How to Connect with God without Going to Church

Silhouette of woman praying to godGod is in the in-between. Spirit lives within us and around us. Spirit connects us with all of life both animate and inanimate. To communicate with God, we need to stay present and open to the wisdom that is available to us all the time. You don’t need to go to church to open your channels to higher vibrations.

Here are Nine ways to connect with God without going to church.

1.       Slow Down:

Your life is precious! You have a limited time on this fantastic planet earth. It is your job to make the most of it.  Staying open to this limitless sacred energy helps you to know how to live your life fully.  You will discover a natural flow to life that will carry you on like a gentle river.

If you want to stay connected with God, you need to slow down so the Spirit can get your attention. It is hard to remain related to the Holy when your life is so busy that you barely have time to sleep. God’s light will be revealed in our lives whenever we open up space for it to shine.

Make time for God, and you will be blessed.

2.       Meditate and or Prayer:

Meditation and prayer are all about creating openings for the Holy to reveal itself in our lives. Meditation can help you to experience God within yourself through your body, emotions, and mind. Prayer is more like an open conversation with Spirit.

There are countless ways to pray and meditate. One method you can use both is Centering Prayer. Father Thomas Keating has brought this practice back into our modern consciousness.  I love it because it does not require us to empty your mind. You choose a focus word to help bring you back into presence whenever you get too focused on a thought.

In the end, you need to find a practice that works for you.  You can have a conversation with God, but don’t expect instant answers. It may seem like God is not hearing you, but years later you will find that God did respond; not necessarily in the way, you had hoped. Prayer can include a lot of active waiting.  It is about living as though your prayer is answered but without any expectation of how God is going to respond.

There are many traditions to explore from a variety of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions. Then there are the Eastern religions/philosophies to explore. There is no wrong or right way to pray. The only condition you should put on prayer and meditation is the holy intention of generosity, love, and respect.

Don’t expect this to be easy at the beginning. You will need to practice this new habit most days of the week, intentionally, before it becomes a regular part of your life.

 

3.       Enjoy the Outdoors:

Most of us feel connected to something higher than us when we are out in God’s fabulous natural world. I love walking along the seashore, lakes, and rivers. I love the grandeur of the mountains!  What do you enjoy?

Find where these sacred places are for you whether you live in the country or urban area. Make time for it. Go to these sites and just be. Soak in the beauty, wonder, and energy of the place.  Take deep breaths to quiet the mind so you can truly soak in the ambiance of the area. You will come out of these experiences at a higher vibrational level.

4.       Stay Open to Finding God within Yourself:

God is within you! God is as close as your breath and the beat of your heart. Going within helps you to find the oneness of God within you. Yes, you are worthy.  Yes, you are loveable.  Yes, you have a purpose in the world.

You might journal about how God is active in your life. Explore all the small and big things you have done that have made the world a better place whether that be for a person, pet, wild animal or for the whole earth.  Everything we do that blesses the earth, and all its inhabitants make a difference.

How do you know if it is God who is speaking to you?  It isn’t God if you are feeling shame. It isn’t God if it is destructive or violent. It isn’t God if you are trying to control or manipulate another person.

With practice, you will know the difference.

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5.       Look for God in each Person You Meet:

You meet all sorts of people every day. Try looking for God in each person you meet. It will change the way you see the world. It is tough to get angry with someone when you are open to the divine in them. Even if you can’t see God in another person, just know that God is there.

It is the holy within you that connects with the sacred in all people you meet, even people you don’t know. You know that you are part of God’s great family which includes every person on this earth.

6.       Stay open to Experiencing Spirit in Unexpected Places:

God will surprise you! Think for a moment of an experience of someone encouraging you or helping you, who you never realized cared about you.

Maybe it was the time a stranger stopped to give you directions. Perhaps it was the time when a person you had never met changed your flat tire. Maybe it was all the neighbors who brought you food when you were going through a rough time. Don’t focus just on people. Animals are amazing. Our pet dogs and cats intuitively know when you have a rough time.  Even wild animals warn us of wildfires. They let us know what kind of winters are to happen.

The most challenging gift from God is when it comes from a person you don’t like. It could be a sincere apology from a person who hurt you many years ago. An apology doesn’t mean you are required to become buddies with them. It can be enough to free you from the painful experience this person caused you many years ago.

 

7.       Find Music that Touches Your Soul:

What type of music touches your heart? Music can help you to get in touch with the inner part of your soul. I love Celtic music. What do you enjoy?

Music can take us to places in the heart that no words could ever hope to achieve. Music is universal. Everyone can appreciate music no matter where you come from, what you believe or how old you are.

There is spiritual music that is universal because it gets you in touch with the rhythms of life. Take time to listen to music that inspires you. Music is incredible when you are feeling down. Music can re-balance the body, heart, and mind.

Music takes you to your spiritual depths. It returns you to thin places where the holy and ordinary become one.  When you find yourself in thin places, you find joy in just being.

