Sunday Everyday

Creativity is More Than a Great Idea

Creativity is More Than a Great Idea by Lisa Hunt-Wotton

Thomas Edison once said;

“Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration”.

Having a great idea is the smallest part of the creative process. Understand that most of your ideas will not grow wings and fly no matter how good they are.  Successful creatives understand that there is a great deal of  material that ends up living on the studio floor. A great idea is only 1% of the journey, the rest is hard work.

Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality (source).  It is the process by which you take a good idea and make it happen. Known in some circles as Imagineering.   This term was introduced in the 1940s by Alcoa to describe its blending of imagination and engineering (Wiki). Walt Disney then adopted this expression into his empire and created the  Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development, Inc. which is the research and development arm of The Walt Disney Company. Walt Disney was a man who understood that anyone can have a great idea, but few can put in the perspiration and hard work needed to get it off the ground.

To be an Imagineer you need to:

1:  Know when to kill an idea.
2:  Have great ‘organisational skills and relentless execution’ (Belsky).
3:  Leverage communal skills to get the job done.
4:  Have good leadership and strategic skills.Lose the Fear of Being Wrong and Kill the Idea

When you are brainstorming, there are no good ideas or bad ideas  just ideas. Of the 100 ideas you imagine, 99 of them may be no good, but one of them might just work.  Fear is the monster that we must battle to the death.  We are afraid of what people think and of what they will say.

“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.”Joseph Chilton Pearce.

If we are to succeed at making ideas happen, we must lose our fear of being wrong.  We must also learn to let go of ideas that don’t make the cut. “Walt Disney is known for his boundless creativity, not his skepticism. But it turns out that Disney went to great lengths to ensure that his creative teams vetted ideas ruthlessly and killed them when necessary (Belsky).

The quality of an idea is not the idea itself but the fact it can fly and stay up in the air.

Get Organised

The general population believes that creatives are unorganised, whimsical beings. For any creative to be successful they must be organised. Just don’t expect that their organisational process looks like yours. Many creatives falsely believe organisation kills the creative process. I believe it is like gardening. A tomato plant will creatively produce oodles of delicious tomatoes but it needs staking so that the tomatoes can be supported, it needs structure. It also needs fertile soil, rain and sun. Without structure ideas fail to build and thrive. Without the proper attention they die and wither on the vine.

An important discipline which aids the creative process is journalling.  I have a diary which is ruled off into three areas. The biggest section is the ‘Action’ area. The second is the ‘Idea’ list, and the third is the ‘Back burner’ area. I can get distracted with ideas and not action the strategy. So I make a place to log ideas but I wait to go through those until I have worked through the action area. Back burner is for those ideas that are good and possible but not for now. Timing is a huge issue as it involves maintaining your wellbeing and actual capacity. If I followed through with all of my ideas, I would kill myself.

Behance sell Action Pads online at The Ghostly Store.   Action Pad are visual diaries that have similar sections already set out for you.  They look like this.  Or like me you can get a ruler and coloured pens and do it yourself.
Action.Pad.Green-Main_1024x1024
If you are working with other people in teams or groups, the most important part of the brainstorming session is the execution. Who is going to action that? Do they know they are actioning that? IF not you will gather at the next meeting and wonder why nothing has been done. Also set a date for the action or it will be postponed. It can get very frustrating if people do not own and follow through with the action. It only takes on person to knock the wheel of the little red wagon.
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Collaboration

Community forces you to articulate your ideas, to find language and to sell it. You are forced to step out of the creative bubble and face reality. You learn to love critical thinking and feedback. There is a safety in the collaborative process and many rewards. Collaboration produces a rich stew for ideas to bubble and marinate and form deeper layers. Other people bring their expertise to the table and highlight weak areas or danger zones you may have missed whilst you have your head full of the wonder of the idea. Be prepared to hold this process loosely and to not get pushed out of shape or to take things personally. You need to learn to sift and keep the kernels of grain and blow away the chaff.

Learn to harness the forces around you. Community is all around you use it. This can be work colleagues, family, neighbours, other creatives. They may not understand your idea at first but this will force you to develop marketing strategy and language which will develop your idea. You need to articulate your idea well. We seldom achieve anything on our own. We all have weak areas and this is the beauty of community. They can highlight those areas and sometimes they will even step in and fill the gap.

Every week I am approached by people who believe they have a ‘great idea’, and it may well be a great idea. However, they lack the discipline to perspire through the creative process. Instead they hand me the idea as if I will run and jump and do cartwheels and offer to do all the hard work for them. Some even ask me to write the language and the narrative for them. If you cannot do this yourself, then 1: You have not thought the idea through properly. 2: You have not done the hard work of engaging the community process YOURSELF. 3: You are not organised or able to receive feedback.

How often do you walk along and trip over a large nugget of gold and make instant thousands of dollars? No, you have to prospect, dig, mine, sift and dig and sift more and if you are lucky, you may after many months, you may gather grains of gold. Just because YOU think your idea is amazing does not guarantee cash return. Step out of the creative bubble and let community speak reality, support or perspective.

