So much of the pain in our spiritual lives, it seems to me, comes down to this:
It is bitterly hurtful to have our spiritual gifts rejected or ignored by the communities we belong to.
And yet, the price of bringing those gifts to those communities is being able to accept their guidance on where we are falling short, in error, or mistaken in how we use those gifts. And that hurts, too--a desperate, sharp, shameful pain in the part of us that sees ourselves willfully rather than honestly, in ego and not in open-heartedness.
And then, for a lot of us, giving guidance that holds the potential to inflict such pain is almost unthinkable. We are compassionate; we love, and we don't want to be the instrument of one another's hurts. (And then, too, we don't want to risk losing the love of those we need to guide.)
And this turns out to inflict another kind of suffering: that of the lack of full and present receptivity and responsiveness to one another's gifts.
It is a rare gift, to offer honest, humble criticism in a spirit of love and kindness. And it's not one much nurtured.
So there's the pain of rejection and the fear of rejection, the pain of honest feedback, and the suffering of avoiding that honesty.
So much of what hurts us in our communities is rooted in our gifts, and how we master our fears, and give and receive them honestly and with integrity...
Screen-Free Week: reflections and next steps - This was my seventh year of organizing Screen-Free Week activities for local individuals and families, and also of observing Screen-Free Week myself.* I a...