wake up on Easter morning, will you experience the joy of new life through spiritual relationship with Jesus? Or just another day? Even if everything in your head says it’s crazy, let your spirit ask God for joy, like my friend did. Jesus loves to answer a simple heart-cry with abundant joy!
This is the real meaning of Easter – enjoy it!
Journey of Hope
We all hear cliché comments about what to do when life brings difficulty and disappointment, and we’ve probably even said those things to others at times. But when it becomes your own situation or experience, when trust is broken and confidence has evaporated between you and those closest to you, clichés don’t cut it, and self-help formulas just rub salt in the wound. Where do you turn when it seems like nothing can help? Who do you talk to when friendship itself feels like a risk of more pain?
There have been many before us who plumbed the depths of relationship breakdown. Many dark words are written and sad songs created from the despair of love lost and friendships failed. How many of them ever find their way through to the other side, to reconciliation and restoration? What remedy can take us through the hard times to a place of hope and rest? How can we rebuild relationship and trust even in the midst of pain and separation?
Those that reach the other side have a much bigger perspective than what we can see from the bottom of the pit or black hole of our feelings. They see beyond their immediate situation and see a future that overcomes the current darkness. We need a foundation much deeper than our own understanding, so that we can draw hope and courage from a source much greater than ourselves. This is the spiritual dimension of wholeness, and it is deeper and more powerful in guiding your life journey than intellect or emotion can ever be.
We learn to grow in our five dimensions of wholeness through every experience of brokenness, precisely because the pain of broken relationship releases us from patterns and attitudes that have bound us to old limits. Brokenness frees us into being vulnerable and dependent again, so that we learn afresh how to be open and transparent, firstly with ourselves, then with our partner or significant others.
As we learn to walk in this humble path, we discover that being loved, heard and understood by one much greater than ourselves is the deepest remedy of all. When the one who loves me most and understands me best is both my creator and my spiritual foundation, then I have found the ultimate eternal friend and lover, who also enriches my marriage as we both draw closer to God.
This is what makes me sure of life’s deeper meaning, even when I can’t see it in my current circumstances…