 

8.       Honor Your Body as a Sacred Place:

When you acknowledge that the Spirit is within you, it changes the way you see yourself. You begin to see yourself as valuable just for being you.

When you can feel the sacredness within you, you are called to take care of yourself. Imagine your body is your church, shrine, mosque, or any other holy structure. Our bodies need good food, exercise, relaxation, and meaningful work.

Our souls need loving relationships. Our emotional, spiritual and physical health needs attention, time and practice.

9.       Practise Radical Gratitude:

Practising radical gratitude opens the heart to the soul. Radical gratitude is the art of giving thanks to everything good in our lives. It can be:

·         The Sun that keeps us warm and helps to grow the food we eat

·         The Moon that controls the tides

·         Water that sustains life

·         Food that supports life on our planet

·         Friendship

·         Our pets

·         Animals, fish, insects e.c.t.

What else can you add to this list?

 

Practising this art of loving the world opens you up to experience the holy in your life. It is an excellent way for you to keep God in your day every day.  Our experience of the Spirit will become increasingly aware of the sacred the more you practice living with thanksgiving each day.

As you can see that connecting with God without going to church is achievable every day; but it does take practice.

It takes intentionality through slowing down, meditating, praying, enjoying the outdoors, looking for God within your self, being open to God in each person you meet, being open to experiencing God in an unexpected place, enjoy music that touches your soul, treat your body well and practice radical gratitude.

Staying attuned to God is a lifelong journey.  You are required to make these practices a regular part of your life if you want to live life to your best.

The best part is that you know deep within yourself you are never alone; the universe always holds you.

Yes, you don’t need a church to do this, but finding a community of like-minded people to encourage you on your journey is often helpful. But this can be any group. It doesn’t need to be a formal religious organization.

Find what you need to thrive with joy, hope, and purpose.  You are worth it!

 

Roland Legge offers coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, couples, families, and executives to help them to be the best they can be. For more information, please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 306 620-7478, or you can email Roland at rolandlegge@relconsultants.com

 

This article was first published at REL Consultants

Nine Powerful Tips for Building a Good Relationship Between Husband and Wife

Mixed-Race Couple, Piggyback

 

Do you dream of the perfect relationship? I think most of us do.  As children and teens, you dreamt of the ideal relationship. Just like it was portrayed in the movies. It was magical!

When you got older, you probably found that a healthy relationship between a husband and wife is never easy. It takes persistence, dedication, self-awareness, and faith.

I want to encourage you in you in your desire to find joy and happiness in the relationship you have chosen.  Here are nine ways to build a good rapport between you and your spouse.

1.       Get to know yourself:

How can you get to know your partner if you don’t know yourself? Getting to know yourself takes time and dedication. You might want to ask yourself some deep questions such as:

a.       What do I want in my life?

b.       What makes me happy?

c.       What gives me satisfaction?

d.       What makes me angry?

e.       What do I want to be doing in ten years?

f.        What makes me uptight?

g.       What do I fear?

I invite you to reflect on these questions through the sensations of your body, the emotions of the heart and the quiet of the mind.

Body:

You can do something physical like yoga, dance, walk, run, gardening, sports to get in touch with the sensations of your body. Take time to notice what is going on. Your body will help you to acknowledge what is going on and is less likely to lie than compared to your mind.

Warmth and relaxation in the body suggest you are getting healthier. Tightness and a lack of energy indicate you are experiencing dis-ease.

Heart:

To get in touch with your heart, notice what is going on in your chest area. Is it warm or cold? Does it feel relaxed or tight? How aware are you of your chest area? A warm and comfortable chest suggests you have an open heart. A cold and constricted chest suggests a closed heart.

To open it requires you to breathe in your chest area. Often guided meditation and yoga can be of great help. Stay open to what your heart is trying to tell you.

Head:

How busy is your head? Do you have lots of conversations going on in your head? Too much going on in your head can create a lot of anxiety. Decisions can be overwhelming because your mind has too much going on at the same time.

The best way to quiet the mind is to do something physical like walking, running, dancing, gardening or something else. Other excellent practices are meditation and taking time to breathe intentionally. Find out what works best for you.

 

2.       Excellent Communication:

When you need to communicate with your loved one, here are some practices to enhance your communication:

a.       Stand or sit at the same level of your partner.

b.       Look each other in the eyes.

c.       Be aware of each others body language.

d.       Ask questions of clarification if needed.

e.       Say in your own words what you heard your partner say.

f.        Use “I” statements. Take responsibility for what you say.

g.       Do not blame. Stay curious about what your partner is trying to tell you.

h.       Keep communication open.

Make sure you are grounded before you talk to your partner. Take a few deep breaths if you are feeling upset; and if you can not talk now make arrangements to speak at another time.

 

3.       Deal with Conflict Openly:

Conflict happens every time there are at least two different opinions in a room. Conflict is normal and can be healthy.

When there is a minor misinterpretation, and resolution is possible; you just need to clarify what each of you intended to say.

If it is a more complex debate, you will require more time to work toward a resolution that will be satisfactory to all involved.  Intentional listening takes time, requiring open minds, hearts, and bodies that are grounded.

