Archive for the ‘spirituality’ Category

The Essential Cure for Exaggeration

February 8, 2015

First, I love Brian Williams.  I believe in him.  I watch his newscast whenever possible.

And I hurt for him in these difficult days.

He exaggerated in his narrative and he has been found out.

Has it happened to you?

  • When asked about an extracurricular activity in school, have you enhanced your role?
  • Have you stretched your importance on a work team?
  • Have you minimized your role in an losing campaign?

I think there are two steps you can take while seeking redemption:  you can take on a large dose of humility and you can correct the mistake immediately.  If you are job-hunting, stop right now.  Get out that resume and read it again.  Check it for total truth.  You might feel better and more confident that you don’t have to conceal a truth any longer.

It’s also a potentially great interview question. Have you ever stretched the truth about your performance on a job?  

I think the answer might be – Yes!  I was advised to stretch my role in a reorganization in order to keep my job.  I was so uncomfortable with that process that I vowed never to do it again.  And I haven’t.

Would anyone asking that question believe a no?  I don’t think so.  There’s something appealing and refreshing about a candidate who tells the truth about him/herself while showing emotional growth.

Arts, anyone?

December 28, 2014

I just observed one of my personal delights of the holiday season:  I watched my dvd of the 1951 television production of Amahl and the Night Visitors.

Went through half a box of kleenex.  And found so much remarkable, as I always do.  Is there anyone out there who remembers?

  • Those exultant, exotic chords of Menotti,
  • the resonance of the three kings,
  • the high, high treble notes of Amahl,
  • the wide vocal range of the mother…

And strangest of all, the concept of an original opera commissioned for NBC on Christmas Eve. Can you imagine a network show of this magnitude with no commercials?  Great music, great singing, a live orchestra?

The DVD is available – if you are interested, if you remember, if you actually romanticize the 50s, check this out.  The credits rolling at the end confirm that there was such a thing as the NBC Opera of the Air, an NBC symphony orchestra, and an affiliation with the conductor, Thomas Schippers.

In those days, kids took music lessons and practiced (almost) daily.  Shows such as Amahl and the Night Visitors conveyed the possibilities for artistically-inclined people.  Drama, sets, performance, singing … presented for our entertainment.  Think about it.

As Amahl sang, “Look, Mother, I can walk, I can run, I can dance”.  And so can the rest of us.

I wish all readers an inspired and successful new year.

Suggestion for a good read

November 17, 2014

In this premature onset of winter, don’t you long to hunker down under a quilt, hot chocolate in one hand and a good book in the other?

I can’t help you with finding the best hot drink, but I can suggest a book that I read through in one setting.  That was partly because I know the author, partly because the topic is near and dear to me.

The book is Going to Church: it’s not what you think by Susan Mann Flanders.  Susan is recently retired from the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, where she served various functions in churches of all sizes: seminarian, associate rector, interim, and ultimately rector.

I grew up in a time when women clergy in the Episcopal Church were unheard of.  The question never came up.  Never in my experience.

Things changed drastically in the 1970s, and now the sight of a woman in a clerical collar looks downright normal to me.  But I don’t want to take it for granted, because I still rejoice in opportunities for people to use their gifts as they deem appropriate, unencumbered by stereotypes and rubrics of yesteryear.

Susan is such a person.  In this book, you can learn of her struggles and triumphs as her career has unfolded.  She has shared of her life and her emerging theology in honesty, which is a great model for those of us who would rather present ourselves to the world as people who have their act together.

If you know people who are “spiritual but not religious” or who have walked away from their Christian tradition because it doesn’t work any more, consider steering them toward this little book.  The appendix alone that contains a sermon on Abraham and Isaac is worth the read.

A fresh look at Goals

March 7, 2014

This morning I was fortunate enough to see and hear the Dalai Lama, speaking at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC.  Through the wonders of the internet, I could sit at my desk and watch this great man speak via computer.  What emerged for me was this:

Whatever goal you pursue for your life, make sure that it leads to expanding peace and happiness for the world.

That’s my takeaway.  I hope I am doing the man justice by this summary.  Peace and happiness – wow.

I don’t know about expanding peace.  I haven’t a clue.  I vote, I contribute to charities who just might address the goal of peace. I hope and pray about peace.

Happiness: that might begin with treating people with respect, listening better, validating others’ opinions.  I can do this!

Thank you, your Holiness.  I’ll focus on peace and happiness as goals from now on.

The March on Washington – reflections

August 26, 2013

Fifty years ago this week, I was a sulky, brooding college student vacationing at home in Florida, watching the coverage of the March on Washington.  Tampa seemed so far removed from the action, and I longed to be somewhere more – well, stimulating.   The reflecting pool!  Crowds!  Rhetoric!  Causes to pursue!

My own route to Washington took up much of my senior year in college.  A test for a government agency, an interview, an onsite visit for more tests and interviews, a lot of angst, and then the job was mine.   A job offer never sounded so sweet.