There are far too many dreamers and not enough doers.

Dreamer

Leadership

We are desperately in need of great leaders.  Your ideas will only thrive in an environment of great leadership.

I believe the evidence of a great leader is that those around you are thriving.

Great leadership is more than just having a vision, it is rolling up the sleeves and jumping into the trenches. It is being accountable. It is taking the responsibility when things go wrong. It is knowing when to encourage and empower and when to prune and cut back. It is a balancing act and it require compassion and discernment.

 

Once again it comes down to hard work.  There is no avoiding this.  There is no free pass, no easy ride.  Maturity is the fruit of good leaders.  They have the muscles required to go the hard road.   Good leaders understand that there is joy in the process.  They know that it will require perspiration but the end result is worth the hard work.

 

Belsky Reference:  Belsky, Scott. 2012,  Making Ideas Happen

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on-line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

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Talking About Invisible Illness

Max Silverman of Tarrytown, N.Y., is a junior with an interdisciplinary major that combines sociology, politics and education. The founder of the Bates chapter of Active Minds, a national organization dedicated to raising campus awareness of mental health and stigmatization, Silverman will devote his TED talk to this topic, underscoring the importance of understanding mental illness as biological.

Max’s brother Eli,  at the age of 8, told his parents that he wanted to die.  He ran away from home, he threatened his family and he started having problems at school.  He felt unsafe in his own house.  After many years he was finally diagnosed with bi-polar, depression and a host of other issues.  They faced all of this completely alone.  They had no-where to go, no one helped and no one offered any support.

Max  talks about mental illness as a biological illness, a disease of the brain.  It is an invisible illness and it is highly stigmatised.  We do not know how to talk about mental illness.  We do not want to.  We characterise it, demonise it and dramatise it.  We blame and we shame.

If you had a broken arm, diabetes or cancer would you go to a doctor.  You would get the support that you need both medically and personally.   Mental illness is not supported, not understood and it is still swept under the carpet.  People with mental illness are still discriminated against.

The only way that we can break this discrimination and disapproval is to talk about it, have conversations about mental illness and take the responsibility on ourselves to understand it.  We need to bring it out in to the open.  It should not remain invisible.    We need to be compassionate and we need to support and embrace those suffering with mental illness.

Life is Difficult

Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.” ― M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

Life is Difficult by Lisa Hunt-Wotton

Some would say that I have had a difficult life.  Some would say that drama follows me wherever I go.

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Some would go as far as to say some that of the things that have happened in my life are ‘unbelievable’.  I would say that I have had my fair share of difficulties.

Last week I after a series of calamities  I had two people sit me down and ask to chat with me.  Both conversations went something like this.

“I have watched your life, I watch the things that go on and I have to ask you.  How do you cope?  What do you do to cope?”

Well funnily enough I have never been asked this before.   It made me stop an think hard about that.  I don’t feel very different to anyone else but I realise that many of the things that I have gone through are a bit unusual.  I do remember this quote by T.S. Elliot.

“If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?”

The Turning Point

One of the first turning points in my ‘attitude’ toward suffering or calamities was when my husband was dying of terminal melanoma cancer.  I would often have people say to me.  ‘I don’t know how you cope’?   ‘If that was happening to me I know that I couldn’t cope’.  I would go home perplexed thinking,  is there another choice.  Is there some other way to be that I don’t know about.

You see the first turning point in your growth is to realise that trials are not governed, they are not planned.  They are random like the weather and you cannot control them.  The only choice you have is to cope.  The worst offenders and grief managers are often the Christians who believe that only good things should happen to them.  Well I am here to tell you that ‘your Father in heaven  gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust  (Matt 5:45).  You are not exempt from pain.  In fact you should be able to not only manage your own pain but come alongside others who are facing difficulties and be a comfort to them.

Life is Difficult

The second point I would like to make I learned from my wise husband.   One day whilst we were having coffee with our buddy Jan,  Ken quietly mentioned to me that he could not see anymore.  He had gone blind.  We left the children with Jan and went immediately into the Royal Melbourne Hospital where we were known as ‘the frequent flyers’.  After an examination and scans they sent us home from the emergency department knowing that he would be more comfortable at home whilst they scheduled number four of five brain surgeries that he would have.  On the way home from hospital we sat in silence and shock.   I cried quietly, big fat tears rolling down my cheeks.  Feeling helpless and overwhelmed.  Ken piped up with this epiphany.

“Lisa, the sooner you believe that this is Gods will for our lives, the easier it will be for you”.

What he was saying was this.  “Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters”(Scott Peck).  There is a great truth in this. If your view of life is that bad things shouldn’t happen to you then you are going to be mighty put out when they do.  You will be very offended that tragedy dared to cross your path.

When you realise that life is difficult, that  it IS hard and that bad things happen.  Then somehow life becomes easier.  You don’t get so pushed out of shape.  I can still hear my husband telling our small children when there was an altercation, “life is not fair so get over it”.  Life is NOT fair – let me repeat that.  In our politically correct climate where we hand out awards to everyone who participated in the school race instead of just the winners, you could be forgiven for believing that life is fair and that we should all have a fair go and that we should all be celebrities and we are all owed the chance to be well off and on easy street.