If you felt hurt by something, your love has said or done. You need to be clear with her or him as to what you experienced, felt and thought. Keep your conversation descriptive rather than judgmental. Give your partner a chance to respond.

If you did something wrong, admit your error and show your partner that you won’t do it again. If you didn’t do anything wrong, don’t appease your partner to make them happy.  Appeasing is destructive to the relationship.

Working through conflict should be a win-win!

 

4.       Play:

At the beginning of your relationship, it is always easy because you are in love. You can not get enough of each other. But as the relationship continues on you need to choose to stay in love. A good way to nurture your love is to play together. What do you enjoy doing as a couple?

a.       Do you like to play games?  What games do you like?

b.       Do you enjoy going to live theater?

c.       Do you enjoy reading out loud a book to each other?

d.       Do you enjoy singing? How about joining a community or church choir?

e.       Surprise each other with gifts such as a bouquet of flowers or a ticket to show.

Make sure you have enough time to enjoy each others company. Do it at a time when you both have the energy to enjoy it.

5.       Intimacy:

Are you thinking of sex when I talk about affection? Yes, sexual intercourse is one small part of being intimate. But there are many ways you can express/share that deep love with your life partner. Show love:

a.       By looking into each other’s eyes

b.       By holding hands.

c.       By cuddling on the sofa and bed.

d.       By kissing.

e.        By listening deeply to each other’s stories.

f.        By enjoying a candlelight dinner together.

g.       By doing something, your spouse loves, and you don’t.

Let each other know what you need to feel loved. Let your partner know what you enjoy. Don’t expect your partner to read your mind. In the end be thankful they can’t know all your thoughts.

 

6.       Friends:

You need friends whether or not you are in a close relationship. No one person can provide all you need in life. Friends are the spice of life. They bring out different qualities in you that your spouse would. They are also there to give you another perspective on your relationship. When you are so close to another person, it can be difficult to see the truth.

You need a friend more than you need a spouse.  As a human being, you are intended to live in relationship with others. You can not survive in our world without others. We are so interconnected that when one person hurts, we all hurt.  When a person succeeds, we are all better off.

 

7.        Forgiveness:

Forgiveness is one of the most misunderstood concepts. Forgiveness is a process. It can take a long time, even years. The goal of forgiveness is to release you from the negative experience so that the memory will cease to poison your life in the future.

In close relationships, forgiveness plays a vital role in learning from our mistakes. Forgiveness creates room for you and your partner to learn from your or your partner’s error of judgment.

If your partner is abusing you, first you need to get away to safety and later on and see how the forgiveness might look. Forgiveness could include staying with your partner if they take responsibility for their actions or leave the relationship for good if it is not safe to remain. Forgiveness is hard work!

 

8.       Ability to Live Out Your Vocation

Over time you need to be able to live out your vocation. If your partner loves you, they will support you in living this out. You may not be able to do everything you like, but in the end, you need a relationship where over the long term you are going to be satisfied in how you are living your life.

If you keep putting your life on hold to meet the needs of your partner, this will eventually backfire. If you don’t honor yourself in the relationship, tension, in the end, will build up to the point that it flares into anger and resentment.

You and your partner need to find a way to honor both of you.  When you are both happy, you have the best chance for a joy-filled relationship.

To do this you both need to express what you honestly desire in life. In the end, it needs to be a win-win solution.

 

9.       Self-Care:

To enjoy your relationship you need to take good care of yourself. You are your most happy when you take time to rest, eat well, get enough sleep, have a healthy balance between work and play and get enough exercise. No one feels romantic and sexy when they are exhausted.

So if you are missing sex in your relationship, you might want to check if you are both taking care of yourselves. If you are always fighting, you might both be too tired and stressed to think clearly.

If you find yourself stressed and tired; I encourage you to get, some help. See how you can better organize your life so you can slow down. Are you trying to do too much? Do you have a hard time saying no?  What is blocking you from taking the time to care for yourself?

Then take one step at a time to add in self-care into your daily life. You might need to let go of things that you have no interest.  The reality is that there is only so much time in your day to do what is important for you.

Closeup of happy couple looking at camera

 

A good relationship between a husband and wife is never easy. It is a lifelong commitment. If you both are willing to see this as a great adventure, will be rewarded with surprise and joy. The moment your partner doesn’t surprise you, or you stop growing emotionally and spiritually suggests your relationship is getting stuck.

If you practice these nine tips, you are dramatically increasing your chances of having a long and satisfying relationship. Know yourself. Practice good communication. Deal with conflict openly. Don’t forget to play! Discover the type of intimacy you and your partner needs. Enjoy great friendships. Practice forgiveness. Find a way to live out your vocation. Lastly and not the least practice self-care.

A good way to get to know yourself and your partner through learning about the Enneagram. There are many books on the Enneagram. Here is a list of books you might like to read. The Enneagram will help you to understand each other better. It will help you to see your strengths and your growing edges.

