Friday, November 20, 2009
Here's a link to Jessica Bollinger's website and her personal vision, which she shared with us in church. She's an amazing woman!
This past Sunday at our Unitarian Church, I was asked to speak about my own personal vision. Our church community is working on a vision for the church. Our minister thought it would be helpful if the congregation could get a sense of what visions can mean to us on a personal level.
My vision is small-"healing the world one couple at a time".
How did that vision begin? I can remember sitting in my Masters of Social Work class and the professor looked out at us, and asked, "How many of you chose getting your Masters because of a difficult event that happened to you in your life?"
I raised my hand. I looked around and everyone else had his or her hands raised.
We are who we are by our experiences. We make our choices because of our experiences.
Having a "vision" helps you put the road in place to have the experience that you want.
Why did I go back to school to get masters of social work? I had just had the heart wrenching experience of a relationship ending, and my partner who was the biological mother took our child. Ben was 3 and ½. I was the primary caregiver. He was my life.
* Many times, our visions are based on something bad that happens to us, and we want to change things so that it doesn't happen to others.
After this happened with Ben, I thought to myself: "I don't EVER want this to happen to children-where they get 'caught' between their caregivers relationship, and hurt by separation".
This had happened to me when I was a child. My parents divorced when I was about 12. No matter how easy my parents tried to make it on us, we knew that it was difficult for them. That was 39 years ago. As kids my sister and I adapted to what we needed to do to help the situation.
When that happened with Ben, I made a conscious decision; "I am going to help couples so that this never happens where children are put into the middle.."
*A vision is like a rudder on a boat-it ends up unconsciously steering us to where we really need to go to succeed at that vision.
My Dad always had a boat on the Ohio River as I was growing up. I like to use that metaphor. I can remember being a little kid at the helm. Feeling big, feeling close to my Dad. Sitting up on the pilots seat with a cushion underneath me so I could see better. He would tell me to "look up ahead at that mile marker on the shoreline, and steer for that".
I would keep the boat in that direction, adjusting for speed and current, moving out of the way of barges and other craft. As I would get closer to the "mile marker" on the shoreline, then I would readjust to a new point to steer towards.
When I would look back over the rear of the boat, I could see my path in the water. It was not a "straight" line. The currents had carried it, the adjustments for other vessels had made it curve a bit. But I could see where I had come from, and it was pretty direct.
My vision of helping couples took me on the path I was supposed to be on.
We know we are on the right vision if:
Things feel "right"-
We feel comfortable in our body with this vision-
Serendipitous things happen along the way to help us along on this vision
We feel positive, with a positive purpose.
So here I was, an MSW graduate. I was working at Catholic Social Services as a counselor.
And then....A big Barge appeared in my path. My new relationship was in trouble, I felt like a hypocrite trying to help couples and mine was in trouble.
I happened upon an article. In the Family Therapy Networker Magazine. "A New Way to Love" It was an article about Imago Relationship Therapy and how it gives tools to have a great relationship.
I looked it up online and I found a workshop-the Getting the Love You Want Workshop. We attended. It was down in the Maggie Valley in North Carolina.
It was very life changing, giving us the tools to have a conscious intentional relationship.
I became trained and certified. It changed my practice.
Relationships are the "test"-we cannot NOT be in relationship. We are always in relationship-with our boss, our co-workers, our kids, our families, our partners.
Visions are conscious and intentional. They are our spiritual practice.
Staring at the mile marker ahead. If couplehood is loving and respectful where two whole fully alive selves can be fully differentiated. Where the two can cross the bridge into the others world and it can make sense to them-they don't have to agree or disagree-- They can be a witness to each other.
This creates a relationship environment where children can truly prosper. Where the parents can truly live consciously and intentionally and meet the needs of their children.
And then the children grow up to live consciously. They grow up with no baggage of unmet needs. They have a model of how to have a good relationship from their caregivers. They witness wonderful communication; they feel the environment of respect and love.
Thus healing the world one couple at a time..
It is a vision. The vision gives me a path.
The path winds and curves, but keeps me on course. It gives me hope and satisfaction.
And this conscious form of communication-called the 'intentional dialogue' that Imago teaches -being able to cross the bridge into the others world has been presented at the UNITED NATIONS.
At conferences I have witnessed an Israeli and a Palestinian practice this dialogue. Crossing the bridge into each other's worlds-they see that they both want the same thing.
Their children to be safe.
So in summation:
A vision is formed out of our past experiences
It is a roadmap that helps us stay on course.
It creates the occurrences and things along the path that support that vision.
The vision is correct for us if our body feels good with it.
Our visions give us hope and purpose.
Our visions are good for other people and the world.
Visions help us live intentionally and consciously.
They are part of who we are-our core, thus a vision is our spiritual practice.
The vision attracts what we need to learn to keep moving towards that vision.
And let me tell you more about my vision-
This coming January 12, I am beginning a 6-week class about relationships--one night a week for 6 weeks. It is going to be held at the Lexington Unitarian Universalist Church. The whole community is invited. I want singles, couples and young adults to come.
I want YOU to come, invite a friend, a partner, a co-worker, your teenagers.
It will be about how to connect, how to have healthy relationships, how to communicate effectively.
This will help you everywhere in your life, work, home, play.
See you then! Jessie
Tuesday, January 12th and the 19th, 26th
February 2nd, 9th and 16th.
Cost $10. per person per evening
Daycare available free
If you would like pizza, let me know when you register: