Why a "Field Guide"?
This Journey Field Guide is a resource for Christian leaders who want to belong to and nurture communities that are 'harbors' or 'holding spaces' for people to experience resilience, wholeness, transformation and hope in complex and tumultuous times. Such holding spaces are needed to learn how to respond to the challenges we are all facing with purposeful compassion and not react in contracting fear.
Ancient practices and emerging social technologies, explored within the context of community, provide the structure of belonging needed to make transformation possible. On our journey together we will help you find your "bearings" on the "tumultuous" ocean of personal and systemic upheaval that we are all encountering.
We all Need Allies on the Journey.
The journey into the emerging future is challenging. There are many pitfalls, detours and temptations along the path as well as many joyful discoveries. Together, we can thrive through these challenges, nurturing hope and deepening compassion. It is essential to know we are not alone. An ancient Celtic phrase, 'Anam Cara' meaning ‘soul friend’, describes the heart of the matter for us. This field guide will be most helpful when used in conjunction with our retreats, workshops, spiritual direction and coaching. It is essential that we all know - “We are not alone!”
Why do we frame it as a "Journey"?
We are all on a journey, awakening to something new that yearns to be born—in me—in us—in the world. And as we all sense, birthing is messy and stressful. That is why we need a field guide as well as allies, wise companions along the way, mid-wives whose skillful hands and loving presence help bring the new into the world and the world into the new.
Think of The Journey as a Field Guide or a Compass, an orienting tool to find purposeful direction and clarity during times of disruption and change. This guide is not intended to show the way to your destiny or destination. Rather, it will provide resources for you to discover the way—your way—the way your soul already knows. The Journey - including its thresholds, twists and turns - provides a wise compass and all the travel tips you will need to unearth a deep sense of direction, even when you are most upended by the winds of change or uncertainty.
The poet Rumi wrote: “There is nothing worse than to walk out along the street without you. I don’t know where I’m going. You are the road and the knower of roads, more than maps, more than love.”
The Journey is more like a compass than a map.
While maps are helpful for any new adventure into unknown territory, our Journey is not to some place, like a fixed point on a map, or a town on some distant coast waiting for the tourist to arrive. Nor is our “destination” an immovable spot on some cosmic map toward which we make our way like the pioneers in wagon trains or pilgrims progressing on some dusty trail full of dangers along the way. Though we are both pioneers and pilgrims, It’s not as simple as that. You see, the future, towards which we are moving, is also moving toward us. We are awakening to what is already true.
What is the purpose?
This Journey will lead you into an exploration of purpose and intention. We begin by painting with a broad brush language that holds big stories. Yet in the course of this adventure we will learn the art of distilling, with a finer brush, the subtleties of tangible purpose. When we can stand back and see the big picture of purpose and meaning we will be able to unpack the large concepts and experiences within the particularities of each context of our lives. This will happen in the container that we are shaping, beginning with the story rooted in the ground of a particular life in a particular context.
This Field Guide explores four interrelated questions:
- In the face of disruption, how do we lead from the emerging future (i.e. from a place of compassionate and wise response)?
- What framework can guide our journey forward?
- How will we connect with allies who can lead and share the Journey with us?
- What strategies can help us to act as co-creators bringing gifts of wholeness and healing into the world?
How is the Journey structured?
We will begin by spending time becoming oriented to the Journey. Here we will explore themes that will help prepare us for the adventure. We’ll then embark on a Journey that, while having common movements, unfolds with the unique subtleties of each pilgrim’s experience.
Each movement and threshold will be introduced with an overview or summary. Next we will have an opportunity to set the context for the Journey. There are four contexts that are like interwoven threads of our life experience. They are: Interior; Relational, Systemic and Environmental. It will be helpful, as we walk this Journey, to pull on one of these threads to see where it leads. Intention: To align and ground the Journey with particular life experience.
After setting the context for our inquiry we will pause at a each movement and threshold to reflect on what we are learning and experiencing along the way. This is an opportunity for journaling. Think of this as a “travel log”. We’ll find this to be a valuable resource for more adventures as well as a tool to guide others along the way. We find it helpful to offer a structure for this inquiry. There are seven questions that will help us explore the depths of our experience. Intention: To take a long, loving, look at each movement and threshold to discover the subtleties of each gift and opportunity.