Most of all take the time to enjoy each others company. Take the time to play. Make an effort to share with each other honestly. Accept responsibility for meeting your own needs.

If you are feeling stuck, don’t be ashamed to go for help. Talk to a friend, a spiritual leader, a coach, a counselor, or psychologist. Enjoy the one life you have.

 

Roland Legge offers coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, couples, families, and executives to help them to be the best they can be. For more information, please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 306 620-7478, or you can email Roland at rolandlegge@relconsultants.com

 

This post was originally published on the REL Consultants Blog on September 26th, 2017

Relationships are not always for Ever

Gefangen im Liebeschaos

 

Getting out of an unhealthy Relationship

Are you in a relationship you need to get out of? What is preventing you from leaving? Is it more about what others will think of you if you leave. Is it about the money? Is it about the wellbeing of your children?

Family and Friends

Have you considered that your close friends and family maybe wondering why you are still stuck in this unhappy relationship? They might even be willing to help you in your time of transition. People who love you want the best for you.

Relationships are not supposed to End

Most of us come into relationships expecting them to be life long. Relationships come to an end for many reasons. Sometimes we choose our partner out of desperation to feel normal and not alone. Other times we don’t invest enough time together in our relationship that one day we wake up and don’t know the other person.

Learning along the Journey

There are times when one person in the couple grows in self awareness while the other in the relationship stays stuck. One might be happy with the status quo but the other is not happy and wants change. No one can be forced to change. We can only invite.

Children are Impacted

If you are staying in the relationship to protect your children this is not a good reason. Children are very sensitive and will notice the conflict between you and your partner no matter how hard you try to hide it. Your kids will be much happier if they have two happier parents living apart.

I would never end a Relationship!

You may be like me, who never dreamed they would be the one to end the relationship. But often it is the one who is seeking change is the one who needs to take the initiative to ether seek help or begin the process to end the relationship. Your partner might be angry with you at the time, but in the end, they may even thank you. Destructive relationships are not good for anyone.

Breakup are never Easy

Even in the best of breakups they are never easy. If you can work through issues with a mediator this is much better than fighting in court. Working this out together cooperatively will be a win win for all.

Life is Precious

Our lives are too short to not enjoy what we have been given. What makes you shine? What do you love to do? What brings a smile to your face. Who are the people you really want in your life? So now might be a good time in your life to invest time and money into helping you to find greater joy, harmony and purpose in life.

You are Loved

I was amazed by all the support I got from friends and family when I ended my first marriage. I discovered who my true friends were. I was showered was love. It didn’t take my pain away but it sure made it much easier to move on.

You are not Alone

Remember you are not alone! We are all here on this planet to support and encourage each other. No person can to do it all alone. There is no shame in asking for help from a friend, a family member or a professional. This is more a sign of strength than weakness.

Learn from your Mistakes

I asked myself what I needed to learn from the breakup of my first marriage. Who would want to repeat the same mistakes again? This takes some deep soul searching. It can feel scary to go within but it is the only way to get beyond that which is holding us back from living the best lives we can. Each of us needs to take responsibility for our part in the relationship.

Would you rather smile or Frown?

You are likely angry at your spouse. Probably with good reason. But holding on this is not in your best interest. It takes a lot of energy to stay angry.  Here is something to try. Frown for a moment and notice all the muscles you use and how it feels and compare it with it how it feels to smile. I would rather smile.

Forgiveness is about Liberation

Forgiveness is not about saying to your spouse it is okay how you have hurt me. It is not about forgetting what they did to you.  It is about getting to place where those memories no longer trigger you and/or negatively impact future relationships.

Give yourself the Gift of Self Reflection

The best gift you can give yourself is time to slow down and really notice what is going on inside your body, emotions and thoughts. Avoiding these will only make them come back stronger at a time you least expect.

Pamper Yourself

As you go through your breakup take time to focus on your own needs. Go get a massage, they are a great way to connect to our body and it feels so good after the treatment. Spend time with friends and family you enjoy being with. Try some form of meditation to quiet your mind. This might be doing something you love such as walking, running, gardening, ceramics, painting or whatever delights you.

You are Worth It

Most of all as you move through this time of transition into a happier life do not be afraid to seek help. Whether it be a friend, family member, spiritual leader or professional there are people who want to help you.

You are worth it! Go and make the best of your life!  You have many cheering you on.

 

Roland Legge offers coaching through REL Consultants for individuals, couples, families and executives to help them to be the best they can be. For more information please arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call by phoning Roland at 1 306 620-7478 or you can email Roland at rolandlegge@relconsultants.com

 

 

Being Your Best Self

pexels-photo-347988Wholeness and Relationship

Have you ever referred to your partner as your better half? Does this accurately describe who you are? It does not describe me. You know you are not half a person!  You are a whole human being. When two people come together it takes two whole people to make a healthy relationship. Sadly, two many of do not bring our whole selves to our relationship because we are not aware of what we are capable of being.  In this article, I seek to explore three ways to get in touch with our best self.

