Tag Archive | purpose

DEALING WITH DISAPPOINTMENT – Finding the Cathedral Builder Within

It’s a gift to be able to envision the “big picture.” Knowing what you are working towards is a critical part of creating a short term plan that takes you to that long term vision. But, sadly, sometimes the final destination seems so far away and hence so unattainable; people sometimes give up without really trying. It’s understandable.

I’ve witnessed this dilemma a lot in the social justice work I’ve done. Getting discouraged and disappointed by the snail’s pace of progress can be one of the biggest obstacles to maintaining the motivation needed to ultimately succeed. While we do have the power to change society, it can only happen if lots of people work together over time to build that change while dealing with the realities of one day at a time and one small step at a time. It works but not if you give up.

I found some ideas in the book FINDING THE CATHEDRAL WITHIN – Transforming Your Life by Giving Something Back by Bill Shore very helpful when encouraging words were needed. Justice Works! was the name of the social justice all volunteer non-profit that dealt with difficult issues of racial disparity in the criminal justice system. Below are some of the ideas I used to encourage my fellow organizers. This advice can also help when dealing with all difficult life challenges, not just those related to social justice.

It’s a basic human desire to want to do something that makes a difference and that could ideally have a lasting impact. That’s what Justice Works! was about. It was about working as an authentic, healthy, diverse and strong community of people that took actions based on a set of clearly stated and well understood values knowing that what we did would lead us all to a more just society over time. That’s a big vision. It’s a big, long-term vision.

The book describes the mystery and awe inspiring efforts that have gone into the construction of cathedrals. The author’s primary example is the cathedral in Milan which took five hundred years to build. People worked endlessly on it knowing that they would not live long enough to see its completion. Many different people contributed in many different ways. It wasn’t the technology that inspired its creation, it was the vision. And, the outcome of that effort and dedication wasn’t a building; it was mostly the accumulated spirit of all that went into it. Today, the cathedral inspires those who visit in ways that ways that are often beyond explanation. That inspiration is a combination of the place and all that went into creating the place.

The author suggests that there are 5 overarching principles that go into cathedral building. These principles can also apply to social justice work and life struggles in general. They can give meaning and purpose to our personal lives because they help ensure that our individual contributions endure and that our communities will be stronger even after we are gone.

Those cathedral building / social justice building principles are:

  1. “Devoting your life to a cause you will never see completed need not diminish your craftsmanship and dedication. Cathedral builders worked backward from a grand vision and a detailed blueprint that, if followed, would produce the desired outcome.
  2. Cathedral building requires the sharing of strength, the contributions of not just the artisans and experts, but of everyone in the community. Ambitious civic projects can’t be achieved by government, businesses, or religious institutions alone. They require all of civic society.
  3. The great cathedrals are built, literally, upon the foundations of earlier efforts. The effort to incorporate the work that came before is conscious and deliberate, and the cathedrals are stronger, more solid, and better built for us.
  4. Cathedrals were sustained and maintained because they actually generate their own wealth and support. The main source of funding for their building or renovation was income from accumulated land and property. In this way, cathedrals did not just rely on donations, handouts, or redistributed wealth, but instead created new community wealth.
  5. Cathedrals, through their stained-glass panels, statues, and paintings, were intentionally designed to convey stories and values to people who were otherwise illiterate. In this way, they taught important history, passed along best practices, and perpetuated a philosophy and culture that reflected their values.”

I believe in people-power. I believe in our ability to do and create great things. My hope is that we can share a vision and we can commit to caring for each other along the way. Surely, if we do that, we will create a better world together.

I’m hoping that we can find good ways to stay encouraged through excellent self-care and a commitment to the care of others. Let’s agree to build cathedrals together.

Namaste.

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FREEDOM WAY – LIVING WELL ON VERY LITTLE MONEY

I’m 64 years old and I haven’t worked for a salary since I was 51. From the age of 51 until last year I worked full time without pay at the social justice non-profit that I founded. That was a rare and amazingly rewarding experience. I have no plans to look for paid work in the future. I expect to live to at least 100 years old and I anticipate that my life will continue to be active, comfortable, full and very rewarding all the way to the end.

When people hear about how I live, there is sometimes a lot of curiosity and almost always there are a lot of incorrect assumptions made. The only things I usually need money for are: taxes, insurance, gas, utilities, vehicle maintenance, medical deductible for my annual checkup and teeth cleaning, some supplements, some home maintenance supplies and an occasional other “something” every now and then. Mostly everything else I get for free.

No, I’ve never been independently wealthy and I’ve never lived in poverty. Instead, I enjoy being a part of what I call the universe’s flow of abundance. If it sounds like I live in “woo-woo land”; well, that’s not accurate either. Let me explain. Read More…

CREATING PEACE AS FLAWED INDIVIDUALS

World Peace is a huge concept.

Sometimes it’s hard to really believe that as flawed individuals we are equipped to create peace.

This seems particularly true on those days when we might be feeling some vulnerability or confusion about how to respond to those personal flaws or challenges. Read More…

OUR SOUL’S ULTIMATE DREAM

The common human quest is to grow to our highest potential.

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Notes on the book entitled YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin

This book was not only life-defining in terms of my personal thinking and my self-image but it allowed me to shift how I spent my time. I went from working a job to working for twelve years at unpaid, purposeful work at the non-profit that I founded. That work benefited many thousands of people. It contributed to a better understanding about social justice issues in Washington State. It provided a significant source of hope to thousands of people who had long since lost all hope.

The ideas in this book not only helped me grow personally; they allowed me to live out the reality that my life’s energy could contribute to the greater good. I am very, very grateful for all of these life experiences and I am grateful for this book. By the way, if you’d like to learn more about this non-profit work, go to the “social justice” on my site.

Below is how Amazon describes the book which is accurate enough but, to me, it is a whole lot more!!

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ABOUT HOW ALL MY PHILOSOPHIES TIE TOGETHER

ABOUT HOW ALL MY PHILOSOPHIES TIE TOGETHER…
I say I’m “freer” than many people because I often live outside of everyone’s expectations for me.  I create my own plan for myself which is based on what is real and what is important to me.  I don’t waste any of my energy on materialism.  I’ve trashed the sex role junk.  I believe in the sacredness of relationships but not the institution of marriage.   Everything is connected  – responses to family of origin problems, relationship with money, decisions about the types of relationships to seek and nurture, relationship with “things”, purpose, how much to challenge oneself, defining what is “fun” or “pleasurable” etc, etc.  It can seem like these are unrelated but I don’t think they are.
Everything comes together when it’s based on integrity and purpose.

ABOUT MY RELATIONSHIP WITH MONEY…


A lot of people use money to appear to be certain ways.   For “status” and all that.  I just don’t want to use my resources for any of that.

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