This is the big lie.  Life is hard, it is bloody hard work and we need to do the hard work to have some quality, reward and joy in our lives.  No one owes us, the government does not owe us, our parents do not owe us and God does not owe us.  This lie will trap you into an endless circle of despair and anger because you are not getting what you ‘think’ you deserve.

Get Some Muscle

Finally let me go back to the first question.  How do you cope?  When I meditated on this I saw an image of me as a child in the surf, and then later as an adult in the surf.  I grew up with a deep love of the water.  I was particularly fond of swimming and body boarding in the surf.  My earliest memories are of swimming and playing for hours on the Victorian coastal surf beaches.  Any Australian surfer will tell you that the waters on the southern ocean are particularly fierce.  As an adult I have been dumped flat on my back just standing in ankle deep water on a cray day at Woolamai Beach Philip Island.

waves

Anyone who loves the surf will tell you that you need to read the waves, read the water.  You learn to pick out the rips and to know the tides.  You talk to other surfers and to the life savers to find out what’s happening and where the danger spots are.  You also learn to know your own ability and what you are capable of.   When a set of waves comes in you need to learn what type of wave it is.  If its a big swell and you can bump right over the top, if it’s hard and you need to dive underneath.  You also know when its small that you can stand and let it break over the top of you.  But best of all you learn when you can ride it in.

When you  play in the surf what you are doing in reality is resistance training.  You are building muscle.

  • Resistance training increases muscle strength by making your muscles work against a weight or force.
  • Resistance training is based on the principle that muscles of the body will work to overcome a resistance force when they are required to do so. When you do resistance training repeatedly and consistently, your muscles become stronger (source).

You are also learning flexibility, to go with the flow.  Some waves you cannot resist because they will dump and damage you.  Instead you need to quickly dive underneath it and pop out the other side.  The other skill you learn is discernment, you learn  to read the water and know when you can relax or have a float and when you can take a ride in and have a rest. You also learn a great deal of respect for the ocean.

Why this lesson on surfing? 

This was my answer.  All of my life I have had sets of waves coming at me.  They are relentless, they may ease off but they may also rise to storm proportions.  One thing you can count on is that the waves and the tide do not stop.  I have faced trauma since I was a small child so I have been building muscle for a long time.  Now when big waves hit me I know how to deal with them.  That is not to say that some big wave won’t come and  flip me cracking onto my back or that a Tsunami won’t take me out, but generally I have three things going for me.

1:  I am not shocked when the waves come in so I am mentally prepared.  I know that life is difficult and it is not a shock to me when stuff happens.

2:  I have had some resistance training when it comes to calamities so I have built up some muscle.

3:  I have some discernment. Jesus says that you know how to read the skies but you cannot read the times and the trials that you are in.

This is a commentary of Luke 12:56

“As Jesus speaks of his ministry, he asks the multitudes to think of a weather forecast. Unlike meteorologists today, who work with satellite images and Doppler radar, the ancients had one weather tool, their eyes. They could predict the weather in Palestine by making a few simple observations. A westerly wind meant that moisture from the Mediterranean was riding in and clouds and rain would follow. Southwesterly breezes meant that heat from the desert was on the way and a rise in temperature could be anticipated. The signs of the times were indicated by the breezes.

Such meteorological expertise is common among the people Jesus addresses. But they cannot tell what breezes are blowing through their personal lives.. Or as Jesus says, “Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky. How is it you don’t know how to interpret this present time?”The signs of the time are everywhere, and so was spiritual blindness. Not reading this weather correctly is dangerous–more dangerous than missing a hurricane” (source).

He is saying that the weather is changeable and you can also know it.  The changing times and seasons should not come as a shock.  The Palestinians knew that when the southerlies started that hot dry desert winds would come scorching into their tents and lives.  Christ is alluding to the fact that they should be just as wise and aware of the concerns of their souls, of their personal lives.  That heat will come,  rains will come, wind will come.  It is inevitable.  We know what to do when the heat and rain comes, but we are pretty useless when it hits us in the natural.  It is actually quite insane to think that every day in our emotional lives will be the perfect temperature of 28 degrees, with no wind and no rain and that we will skip through life without a care in the world.

So people let me encourage you.  Stuff happens, life is not fair and it is okay.  You will be okay.  Straighten out your mind, build up your muscles and learn to understand what is happening.  It is not pay back time, it is not punishment, it is just life and life can be very  difficult.  Once you realise that, then life becomes a lot easier.  You can do it.

You’ve got this.

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

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How our Thought Life Affects our Health and Wellbeing.

How our Thought Life Affects our Health and Wellbeing

by Lisa Hunt-Wotton

Depression is often the result of over thinking, our minds create problems that initially didn’t exist. We exercise little discipline regarding the negative thoughts that run round and round in our heads, causing us anxiety and fear.  We don’t stop long enough  to realise that these thoughts are negative, they just are.

What if, I could have, I should have, I didn’t, if only and the list of toxic thoughts goes on and on.

“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.

Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies” (Phil 4:8 The Message Bible).

The apostle Paul wrote this to the Philippians over 2000 years ago.  The ancients knew that meditating on good and noble thoughts were the best thing for our health and for us to live in harmony.

Today  I want us to understand the power of our thoughts and know that it is possible to change and renew our minds. Paul tells us to “Think on these thing” – what is good, pure, beautiful, noble, reputable.  It is a spiritual discipline that we must all take time to learn to master.  It is a spiritual discipline that has a powerful effect on our  emotional and physical health.  Dr Caroline Leaf is a cognitive neuroscientist with a PhD in Communication Pathology specializing in Neuropsychology, teaches on toxic thought life.  This is what she says:

75% to 95% of the illnesses that plague us today are a direct result of our thought life. What we think about affects us physically and emotionally. It’s an epidemic of toxic emotions.

The average person has over 30,000 thoughts a day. Through an uncontrolled thought life, we create the conditions for illness; we make ourselves sick! Research shows that fear, all on its own, triggers more than 1,400 known physical and chemical responses and activates more than 30 different hormones.

There are INTELLECTUAL and MEDICAL reasons to FORGIVE!

Toxic waste generated by toxic thoughts causes the following illnesses: diabetes, cancer, asthma, skin problems and allergies to name just a few. Consciously control your thought life and start to detox your brain!

Medical research increasingly points to the fact that thinking and consciously controlling your thought life is one of the best ways, if not the best way of detoxing your brain. It allows you to get rid of those toxic thoughts and emotions that can consume and control your mind.

Change in your thinking is essential to detox the brain. Consciously controlling your thought life means not letting thoughts rampage through your mind. It means learning to engage interactively with every single thought that you have, and to analyze it before you decide either to accept or reject it” (http://drleaf.com/about/toxic-thoughts/).

Toxic thinking literally ‘wears down’ the brain and the rest of the body.

The Institute of Heartmath discusses an experiment titled “Local and nonlocal effects of coherent heart frequencies on Conformational Changes of DNA.” This study showed that thinking and feeling anger, fear and frustration caused DNA to change shape according to thoughts (that is thoughts with their intertwined feelings).

The DNA responded by tightening up, becoming shorter and switching off many DNA codes, which reduced quality expression:

We will feel ‘shut down” by negative emotions and our body feels this too. What was really exciting about this study is the fact that the negative “shut down” or poor quality of the DNA codes was reversed with feelings of love, joy, appreciation and gratitude!

The researchers also found that HIV positive patients with these positive thoughts and feelings had 300,000 times the resistance! (Source)

Photo by Atilla Siha https://www.flickr.com/photos/77967821@N00/
Photo by Atilla Siha

A lot of our thinking is dominated by situations and people that we cannot forgive.   About two-thirds of the teaching of Jesus centred around forgiveness.  Richard Rohr says that:

“One of the most powerful of human experiences is to give or to receive forgiveness…when we forgive, we choose the goodness of the other over their faults, we experience Gods forgiveness…and we also experience our own goodness…this is a coming together of power, both human and divine”.

Throughout the next week why don’t you take the time to record your negative thoughts.  Write them out on a post it note and put it in a private place.  Next to the negative thought write out a positive or good thought and begin to rewire your brain.  Take the toxic thoughts and replace them with a good or noble thought.

Maybe you need to weigh up the choice to forgive, to release yourself and the other person from your pain. Make the choice now to be free from these negative thoughts that are causing toxic reactions in your emotions and in your body.

Love Lisa.

About Dr. Leaf

Dr. Caroline Leaf is a cognitive neuroscientist with a PhD in Communication Pathology specializing in Neuropsychology. Since the early 1980‘s she has studied and researched  the Mind-Brain connection.  During her years in clinical practice as a Communication  Pathologist she developed tools and processes that help people develop and change their thinking and subsequent behavior. Her scientific Science of Thought techniques  have transformed the lives of patients with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), learning disabilities, emotional traumas and released the potential of thousands of young students and adults.

Change in your thinking is essential to detox the brain. Consciously controlling your thought life means not letting thoughts rampage through your mind. It means learning to engage interactively with every single thought that you have, and to analyze it before you decide either to accept or reject it.

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Today I Think of The Women by Joel McKerrow

Today on his website and blog Joel released a poem that he wrote in homage of women on International Day of the Woman.  Joel is an incredible poet and advocate of woman rights.  You can follow him here on his blog Onefootintheclay 

It is a powerful, moving and heart melting reflection on women.  Thank you Joel for your gift and for the breadth of your understanding and compassion.  Lisa.

Today I think of the women…

by joelmckerrow

I think of the woman who birthed and held and raised this man.

I think of the woman who gave this man her hand and her strength and her forgiveness. And still does so. Everyday.

I think of the woman my daughter shall be.

I think of the woman to whom I spoke this morning who spent the last fifteen years as a carer for her husband and now begins the slow remaking of everything.

I think of the slave woman and the beaten woman and the raped woman and the broken woman.

I think of the strong woman and the brave woman and the resilient and the fighting.

I think of the mother of my children. I think of the single mother. I think of every mother.

I think of miscarriage. I think of the barren.

I think of the Suffragettes.

I think of the witch trials and the burning.

I think of Gran carting sacks of bananas and Nanna making machine guns in war.

I think of baby girls tossed into rubbish piles.

I think of the native woman shot through by the cock of colonialism.

I think of the woman told that she should not have walked by herself that night and certainly not with that clothing.

I think of the lonely.

I think of the lesbian Christian. The bi-sexual. The queer.

I think of she who should be a leader, but was told that her place was to ever only be the kitchen, or the bedroom or the birthing suite.

I think of the woman held down, in a chair, held down.

I think of the widow. I think of the divorced.

I think of sex-slaves and of those twelve steps that led her to the bottom of that basement.

I think of the razor that falls from the scarred legs of teenage shame and the burning throat of trying to vomit out the pain.

I think of the girl without a name, or a name forgotten, or a name that was lost when they sold her off to marry a stranger that did not know her though he was twice her age.

I think of women elders, the champions of their people, those who show us how to live out of deep compassion when our egos get in the way.

I think of bossy bitches and sluts and skanks and arm-candy and bimbos and damaged goods and catfights and the stroppy and moody and hormonal and frigid and prudish and ice-queens and ball-busters and how we always label that which threatens us the most.

I think of ‘Working Mothers’ and why I am not called a ‘Working Father’.

I think of groping and cat-calling and wolf-whistling and the rating of looks and the baiting of hooks made of date drugs and manipulation.

I think of fear.

I think of looking over the shoulder, of crossing the street, of all the things that I never have to do.

I think of cleaners and receptionists and centrefold models and checkout-chicks and lap-dancers and AFL players and CEO’s and doctors and firefighters and plumbers and builders and surfers and scientists and teachers. I think of the gap between what HE gets paid compared to what SHE gets paid.

I think of the poets. Those women whose voices burn like fire.

I think of feminism. I think of Emma Watson. I think of freedom of choice. I think of the freedom to decide ones own fate. I think of freedom.

I think of God. Mother God.

And I think of my daughter.

I think of my daughter.

I think of my daughter.

My daughter.

girls-hugging-no-source

Unable to find source of photo if this is yours please contact me

Definition of Pastoral Care and Historical Context

Definition of Pastoral Care and Historical Context
by Lisa Hunt-Wotton
Introduction

This paper will look at the nature and definition of pastoral care. It will examine its foundations and will take into consideration historical context and contemporary application. Pastoral care has at its very core the love and concern for the dignity of humanity.  Its ultimate goal is the formation of Christ into each person. Therefore the greatest mode of pastoral care is Christ himself. As we grapple with an ever changing society which is fragmented and sprawling. More than ever we need a theology that embraces the idea of being connected to community and to small groups where people can find healing and guidance.

The Nature of Pastoral Care

To understand the nature of pastoral care it is important to remember that we are created in the image of God. A pastor is therefore called to respond in away that reflects accurately the nature of God (Arnold, 1982: 15). Fundamental to pastoral care is the understanding that ‘God cares for humanity in Jesus Christ’ (Oden, 1985: 36). Pastors embody the care-giving, care-receiving process. They are also the ‘listeners and interpreters of stories’(Dykstra: 2005). They assist in the understanding and refitting of our stories which, especially in times of crisis, are often fragmented and dissociated. They relate the word of God to specific needs and life experiences in a ‘relationship of loving service’(Aden, 1988: 40).

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Biblical Foundations

In considering the biblical foundations of pastoral care in the bible we see that the care of Gods people began with the Patriarchs. The Old Testament portrays the pastoral images of prophets, priest, wise men, kings and judges who God appointed for the care of His people. It is from the pastoral images of rural settings like sheep and shepherds that we get the term ‘pastor’ (Dykstra,2005: 54).

We see in the Twenty-third Psalm a text that characterises the pastor/shepherd ministry as one who ‘offers presence and guidance toward the restoring of the soul’ (Patton, 2005: 3). Although shepherding is a vivid image of a pastor it is not the total function of a pastor. Everything ultimately needs to be interpreted through Jesus. Jesus is the focus, the lens through which we understand pastoral care. Jesus is the Good Shepherd, He is the gate, He secures, He protects the sheep and He is the one who ultimately gave his life for his sheep (Jn 10: 7-11 TNIV). He instructs us to care for one another, to love one another, and to care for his sheep. (Jn 21: 15-17).

The overall goal of pastors should therefore be ‘the formation of the character of Christ within his people’ (Benner, 2003: 15).

Pastoral Care Definitions

It is helpful to look at some well known and respected definitions of pastoral care. This gives us a guide by which we can apply care, sustenance and healing to those in need. Literally defined, pastoral care may be seen as ‘the function of providing spiritual…orientated leadership’ (Everly,2008). Clebsch and Jaekles state that:

‘The ministry of the cure of souls, or pastoral care, consists of helping acts, done by representative Christian persons, directed towards the healing, sustaining, guiding, and reconciling of troubled persons’  (Jaekles, 1975, 1983: 4).
Another solid definition which gives us an eternal perspective is expressed by R. Hurding where he suggests that pastoral care is:  ‘The practical expression of the church’s concern for the everyday and ultimate needs of both its members and the community.’ (Hurding,1992: 45).
helping

Care Implementation

When looking at the implementation of care in the church, there are historically four primary functions of ministry for pastoral care. These have been the centre of the life and assignment of the church (Arnold, 1982: 78). These are the elements of healing, sustaining, guiding and reconciling which sit as the overarching template of appropriate care.

  • Healing: involves the idea of moving through an injury toward wholeness (Benner, 2003: 15).
  • Sustaining:refers to the support and care of the hurting person where the cure or healing is unlikely.
  • Reconciling: involves the restoration of damaged relationships including broken relationships with God  and with people.
  • Guiding: assisting people to make wise and prudent choices (Benner, 2003: 15). There are two elements to the function of guiding.
    • Inductive guidance which refers to what is taught or instructed and educative guidance which involves listening and drawing people out and helping them to find their way. Each of these functions ‘has as its aim the maintenance and strengthening of people’ (Arnold, 1982: 78).

These functions will all take on a different emphasis and strength depending on our world view, our gender, age, generation and culture. As you look at the different stages of church history, different eras had more dominant themes.

Church History

The Dark Ages (400-1200).Culture during this time was an oral one, and remained so even as Britain entered the twelfth century. Text was translated at the whim of male Christian monks who had little interest in the colloquial speech of the day creating a vast gap between the church and its people. This meant that the people relied solely on the church for education, liturgy, practical and pastoral care. Acknowledging this deficiency, King Alfred commissioned the translations of six books into Anglo-Saxon: the Dialogues and Pastoral Care of Pope Gregory I, moving society into an era of inductive guidance.

IMG_9045The famous Pope Gregory the Great provides a fascinating example of pastoral care in the early stages of this period (Pfaff,2009) . As a pastor, a teacher and a theologian, Gregory was a leading example for us today (Oden,1985: 36, 37). He wrote one of the greatest treatises in the history of pastoral care namely, Gregory’s‘Liber Regulae Pastoralis’, also more commonly known as the ‘Pastoral Care’or ‘Pastoral Rule’(Ogg, 1907, 1972). It received favour throughout Europe, Spain and Britain and had an influence for good upon the clergy of the day.

sick-dying‘Pastoral Rule’ very practically instructed the clergy on the work of the church, the care of the flock and the care of the pastor.

He called the clergy to the image of the shepherd over the sheep, encouraging them to live a life of example, uprightness, humility and purity (Ogg, 1907, 1972). Pastoral models today have built upon this foundation which has given us a more integrated insight into pastoral care. This period of church history contributes most significantly to pastoral care and continues to have a positive influence on pastoral care today (Oden, 1985: 42).

 

Reformation and Renewal

(14th and 15thCentury).

During this time abuse was widespread in the Catholic Church and there was high level of corruption in the papacy (Sommerville, 2009). A poorly educated and underpaid clergy provided most people’s pastoral care. There needed to be a reconciling of people to God and of the people to the church. There was widespread concern over corruption in the church. Put simply, the breakdown of the church and its failure to reform caused a revolution. The renaissance of thought concerning how society could be newly formed, sparked an unprecedented need for academic freedom, and distress at the misuse of power of the church (Wikepedia, 2090).

The Protestant Reformation was sparked by a Martin Luther (Reformation , 2009). Luther shockingly declared that the Pope had no special powers and that the church consisted of all Christians (Reformation , 2009). Luther believed in depriving the clergy of much of their power and placing it in the hands of secular authorities (Sommerville, 2009). Luther agreed with Augustine theology concerning the grace of God for salvation which provided for all men to come to God and eroded the rigid institutions of the church (Wikepedia, 2090). This revolutionised the common mans way of thinking about God.

Luther wrote books on pastoral care and proper conduct in the life of a Christian as well as guidance for ministers and their behaviour (Reformation , 2009). His passion for the people came from his own battles with despair (Thompson, 1994: 32); and it was with compassion that he addressed the ill and the bereaved in purely human terms and on their level. The message of Luther and of the reformation is still relevant for us today as we resist the mysticism attached to church appointments and focus instead on the needs of the people.

Contemporary Australia

The church throughout history and from its very beginnings has been intrinsically interested in caring for others as Christ cares for us. Each era of church history has struggled ‘imaginatively to understand what the mediation of Christ’s care means, and how it can be embodied, appropriated, and improved in every new historical circumstance’ (Oden, 1985: 39). Today in our present culture where the village life and parish community is not sociologically available, small groups are a highly successful model of pastoral care.