Wisdom of the Body

Wisdom

Your body is full of wisdom. One way you can learn more about yourself and world is through paying attention to your body. You have most likely experienced a gut feeling about something happening or about to happen in your life.  Your body will let you know about whether a path in life is the best for you.  If you are not sure slow down and take some time to ground yourself through some form of meditation that will quiet your mind, open your heart and help you to focus on your body.

Paying attention

You might a feel muscles tightening up in your gut, chest, throat or hands. Each of us have certain parts of our body that are more susceptible to stress in our life. What is that for you?  Maybe your shoulders feel like they are trying to hold up the world. Take a deep breath, breathing into the parts of your body that are feeling uncomfortable and as you blow out notice the stress leaving your body.

It feels like I am going crazy

I know this can feel overwhelming at first because of sensations, emotions and thought that have been repressed for years. It might even feel like you are going crazy but I assure you, you are not! Try to be gentle with yourself. Allowing and accepting these intense sensations, emotion and thoughts takes time. The only way is to go through it. Just remember it is best to not do this alone. Find a close friend, family member or professional you can be honest with.

Honesty

Over time you will get to know the difference between what you are frightened of trying and that which is not in your highest interest.  Have you experienced times in your life when you felt ready to try something new in your life and yet feel a little scared? I have had those times and yet somehow, I new that what I was choosing to do whether that be school, a new job or a new relationship that it was in my best interest. I have also experienced times when my body has made it clear that I need to avoid a particular, path. I do well when I pay attention to my body.

Practice

Make a practice of daily of checking in with your body to discover what wisdom it can offer you. The more you do it the easier it will be. You will be so thankful for the wisdom of your body. Your body will help you to discover your higher self.

Wisdom of the Heart

Are you in touch with your emotions?

Are you an emotional person?  How easy do you find it to get in touch with your emotions?   Is it easy for you to cry? Does this embarrass you? You have nothing to be ashamed of! It is gift to have a heart that is open, unless your over sensitivity is getting in the way of you living your life. It is all about balance.

Acceptance

As you move through life it is learning to accept where we are at, in each moment of life.  This is so we do not get stuck in our own insecurity. When our heart is open, we have the capacity to be gentle and forgiving of ourselves. When we can forgive, ourselves we can forgive others.

Heart Truth

Your heart is a window into your inner world. Does it feel open?  If your chest is feeling warm with energy moving around, your heart is open.   If it is feeling cold and dead then you are shut off from this great wisdom. It might feel like you are short circuiting. There is no shame in this. It just means that your heart shut down to help you to survive. But in the long run you will miss so much in life if you allow it to stay closed. How familiar are you with this experience?

Being true to your Heart

Your heart energy is there and just waiting for you to create an environment where it can risk expressing itself. When our hearts are open we not only feel connected to ourselves but also to those around us.

Opening our heart is risky business because we can get hurt or unintentionally hurt another person. But the gift of truly loving another person and being loved out weighs any downside of being hurt. All aspects of the heart are part of the human condition. They are neither good or bad. They simply are.

Connection to the whole World

You are connected to the whole earth and its inhabitants through your heart. We can feel the joy and pain in the people we meet besides our own. An open heart helps us to be open to the needs of others while still caring for ourselves. Our heart reminds us of our humanity repeatedly.

Playing and Working Together

With an open heart, we can find ways of working and playing together in relationship that is beneficial for both. It opens the door for us to show our love for the people in our life through encouraging them to be all they can be.  We no longer get confused thinking we want the best for our partner when we really are doing it out of our own insecurity.  Our open hearts creates space for you to be your best self.

Wisdom of the Head

Is your head your enemy?

Does your head feel like it is your enemy sometimes? If you feel this way, remember you have the capacity to befriend it.

Releasing my mind from the chatter

When you quiet your mind, you have access to the wisdom of our head. But you ask, how do I quiet my mind. Most of us find it hard to slow the chatter in our heads. When we have, conversations going on in our heads it is hard for us to pay attention to what is going on in the moment. Most of us can not imagine a quiet mind because we can never remember a time when our mind was calm.

Good News

The good news is that you can quiet your mind with practice. There are many ways to do this from meditation, listening to music, singing, creating art and much more.  This does not mean that you get to the point of emptying your thoughts, but to a place where you do not get stuck in your fears and insecurities.

Just Knowing

Have you ever just woken up one morning and new what you needed to do. You somehow just know this is the next step you need to take. Trust this wisdom, because it is a gift to be embraced. Do not bother trying to justify your decision. If you know it is the write thing to do go for it. I have experienced breakthroughs like this when I am so tired my mind can no longer can try to control things. What has been your experience?

On the path to transforming Relationships

Synergy in Three

When your three energy centers are in harmony with each other you will be on the path to being your best self; a blessing to yourself and those you choose to be in relationship with you. Life will still have its challenges, but there will be a gentler flow and energy because you will be present in each moment to make the best decisions for you and those you love.