I pined for a life in the Washington metro area from watching the march coverage on TV, and I’ve never changed my opinion.  It’s an exciting place to live and to work.  I hope I have contributed to the dream of Dr. King by being a career counselor and teacher to hundreds of people seeking information, guidance, and encouragement to follow their passion.

What memories!

It’s Official!

May 10, 2012

I’m delighted to announce that I’ve been approved for recertification by the National Board of Certified Counselors for a five-year period.

So yes, I can keep those initials after my name:  NCC (Nationally Certified Counselor), NCCC (Nationally Certified Career Counselor).

It’s challenging to get the credential in the first place, and then it’s somewhat challenging to keep it.

To keep the right to use those initials, one must complete a number of hours of continuing education within the five year period and also adhere to the ethical standards of the organization and the profession.

Actually, I love doing those things.  Going to conferences and one-day workshops or doing self-study programs are fun and always enlightening to me.  There is so much to be learned, especially given the information and technology that swirl about us.

Ethics?  There’s no other way to be.  Keeping confidential what clients share, keeping records, and recognizing limitations add up to being a decent human being, I hope.  It’s a commitment I take seriously. The great counselors with whom I’ve worked tend to view their field as a spiritual calling, which is of course totally compatible with ethical standards.

So I’m proud of my affiliation with NBCC and proud to show off those initials for another five years.

Meanwhile, if you are searching for a counselor in a number of specialty areas, don’t forget to consult for names of members in your area.

Christmas – or other – Greetings!

December 24, 2011

This is a very special time of year for me – always has been.  The ideal Christmas Eve has some quiet time, worship, some family time, lots of music,  great food, and special wishes exchanged between friends.

If you are reading this, please note that I consider you a friend. Without any readers, what would be the point of a blog?   You may have contributed to the blog through your comments, and I REALLY value that.

If you are unemployed this winter, I send a prayer that you may be enlightened, be inspired to be the best you can be, and be successful in the job search.  Take heart in the improving economic news and realize that you will be part of the recovery.

Since Christmas is in my tradition, I freely offer you a wish for a Merry Christmas.  If you celebrate some other tradition, I offer you best wishes for your own observance of light and the new year.

Together, let’s accomplish great things in 2012.

Giving Thanks wherever we are

November 24, 2011

It’s a quiet morning in Maryland, and we’re preparing for a modest dinner this afternoon, with family and two invited guests.  The menu is (I think) under control, and I’m not aware that I’ve forgotten anything.

Especially, I’ve not forgotten to be thankful.  Two legs that work, a mind that functions pretty well, health as good as it will be, family that communicates and cares about each other.  Friends that show up when you need them.  A home that is warm.  A checkbook with something in it.

And work that is exciting!  Clients who value the process of self-examination in the quest for work in which they will flourish.  Former clients who stay in touch, offering assistance and information to others.

No, I’ve not forgotten to notice the many blessings around me.  Happy Thanksgiving to all who may read this.

Voyage to Renewal

February 20, 2011

Do you know Iona?  It’s an island off the west coast of Scotland.

If you’re wondering what visiting this really special place has to do with your work life, bear with me. Iona is a place for contemplation, restoration, meditation, prayer, and just plain thinking.

No one there asks you what you do.  They are more likely to ask you what you are reading, how the hike to the other side of the island was, or if you would like some tea.

The abbey at Iona was founded in the sixth century by Columba, an Irish monk.  Columba had had a bit of difficulty at his monastery in Ireland and had been forced into exile.  Legend has it that he and his twelve companions vowed to build a new community at the first place he came to from which you can’t see Ireland.

Columba had failed.  He had been humiliated by his failure and he was exiled.  Yet when you visit Iona and its magnificent abbey, you don’t think about failure, but the triumph that this early settlement became. Columba brought Christianity to the Picts and the Northumbrians.  The cemetery at the Abbey is said to the burial place of Scandinavian royalty as well as Macbeth, Malcolm and Duncan.  For several centuries, Iona was a center of learning.

Failure?  Columba left Ireland in disgrace and set the stage for a glorious epoch of celtic intellectual and spiritual community.

When I need restoration and inspiration, I want to run – to western Scotland.  I will be reminded that no failure is fatal, that a comeback is mine for the asking.

Christmas Reflections from a Blogger

December 24, 2010

It’s Christmas Eve, the presents are wrapped, the cooking is – well – organized.  The vaccuuming didn’t happen because who is looking at the floor?  I see by my blog stats that many people are at their computers searching on those usual terms about effective resumes, gifts for job hunters, and tips for interviews.  It is business as usual for unemployed people.

I would love to tell you to sign off, take a break, enjoy family, friends, and whatever holiday you observe, but I know that’s not your life right now.

So – use the holiday!  Visit with people, let them know what you are looking for (and be brief about it), tell a funny story or two, and ask a question.  Don’t be a sadsack, don’t be grouchy, don’t waste this opportunity.  Let your optimism show. Say positive things about 2011.

Force it if you don’t feel it.

Say Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday, and most especially Happy New Year.

This is a lovely and magical evening for me, my family, my tradition, and my memories.  I wish you the best, and most of all, a blessed and successful 2011.