We know this might feel a bit overwhelming. Remember, this is your Journey. You will discern what is most helpful for you and set aside that which is not. This is an adventure… one step, one movement at a time will unfold as inspiration for your transformation. Know too that we will be with you as your Allies and Guides assisting in the unfolding of your Journey. Intention: To access the wisdom of those who have traveled the way before you.
Perhaps the best council for us here at the beginning of the Journey is from the poet Rilke:
“I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
What are the capacities we will grow?
Nurturing Capacities For the Journey
- Connection to deeper guidance from within
- Remembering and living from core values
- Building courage and resilience
- Addressing and abating fear during disruptive times
- Building capacity to show up as a force for positive action
- Creating social action, grounded in personal experience
- Recollecting, resolving and releasing troublesome experiences, to release new hope and energy for the future
- Building self-management practices that temper our reactive tendencies
- Learning by doing
Are we heroes, tourists or pilgrims on the Journey?
Tourist: “a person who is traveling or visiting a place for pleasure.” The meaning of life is gratification and the goal is to have exciting adventures without being exposed to risk. Though this Journey will open up to joy and even “pleasure” these and other “feelings” come and go. At times we may feel like we are visitors as we explore new territory only to discover that in some way we are coming home.
Hero: Admired by the community, the hero, clad with ego’s shining armor, goes out to slay the darkness and redeem the community. The meaning of life is honor and the goal of living is self-fulfillment, the achievement of personal excellence, and the recognition and admiration that making a unique contribution to the community through one’s achievements carries with it.
Pilgrim: The meaning of life is love. For the pilgrim, life does not so much have a goal as a purpose, for which each of us is responsible. The heart of that purpose is compassion and the bonds of concern and care that responsibility for ALL creation carries with it. The Pilgrim’s journey is first down and in (cata-strophy) instead of, like the tourist, up and out into flights of fancy. The pilgrim senses the vital importance of balancing light and dark, spirit and soul. The Journey for the Pilgrim is one that does not end but unfolds against an infinite horizon.
What is a theological framework?
Literally "all-in-God-ism", affirms that although God and the world are ontologically distinct [i.e., not the same] and God transcends the world, the world is 'in' God ontologically. (See Acts 17:28) This is not to be confused with pantheism, which understands God to be the world. Panentheists hold that God is intimately connected to creation and yet remains greater than the creation.
Panentheism has been associated with process theology and aspects of open theism, including theologians such as Paul Tillich, Wolfhart Pannenberg, Jurgen Moltmann, Robert Jenson, and possibly Karl Rahner.
Zimsum (Hebrew צמצום ṣimṣūm "contraction/constriction/condensation") “God’s creative love is grounded in his humble, self-humiliating love. This self-restricting love is the beginning of that self-emptying of God which Philippians 2 sees as the divine mystery of the Messiah. Even in order to create heaven and earth, God emptied himself of his all-plenishing omnipotence, and as Creator took upon himself the form of a servant…. God does not create merely by calling something into existence, or by setting something afoot. In a more profound sense he ‘creates’ by letting-be, by making room, and by withdrawing himself.” (Moltmann, God in Creation, p. 88)
Beginning with “story” (in whatever context: interior; relational; systemic; environmental) we move through the field of openness into the “sacred” and then back into a “context” with new gifts, insights and wisdom. Example below: Beginning with a story of relationship then moving into opening of mind and heart and encountering the “sacred” we find ourself propelled into the context (in this example systemic) with some creative offering. However when we move toward the center and bring the gifts back “home”, everything changes in some way.
We call this “synchronicity”.
It is important that we notice how language shifts as we move along the path of transformation. We begin with the narrative or story using language that is intrinsically linear. As we move thought the field of openness we employ metaphor, language that “tells the truth, but on a slant” as Emily Dickinson said. Metaphor means to “carry over” from more literal narrative to open to that which cannot be spoken of directly. As we stay on the path we will find the language shifting to non-linear. Here, sighs, tears or deepening silence holds us in a powerful ineffable space too big for words. As we move back into the context of our life, move back though metaphor into the narrative of co-creation.