Freedom to be me

You will attract people with the same level of health. Relationships will no longer be a struggle because you are being fully open to yourself and your partner. There will no longer be manipulation by ether party. Each of you will be honest and want to make choices that will be beneficial to you both.

Joy in being with your own company

But even in times when you find yourself single you will be able to enjoy this time in life whether it short term or permanent because you will find ways to meet your own needs. You will have the blessing of great friendships that will bring out the best in you.

Finding your soulmate

If you do find your soulmate, there will be a synergy that creates the best type of relationship that grows from two healthy people. When two people come together in mutual love and respect the two create something even greater than two people could do individually.  They create a beautiful mosaic that not only enhances, both, but the whole world.

Roland Legge is a coach and founder of REL Consultants offering to help individuals, couples, families and executives to discover the wisdom that is already within them. Call Roland today at 1 306 620-7478 to arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call or email him at rolandlegge@relconsultants.com for a private discussion about how he can help.

Nine Ways to Stay Healthy when Your Relationship is in Trouble

Moody yong woman sitting at home

You are facing one of the most difficult times in your life. You feel lonely and abandoned. How do you choose to live during this chaotic time? Here are nine ways to access your inner strength which will help you to move through this time of uncertainty.

1. Relaxation

Spend time each day doing something you enjoy. What hobbies do you have? Do you like to read or listen to music? Spending time doing an activity that you enjoy helps to relax your muscles and quiet the mind.

 2. Diet

Eat good food to keep up your strength. Make eating fun and pleasurable. With all the stress in your life now it is important to keep the body and mind in good shape with regular meals and nutritious food. A little comfort food won’t hurt you and might even raise your spirits. You are worth the effort!

3.  Meditation

Find a mindfulness practice that feels right for you. It is learning to allow the thoughts of your head to pass by like the credits at the end of a movie rather than get attached to any one of them.  This all helps you to be able to focus your attention on what ever you are doing instead of getting caught in the fear of the past or the anxiety of the future.  You might want to check out the App “Insight Timer” that you can get at the App Store and Google Play.

 4. Journaling

Have you even reflected on what is important for you in life? This would be a good time to journal on what you need in your life personally, in your relationship and in your working life. What do you need to change in your life to make these goals a reality?  What would need to change in your relationship for you to live out your dreams?

 5. Active Listening

Active listening means giving all our attention to the person we are talking to. One person speaks at a time and at the end the other person is asked to say to what they have heard their spouse say.  If the one has not heard correctly it is easy to correct with the spouse clarifying what they had already said. You do this until both people completely understand each other.

6. Communication

Share with your spouse what is going well in your relationship and what is not going well. Using your active listening skills to honestly name the strengths and growing edges in your relationship. This creates an opportunity to work through the issues to come up with a win win solution.

 7. Honesty

Let your spouse know what changes you need in your relationship. To be fair to your spouse you need let them know as clearly as possible what are the essentials for you to have a happy marriage. It is important to name how you are going to change and be clear about your expectations of your spouse.

8. Friends and Family

Who are the people in your life you can be yourself with and who can be honest with you?  Think of the people who will love you through thick and thin?  It lightens the load when we have people to walk with us through the rough times in life.

9. You

Remind yourself over and over that the only person you can change is yourself.  Do not waste your time trying to change others.  It never works! But when we change ourselves people will act differently around us.

 

Thankfully there is much you can do to help yourself through rough times in your relationship. It is all about self care, honesty with self and partner, excellent communications and self awareness.  The good news is that with support and encouragement you can move beyond old habits and thoughts into a new paradigm where you can freely express your true self not only as an individual but as a couple.

 

Roland Legge is a coach and founder of REL Consultants offering to help individuals, couples, families and executives to discover the wisdom that is already within them. Call Roland today at 1 306 620-7478 to arrange for a free 30-minute discovery call or email him at rolandlegge@relconsultants.com for a private discussion about how he can help.

 

Do you like Conflict?

Exploring the Word:

 

 

Sermon – September 7th 2014

13th Sunday after Pentecost

By Roland Legge

Romans 13:8-14
Matthew 18:15-20

 

 

How many of us love conflict?  I think the majority of us do not like it, except for a few people who thrive on it.  Yet conflict has an important role to play in our communities.  If we never had conflict there wouldn’t be any personal growth. If we didn’t have conflict we would not have healthy relationships.  If we didn’t have conflict we would stop growing as God’s people.

 

Jesus knows this only too well! So in our Gospel lesson we learn how faith communities can grow from conflict.  The trouble is that many of our churches try to hide from conflict which only makes things worse.  It makes things worse because avoidance doesn’t resolve the conflict.  The energy created by conflict is just left to fester making it come out at unexpected times on issues that have nothing to do with the original issue.  When conflict is hidden it often will come out in very destructive ways.

 

Jesus shows us a simple way to resolve conflict.  The first one is to go and talk to the person you have conflict with, using “I” statements to clearly name what upset or hurt you.  So for example, if you were upset because you felt excluded from the decision about what color to paint the basement of the church, here is what Jesus would suggest you do: first you would clarify what you were upset about. If you still deemed the issue serious enough you would go and talk to the chair of the Property Committee.  If you have good reason to be upset and the person does apologise to you after a conversation where each party was allowed to share their point of view you are to forgive them. However, if they don’t forgive you, you are go to the next step.