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Small groups actually have their origin in the early church in Acts 2:42-47 where believers met both in the temple and also in house to house. Some of the most effective healing comes from the support of community. Small groups offer personal relationships, meet needs, and offer a practical span of care. Done well they can be the foundation of good soul care, offering networks to establish friendships and support groups whose primary focus is to care for the needs of the group, offering support, care and encouragement, ‘reaching out to one another in relationships of pastoral care’ (Benner, 2003: 17, 20).

In larger churches small groups provide the greatest forum of pastoral care. However, if a need arises within the group that can no longer be met by the small group, the person is referred to an area or network pastor who will be able to provide specialized care. This may at times mean that the troubled person is referred into the care of other health professionals.
Traditional and historical pastoral care began to change in the early twentieth century with the development of psychotherapy and psychological counselling. As communities and people needs changed, a tension was created between the need for historical pastoral advice and psychological help (Benner, 2003: 13). Some pastors relied on purely biblical based spiritual help and others turned to modern psychotherapy.
There is however a middle road where pastors can learn from other traditions and utilize health resources whilst retaining their own discipline of theology. Paul Pruyser a clinical psychologist puts it this way:
‘I have the growing conviction that people turn to pastors – correctly –because they want to have the opportunity to look at themselves and their problems in the light of their faith and their religious tradition, with the help of an expert in just this perspective’ (Hunsinger, 1995:3).
A pastor at some time will be confronted with the challenge of an acute psychological and or spiritual crisis (Everly, 2008). A pastor at this time will then benefit by being an advocate of comprehensive care where a diagnosis is initiated and where the pastor continues to partner in the treatment process (Hunsinger, 1995: 7), advocating a holistic approach to physical, mental and spiritual health. All the while reinforcing the fact that the person means far more to God than the problem that he or she presents (Patton, 2005: 118). This knowledge and ability to connect people to the appropriate resources and other health professionals in the community is vitally important should the need for referral arise (Arnold, 1982: 138,139).

Conclusion
The role of pastoral care in the community cannot be underestimated. In an era of unprecedented responsiveness and need the pastor is often the first point of reference and front line advocate of the love and care of Christ. This role has changed over the years to incorporate an element of diagnostic skills and a cache of referral tools. However the basic model of healing, sustaining, reconciliation, and guidance remain. We build upon a rich foundation of Christ, upon the legacy of biblical and church fathers and move forward with a mandate to care and feed His sheep.

 

 

Bibliography
Aden. (1988). Pastoral care and the gospels.Grand Rapids: Baker.
Arnold, W. (1982). Introduction to pastoral care. Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia: Westminster Press.
Benner. (2003). Strategic pastoral counselling. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing.
Browning. (1976). The moral context of pastoral care.Theology Today, 134 – 136.
Dykstra. (2005). Images of pastoral care. St Louis, Missouri: Chalice Press.
Everly. (2008, February 17). Pastoral Crisis intervention: Toward a definition. Retrieved March 20, 2009, from Special Articles: Http://www.icisf.org/Acrobat%20Documents/Pastoral%20Care/Pastoral%20crisis%20int.h…
Hunsinger, v. D. (1995). Theology & pastoral counseling. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm B.Eerdmans Publishing .
Hurding. (1992).The Bible and counseling.London: Hodder and Staughton.
Jaekles, C. W. (1975, 1983). Pastoral Care in historical perspective. Northvale, London: Jason Aronson.
Oden. (1985). Pastoral care and the unity of theological education.Theology Today, 42, 34-42.
Ogg. (1907, 1972). A source book of mediaeval history. New York: Cooper Square Publishers.
Olson, P. D. (2009). Collating Caedmon The rare book & Manuscript library. Retrieved April 2009

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

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What is Peace?

What is Peace? by Lisa Hunt-Wotton

The seventh verse of the sermon on the mount says:

Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God.

A peace maker is someone who ‘makes’ or ‘creates’ places of peace. They are mediators, counsellors and intercessors.  They are able to reconcile with adversaries. They intervene and intercede. They are bridge builders and wall breakers.

Peacemakers  are called the ‘children of God’ because they directly imitate the nature and character of God.  They walk in his footsteps and exhibit his DNA.

Peace is a fruit of the Spirit.

We are told in the biblical texts to make every effort to live in peace.  We are instructed to seek peace and to pursue it, to chase after it.  Jesus, the Prince of Peace, was sent to lead us into the footsteps of peace.

But what is peace?

Peace intercedes, it negotiates and it reconciles conflict in every arena.  Peace is the desire for us all to get along. Peace is freedom from disturbance, it is emotional calm. Peace is tranquility. Peace is the opposite to anxiety.  Peace is a commitment to understanding, celebrating and learning from difference. Peace is a commitment not to harm, but also to nurture, all individuals.

But it is also much more than all of this.

“One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Peace is a direct result of peoples thoughts and actions but it is also a gift from God.

pink-sunset-peace

In the Old Testament, the primary Hebrew word for “peace” is shalom, and it refers to relationships between people, nature and nations.  The true meaning of ‘shalom’ is for people and creation to flourish.  It is the right of every human being, of every living creature and of ‘creation’ to flourish.  That means to be healthy, to thrive and to have vigorous life.