 

Jesus then suggests that you find two or three people, such as our Ministry and Personnel Committee.  Remember God says when two or three people are together God is present. The idea is that through prayer and open conversation the conflict can begin to be resolved. If you are able to resolve the issue at this level you again forgive and reconcile with the person or persons.

 

But what do you do if it does not get resolved through the Ministry and Personnel Committee?  Jesus suggests that you need to take it to the whole church. In our United Church Polity it would need to go to the Board or to the Presbytery.

 

At all these levels, conflict needs to be addressed with great care.  Again we need to speak very clearly and from our own point of view.  We are not to call each other names.  We need to respect the fact that it is normal to have different opinions.  We need to find solutions that are respectful of all who are involved. It needs to be a win-win solution.

 

Resolving conflict takes time.  I love how the Religious Society of Friends uses Consensus Decision Making as a process to decide the direction of each Friends Meeting or Yearly Meeting which is like our General Council.  When a proposal is made, people get to ask questions for clarification.  They get to ask questions about why this proposal is important.  They get to discuss if there are better ways to do this.  They patiently wait until everyone has had their say. Throughout the process people need to keep checking to see if consensus has been reached.  There may need to be amendments made to make the proposal acceptable to everyone.  But once people come to a place where everyone can live with the decision then consensus is reached.  What I like about consensus is that when the decision is made everyone can get behind it and make it happen.  You will no longer have any 51 % to 49% decisions that can seriously divide the community.

 

Often forgiveness takes time too.   It is more often a process that allows us the time to forgive ourselves and others.  If it is a serious offense we may get no further than not allowing the negative/destructive energy of the offense to hurt our present and future relationships.  Forgiveness does not always mean that we can renew the relationship.

 

I believe Jesus calls us to be a community where we can openly struggle, laugh, pray our way to decisions that will be of benefit to the whole community.  It doesn’t mean we get it right all the time.  But when we don’t get it right we will rise to the occasion and make the changes needed.  But in order to find consensus we all need to be willing to give and take. The bottom line is that we need to be able to live with the decision.

 

God has blessed each of us with power. Power in and of itself is neither good nor bad.  More important is how we use that power.  We all want to be able to impact the world around us.  God desires for us to share our power with others and come up with solutions that seek the highest good for the community.

 

I can think of one conflict that took place in the Vancouver Friends Meeting.  In 1983, when Vancouver hosted the Assembly of the World Council of Churches, the Friends (Quakers) participated.  At the end of the Assembly, each participating church who helped to organize the gathering in Canada received a chalice.  For Quakers this raised a serious question as “Friends” don’t have communion as a ritual.  Some people were incensed and wanted to return it. Some people wanted to keep it. Those who wanted to keep it had various ideas as to what to do with it.  The whole event created a lot of controversy.  But after a lot of prayerful deliberation it was decided to put the chalice into the Quaker Museum at the Friends Meeting House in Toronto.  In the end everybody was able to live with decision.

 

In the months and years ahead we as a congregation will have some major choices to make.  The Spirit may be calling us to talk about things that many of us won’t feel comfortable in talking about.  Yet God calls us too openly and compassionately to talk about things prayerfully—even if we have to risk conflict.  Conversations may free us up to be the church in new ways that will be inviting to our younger generations, many of whom have moved away from the church.  What are those sensitive subjects in our church?

 

I pray that we will take seriously the teachings of Jesus that will show us the way to the Kindom of God.  May the Spirit give us the courage to speak what we think and yet be given the openness and tenderness to hear different points of view. May we be given the wisdom to seek new paths for our church and world.  May we be given the courage to experiment with new ways of being church. May we continue to pass on the Good News of Jesus!  The Good News is that there is a better and more joyful and just way to co-exist in this world with all of God’s Creation. So be it!  Amen.

Listening_Earhttpcrossinthewilderness.blogspot.ca2012_08_12_archive.html

We Can Make a Difference

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Sermon – May 18th 2014

By Roland Legge

Easter Five (Year A)

Psalm 31

John 14:1-14

 

Jesus sure has high expectations of us!  What would you have said to Jesus when he told his disciples that God was going to do even greater things through them than what he had done?  If I had been there I would have said to Jesus he doesn’t know what he is talking about.  How could he expect us to outdo him?  But Jesus won’t hear of our excuses.  He won’t hear of our excuses because it is God who is going to work through us. This endeavour does not rely on our imperfect humanness but on our willingness to allow God to work through us. 

 

A few years ago I attended the United Church’s national inter-cultural ministry conference in Vancouver.   Inter-cultural ministry is all about allowing God to work through us in helping to build loving, just, and respectful relationships between the great diversity of cultures in our world.  In our own context the majority of people fit into four main cultures.  They are Anglophone (Anglo-Saxon), Ukrainian, Icelandic, Aboriginal and Metis.  How can we be a blessing to each other?

 

How do we learn to get along better with each other?  This is one of the great tasks that God has given us.  We must each struggle to know how God desires for us to live with justice and harmony with all people in our communities.  Our congregation must discern how we can welcome all people in our community, no matter who they are and where they came from.  This call to mutuality in community is what John, the author of this Gospel, was reminding his followers that it was Jesus who called us all to this ministry in the first place.

 

Today I am going to share some of my experiences from a workshop called “Building Bridges – Understanding the Village”, that I took at the gathering.   The workshop helped me to better understand how my aboriginal brothers and sisters have been affected by the European settlement of North America.  It also helped me to know how I can best be part of healing the divisions not only between aboriginal and white people, but between all people in the world.

 

Our facilitators Cathy and Alberta led us through a process of education through storytelling and role playing.  First they emphasized this is not about shaming white people.  But it is about learning to “row” together as aboriginal and white people.  In order for this to happen we must first get to know each other through hearing our stories.

 

Cathy and Alberta shared some of the story of their own people.  They were representing the many nations of aboriginal people on the coast of British Columbia.  They reminded us they have been in relationship with the land for a long time.  Archaeologists believe that there have been settlements of people around Burrard inlet for 10,000 years. 

 

They talked of the importance of knowing who you are.  Before European contact, each people knew who they were through the food they ate, their homes, and their clothes, system of governance and language and dialect.  Each of these different aspects of their culture helped each tribe to know who they were in relation to the many other nations on the west coast of B.C.  They were proud peoples who were not ashamed of being who they were. 

 

We were reminded that we all have come from our own indigenous lands.  For me that is Scotland and Ireland.  My heart lights up whenever I hear Celtic music.  If we go back far back each of us comes from rural communities that had many of the same attributes a first nation’s village had before the Europeans came.  Where is your indigenous land?

 

Cathy and Alberta invited us to role play living in a west coast first nation’s village pre European colonization.  I invite you to join me in this role play in which each of us were invited to take on the roles of people who made their community function including children, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, elders and hunter protectors.

 

I volunteered to be one of the children.  I felt secure in the circle with all my community keeping me safe so I could explore and play as much as I wanted.    I felt the warmth of my parents, grandparents, elders, aunts, uncles and the hunter protectors.  I felt like I was living in a womb of love.  I was so happy because I had everything I needed.  But then the Europeans came and forcefully removed me with my brothers, sisters, cousins and friends out of the community.  I was forcefully led from the circle outside the room to attend a residential school far from where I had grown up.  I felt sad, frightened, and angry.   I missed my family and all that I was used to in my community.  It seemed like I could no longer do anything that was right because I was told that I was a heathen.  I wasn’t allowed to speak my own language.  I wasn’t allowed to play the games I had grown up with.  I was forced to eat strange food. I became very depressed because I felt like a stranger in a foreign land where I was not welcome.  I no longer had the comfort of the familiar sights and smells of my own community.  It sometimes felt that life was no longer worth living.

 

Then my people began the long healing process.  It wasn’t easy.  One day, members of my tribe tried to bring me back to the community.  I was hesitant about returning because I was unsure of what would happen when I returned.  But with perseverance my people brought me back into the circle.  It felt good in the end, but the journey toward healing is going to take a long time because of how we had been treated as less than human.  For the first time I felt some hope.  The role play came to an end and all shared how it felt to be in our different roles.

 

Why do we need to hear the story?  We need to hear the story so we can better understand our aboriginal brothers and sisters.  We need to do this so we can work hand in hand with our aboriginal brothers and sisters to heal the world.  I believe this is the only way to begin to break down the walls between us.

 

Instead of getting stuck in shame we need to move ahead to heal the world with all people no matter how different they may seem to us.   Cathy and Alberta said if we all can abide by these four laws found in many aboriginal cultures there is a way out of our mess.  The four laws are these:

  1. LOVE
  2. RESPECT
  3. KINDNESS
  4. GENEROSITY

 

Imagine if we all keep these laws as the lenses we view the world, our world will become a more a gentle, loving and just place to be.

 

Each of us will continue to make a difference. We will do this by finding belonging in our different communities.  We will find this by being our own persons.  We will do this by mastering our gifts which we can share with the world.  Lastly, but not least, we can make a difference in generously sharing all of who we are with all the people of the world.

 

We not only must do this individually but as a faith community.  Hence, I hope we at Foam Lake United Church will continue to create opportunities for each of us to get to know each other through hearing each of our ordinary amazing stories.  I hope we will continue to do this through generously sharing our gifts with our family, church, community and world.  I hope we will do this by us seeking out the stories of folks from different cultures such as our Ukrainian, Icelandic, Aboriginal and Metis brother and sisters.

 

I came back from Behold full of new energy, joy and hope. I pray that you too can experience the joy that comes from breaking down the walls of racism and prejudice; the walls that hold us back from bringing forth the New Jerusalem that Christ promised is both here and yet to come.