Shalom is much more than peace.

In the Hebrew context, Shalom is thought of in relationship to the land, the soil and Gods creation.  It is the opposite to no conflict.  It is what is happening when there is no conflict.  Shalom is when the eco system, the land and life is the way that it should be.  It is when everything is flourishing, when everything is working the way that it should be. (Ken Wytsma)

In the New Testament, the primary Greek word for “peace” is eirene, and it refers to rest and tranquility. A key focus of peace in the New Testament is the advent of Jesus Christ, as announced by the angels in Luke 2:14 (“Peace on earth . . .”). Isaiah had predicted the Messiah would be the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), and He is called the Lord of peace. (source)

I have added the lyrics to two songs that talk about peace.  I wonder as you meditate on the word peace and as you read the lyrics to these songs.   Consider being one who runs after peace.

As you consider your situation, your relationships, your world; in what areas could you be a ‘peacemaker’.  In what relationships could you be a mediator, a counsellor, or someone who intervenes.  In what areas could you be one who enables others to flourish and to grow and to thrive.

xxx Lisa – Shalom

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Peace Train 

by Cat Stevens

Now I’ve been happy lately thinking about the things to come

And I believe it could be

Something good has begun

Oh I’ve been smiling lately

Dreaming about the world as one

And I believe it could be

Someday it’s going to come

Cause I’m on the edge of darkness

There ride the peace train

Oh peace train take this country

Come take me home again

Oh peace train sounding louder

Guide on the peace train

Come on now peace train

Yes peace train holy roller,

Everyone jump on the peace train

Come on now Peace Train

Get you bags together

Go bring your good friends too

Cause its getting nearer

It soon will be with you

 

Get Along

by Guy Sebastian

Some only want some shelter

Some want a mansion in the sky

Some want a thousand virgins

Some move better with their minds

And when all the worlds collide

All they know is too divide

And its easy if their faceless

To hate the other side 

And the others caught between

Are the only ones to bleed

And the ones they leave behind

Can only sit and cry

Dear God, Dear Soul

Dear Mary,  Mohammad

Can we all just get along

Can we all just get along

Dear heart, Dear life

Dear soldier, Dear Martyr

Where did we go wrong

Can we all just get along.

Some set fire to crosses

Some fight the right to cross their dream

Some don’t believe at all

But do anything to make the news

And when all the worlds collide

All they know is too divide

And its easy if their faceless

To hate the other side

And the others caught between

Are the only ones to bleed

And the ones they leave behind

Can only sit and cry

 

 

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 or $100.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

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Dust Bunnies Just Make you Smile

On most Fridays I showcase an artist.  Today I want to showcase Amanda Louise Spayd who is creating The World of Dust Bunnies.  Why I hear you ask?  What has this got to do with anything?

Well there are several reasons.

1:  Life is overwhelming at times in so many areas and sometimes you just need to look at an adorable, quirky face.  Today, a dust bunny.

2:  I support the arts in many ways.  One of the ways that I support other artists is by supplying them with nourishment.  In other words, inspiration.  Artists gobble up other artists and their work.  It sparks imaginations and kick starts stale projects.  So for the artist that just needs a quirky side track or a kick in the butt – this is for you

3:  And to you who have had a tough week.  You know who you are.  You might just need to look at a dust bunny, read the words of an imagineer, remember the whimsy of your childhood and just smile.  If I get you to smile then my job here is done.

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Amanda Louise Spayd’s mixed-media work combines the textures and colors of antique domestic objects, the natural world, and an obsessive attention to detail. At once endearing and unsettling, her fabric creatures evoke ideas of cast-off children’s toys and ill-conceived taxidermy experiments with crooked human teeth.

Because of their aged, antique appearance, one is left to wonder about the origin, past experiences, and past lives of these creatures. Do they look like this because they were abandoned, or because they were literally loved to pieces? The idea of an unknown past story, combined with the possibilities of their future, is a central theme of her work. Her work has been published internationally, and is highly sought after by collectors around the globe, and she has exhibited her work in galleries and conventions across the United States, France, and Japan.

You can follow Amanda on her FB site or on her website amandalouise.com

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Dust Bunnies are wide-eyed, snaggle-toothed creatures full of curiosity, but, not so full of smarts.

Ignorance is bliss, however, and they inhabit our world in the shadows and corners, unbothered and unnoticed by humans. They’re the ones responsible for that one sock that disappears after you do laundry, as well as those mysterious chew-marks on the bottoms of your wooden chair legs, and the unexplained shuffling sounds from across the house that you can never quite identify. They don’t need us to notice them, and don’t rely on us for anything. They collect our cast-off things and adorn themselves with the forgotten detritus of eras long past.

They are innocent, they are curious, they are weird, and they are wonderful.

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I came across Amanda’s work on Patreon.  We are both members of Patreon which is a site designed to support artists and the work that they do.  Have a listen to the amazing Amanda and smile.

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